The Business Matrix: Friday 8 June 2012


Interest rate cut for slowing China

China's economic policymakers gave their counterparts in Europe and the UK a lesson in decisiveness yesterday as they caught markets by surprise with a 25 basis point cut in interest rates. China began to raise rates in October 2010 to cool a construction bubble. But recently the economy has shown signs of slowing.

Clinton Cards deal saves 4,500 jobs

Clinton Cards has been rescued out of administration by American Greetings, saving 4,500 jobs at the UK card retailer. American Greetings, a supplier to Clinton and its biggest creditor, acquired its £35m debt. It has now acquired the brand, assets and 397 of Clinton's stores but more than 350 shops have already closed.

Tullow strikes it rich off Africa

The FTSE 100 oil explorer Tullow Oil has struck oil in deep waters off the Ivory Coast. Shares in the Africa-focused company rose 2 per cent to 1,468p as it said its Paon-1X exploration well found "good-quality, light oil", fuelling hopes it will make more discoveries in the waters west of its key Jubilee field in Ghana.

Samsung to upset the apple cart

Samsung Electronics has promised to oppose vigorously Apple's move to block sales of the Galaxy S III smartphone in the US. It insists its latest smartphone will be launched in the US as scheduled on 21 June. Its statement comes after Apple asked a district court to ban sales of the S III in the US, claiming Samsung violated Apple's patents.

Average share values down 40%

The dire state of the London share market was exposed yesterday as the London Stock Exchange revealed that the average value of UK shares traded on its electronic order last month was almost 40 per cent down on two years ago. In May, the average value of shares traded on its UK order book was £4.3bn.

Demand a catalyst for rise at Johnson

Soaring demand for so-called heavy-duty diesel catalysts for lorries and buses pushed up annual profits at Johnson Matthey. The results prompted the world's largest maker of catalytic converters to promise to pay out an extra £212m to its shareholders by a special 100p-a-share dividend.

Betfair wins Spanish licence

The online betting exchange Betfair has become the latest company to say that it has won a licence to operate in Spain under the country's new internet gambling regulations. Betfair said it will start a sportsbook and a variety of casino sites including blackjack and roulette.

Jessops snaps up 3% sales growth

The camera retailer Jessops said sales in 2011 grew by 3 per cent to £237m, with like-for-like sales up 1.3 per cent compared with a 7 per cent decline in the digital camera market. The 200-strong chain, which lifted annual earnings to £5.7m, will refurbish 25 stores this year.

Glass of good cheer for Amber

Amber Taverns, which has 77 community pubs in the North of England, is back in the black after a profit of £3.2m in the year to 29 January. Revenues rose by 37 per cent to £25.4m as Amber said it would add 12-14 pubs this year.

Centrica extends stay with Statoil

British Gas owner Centrica's agreement with Statoil to collaborate on gas-focused exploration activities in Norway and the UK has been extended to June 2013. Last year, Centrica signed a £13bn, 10-year supply agreement with Statoil.