The Business Matrix: Monday 26 May 2014


End of the road for the Ambassador?

Hindustan Motors has halted production of the Ambassador, once the choice of Indian politicans and taxi drivers, citing weak demand and a lack of funds. The design, based on the Morris Oxford, is almost unchanged since 1957 when it became the first car to be made in India. Out of the 1.8 million cars sold in India last year, just 2,200 were Ambassdors.

European mobile market fragments

Smaller manufacturers are breaking into the European smartphone market long dominated by Samsung and Apple, according to Kantar Worldpanel. While China’s Huawei saw the number of smartphones sold in the top five European markets jump 123 per cent in the past year, older brands such as Sony and Motorola have also seen a resurgence in sales.

What the Sunday papers said

UK firm ‘abused workers’ rights’

Human Rights Watch has accused managers at a construction business co-owned by Balfour Beatty of handing striking workers over to Dubai police, who beat, imprisoned and deported them. Balfour denied the claims about the workers on a new university campus in the Gulf emirate, saying it acted in accordance with local law.

The Independent on Sunday

Amazon avoids UK taxes

Amazon has routed £11m worth of sales through Luxembourg, taking advantage of a legal tax strategy which means last year it reported £4.3bn sales in the UK, but only paid £4.2m in tax. It books UK sales via its Luxembourg subsidiary, which pays the UK arm a delivery fee. Profits from sales are taxed at Luxembourg’s low rates.

The Sunday Times

Call for more help for small firms

The Treasury is expected to call on Britain’s major banks to increase competition in lending to small and medium-sized businesses. The move is expected later this week when a government-commissioned survey of SMEs by the British Chambers of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses is published.

The Sunday Telegraph

Banks to curb mortgage lending

More banks are expected  to curb mortgage lending ahead of possible moves by regulators to cool London house prices. A week ago Lloyds said home buyers would be able to borrow only four times their salaries if they want loans above £500,000, and other banks, including Royal Bank of Scotland, are expected to follow suit.

The Mail on Sunday