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The Business Matrix: Saturday 2 February 2013


Pinewood has new expansion plan

The film studio where hits such as Skyfall and Pirates of the Caribbean were made has submitted plans for a £200m expansion. Pinewood Studios has dramatically revised proposals after a previous development was blocked by the Government last year. Pinewood says expansion is vital as it has been forced to turn work away.

LME loses sole female trader

The famously boisterous London Metal Exchange is losing its only female trader. Bethan Wilde, 29, has been poached by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing. The LME, which has itself been bought by Hong Kong Exchanges, is one of the last trading floors to operate via open outcry, where dealers shout prices to agree deals.

QinetiQ secures larger contract

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed a £998m, five-year contract with QinetiQ to test its helicopters, weapons and vehicles. The contract, the third tranche of a 25-year deal, is worth almost £50m more than the previous five-year contract, which was valued at £951m.

The first deal, struck in 2003, was worth £964m.

De La Rue says orders recovering

De La Rue, the company which designs and prints the banknotes of more than 150 countries, yesterday said it was on course to produce 6.4 billion banknotes, using 9,000 tonnes of paper, this year as its customers committed to previously delayed orders.

De La Rue's shares rose 51.5p to 953.5p.

HSBC China sale gets green light

HSBC's agreement to sell its remaining $7.4bn (£4.7bn) stake in the Chinese insurer Ping An received a last-minute go-ahead from the regulator yesterday. The China Insurance Regulatory Commission cleared the sale to the Thai billionaire Dhanin Chearavanont. The deal, which was struck last year, will see HSBC net a profit of some $2.6bn as part of sell-offs ordered by the bank's chief executive, Stuart Gulliver.

Growth rebounds, but January weak

China's factories rebounded in the quarter to December from their slowest growth in three years, as the economy advanced at an annual pace of 7.9 per cent. But analysts warn that slowing global trade could hinder the recovery. Manufacturers saw a weaker-than-expected January, according to an official activity survey – but a closely watched HSBC survey, which focuses on smaller firms, painted a more optimistic picture.