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The Business Matrix: Saturday 23 February 2013

EU to offer reduced Libor-fixing fines

The European Union is hoping to wrap-up its investigation into the Libor-fixing scandal by offering banks the chance to settle with reduced fines. US and UK regulators have so-far hit Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS for a combined $2.6bn (£1.7bn) for manipulating the inter-bank lending rate. The EU's Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia wants to conclude his own investigation into the benchmark rates before his term ends in 2014.

M&C revenues dip in top three cities

The international hotel group Millennium & Copthorne has said it had got off to a slow start this year with revenues per room down in all three main cities – Singapore down 10.2 per cent, London down 9.6 per cent and New York down 1.6 per cent. In 2012 M&C's profits fell 15 per cent to £158m but this largely reflected a one-off boost from land sales the year before. Mr Kwek said the group would improve returns this year by upgrading many of its 100 hotels.

Caution urged by Volkswagen

Volkswagen turned cautious on its outlook amid the shrinking European car market yesterday even as it posted record €11.5bn (£9.9bn) profits for 2012. Shares in Europe's biggest car maker fell more than 6 per cent on the Frankfurt bourse after it said its goal for 2013 was to just match the profit achieved last year. The company also warned of "ongoing uncertainty in the economic environment".

Vianet alert as profits look short

The company which claims to be able to measure the perfect pint left investors in need of a stiff drink yesterday after a profit warning sent its shares slumping 16 per cent. Vianet, whose beer monitoring technology is used in one in three British pubs, blamed pub sell-offs and contract delays as it braced the City for disappointing profits. The shares skidded 19p lower to 97.5p.

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