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The Business Matrix: Saturday 23 June 2012


Bleasdale loses dismissal case

Controversial entrepreneur Kate Bleasdale's reputation lay in tatters last night after she lost her £12m unfair dismissal case against Healthcare Locums, the recruitment firm which sacked her last year after the discovery of a black hole in the accounts. Bleasdale was suing HCL for victimisation and unfair dismissal.

Disney Store losses double

The retailer Disney Store showed that all was not well with Mickey Mouse and his friends last year by posting widening losses, and blamed increased costs from its online operations on the Continent. Disney Store, which has 56 shops in the UK, said it was "satisfied" with its performance, but the retailer's losses doubled to £3.8m last year.

Military plane jobs head to Spain

British manufacturing suffered a blow yesterday when defence group Cobham said a major military planes contract would move from southern England to Spain, leading to up to 320 job losses. Staff at Cobham's facility at Bournemouth airport had been working on converting the UK's A330 Voyager aircraft.

Drilling problems hits shares

Kazakhstan oil explorer Max Petroleum's shares halved in value yesterday after the company said it might have to "significantly curtail" its drilling programme. The warning came after the drill on one of its major prospects – NUR 1 – twice became stuck in salt deposits. The first time, at a depth of 5,718m.

Coe hits back at Games critics

Lord Coe has hit out at critics "in the shires" who claim the Olympics are being over-commercialised. Organisers have been accused of allowing the torch relay to be overtaken by the corporate sponsors and their celebrity ambassadors. But Lord Coe said it was "lazy" to attack sponsors.

Food chain toasts record profits

Iceland Foods has toasted record profits for the seventh-consecutive year, despite the distraction of the protracted £1.55bn management buyout led by its chief executive, Malcolm Walker. The frozen-food specialist's underlying sales rose 6 per cent helping drive a 19 per cent jump in its net profit to £184.3m.

Copper row may be nearing end

Mining giant Anglo American and Chilean copper producer Codelco have asked the courts to extend their negotiating window. They have requested a July 17 conciliation session as they close in on a deal to settle their row over disputed copper assets.

Fresh Crossrail contract awarded

Building firm Laing O'Rourke has claimed a major £200m deal to build the new Crossrail station at Tottenham Court Road in London. When the East-West rail link is completed, it will be one of London's busiest stations, with 200,000 passengers passing through each day.

Promotion for Barclays banker

Barclays yesterday appointed one its co-heads of investment banking, Jerry del Missier, to the new position of chief operating officer. Del Messier has been one of Barclays best-paid executives – in 2010 he picked up £14.2m.

In his new role, Mr del Missier is expected to take charge of the operational and technical issues set by ring-fencing.

Bookings slow for cruise liner firm

Profits plunged by 93 per cent in the last quarter at cruise operator Carnival after it was hit by rising fuel costs and weaker bookings. The company has struggled in the wake of its Costa Concordia liner capsizing off the coast of Italy in January.