The Business Matrix: Saturday 24 March 2012


Racing yacht Bob donated to charity

A sailing charity that gets injured servicemen and women racing, has been given Bob, the Farr 52 yacht that landed the former BP boss Tony Hayward in hot water with the White House when he was seen on her during the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. She has been renamed Toe in the Water after the charity.

Record sales for Stanley Gibbons

The stamps specialist Stanley Gibbons has posted record results for 2011 after seeing a 72 per cent jump in sales over the internet. Buoyed by demand for Royal Wedding memorabilia and closer ties with stamp enthusiasts in China, the group's sales rose 35 per cent to £38m as profits jumped 17 per cent to £5.2m.

Mortgage lending dips in February

The rush of first-time buyers looking to beat the stamp-duty exemption deadline fizzled out in February as mortgage approvals fell 13 per cent to 31,033, the British Bankers' Association said. High-street banks lent £7.9 billion last month, 2 per cent down on 2011. The threshold fell from £250,000 to £125,000 at midnight.

Pay rise for StandChart boss

Standard Chartered's chief executive, Peter Sands received a modest 3 per cent pay rise last year to take his package to £5m, as the bank's profits grew 11 per cent to $6.8bn. The annual report reveals that it paid its top 13 executives $92m last year, including $13.4m to Mike Rees, the head of its investment bank.

Sales of £2m-plus homes in decline

Sales of top-end homes were falling even before the stamp duty hike announced for £2m properties in the Budget. Land Registry figures yesterday revealed sales of houses worth more than £2m fell 18 per cent year-on-year in December in England and Wales.

Probe into EMI bid by Universal

EU antitrust regulators have opened an in-depth investigation into a bid by Vivendi's Universal Music to buy EMI's recorded music unit for $1.9bn, saying the proposed deal could reduce competition to the detriment of consumers. Universal, however, could offer concessions to the EU watchdog during its review.

BATS blunder halts trading

The stock market debut of the exchange operator BATS Global Markets Exchange was overshadowed by a series of blunders yesterday, including its own shares, priced at $16, erroneously trading for less than a cent. The trades were cancelled by the New York exchange Nasdaq and trading in BATS halted.

Newsprint costs hit Telegraph

The Daily and Sunday Telegraph saw profits fall 7 per cent to £54m last year as rising newsprint costs took their toll. Its parent company Telegraph Media Group saw turnover rise 2 per cent to £331m, with growth in advertising, digital and revenues such as selling financial and travel products to readers.

£4m pay cut for Credit Suisse chief

Brady Dougan, the chief executive of Credit Suisse, saw his pay more than halved to Sfr5.8m (£4m). The Swiss bank's Mr Dougan was paid Sfr12.8m in 2010, but last year the bank's profits fell by more than 60 per cent. The top board pay went to Robert Shafir, head of asset management, who collected Sfr8.5m.

Biggs takes over at Direct Line

Royal Bank of Scotland has appointed Mike Biggs as chairman of Direct Line Insurance, the Churchill and Green Flag business being prepared for a likely flotation in order to meet European competition rules. He is also at the helm of life assurer Resolution, a position he'll retain.