The Business Matrix: Saturday 24 September 2011

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The Independent Online

LME mulls offers for the company

The London Metal Exchange, the top global market for industrial metals such as copper and zinc, is considering offers for the company. The exchange, one of the last to operate a system of “open outcry” pit trading, is owned by the trading houses and banks that use it. The LME accounts for 80 per cent of metal future contracts traded globally.

KPMG to look into rogue UBS trades

Accountancy firm KPMG is set to conduct an independent regulatory investigation into alleged rogue trades that have cost Swiss bank UBS $2.3bn (£1.5bn). The FSA City watchdog said the remit and timelines for the inquiry – on behalf of the FSA and its Swiss counterpart Finma – and paid for by UBS – have yet to be thrashed out.

Collins Stewart warns on profits

Collins Stewart Hawkpoint has warned that stock market turbulence is likely to hit its profits this year. Shares in the stock broker fell nearly 9 per cent and its house broker cut its profits forecast for the company by a third. But the group said that overall it had performed well and that it had reduced its exposure to turbulent markets.

UK households pay down credit

Britons paid off £100m more than they borrowed on credit cards, loans and overdrafts last month, suggesting that the desire to borrow is still constrained by the economic outlook. The British Bankers’ Association said the same mood was evident in the mortgage market where net lending was £700m, below the average for the first half.

Poland tries to support currency

The Polish central bank was forced to intervene in the foreign exchange markets yesterday to drive up the zloty, which had hit 27-month lows against the euro as investors fled riskier assets. Currency traders said South Korea, Russia and India had also been trying to support their currencies amid the market turmoil.

New Arla dairy for Buckinghamshire

Around 700 new jobs are to be created after the Danish dairy co-operative Arla got the go-ahead to build what it calls the world’s largest zero-carbon dairy. Arla Foods wants to create the £150m project at a site in Buckinghamshire, which it says will be able to package up to 1.3bn litres of fresh milk a year.

BA buys Heathrow slots from BMI

British Airways has bought six take-off and landing slots at Heathrow from British Midland International. The deal, which is for an undisclosed sum, will increase owner International Consolidated Airlines’ share of the slots at the airport to 45 per cent. BA will use the Heathrow slots from late October.

EasyJet’s Stelios changes direction

EasyJet’s founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has dropped his call for an investor meeting to vote on ousting an easyJet board member, just a day after landing a £72m dividend payout from the no-frills airline. The director Sir Stelios objected to had backed a large order for new aircraft just weeks before a profits warning.

SSE ditches bid for nuclear power

Scottish and Southern (SSE), the UK’s second-biggest energy generator, has abandoned its quest to develop nuclear power in favour of producing more electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind farms and bio-mass plants. The move is a blow to government plans to ramp up nuclear generation.

Centrica in £175m First Choice buy

British Gas owner Centrica has bought the Texas-based energy retailer First Choice Power for £175m cash as it looks to expand in the US. The deal is set to strengthen Centrica’s position as the third largest energy retailer in Texas and boost its number of customers in the state to more than 830,000.