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The Business Matrix: Saturday 25 June 2011

Berkeley defies housing gloom

The property market in London and the South-east is booming, despite the national gloom, the housebuilder Berkeley Group said yesterday, as it outlined plans to hand £1.7bn back to shareholders over the next decade. Berkeley reported annual profits up 23.5 per cent to £136m, on sales up by more than a fifth at £743m.

Draghi named to top ECB post

European leaders appointed Italy’s Mario Draghi as the next president of the European Central Bank yesterday. The 63- year-old economist, who is the governor of the Bank of Italy, takes the helm in November, replacing France’s Jean-Claude Trichet, who has steered monetary policy across the eurozone for the past eight years.

Prada disappoints on market debut

Shares in the Italian luxury fashion house Prada opened up just 0.25 per cent on their debut in Hong Kong yesterday, amid waning interest in new listings and volatile markets. The firm opened at HK$39.60 (£3.18), up from the HK$39.50 offer price. The IPO has raised a lowerthan- expected $2.14bn after the sale of 20 per cent of the firm.

Supermarkets in fuel price war

Tesco knocked 3p off a litre of fuel at its pumps yesterday amid a supermarket price war after the release of emergency oil stocks by Western governments on Thursday. Morrisons said it had begun cutting prices yesterday morning, while Sainsbury's was set to follow suit at midnight last night. Asda will cut its prices from today. MORE

Bunzl boosted by North America

The FTSE 250-listed distribution and packaging firm Bunzl has said its revenues for the six months to the end of June are expected to have increased by a healthy 6 per cent in constant currency terms as its business drew steam from recent acquisitions and from strength in North America, its largest market.

Global Ports sets London IPO price

Russia’s Global Ports pitched its $534m London listing at the lower end of the indicated range, pricing its initial public offering at $15 per global depository receipt yesterday. The original range was between $14.70 and $16.10 per receipt. The listing is the sixth foreign float by a Russian company this year.

China halts Airbus deal in carbon row

China has called a halt on a multibillion-euro aircraft order placed with Airbus by Hong Kong Airlines, in protest at EU plans to extend carbon dioxide emissions trading to air traffic, it was claimed yesterday. It is thought the deal was to have been signed on Tuesday. Airbus declined to comment last night.

Daimler and Rolls secure Tognum

Daimler and Rolls-Royce said yesterday that they have secured full control of the German engine maker Tognum after completing a successful joint bid that valued the German diesel engine maker at around €3.4bn (£3bn). The two firms hope to use Tognum to expand in the diesel engine market.

Pace of US growth revised upwards

The US economy grew at an upwardly revised annual rate of 1.9 per cent over the first three months of the year, according to official figures released yesterday, compared to an earlier estimate of 1.8 per cent. The revision, by the US Department of Commerce, was in line with market expectations.

Murdoch warns of economic ‘fears

Companies and individuals alike have become much more anxious about the economy over the past month, James Murdoch, the deputy chief operating officer of News Corporation, told an advertising conference in Cannes yesterday, warning that “the mood music has shifted – people are very fearful”.