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The Business Matrix: Saturday 27 October 2012

One in four out of work in Spain

The relentless lengthening of Spain's jobless queues continues apace, new figures showed yesterday, with more than one in four now out of work, the worst unemployment levels in the country since General Franco's dictatorship ended in 1975. Spain's latest jobless total is 25.02 per cent of its workforce, or 5.8 million people.

Publicis hit by ad spending crash

Publicis, the company that owns Saatchi & Saatchi and Bartle Bogle Hegarty, warned yesterday that clients' ad spending had come to an "abrupt halt" since September. WPP had made a similar warning on Thursday, but the slowdown at Publicis was more dramatic as it missed September forecasts by a wide margin.

African Barrick Gold shares dive

Shares in African Barrick Gold tumbled by 3 per cent after rising costs and falling production forced the miner to issue a profits warning. Reporting a 72 per cent drop in third-quarter profit to £18m, its chief executive, Greg Hawkins, said there had been production interruptions across its sites.

'Never let me go' suppliers warned

The energy regulator Ofgem has pledged to crack down on suppliers that try to stop businesses from switching supplier after allegations that British Gas Business incorrectly objected to some firms moving. The promise came as it published proposals to make the market fairer for more small firms.

CPP sets aside £25m for FSA fine

The credit card and mobile phone insurer CPP Group has accepted more restrictions on its business imposed by the Financial Services Authority for mis-selling its products in the past. The firm expects to be fined by the FSA and has set aside £24.9m to cover this and customer compensation.

Finsbury pays £15m dividend

Roland Rudd's RLM Finsbury showed yesterday there is still plenty of money in corporate public relations as it paid a chunky £15m dividend. The payout to parent company WPP, run by Sir Martin Sorrell, came despite a tough year for RLM Finsbury, one of the City's biggest PR agencies.

ASOS boss makes £16m in share sale

Nick Robertson, boss of online fashion retailer ASOS, has netted £16m after selling shares in the company's long-term incentive plan. Chairman Lord Alli, who is due to be replaced by former Amazon boss Brian McBride on Thursday, raised £16.8m in a similar move.

Former Pru boss to chair City charity

The former Prudential chairman Harvey McGrath is to become chairman of Heart of the City, the charity funded by the City of London Corporation and City Bridge Trust. He will take over from Sir Gerald Acher, who steps down when his six-year tenure ends in December.

Stagecoach steps up green strategy

Stagecoach is to further reduce its CO2 emissions after introducing cleaner fuel on almost 1,000 vehicles in its Scottish bus fleet. The group is using 30 per cent biofuel and 70 per cent diesel in a blend achieved in partnership with Argent Energy.

Mild weather curbs JLP growth

John Lewis Partnership said department store sales were 7 per cent higher than a year ago, but were below recent trends thanks to a combination of milder weather and slightly tougher comparisons against the previous year.

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