The Business Matrix: Saturday 5 April 2014


New car sales jump 18 per cent

New car sales jumped almost 18 per cent in March on a year earlier to 464,824 registrations, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. March is a key month as new registration plates are issued. There have been 688,122 registrations to date, up 13.7 per cent on the same period of 2013.

Investment funds ‘pose global risk’

A senior Bank of England regulator has warned that large investment funds pose a potential systemic risk to the global financial system. Andrew Haldane, the Bank’s executive director for financial stability, said yesterday that regulating the funds was “the next frontier for macro-prudential policy”.

JPMorgan bank restructures

The unit that played host to the infamous “London Whale” trader and left JPMorgan facing a $6.2bn (£3.7bn) trading loss is being restructured. The US bank’s chief investment office, responsible for investing the bank’s deposits, is to be combined with its Treasury division, which oversees funding.

UniversalPegasus appoints director

The engineer Kentz has appointed Meg Lassarat to replace retiring Ed Power as finance director. Ms Lassarat most recently held the same role at the US-based engineer UniversalPegasus International. She will take over on  29 May but Mr Power will stay until August.

Firms hiring fast despite winter

The US labour market emerged surprisingly strong from the severe winter, with employers hiring at a brisk pace and the jobless rate holding near a five-year low at 6.7 per cent. Non-farm payrolls increased by 192,000 jobs last month after rising by 197,000   in February.

City jobs slow on last month

The number of new jobs created in the City of London fell in March compared with the previous month amid hiring freezes at investment banks, according to a study. The recruitment firm Astbury Marsden said 2,640 jobs were created last month, 450 more than a year ago.

Flybe fare drop attracts flyers

Embattled regional airline Flybe offered further signs that the group is steadying from recent turbulence as moves to slash fares attract more passengers onto its flights. The group said it flew 6 per cent more passengers in its fourth quarter to 31 March – at 1.6 million – despite a 4 per cent reduction in capacity.

Telecom Plus sees cutomer increase

The energy and phone services supplier Telecom Plus enjoyed a “strong” fourth quarter, with the proportion of new members taking all five of its main services – gas, electricity, landline, broadband and mobile – jumping to more than a fifth. The company will pay a final dividend of 19p.

House prices rise by 8.7 per cent

Halifax said house prices rose 8.7 per cent in the year to March, the highest rate of growth since October 2007. However, prices fell by 1.1 per cent in March, which analysts said could represent a bit of froth coming off the property market.

Rolls-Royce wins £11m vessel deal

Engine giant Rolls-Royce has secured an £11m contract with Spanish shipyard Gondan to develop a wave piercing offshore vessel to be delivered to Simon Mokster Shipping in Norway. This is the second vessel of this design ordered by Simon Mokster.