The Business Matrix: Thursday 10 February 2011

Weber no longer in race to run the ECB

Axel Weber, the head of German’s Bundesbank, has pulled out of the running to be president of the European Central Bank, leaving Italy’s central banker Mario Draghi as favourite for the post. Mr Weber could now succeed Josef Ackermann at Deutsche Bank.

Williams bosses race to cash in

Sir Frank Williams and Patrick Head are set to cash in about £50m of shares when they float Williams Grand Prix Holdings on the German Stock Exchange next month. Up to 27 per cent of the company will be sold, but Sir Frank will retain a controlling stake.

Ensco CEO spends $3.3m on shares

Dan Rabun, the chief executive of the oil driller Ensco, has spent $3.3m (£2m) buying his company’s shares after its deal to buy rival Pride for $7.3bn. The chief financial officer and Ensco’s senior vice-president each spent $1.2m on shares. Shares in Ensco have risen by 55 per cent since June.

Nokia’s CEO warns of company in crisis

Nokia’s chief executive Stephen Elop has stunned industry watchers by comparing in a memo to staff the mobile-phone group’s situation to that of a man on a burning oil platform. The memo has fuelled speculation Nokia is about to do a deal with Microsoft. MORE

Peugeot drives back into the black

PSA Peugeot Citroën returned to profit in 2010 and promised to pay back early the €3bn government loan it received in the financial crisis. The French car maker, which wants more than half its sales to come from outside Europe by 2015, also said it would move into the Indian market with a mid-sized sedan under its Peugeot marque.

Nissan rewarded for aggressive push

Nissan raised its annual forecasts as its big drive into emerging markets paid off, helping it post a smaller decline in quarterly profits than domestic rivals. It has pushed into fast-growing markets such as China, India and Russia. It also raised its eco-profile with the Leaf, the world’s first mass-volume electric vehicle, in December.

CWC in doldrums in the Caribbean

Cable & Wireless Communications said yesterday its Caribbean operations were suffering amid continuing economic woes, but it still expected broadly to meet forecasts for the year. The telecoms group said it expects second-half underlying earnings to remain flat. While tourist numbers were beginning to recover in the Caribbean, CWC said that many were on cheaper packages and were not spending freely.

IMF funked alerting world to crash signs

The IMF failed to warn of mounting risks such as global trade imbalances and the US housing bubble ahead of the financial crash because its staff felt “uncomfortable challenging the views of authorities in advanced economies”, according to a report by fund on its work between 2004 -2007. “The IMF was overly influcenced by (and sometimes in awe of) the authorities’ reputation and expertise,” the report adds.

YouView roll-out delayed until 2012

The internet TV service backed by the BBC yesterday admitted its launch date had been delayed, adding that set-top boxes would not hit the shelves until next year. YouView, which also includes ITV, Channel 4, Five, BT, TalkTalk and Arqiva, was expected to launch last Christmas. It plans to bring catch-up television shows, such as those on iPlayer, into homes through broadband connections.

Green light for E.ON Humber wind farm

E.ON has been given approval from the Government to build a 230MW wind farm in the North Sea, five miles off the Yorkshire coast. Once operational, the Humber Gateway will be able to power up to 150,000 homes from 77 turbines. Humber will be E.ON’s fifth offshore wind farm in the UK. Construction is expected to start within two years and provide about 1,000 jobs, 30 permanent.

Housebuilder gears up in fund venture

The social housing and regeneration specialist Quintain Estates said the development of its fund management business was on track to reach £1.25bn by the year end. The group said it remained focused on the completion of Wembley City, north London, and working towards its longer-term goal to reach £2bn by March 2013.

DMGT regional papers cut jobs

DMGT, the publisher of the Daily Mail said it had slashed its regional newspaper workforce by another 8 per cent in the past quarter as revenues and circulation continued to fall at its Northcliffe division. Its national unit, Associated Newspapers, saw a better quarter as advertising sales rose by 5 per cent.

Grainger sales fall by a fifth to £76m

Grainger said conditions in the UK market remain challenging as it reported a 20 per cent drop in its total group sales pipeline to £76.2m at 31 January, from £94.8m the year before. In the UK, the Newcastle-based residential landlord completed sales of 216 units in the four months to 31 January against 321 a year earlier.

Niche publisher sees ad sales rise

Future – the Bath-based magazine publisher behind specialist titles such as T3, Total Film and Classic Rock – said UK circulation revenues fell 4 per cent in the quarter to 31 December, but advertising revenues rose 7 per cent thanks to a 25 per cent rise in digital receipts. Digital now accounts for 32 per cent of total ad revenues.