The Business Matrix: Thursday 10 May 2012


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Thomas Cook FD quits with bonus

Thomas Cook finance director Paul Hollingworth is standing down after completing the travel group's massive new £1.4bn banking facility. He will leave at the end of June after two-and-a-half years in the job. His replacement is former Kwik-Fit finance director Michael Healy. Hollingworth, paid £627,000 last year, will leave with a bonus payout.

Reckitt stake sale comes calling

Cillit Bang maker Reckitt Benckiser was reeling last night after the wealthy German founding family, the Reimanns, sold a 5 per cent stake worth £1.3 bn. It is anticipated that they will use the proceeds to boost their war chest as they attempt to purchase the Avon cosmetics giant, which they are bidding for through their Coty fragrances business.

Boiler room scam boss gets 12 years

A Wall Street banker who wined and dined clients in the House of Lords has been jailed for 12 years for defrauding investors. Former cocaine addict Ross Mandell was found guilty of a boiler room scam run through Sky Capital, the brokerage he floated on the AIM junior stock market in London. It listed here in 2002.

Gadget maker in contract boost

Microsaic, a technology company specialising in making chip-based scientific instruments, saw its shares rocket 4.5p to 36.5p after is struck a big deal with an unnamed laboratory equipment maker. The deal is for at least 100 of its miniature mass spectrometer gadgets.

Greece to receive €5bn more bailout

The Greeks will receive the next tranche of their bailout money on 10 May despite concerns over their commitment to austerity following last weekend's elections. The eurozone's EFSF bailout fund will pay €4.2bn then a further €1bn later.

eBay chief backs Yahoo's CV fibber

Yahoo's under-fire chief executive, Scott Thompson, caught out lying about a degree on his CV, won the backing of eBay's boss, John Donahoe, last night. His fellow technology chief declared himself "Scott's biggest fan". Yahoo's main shareholder, Third Point, repeated its calls for him to quit.

US military signs up BlackBerry 7

The BlackBerry's reputation for security was boosted last night when the defence department approved six of its seventh-generation models. The US military is the biggest customer of BlackBerry's maker, Research in Motion, owning about 250,000 of its smartphones. RIM is struggling to compete with Apple and Samsung in the mobile market.

Gold loses glister in plunge to $1,600

The price of gold fell below $1,600 an ounce in heavy trading as investors fled for fear of the widening crisis in the eurozone. After leaping 14 per cent last year, the gold price has plummeted recently, underperforming stock markets by about 9 per cent so far this year. Falls this week take it back to 2011 levels.

UK subsidies cut, but solar up in EU

Solar power was the most widely installed energy source in Europe for the first time last year, beating all new wind and gas plants combined. The European Photovoltaic Industry Association attributed the rise in solar panel installation to tax breaks, recently cut in the UK.

Rich foreigners put off UK homes

Wealthy foreigners are being put off buying multimillion pound houses by George Osborne's tax hike on the properties, estate agent Winkworth said. Despite that, pre-tax profits jumped £1.2m last year, up 8.1 per cent on a year earlier.