The Business Matrix: Thursday 11 December 2014


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The Independent Online

Rolls-Royce starts shares buy-back

Rolls-Royce has begun a highly anticipated £1bn shares buyback, funded with cash from the sale of its gas turbine and compressor business to Siemens. The jet engine maker announced the plans in the summer. Its shares rose 2.4 per cent to 881.4p yesterday, a welcome gain after substantial falls in the past 12 months.

RBS axes 150 jobs in Japan cost cuts

Royal Bank of Scotland took the axe to its trading arm in Japan as it continues to cut costs. The state-backed bank plans to pull out of fixed-income trading in the Asian country and cut staff back to less than 50 from around 200 people, according to Bloomberg. Its reduced operation will just focus on servicing clients in the region.

EMS Capital backs Canary Wharf bid

Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund has secured backing from another minority shareholder in its bid for Canary Wharf. EMS Capital backed the Qatar Investment Authority-Brookfield Property Partners venture, lifting support for its 350p-a-share offer for Wharf owner Songbird to 31.6 per cent of independent shareholders.

MEATliquor plans £7m expansion

The MEATliquor restaurant chain is in talks with private equity firms to raise £7m for UK and international expansion. The burger chain, which opened its first restaurant in London in 2011 and has branches in Brighton and Leeds,  hopes to open at least six new sites by 2017, with Bristol, Glasgow and Islington planned for next year.

China holds key to Mercedes goal

Mercedes-Benz needs to catch its German rivals BMW and Audi in China to meet its goal of becoming the world’s largest maker of luxury cars by 2020, its China boss, Hubertus Troska, said. It may sell “clearly more than 300,000” cars in China next year after boosting volumes by about 30 per cent this year.

Petrol price hits four-year low

The average price of petrol in Britain has dropped below £1.20 a litre, its lowest level since December 2010, according to Government calculations. Oil has fallen from $115 (£72) a barrel in June to below $65. Pump prices have tumbled from 131p per litre in the summer to 119.83p – a fall of 9 per cent.

Cheaper fuel cuts costs of flying

The cost of flying in 2015 will be 5.1 per cent lower than in 2014 thanks to the low price of crude oil and jet fuel, the International Air Transport Association said. Airlines are expected to trim fares thanks to higher profits as a result of cheaper fuel and faster global growth.

US third quarter beats forecasts

The US economy grew at a much stronger pace in the third quarter than previously thought, data suggested yesterday. The US Commerce Department’s quarterly services survey showed that outlays increased more vigorously than the government had assumed.

JPMorgan cuts its excess capital

JPMorgan Chase will not keep as much excess capital above the required levels as before  and will make “surgical” changes in its business model in response to proposed new capital regulations, the company said yesterday.

Lufthansa pilots widen mediation

Pilots at Lufthansa have called for mediation to cover all areas of their dispute with the German airline’s management. Lufthansa offered last week to enter mediation to resolve the long-running dispute over early retirement benefits.