The Business Matrix: Thursday 18 August 2011

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Flybe passenger numbers up 7.7%

Flybe flew two million passengers in the three months to June, 7.7 per cent more than in the same period last year. The carrier, which warned in May that trading had been hit by high oil prices, the weak economy and severe weather conditions, said average ticket income was up 3 per cent to £62.27, with quarterly revenue up 8 per cent at £160m.

Jobless rate jumps to 7.9%

Britain’s sluggish economic recovery is taking its toll on the labour market with unemployment unexpectedly rising for the first time in six months. The jobless rate stood at 2.49 million or 7.9 per cent between April and June, the Office for National Statistics said, after the total number of unemployed increased by 38,000. MORE

Wind turbine maker in profit

The Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas has reported profits for the second quarter of €77m (£67m), ahead of forecasts and up from a €180m loss a year ago. The company said it could create up to 2,000 jobs in the UK if it got enough orders to go ahead with its planned factory in Kent, which it has not signed off yet.

Kerry’s half-year profits jump 8%

Kerry, the Irish food maker behind Wall’s sausages and Dairygold Original butter, posted an 8 per cent increase in half yearly profits to €175m (£154m). The London and Dublin listed company reported revenues of €2.6bn, reflecting like-for-like growth of 8.4 per cent. It forecast earnings growth of up to 12 per cent over its financial year.

Manganese in deal to sell China cars

The maker of the distinctive London taxi, Manganese Bronze, has signed a deal with a Chinese car maker to sell its vehicles in the UK. Manganese Bronze will now sell Geely cars, which include a range of models from hatchback to saloon design. It will also provide the after-sales service for the Chinese firm.

Top trader Edgar leaving Barclays

Barclays Capital’s star commodities trader, Todd Edgar, and several colleagues are set to leave the bank as it streamlines its operations. Mr Edgar stoked a row about high pay when he and his team were poached by Barclays in 2009 for a two-year deal worth up to £30m. He is expected to set up a hedge fund.

Sony takes axe to PlayStation price

Sony is slashing the price of its basic PlayStation 3 gaming console by nearly 20 per cent, hoping to jump-start sales of a five-year old device that is losing ground to Microsoft’s Xbox. The 160GB version has fallen from £250 to £200 in the UK, from €299 to €249 in Europe and from $299 to $249 in the US.

US sees 2.5% jump in its core prices

US core producer prices rose at their fastest pace in six months in July, pushed up by higher tobacco and light truck costs. But weak domestic demand was seen keeping inflation under control. In the 12 months to July, core producer prices increased 2.5 per cent. Tobacco accounted for almost a quarter of the rise.

Sage looks to Myob in Australia

Business software firm Sage is believed to be the frontrunner to buy its Australian peer Myob, with one source saying that Sage has bid up to A$1.4bn (£895m). Myob, which is an abbreviation of “Mind Your Own Business”, is being sold by the private equity firms Archer Capital and HarbourVest Partners.

Eurozone price rises take a rest

Eurozone inflation fell back last month from June’s high of 2.7 per cent. But economists warned that most of the move was due to changes in the way the statistics were calculated, especially in Italy. The annual rise in cost of living was down to 2.5 per cent, also helped by lower clothes prices during July sales.