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The Business Matrix: Thursday 20 March 2014

BMW predicting new sales record

BMW has forecast record car sales and pre-tax profit to “rise significantly” this year. The German owner of the Mini, Rolls-Royce and BMW marques delivered a record 1.96 million cars in 2013 and said it expected to top that this year “despite ongoing volatile business  conditions”, chief executive Norbert Reithofer said.

Swiss pay £2.1bn for JPMorgan arm

Another major chunk of the global commodities industry disappeared into secretive Switzerland yesterday as JPMorgan offloaded its physical commodities arm to Swiss trading outfit Mercuria Energy. The business is run by two former Goldman Sachs traders, Marco Dunand and Daniel Jaeggi, who paid  JPMorgan $3.5bn (£2.1bn).

Airbnb asks No 10 for cut in red tape

One of the co-founders of rental site Airbnb is lobbying the Government to “modernise” legislation, saying London could become a global example of the so-called ‘sharing economy’ if the Government takes action to cut red tape. Nathan Blecharczyk, Airbnb’s chief technology officer, visited Downing Street.

Unite plans block for 900 students 

The UK’s biggest developer and manager of student accommodation has won planning approval for a £93m block in Islington, north London, housing up to 900 students. Unite said the scheme would help to address a “significant shortfall” in student housing, which had put pressure on the residential housing market.

Laing O’Rourke’s Olympic challenge

The UK’s biggest privately owned builder is close to landing a £150m deal to convert the former Olympic Press and Broadcast Centre into a  new east London hub for  creative and digital businesses, it emerged yesterday.  Laing O’Rourke will carry  out the work for iCity.

Samsonite greets return of Chinese

The impact of the crackdown on luxury spending in China could be coming to an end, according to the boss of luggage maker Samsonite. Tim Parker, who said the group had recorded an 18 per cent rise in 2013 net profit to $197m, said there were “signs that the trading environment in China is stabilising”.

Essenden posts  a major strike

The skittles index of discretionary spending rose last year, according to latest results from bowling group Essenden. The Aim-listed owner of 29 centres turned round 2012’s £100,000 pre-tax loss to post a £3.6m pre-tax profit. It said the start of 2014 had continued in a positive vein.

Peace breaks out in Magic Kingdom

Walt Disney has seen off a shareholder revolt after a last-minute compromise in the row over boss Bob Iger holding the dual roles of chief executive and chairman. The board promised it would appoint a separate chairman in future under “normal” circumstances.

Airbus hopes for £12bn China deal

China is in talks to buy at least 150 Airbus jets – potentially worth $20bn (£12bn) when  Xi Jinping pays his first visit to Europe as president at the end of this month. China is expected to buy more A330 passenger aircraft following the talks.

VW to switch W12 work to Crewe

Luxury carmaker Bentley Motors will make all of parent Volkswagen’s powerful W12 engines from the end of this year, creating about 100 jobs  for its Crewe factory and  ending production of the engines in Germany.

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England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

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Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

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