The Business Matrix: Thursday 23 October 2014


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Daimler sells stake in Tesla

German car giant Daimler has sold its 4 per cent stake in Tesla Motors as the US pioneer of battery-powered eco-cars becomes a competitor. Daimler, maker of Mercedes-Benz luxury cars, has made about $780m (£475) in cash from the sale of Tesla. When Daimler bought into Tesla in 2009, it paid $50m for 9 per cent.

BHP ups ore despite price falls

BHP Billiton, the mining giant splitting itself in two, is sticking to its guns on producing massive amounts of iron ore despite the collapse in price. BHP produced 15 per cent more iron ore in the three months to September. Along with Rio Tinto, it is able to withstand the 40 per cent slump in prices because of its cheap, hi-tech Australian mines.

Bank held rates on euro fears

Tumbling stock markets and fears over the slowdown in the eurozone, particularly in Germany, prompted the Bank of England’s decision not to raise interest rates earlier this month. The Bank also admitted that it had been caught on the hop by the unexpectedly low September inflation rate of 1.2 per cent.

BGC in £418m hostile bid for GFI

BGC Partners has pulled the trigger on a $675m (£418m) hostile bid for rival inter-dealer broker GFI after months of wrangling between the two parties. However, the deal is complicated by the fact GFI has already agreed to sell itself to CME, owner of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for $580m.

BAT hit by shaky recovery

British American Tobacco went up in smoke, as poor sales and revenues encouraged investors to quit. A shaky economic recovery in Europe and the strong pound were to blame. Volumes fell 1 per cent for the nine months to September and revenues fell 9.6 per cent at current exchange rates.

Refining chief to head Total

Energy giant Total is to appoint refining and chemicals head Patrick Pouyanne as chief executive to replace Christophe de Margerie, who died when his plane was hit by a snowplough. Total will split the posts of CEO and chairman held by de Margerie. Thierry Desmarest returns as chairman.

Scot Power cashes in on customers

The mild weather saw Brits use less of Scottish Power’s energy over the past nine months, but price rises and cashing in on its generation division meant Spanish owner Iberdrola saw profits from the UK almost quadruple to €85.1m (£67.3m) from €17.9 million a year earlier.

Bond king backs peer-to-peer

Mohamed El-Erian, the former chief executive of the world’s biggest bond manager Pimco, has given a boost to peer-to-peer bank lending after buying a stake in start-up Payoff. Mr Erian is said to be the lead investor in a $12m (£7.5m) fundraising for Payoff.

HSBC and First Trust rapped

Two banks, Northern Ireland’s First Trust and giant HSBC, have been rapped on the knuckles by UK regulators for telling small business customers they must open a current account with them to obtain a business loan.

US inflation rate stays low

US prices rose marginally in September, painting a weak inflation picture that should keep interest rates low for a while. The Consumer Price Index edged up 0.1 per cent last month as a rise in food offset a decline in energy prices.