The Business Matrix: Thursday 24 April 2014


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Eurozone growth picking up pace

The eurozone’s recovery looks on a firmer footing today after activity among manufacturing and services firms grew at the fastest pace for almost three years in April, according to financial data firm Markit’s latest snapshot. Germany led the upturn while France posted its second month in a row of growth.

Toyota has record 2.58m sales

Toyota kept its position as the top global vehicle seller in the first quarter. The firm sold a record 2.58 million vehicles, putting the Japanese car-maker ahead of Detroit-based General Motors at 2.42 million and Volkswagen at 2.4 million.  Toyota’s first-quarter sales rose by more than 6 per cent over the same period in 2013.

Aviva has more fraud crash claims

Aviva detected over £110m worth of fraudulent claims last year because of a rise in gang-related crime. The company said the figure, which was 19 per cent higher than in 2012, had been driven by motor insurance fraud, which accounted for more than half of the detections. Most of these are so-called “cash for crash” claims.

Old BBC premises to be luxury flats

The former home of BBC London in upmarket  Marylebone is to be developed into flats for billionaires similar to the Candy Brothers’ controversial One Hyde Park in Knightsbridge. The luxury homebuilder Royalton has bought the site for £75m to  build 19 flats and five houses for the super-rich.

Eurostar turnover up by 7 per cent

Eurostar has posted a 7 per cent rise in sales during the first three months of the year as corporate travel picked up. Premier class passenger numbers rose 6 per cent and total turnover was up 7 per cent on the year at £277m. Overall passenger numbers were up  3 per cent.

Billionaire miner extends influence

The mining billionaire Dan Gertler has extended his influence in the Democratic Republic of Congo to roads, rail and power by creating a joint venture with the Brazilian construction firm Andrade Gutierrez. Mr Gertler has faced questions over his success winning state mining contracts.

Chips are down for smartphones

The high-end smartphone market could be slowing, if figures from UK chip designer ARM are anything to go by. ARM has its kit in most top mobile models but reported weaker than expected revenue from royalties in the first quarter of the year.

City to create 41,000 jobs

The City of London will create 41,000 new jobs over the next decade, according to research commissioned by the financial district. Lawyers, accountants and others in professional services will account for more than half of the new roles, with IT also high on the list.

Low Google rank causes sales drop

Online visitors to comparisons website MoneySupermarket’s insurance webpages fell 4 per cent in the first three months of the year as it suffered from a low ranking on Google’s search engine. However, group sales were still up 8 per cent.

Shopping centres back in demand

Improved consumer confidence is encouraging businesses to take retail space in Hammerson’s shopping centres across the UK and Europe. It has signed 80 new leases on store sites since January, generating more than £5m a year in rents.