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The Business Matrix: Thursday 26 April 2012


Another exit at Mothercare

The disarray at Mothercare took a new turn yesterday as the finance director resigned just weeks after the struggling retailer found a new chief executive. Neil Harrington, who has left after six years at the firm to join a private equity business, earned £265,400 last year. It will add to the to do list of Simon Calver, set to arrive as new chief executive.

Glaxo off target with growth

A cocktail of ailments including government price cuts held GlaxoSmithKline's revenue growth to just 1 per cent in the first three months of this year. Britain's biggest drugmaker, which is trying to buy its long-time biotech partner Human Genome Sciences for $2.6bn (£1.6bn) missed City forecasts for first-quarter revenues.

Delays for Nokia's new handset

Nokia, the mobile phone giant, said it is delaying the introduction of its Lumia 900 smartphone in the UK because of massive demand in the US. The flagship handset will now be available in Britain – via the retailer Phones4U – on 14 May. It had been due on 27 April. Last quarter, Nokia's shipments fell 24 per cent to 83 million phones.

Merkel backs ECB's eco focus

Chancellor Angela Merkel backed European Central Bank president Mario Draghi's call to focus on spurring economic growth, as German officials rejected charges they are fixated on budget austerity to fight the debt crisis. Ms Merkel said Europe needed growth "in the way Mario Draghi ... said it, in the form of structural reforms."

Credit Suisse profits slump

Credit Suisse, the Swiss bank which has more than 5,000 employees in Canary Wharf, yesterday reported a 95 per cent drop in first-quarter profits at just SFr44m (£30.1m). But the fall was largely because of technical factors including changes in the value of its own debt and charges for 2011 bonuses.

Top UBS banker poached by BoA

Alex Wilmot-Sitwell has been poached from Swiss bank UBS to head Bank of America Merrill Lynch's European business. Wilmot-Sitwell, 51, is chairman of UBS's investment bank. The son of former SG Warburg chairman Peter Wilmot-Sitwell, he will become BoA's president of Europe and emerging markets.

Shetlands fuels Premier leap

Explorer Premier Oil said it had received Government approval to proceed with its Solan field off the Shetlands. The field is expected to produce a total of 40 million barrels of oil. Premier Oil owns 60 per cent of Solan, with the rest of the shares held by priavtely-owned explorer Chrysaor.

Mobile wallet service launches

O2, Britain's second-biggest mobile phone company, today launched a mobile-payments service, called O2 Wallet, allowing users to pay for goods from their phone, and transfer money. O2 Money's James Le Brocq said: "It will transform the way people manage their finances."

Standard Life gets pension fillip

Insurer Standard Life reported a smaller-than-expected dip in first-quarter sales as a robust performance at its UK pensions unit helped it withstand a downturn in consumer saving amid tough economic conditions. Sales beat City expectations.

Goldman speaks on 'Muppetgate'

Goldman Sachs' chief executive Lloyd Blankfein defended the bank against a former employee's claim it treats clients like "Muppets". "We had 30,000 people who felt the opposite and clients who were unbelieveably supportive," Mr Blankfein said.