The Business Matrix: Thursday 29 May 2014


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The Independent Online

Aston Martin  in £20m expansion

Aston Martin will create 250 new jobs following a £20m expansion of its Warwickshire factory. The extension, completed next year, comes as the luxury car maker gears up to produce a new generation of sports cars. Aston Martin also said it had more than 500  applications for just 12 places  on its apprenticeship scheme.

Amazon-Hachette row escalates

A spat between Amazon and publisher Hachette is unlikely to be resolved soon, according to the online retailer. The companies are disputing how to profit share from e-books, leading to Amazon raising prices on Hachette authors such as JK Rowling, and scrapping pre-orders on books. Amazon said it is protecting customers.

Nestlé in $1.4bn deal with Valeant

Nestlé hopes to sew up the lucrative non-surgical facelift market in north America in a $1.4bn (£840m) deal with Canada’s Valeant Pharmaceuticals. The agreement gives the Swiss firm full rights in the US and Canada to lotions and potions that are used in “specialised medical skin treatments” such as anti-ageing facial injections.

GE increases its bid for Alstom

GE has improved its offer for trains and turbines maker Alstom, according to French President François Hollande’s office. Alstom shares rose almost 2 per cent after new promises included greater job security. Up until now the French government was thought to favour a rival bid from Siemens.

£180m Heathrow tonic for Balfour

Balfour Beatty gained some respite from recent woes as it landed an £180m deal from Heathrow Airport to maintain and upgrade Terminals 1, 2 and 4 over the next three years. The company recently sacked its chief executive after a profit warning and sold off its US project management business.

De La Rue profits soar 37% to £60m

Banknote printer De La Rue increased pre-tax profits by 37 per cent to £59.8m but is still waiting to hear if it has won a contract to print new Bank of England notes. Its present 10-year contract expires in March 2015 but it recently lost out to supply material for the BoE’s new plastic notes.

IT fall-out hits Brewin Dolphin

Stockbroker and wealth manager Brewin Dolphin saw a 20 per cent rise in profits to £29.7m in the half year to March despite a £1bn outflow of funds under its management. The firm warned that scrapping a major IT project will cost it £32m in the second half.

New bid to end platinum strikes

South African miners including Lonmin will hold talk with trade unions and government ministers today in an attempt to end the strikes that have paralysed the platinum industry for four months. The strikes have cost workers more than £500m in wages and the industry £1.1bn.

EU to cap biofuel production

EU diplomats have agreed to limit production of biofuels made from food crops in response to criticism that they do more environmental harm than good. There will be a 7 per cent limit on the use of food-based biofuels in transport fuel.

BAE hands third warship to Oman

BAE Systems have handed over the third of three new warships to Oman at the HM Naval Base in Portsmouth. The Al Rasikh is a corvette built as part of project Khareef, which includes the completed AL Shamikh and AL Rahmani ships.