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The Business Matrix: Thursday 3 January 2013

Shell lambasted over Artic rig

Environmental campaigners have accused Royal Dutch Shell of "staggering ineptitude" after a drilling rig ran aground in Alaska. In the latest setback to Shell's much-criticised Arctic drilling programme, the Kulluk offshore rig, which is carrying nearly 140,000 gallons of diesel, broke free from tow ships during fierce storms.

Nestle defends Kit Kat trademark

The Swiss food giant Nestlé has won it defence over its Kit Kat shapes trade mark and can continue to block its rival Cadbury from making the same-shaped chocolate, following an appeal at the Community Trade Mark Office. Nestlé originally registered the three-dimensional shape of its four-fingered chocolate bar in 2006.

Rail fares to cost up to a third of salary

UK commuters could spend up to a third of their salary on rail fares this year, following last month's 4.2 per cent rise, according to the recruiter Hay Group. Hays said the average rail traveller would pay an average 8 per cent of their annual wage but this could be up to 33 per cent for their pre-tax salary for the hardest hit.

Manufacturers in Eurozone suffer

Fears have grown that the Eurozone slipped deeper into recession in the final quarter after the region's factories suffered a fresh slowdown in activity in December. Markit's Eurozone Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 46.1 last month from November's 46.2, with Ireland the 17-bloc zone's only country to post growth in December.

Homeowners cut remortgaging

The number of homeowners remortgaging in November fell to its lowest level since the credit crunch, driven by a seasonal lull in activity, according to LMS.

The property firm said gross remortgage lending fell 23.4 per cent to £3.1bn in November, with homeowners taking out an average of £19,848 of extra equity.

Spain and France hit by new car low

Sales of new cars tumbled to a record low in Spain last year, raising fears for car makers across the Eurozone. Registrations of new cars also hit a 15-year low in France in 2012, suggesting vehicle manufacturers, such as France's PSA Peugeot-Citroën and Italy's Fiat, may soon be forced into job cuts.

Pound jumps against dollar

The pound surged to a 16-month high against the dollar yesterday as the US deal to avert the "fiscal cliff" of spending cuts and tax hikes saw dealers move out of the safe-haven greenback. Sterling hit a high of $163.89, its strongest since August 2011, in early trading before falling back.

Londoner toasts £1m bond payout

The return to work might make today feel like the worst day of the year but for one Londoner it just got a whole lot better.

A man from the capital who bought a premium bond in November 1998 won £1 million today in National Saving & Investment's January prize draw.

Online retailers see growth in 2013

Nearly two thirds of online retailers expect sales growth in the year ahead, according to a survey by the Royal Mail. It found that 64 per cent of small and medium-sized internet retailers forecast sales to rise in 2013 despite the consumer slowdown.

BP starts drilling in Norwegian Sea

BP yesterday said it had started production from the Skarv field 210 kilometres off the Norwegian coast, marking the latest in a series of major projects the oil giant identified last year. It called the start-up of Skarv "a key operational milestone".

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