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The Business Matrix: Thursday 3 March 2011

Yunus vows to fight at Grameen

Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel Prize-winner who founded Grameen Bank, the microfinance specialist, has vowed to fight for his job at the institution after the Government of Bangladesh said it had relieved him of his post for legal reasons. MORE

Sturgess is new Hot Tunac hairman

Hot Tuna, the surf wear and fashion retailer, has hired Melissa Sturgess as its new non-executive chairman. Ms Sturgess has in the pastworked with a number of resources companies. She was founding director of both Sylvania Resources and Churchill Mining.

Jobs makes surprise visit to Apple launch

Steve Jobs, the Apple chief executive, who has taken a leave of absence from the company due to ill health, made a surprise appearance at the launch of the second-generation iPad last night. Mr Jobs said he could not bear to miss the event having seen how much work had gone into it.

Hunt set to approve Sky takeover

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt is expected to announce as early as today that he will clear News Corp’s full takeover of BSkyB, the satellite broadcaster in which it has a 39 per cent stake. News Corp is thought to have offered remedies such as the sale of Sky News. MORE

House price decline beginning to slow

The average British home lost 0.2 per cent of its value during February according to Hometrack, the smallest fall recorded for six months by the housing market analyst. It said demand for housing was up by 14.5 per cent last month, albeit from a low base, while the supply of new homes coming on to the market was only 7.5 per cent higher.

Eurozone mulls policy reforms

Members of the single European currency may be given a much greater say in the running of each other’s economies under new proposals being circulated in the eurozone. The idea is to boost confidence in the euro, which has been rocked by the indebtedness of some members, whose spending has far exceeded their tax revenues.

Oil price rise adds to market fears

Another day of volatility on the international oil markets saw investors in stock markets across theworld sell their holdings yesterday. Equity prices fell sharply in many markets, with Middle Eastern bourses suffering particularly badly. The gold price hit an all-time high as investors went in search of a safe haven. The turmoil reflects fears about the impact of rising oil prices on the global economy. MORE

ITV profits bounce back in style

ITV saw its profits for 2010 rise 11-fold on the previous year thanks to a recovery in the television advertising market. However, chief executive Adam Crozier, who was appointed last April, said the return to profits masked the fact that the television company needed to be overhauled in order to reduce its reliance on advertising. He plans to focus on digital and online plans, as well as content sales. MORE

Adidas sales hit record high

Germany’s Adidas has posted record sales for last year, when it was boosted by the World Cup, and has raised its forecast for 2011 thanks to success in emerging markets such as China. “2011 is shaping up to be another great year for the Adidas group and we are off to a fast start,” chief executive Herbert Hainer said after the group reported sales for 2010 of €11.99bn (£10.2bn).

Serco rises above austerity cuts

The outsourcing specialist Serco posted a 21 per cent rise in full year profits for 2010, with strong sales in the Americas giving it a boost – and underlining its argument that it is more sheltered from government spending cuts in the UK than some of its rivals. Nevertheless, Serco warned that austerity measures were likely to mean growth would be slower in this country.

TNK-BP plot sway to gatecrash deal

TNK-BP is proposing to act as a middleman in BP’s $10bn (£6.1bn) share-swap deal with Russian rival Rosneft, but the British oil major does not support the plan. TNK-BP wants to buy the 5 per cent of BP shares the company is authorised to issue for the Rosneft deal and pass them to Rosneft in return for 10 per cent of its stock.

E.ON sells network in UK for £4bn

E.ON is selling its British networks business to US power group PPL for £4bn as it refocuses its strategy. E.ON Central Networks delivers power to up to 10 million people from the Peak District to Bristol through 94,000 substations and 82,600 miles of cabling, enough to go around the world three times.

Morrisons plans share buyback

Supermarket group Morrisons is understood to be planning a share buyback worth up to £1bn, with the details to be released alongside its results next week. Meanwhile, its former chairman Sir Ken Morrison faces questions after it was revealed he has sold millions of shares in the past two years without notifying the grocer.

High street travel deal investigated

The proposed merger beteween Thomas Cook and the Co-operative Group’s high street travel agency business has been sent straight to the Competition Commission by the Office of Fair Trading, which has been examining the deal. The move means that the merger is unlikely to be approved until mid-August.

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