The Business Matrix: Thursday 5 April 2012


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The Independent Online

BA sees fall in passengers

The number of passengers flying on British Airways and Iberia airlines fell 1.2 per cent in March, as demand for domestic flights in Spain and the UK plunged. Passenger numbers in Britain and Spain fell 14 per cent last month, and even North America market, where demand for flights rose 10.9 per cent in March, wasn't enough to make up for it.

Jobs under threat at Debenhams

More than 200 jobs are at risk at the retailer Debenhams' call centre in Somerset, which it will outsource to keep up with growing call volumes from its online operation. The department-store chain is to outsource its customer-contact centre to Capita, based in Leeds, and 230 staff at its call centre in Taunton have been put on consultation.

Late dash pushes up house prices

A last-minute dash by first-time buyers to beat a stamp duty deadline sent house prices up 2.2 per cent last month, according to Halifax. The temporary fillip to the market took the average property price up to £163,803 in March, although prices are still down 0.6 per cent year on year. In contrast, Nationwide saw a 1 per cent fall in prices for March.

Tesco scraps its used car venture

Tesco has sent its second-hand car venture to the scrapyard – just a year after its launch. The group said it had decided to impound Tesco Cars, an online venture with Carsite, after it failed to secure a decent supply of cars. Tesco Cars aimed to advertise up to 3,000 cars a week, but reportedly last year was selling just 150 vehicles a month.

Yahoo lays off 2,000 workers

Yahoo is laying off 2,000 employees as new chief executive Scott Thompson sweeps out jobs that don't fit into his plans for turning around the US Internet giant. The cuts represent 14 per cent of Yahoo's 14,100 workers. The housecleaning marks Yahoo's sixth mass layoff in the past four years under three bosses.

Eric Daniels quits as director of BT

Eric Daniels, the former chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group who presided over the bank's disastrous merger with HBOS during the credit crunch, has quit as a non-executive director of telecoms giant BT. Mr Daniels is leaving the £76,000-a-year post after just four years.

Ex-Reuters boss to get $20m payoff

Former chief executive of Thomson Reuters Tom Glocer will walk away with almost $20m (£12.5m), including $3.1m severance to be paid over two years. He stepped down at the end of 2011 after a shake-up at the news service to address lacklustre sales and a falling share price.

Capita in £50m Bluefin buyout

The outsourcing giant Capita has spent £50m buying Bluefin, which advises firms on pensions and other workplace benefits. Axa, the insurance group which sold Bluefin, said it will retain other Bluefin operations, including its insurance and wealth-management arms.

Insurance help for older drivers

Older drivers and travellers will find it easier to obtain insurance under an agreement between the insurance industry and government. From today, insurers will have to refer customers they cannot help because of age limits to another provider.

IMF releases €5bn to Portugal

The International Monetary Fund is releasing €5.17bn to Portugal under a programme aimed at helping it come to grips with its high budget deficits. The IMF cited recent progress on reforms including restructuring public enterprises.