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The Business Matrix: Thursday 5 July 2012


Ex-IMF boss in Bankia fraud case

A Spanish court has opened a fraud case against 33 former executives of the state-rescued lender Bankia, including the one-time IMF head Rodrigo Rato, as public rage engulfs the bank. The lawsuit accuses the executives, including Mr Rato – who was Bankia's chairman until May – of fraud, price-fixing and falsifying accounts.

Travelzest cashes in on bare market

Travelzest, the niche holiday firm which owns the nudist firm Peng Travel and luxury brands Best of Morocco and Captivating Cuba, said underlying profits rose 39 per cent to £4.3m in the six months to 30 April. It performed well in Canada, while efforts to slim down its UK operations had helped improve profitability.

Vodafone and 3 in Irish tie-up

Vodafone and Hutchison Whampoa's 3 are close to a deal to merge their Irish telecoms infrastructure in the latest industry tie-up designed to save costs and boost coverage. The merger will create a 50-50 venture that would result in the biggest network in Ireland while producing cost savings.

BG Egypt enters a new phase

BG Egypt, its country's largest natural gas producer, started gas production from Phase 8b of its West Delta Deep Marine concession at the end of last month. The deepwater development is about 90km from the Nile delta. BG Egypt accounts for more than a third of the country's gas.

Aquarius to limit its activities

The South Africa-focused miner, Aquarius Platinum, the world's fourth-largest platinum producer, said it planned to limit mining activities to concentrate on conserving cash and guarding its reserves until economic circumstances changed.

Eurozone crisis slows Carillion

Uncertainty caused by the eurozone crisis has put the brakes on some infrastructure projects in the Middle East and Britain, according to the support services and construction firm Carillion. The company, said market conditions in the first six months of 2012 had been challenging, although its pipeline of potential work had grown to £35bn.

Apple loses patent claim against HTC

Taiwan's HTC has won a court ruling in the UK against the US tech giant Apple over a series of patent infringement claims linked to technology used in its mobile devices. The High Court ruled that HTC's devices did not infringe four Apple technology patents, including Apple's "slide-to-unlock" feature.

NYSE Euronext hires Birley

NYSE Euronext has hired Patrick Birley, the former head of clearing company LCH Clearnet, as chief commercial officer at its London-based clearing house, which the exchange plans to open next June. It is the first major appointment by the exchange as it pushes ahead with an expansion plan.

Kantar buys stake in Press Index

The advertising and marketing agency WPP said its Kantar business has agreed to buy a majority stake in Press Index, a search and media intelligence agency based in France. Press Index employs around 210 people across offices in France, UK, Spain and Italy.

Hargreaves stays in confident mood

Hargreaves Services, a supplier of solid fuels and bulk material logistics, said its annual results should be in line with its expectations. It remains confident about its prospects despite recent production problems at a pit at Maltby in Yorkshire.