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The Business Matrix: Thursday 9 February 2012


Nokia's woes take toll on 4,000 jobs

The ailing mobile phone maker Nokia is to cut another 4,000 jobs at its plants in Finland, Hungary and Mexico as it seeks to cut costs by switching work to Asia. Nokia has been losing market share for its phones in the battle against the iPhone and Android models. It has already cut more than 10,000 jobs since the start of 2011.

Now even German exports suffer

Germany has suffered a rare and severe fall in exports as the global economic crisis hit foreign demand. The country's exports fell by 4.3 per cent in December, their fastest decline for nearly three years. That was four times worse than economists predicted. Imports also fell in December, by 3.9 per cent, suggesting strains at home.

SuperDry fashion flops in January

SuperDry's fashions proved to be poor sellers after Christmas, forcing the trouble-prone label's owner SuperGroup to issue another profit warning yesterday. SuperGroup warned that cut-throat competition on price by rivals had hit its sales in January. Shares in SuperGroup plunged 18 per cent to 572.5p . They peaked at 1820p last year.

BA launches joint venture with JAL

British Airways has launched a joint venture plan with Japan Airlines, potentially leading to more flights and routes between Europe and Japan. BA and JAL would combine their routes and share revenues, boosting the frequency of flights for the lucrative business market. BA and JAL are both members of the Oneworld airline alliance.

Homeserve cuts 200, crisis lingers

Some 200 jobs are to be axed at Homeserve after the home maintenance group and insurer admitted it is still suffering the repercussions of its substandard sales practices. Homeserve suspended all telesales in October to review its scripts and mailshots following a critical review of practices from auditors.

MoD shops in US for £200m plane

Britain will buy an eighth C-17 military transport aircraft from Boeing of the US. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, cited the need for air capacity to evacuate civilians from war zones. He said the Ministry of Defence had found extra savings to cover the £200m cost of the huge transport plane.

Rio Tinto readies £2bn Aussie boost

Rio Tinto set out plans to spend another $3.4bn (£2.1bn) expanding its operations in Western Australia's mineral-rich Pilbara region. The latest investment will help the mining giant incre- ase its iron ore operations in the area by around 50 per cent to 353 million tonnes per year by 2015.

Other shoe drops in Shoon collapse

The shoe chain Shoon has collapsed into administration, putting 280 jobs at risk. The company's crisis follows the rival shoe group Barratts, which went under last month with the loss of hundreds of jobs. Administrator Kingston Smith is seeking buyers for the 23 shops.

Ralph Lauren in fashion at $1.8bn

Ralph Lauren enjoyed a double boost as sales from its own shops as well as department stores rose in the last quarter.       The fashion group said revenue rose 17.2 per cent from the third quarter to $1.81bn (£1.1bn), above analysts forecasts.

Harry Potter spell on Time Warner

Media giant Time Warner's profits beat Wall Street expectations for the past quarter thanks to the last instalment of its Harry Potter film franchise. Cable television profits also rose. Overall, net profit gained to $773m compared with $769m a year ago.