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The Business Matrix: Thursday 9 January 2014

L’Oréal reduces products in China

Cosmetics giant L’Oréal said it was pulling its Garnier beauty products out of a slowing Chinese market a week after US rival Revlon withdrew completely from the country. The French company – the biggest player in the Chinese market – will concentrate on its L’Oréal Paris and Maybelline New York product lines.

Npower cuts annual tariffs

Npower has became the latest energy giant to cut its gas and electricity tariffs, in line with the Government’s move to trim green levies. Some 2.6 million dual-fuel customers, who saw prices rise in December, will have their annual bills cut by about £50. Those on fixed or single-fuel tariffs will receive  a £12 rebate.

Apple asks for lawyer’s removal

Apple has demanded that a US court remove a lawyer who has been appointed to monitor the computing giant’s involvement in e-books. The iPhone and iPad maker claims Michael Bromwich should not serve as the court-appointed “external compliance monitor”, arguing he had shown a personal bias against the company.

TUC wants more jobs for minorities

The Government has been urged to do more to help youngsters from ethnic communities after a study showed they were disproportionately affected by unemployment. The TUC said official figures showed the unemployment rate for black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi jobseekers was twice that of white ones last year.

Cancer treatment is joint venture

AstraZeneca has teamed up with biotech company Immunocore to develop new cancer treatments that use the body’s immune system. Under the deal, Immunocore will get  $20m (£12m) from each programme Astra takes on, as well as up to $300m in payments and royalties.

Alibaba Taobao bans bitcoin use

China’s biggest online  marketplace, Alibaba’s Taobao, is to ban bitcoins from next week, after the central bank banned the volatile virtual currency last month. The move comes as Alibaba clamp down on fake goods ahead of an expected float this year, set to value the firm at about £60bn.

Santander unveils mortgage deals

The battle to offer low-deposit mortgages stepped up as Santander unveiled new deals under the Government’s Help to Buy scheme and the Post Office announced plans to join the  initiative. Santander’s range includes a product for people with a deposit of only 5 per cent.

Land Rover invests £500m

The car giant Jaguar Land Rover has launched the first phase of a recruitment drive to take on employees at its new engine manufacturing centre. Around 600 jobs will be created over the next four years at the firm’s site near Wolverhampton. More than £500m is being invested.

Bentley sales soar in Silicon Valley

Bentley Motors sold more cars than ever before last year, fuelled by surging sales to tech tycoons in Silicon Valley. The Crewe manufacturer delivered 19 per cent more cars in 2013 than the year before, with a  total of 10,120.

Lord Burns quits Santander board

Lord Burns, the former civil servant turned serial company director, is step down from the board of Banco Santander after more than a decade. But he will stay on as chairman of Santander UK as it prepares for its flotation in London.

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