The Business Matrix: Tuesday 10 May 2011

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The Independent Online

VW bids to take control of Man

Volkswagen has raised its stake in truck-maker Man to more than 30 per cent, triggering a mandatory takeover offer for the whole company. The German car-maker has long wanted to create Europe’s biggest truck-maker, combining Scania, which it controls, with Man. But investors are not expected to rush to accept its offer, of just €95 a share, which could allow VW to build its stake slowly by buying shares in the market.

PPI compensation could reach £9bn

More than three million people are in line for compensation after the banking industry today abandoned its legal battle over the mis-selling of payment protection insurance. The move is expected to cost firms between £7bn and £9bn, making the controversial product the biggest ever mis-selling scandal in the UK. But consumers are likely to have to wait some time before they receive their money. MORE

Boost for mortgage borrowers

The typical mortgage rate paid by people with just a 10 per cent deposit has fallen below 6 per cent for the first time in more than three years. The average cost of a 90 per cent loan-to-value mortgage, typically taken out by first time buyers, is now 5.98 per cent, 0.4 per cent less than a year ago, according to The number of such deals has also jumped 41 per cent to 229.

Isa season attracts nearly £1bn

Investment funds have enjoyed their strongest Isa season for nine years, with consumers paying in £956m between 1 March and 5 April, the highest level for the period since 2002. But, despite the last-minute rush, total sales for thewhole of 2010-2011 were slightly down at £3.68bn, compared with £3.99bn the year before.

Travis Perkins wins marketshare

Builders’ merchant and DIY retailer Travis Perkins has won business from its competitors as the wider market stagnates. The rival to Focus DIY, which last week fell into administration, said in a trading update it had made gains in market share between 1 January and 30 April. The gains came across the group, including its Wickes DIY business and plumbing supplies chain BSS.

Back to school for Morgan Sindall

The construction firm Morgan Sindall will work on a number of contracts as part of a £400m building scheme run by the South East Wales Schools Capital Working Group. Morgan will work with numerous other contractors on three projects, ranging in value between £3m and £25m over the next four years.

Silver prices bounce 5 per cent

Silver prices rebounded from last week’s hefty losses to gain more than 5 per cent yesterday, touching a session high at $37.39 an ounce. Oil prices also rose 3 per cent to just above $100 a barrel, while gold climbed back above $1,500 an ounce. Silver prices dived 25 per cent last week.

Serco gets more time in prisons

The services company Serco has said that it is on track to meet expectations, after winning £1.6bn of contracts since the start of the year, including rebids for the operation of HMP Doncaster and for prisoner escort and custody services for London and the East of England.

Hiscox warns of price rises

The Lloyd’s of London insurer Hiscox said it expected widespread rises in reinsurance prices this summer in response to a string of costly natural disasters, including the Japanese earthquake. Rate rises of 10 per cent were predicted in the US catastrophe market.

Inmarsat profits go sky high

The satellite communications company Inmarsat said profits increased 51 per cent to $125m (£77m) in the first quarter of 2011 after it was boosted by payments from its agreement with the US telecom group LightSquared. Revenues rose 15 per cent to $324m.