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The Business Matrix: Tuesday 11 June 2013


Japan GDP is revised up

The Japanese economy powered forward by an upwardly revised 1 per cent in the first quarter of the year, reflecting the impact of the Tokyo government's reflationary drive. The quarter-on-quarter expansion in the world's third-largest economy translates into an annualised growth rate of 4.1 per cent.

Balfour shuts Dartford business

Balfour Beatty is to close three of its regional construction businesses with the loss of up to 200 jobs. The largest closure is at Dartford, where 90 jobs will go following a second profits warning in six months in April. Balfour said the three sites account for 8 per cent of its £1.5bn UK construction revenues and were unsustainable.

Falklands profits from painting

The company which owns much of the Falkland Islands' infrastructure and a stake in an oil explorer there beat the City's predictions for its profits thanks to an unlikely source. Falkland Islands Holdings also owns Momart, an organiser of fine art exhibitions. These helped push up operating profits last year by 24 per cent to £1.19m

Orange boss Richard held

French mobile giant Orange's chief executive, Stéphane Richard, was held for questioning by judicial authorities over his role as a senior adviser to former French president Nicolas Sarkozy. Mr Richard faces questions about a decision to award businessman Bernard Tapie €285m (£242m) in a legal settlement in 2008.

Sanodi awaits Lemtrada verdict

One of the world's longest running drug development sagas may draw to a close this month as French firm Sanofi hopes for a European green light for its multiple sclerosis medicine Lemtrada. The drug has a potent effect on MS, which is caused by immune attacks on nerve cells.

S&P upgrades US to 'stable'

Rating agency Standard and Poor's has raised its credit outlook for the American economy from negative to stable. In August 2011, S&P downgraded the US rating one notch from AAA to AA+, but now believes further downgrades are less likely as the economy continues to recover.

Italian economic descent goes on

Italy's economy shrank for a seventh successive quarter between January and March, according to official figures. Other data indicated that industrial output fell 0.3 per cent in April. The eurozone's third largest economy has been in recession since the middle of 2011.

Athens energy privatisation flops

Greece failed to attract any buyers for its natural gas company Depa by yesterday's deadline for binding bids, in a major setback to the country's ambitious privatisation program.The failed sale overshadowed upbeat data showing Greece was on track to meet budget targets

Bank of America scoops awards

Bank of America Merrill Lynch won the prize as top pan-European equity brokerage at the Thomson Reuters Extel Awards. JP Morgan Asset Management was named best fund manager for the fourth consecutive year.

Private equity returns hold up

Two-thirds of private equity investors have made net returns of at least 11 per cent over the lifetime of their portfolios, according to the Global Private Equity Barometer, produced by Coller Capital, with returns dropping since the financial crisis.