The Business Matrix: Tuesday 17 December 2013


General Atlantic buys MeteoGroup

Europe’s biggest private-sector weather forecaster, MeteoGroup, is being sold to the private-equity firm General Atlantic for €190m (£160m). MeteoGroup’s sale will net a £125m profit for its owner, PA Group, and the proceeds will be distributed to firms which own PA, including Trinity Mirror and Daily Mail and General Trust.

Doubts over Chinese recovery

China’s mighty manufacturing machine is wobbling again after slowing in the first half of December, according to the latest survey yesterday. HSBC’s snapshot of activity across more than 400 companies – where a score over 50 signals growth – slipped to 50.5 from 50.8. It raises doubts over whether China can maintain its recovery.

Moncler share price rockets

Shares in the luxury-jacket maker Moncler closed up 47 per cent on their first day of trading on Milan’s bourse after attracting strong demand from investors who failed to buy into the shares when they were first issued. The Italian group, whose down jackets sell for about €1,000, began as a skiing-jacket maker in the Alps.

Faith in business rising in Japan

Japanese business confidence hit its highest level for six years in the quarter to December, suggesting the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “Abenomics” stimulus policies are beginning to gain traction. Official figures showed business spending flatlining between July and September but sentiment has improved for firms.

Growth leaves France off-colour

France was christened the new “sick man of Europe” yesterday as the eurozone’s strongest growth for two and a half years left the struggling nation trailing behind. The data provider Markit said activity among France’s manufacturing and services firms declined more deeply in December.

Strike set to disrupt Amazon

Amazon is facing major disruption in the key Christmas shopping period as employees of the internet giant in Germany and the US go on strike. German workers at its logistic centres in Bad Hersfeld, Leipzig and Graben have been joined by staff at its Seattle headquarters over a long-term pay dispute.

Rolls-Royce secures V-22 deal

Rolls-Royce has won a $57.1m (£35m) services contract to repair and support engines for V-22 aircraft used by the US Marine Corps and Air Force. It comes in the final year of a five-year tie-up involving the group’s Mission Care business for defence aerospace customers.

TM Lewin plans global expansion

The Jermyn Street shirt maker TM Lewin plans to open at least one new store or concession a week outside the UK for the next three years. It intends to open 46 sites in South Africa and 35 in India, with the rest spread across Eastern Europe and the Far and Middle East.

BAE Systems ties up £79m MoD deal

BAE Systems has been awarded contracts totalling £79m by the Ministry of Defence to begin procuring items for the Successor submarine programme, which will carry the UK’s nuclear-deterrent capability from 2028.

AIG sells aircraft-leasing business

American International Group has finally sold its aircraft-leasing business International Lease Finance Corp to AerCap for $5.4bn (£3.3bn). The US insurer first put the division up for sale after it received a $182bn state bailout in 2008.