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The Business Matrix: Tuesday 18 June 2013

Porsche  founders in driving seat

The German family shareholders of Porsche got their keys back yesterday when Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund sold its 10 per cent stake in the car marque’s owner back to its founders. Qatar Holding had bought into Porsche in 2009 in a €7bn (£6bn) deal. All the common stock is now again held by the Porsche and Piech families.

Carillion signs £130m contract

Carillion has won a £130m deal to build exhibition halls and car parks in Oman. The construction firm will work on the Gulf state’s £1bn convention centre with an 18-month contract, which is set to begin in July, that will see Carillion construct 13 buildings. They will include exhibition halls with 45,000 square metres’ floor space.

Communisis in restructuring

The continued decline of the humble bank cheque and falling margins across the printing industry have prompted Communisis to take a £3.5m hit in a major restructuring. The printing and communications firm will close its cheque production factory in Trafford, near Manchester, to focus on direct mail and client services.

Elan fixes up another deal

Drugmaker Elan today announced its second major drug deal in days and launched a share buyback scheme as it protects itself from a $5.7bn (£3.7bn) bid from Royalty Pharma of the US. The Irish medicine-maker announced a €263.5m (£223m) deal to buy Austrian rare drug firm AOP Orphan and is paying $40m.

Airbus strikes Doric Lease deal

The transport financier Doric Lease Corporation is to acquire 20 Airbus EA380 aircraft in a deal worth $8bn and could snap up more, putting the plane-maker on track to hit its full-year order target for the superjumbo. Airbus is aiming to sell 25 A380s this year, which is up from nine in 2012.

EU discusses tax with Swiss chief

The European Union official in charge of tax policy tried to persuade Switzerland on Monday to agree to surrender more information about clients of its big banking industry as part of a drive to combat tax evasion. Commissioner Algirdas Semeta met with Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf.

APR Energy lands Libyan contract

APR Energy has expanded its original 250 megawatt contract in Libya by another 200MW, making it the single largest contract ever signed in the fast-track power industry. The contract will help cover anticipated power demand during the critical summer high heat season.

US builders on an upward curve

America’s housebuilders have turned positive on their industry’s prospects for the first time since the housing crash. An index by the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo, the country’s largest mortgage lender, rose above the 50-point mark in June.

Westbury posts uplift in sales

Catering and hospitality company Westbury Street Holdings, which operates restaurants and front of house services for the BBC, Goldman Sachs and The British Museum, has reported a 14 per cent rise in turnover to £465m for 2012.

Boohoo mulls sale after fast growth

The online clothing retailer Boohoo is considering a sale of the business, following strong growth since it was founded seven years ago. Boohoo has hired the advisory firm Zeus Capital to explore its strategic options.

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Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

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Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

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Al Pacino wows Venice

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Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

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The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering