The Business Matrix: Tuesday 2 August 2011

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The Independent Online

HSBC to cut 30,000 jobs

HSBC has announced plans to cut 30,000 jobs over the next three years – or nearly 10 per cent of its global workforce. The bank said it had not yet decided how many of those job losses would come in the UK, warning that it was waiting to see the final recommendations of Sir John Vickers’ inquiry into banking reform. MORE

Manufacturers go into reverse

The manufacturing sector, which accounts for around 12 per cent of the UK economy, saw activity decline in July for the first time since the recession, new data revealed yesterday. The figures will increase growing fears that the UK’s economic recovery is now so slow that a new monetary policy stimulus will be required. MORE

Hornby set for Olympic boost

Hornby said yesterday it was feeling confident in the run-up to the key Christmas period having resolved problems with suppliers. The maker of model railways, Scalextric car-racing kits and Airfix models said all its brands were performing well in Britain and that it expected it would get a growing boost from Olympics-branded merchandise.

Ultra facing hit from austerity

The defence company Ultra Electronics reported a 9 per cent rise in first-half profits yesterday, despite the effects of spending constraints in its key UK and US markets. However, the company said there would be an impact on contracts in the months ahead, with the delay in the appropriation of the 2011 US budget a particular problem.

Honda nets profit despite quake

Honda surprised investors with news of a quarterly profit yesterday as the Japanese group mounted a rebound from the supply-chain issues caused by the earthquake in March. The car manufacturer reported a 90 per cent fall in operating profit of 22.58bn yen (£180m) between April and June.

Profits almost gone at Xchanging

The back-office outsourcing company Xchanging yesterday revealed a 96 per cent drop in its pre-tax profits for the first six months of 2011. The group said its profits before tax for the period had fallen to £812,000 from £19.6m the year before, following on from a profits warning in February.

Cooper walks away from Laird

Cooper Industries, the Dublin-based electrical products company which has been attempting to buy the London-listed Laird since June, has abandoned the £537m bid after failing to strike an agreement on the price. News of the decision prompted a sell-off in Laird’s shares, which slumped by nearly 15 per cent.

HR Owen buys Broughtons

The luxury car dealer HR Owen has bought Broughtons of Cheltenham, gaining three Bentley franchises, an Aston Martin franchise and an Audi aftersales operation. Owen, which also sells Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini and Ferrari, is thought to have paid £1.5m for the business, as well as taking on its debt.

Halifax woos struggling buyers

First-time buyers saving for a deposit for a home are being offered a cash bonus if they do their saving and borrowing with Halifax. Britain’s biggest mortgage lender has launched the Head Start Home Saver scheme, offering up to £600 if borrowers pay into a savings account for 10 months in a 12-month period.

FSA to ban rebates to platforms

Investment management firms are to be prevented from refunding their charges to the online platforms that sell their funds to investors – and these platforms will no longer be able to keep the payments they receive secret – under new recommendations from the Financial Services Authority unveiled yesterday.