The Business Matrix: Tuesday 2 October 2012


Russian PM meets with Zuckerberg

Facebook's chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has held talks with the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as Moscow looks to strengthen ties with the world's biggest social-networking website. Mr Zuckerberg visited Skolkovo, a new technology city being built outside the Russian capital, which is modelled on Silicon Valley.

Unemployment hits record high

Eurozone unemployment hit a record high of 18.2 million in August as the 17-member single-currency bloc heads towards recession. The unemployment rate, currently 11.4 per cent, was also revised higher for June and July. Spain's jobless count hit a painful 25.1 per cent – the highest in the eurozone – but Germany's was stable at 5.5 per cent .

Asos appoints a new chairman

Asos, the online fashion giant, has named the former Amazon UK boss Brian McBride chairman. After Labour peer Lord Alli announced he was stepping down as chairman after 12 years at Asos, the retailer said Mr McBride, who spent almost six years as managing director of Amazon in the UK, will take over from 1 November.

Spain props up debt-laden banks

Spain began the lengthy task of propping up its debt-laden banks yesterday as the nation's sixth-biggest bank set out plans to raise €2.5bn (£2bn). The fundraising by Banco Popular came in the wake of an independent report warning that Spain's financial institutions needed an extra €59.3bn cash to weather a worsening recession.

Manufactures report slowdown

Manufacturers reported slower export orders and "subdued" domestic markets last month, according to the latest survey from Cips/Markit. Firms are cutting jobs at the fastest pace in five months, putting pressure on the Bank of England to return to the printing presses to keep alive slim recovery hopes.

Victoria Carpets reports low sales

Victoria Carpets, a maker of the Royal red carpets, blamed the tough economy for lower first-half sales – and warned it only expects to break even as a result. The 117-year-old firm, at the centre of a boardroom bust-up, is facing a meeting tomorrow called by rebel shareholders looking to change the board.

Airlines report £740m loss

European airlines will post a £740m loss this year as passengers are paying for first and business-class flights. The International Air Transport Association warned premium travel on the North Atlantic route fell 2.4 per cent in July and 3.5 per cent on European flights.

Hammerson sells London site

Hammerson took its latest step out of the London office market with the £200m sale of 10 Gresham Street in the Square Mile. The company, which wants to focus on retail property, owns 30 per cent of the site – occupied by Lloyds Bank – and will make £60m.

Sportingbet shuns William Hill offer

Sportingbet said a £350m offer from the bookmaker William Hill and GVC Holdings "significantly" undervalued the online-gaming group, but left the door open for a higher bid. The approach included 45p cash and 7.5p in William Hill shares.

Amazon to hire 10,000 workers

The online retailer Amazon said it will hire more than 10,000 temporary employees in its UK delivery centres during the busy Christmas period. Amazon said staff will be recruited on temporary contracts to support the seasonal surge in demand.