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The Business Matrix: Tuesday 20 November 2012

Catastrophe fears recede in markets

The risk of a catastrophic event such as a sudden pull out of the euro by Greece has fallen back sharply, according to the Bank of England's latest financial market survey. Just 20 per cent judge the risk of a "high impact event" as high or very high.

Struggling airline slashes costs

Scandinavian airline SAS has won union backing for big cost cuts in a deal intended to secure new financing and its long-term survival as it fights low-cost competitors. SAS, jointly owned by the governments of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, said eight unions had agreed wage cuts and changes to working schedules and pensions.

More woe for Comet as axe falls

More than 1,000 workers have now lost their jobs at electrical retailer Comet after administrators axed another 735 yesterday. The bulk of the latest cuts has affected staff in the chain's home delivery network, which has 12 centres across the UK, where 603 jobs have been lost. A further 132 staff have also gone at its head office.

Intel boss says it's time to shut down

Intel chief executive Paul Otellini will retire in May, as the world's leading chipmaker grapples with weak PC demand and an industry shift toward mobile computing. Intel said it would consider both internal and external candidates.Its processors are dominant in PCs but it has been slow to expand into the mobile industry.

Mallett whacked by US hurricane

Shares in the antique trader Mallett fell more than 10 per cent yesterday after it said Superstorm Sandy had hit trading at its New York showroom. The firm is "unlikely to be profitable this year". Mallett, based in Mayfair, recently won the right to sell two "exciting collections" of 18th-century furniture. Its shares closed down 7p at 75p.

Mitie cleans up as revenues rise

Mitie, the outsourcer which cleans the Royal Opera House, expects revenues to rise over the next six months thanks to a clutch of contract wins. The deals, including a five-year, £755m tie-up with Lloyds Banking Group, helped to push revenues up 5.6 per cent to £1bn in the six months to October.

Thumbs-up for Lonmin cash grab

Lonmin, the struggling South African platinum miner, has gained clearance to proceed with a crucial $817m (£513m) rights issue after 91 per cent of shareholders voted in favour . The London-listed group's flagship Marikana mine was rocked by strikes over the summer which resulted in dozens of deaths.

RBS Ireland fined €2m for violations

The Irish Central Bank has fined Royal Bank of Scotland's Irish unit €2m (£1.6m) for violations relating to the management of liquidity risk and capital adequacy. The central bank said Ulster Bank had failed to apply the correct haircuts to four categories of retail and corporate deposits.

Aga boss toasts Bond as sales rise

Aga Rangemaster's chief executive William McGrath has "an air of optimism for 2013" after a 4 per cent rise in sales volumes. Weak sales in the UK were offset by growth on the Continent. Agas featured in the new James Bond film, Skyfall, and The Great British Bake-Off.

Portugal passes bailout inspection

Portugal has passed the sixth quarterly review of its performance under its €78bn (£62bn) bailout, finance minister Vitor Gaspar said. The economy is in its worst slump since the 1970s but inspectors will release the next €2.5bn tranche of funds.

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