The Business Matrix: Tuesday 28 May 2013


Fiat fuelled by Chrysler rumours

Speculation that Fiat was  nearing the long-awaited financing deal to buy the remainder of America’s Chysler drove up the Italian car manufacturer’s shares yesterday on the Milan stock exchange, as traders looked forward to a potential public offering in the US by the combined business. Fiat’s shares closed up 4.43 per cent, or €.25, to close at €5.66.

Optimism in services is up

Managers in the UK’s dominant services sector are feeling more optimistic, according to the latest quarterly survey by the CBI. The balance of those in consumer services reporting optimism was +30 in May, up from +6 in the previous quarter. This is the strongest level since August 1999. The balance of respondents reporting business volumes up over the previous three months was +10.

Consultants’ income rises

Spending on management consultants is growing at three times the rate of inflation and public-sector work is increasing again after two years of dramatic declines. The annual survey from the Management Consultancies Association reports a 7 per cent leap in fee income in 2012, with the construction and transport sectors growing most rapidly.

Health and safety inspections up

The Health and Safety Executive undertook 3,475 inspections based on tip-offs in the year ending March 2013, a 43 per cent increase on the 2,429 undertaken in the previous 12 months. Tip-offs came from reports from employees or union representatives, complaints by local residents, reports by customers and suppliers, and insurance reports on workplace incidents.

Non-execs get thumbs-up

Some 83 per cent of small  companies believe their  non-executive directors are  sufficiently independent, according to a survey by BDO. Ninety per cent said they were knowledgeable about the business. The average salary of these directors was £31,185 per annum. Some 71 per cent of small firms said that this was value for money.

Club Med is a takeover target

The French all-inclusive holiday firm Club Med looks set to be taken over by two of its shareholders in a deal that values the company at €541m (£463m). AXA Private Equity and China’s Fosun are behind the bid, which Club Med’s management described as “friendly”. Club  Med shares jumped  23 per cent yesterday in response to the offer.

Australia bans live betting ads

Australia has unveiled proposals to ban television and radio broadcasts of betting odds during live  sports matches. Gambling advertisements will no longer appear during live events and around sporting venues. The broadcasting industry is expected to submit a revised code to Australia’s media watchdog. Under the new rules, advertisements would be  allowed only before or after a game or during a break.