The Business Matrix: Tuesday 3 December 2013


Firms on trial for Eads share trades

The media group Lagardère and car maker Daimler are to be sent to trial in France on suspected insider trading of shares in Airbus parent Eads. The firms have been under investigation over suspected insider trading at a time of delays to the A380 superjumbo. All those under investigation have denied any wrongdoing.

‘Black Friday’ sees less spent in shops

Seasonal bargains enticed 141 million Americans into shops over the “Black Friday” Thanksgiving weekend, but heavy discounting meant retailers raked in less money than a year ago, even though the number of shoppers increased.  The average shopper shelled out $407 on purchases, down from $423 in 2012.

Blackwell takes chair at Lloyds

Lloyds, which is 33 per cent owned by the taxpayer, has confirmed that Lord Blackwell will be its next chairman. He will take over from Sir Win Bischoff, who will depart on 3 April next year. Lord Blackwell, a former adviser to Sir John Major, is a Tory peer and already chairman of Lloyds’ offshoot, Scottish Widows.

World equities provide top yield

World equities outperformed all other asset classes for the third month running in November. Gold suffered its worst monthly fall since June. The MSCI All-Country World Index rose by 1.5 per cent once dividend payments were included. In the US, the S&P 500 hit new records but the FTSE 100 lost 1.2 per cent over the month.

Lord Birt takes job at internet firm

Lord Birt, the former BBC director-general, has been named non-executive chairman of the internet domain business Host Europe. The appointment comes after the firm was taken over by buyout giant and Pizza Express-owner Cinven, which bought it from Montagu Private Equity for £438m this year.

Madoff employee  gives testimony

Bernie Madoff’s former finance chief Frank DiPascali took the stand yesterday as the key prosecution witness in the US trial of five ex-colleagues accused of collusion and fraud at the firm. Mr DiPascali testified that he was aware for years of the Ponzi scheme. The five have pleaded not guilty.

Freddie Mac loan dispute settled

Bank of America will pay $404m (£247m) to Freddie Mac to resolve outstanding claims on home loans sold to the state-controlled company between 2000 and 2009. The bank has already agreed a $3.6bn settlement with the other US mortgage firm, Fannie Mae.

Unilever audit job moves to KPMG

One of the most lucrative audit jobs in the FTSE 100, for Unilever, is moving. The firm will ditch PricewaterhouseCoopers after 27 years and move its £18m-a-year audit to KPMG. Regulators have told big firms they must put their audit out to tender every 10 years.

Shopping centre sold for £80m

The Elephant & Castle shopping centre in South London has been sold by Key Property Investments, a joint venture between St Modwen and Salhia Real Estate, to developer Delancey and pension fund APG for £80m.

Opec production to stay steady

Traders predict the oil cartel Opec will stick with its 30 million barrels a day production cap next year after the Saudi Arabian oil minister said the current price of around $110 a barrel is “right”. Opec meets tomorrow.