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The Business Matrix: Tuesday 6 November 2012

Investors agree to UK Coal overhaul

UK Coal shareholders have backed a key stage of its restructuring, including the change of name to Coalfield Resources. It said "considerable work" is still needed as it looks to leave its mining business free of bank debt and with an affordable pension. Without the overhaul, the Daw Mill colliery owner is expected to breach its banking covenants.

Retail sales fall in October

High street sales figures in October were the worst for 11 months, according to the British Retail Consortium, coming in 0.1 per cent lower than a year ago. A surge in clothing sales in the first week fizzled out. But food sales received a boost from the BBC's Great British Bake Off, with demand for cake decorations and mixes up.

Weir on track to hit profits target

The pumps and valves maker Weir said it expects to report full year profits of £440m to £450m, in line with market expectations. The group, which focuses on oil and gas markets, revealed that revenue and profits growth had slowed in the third quarter due to a lower opening order book.

Mitie wins £70m housing contract

Mitie has won a 10-year repair and maintenance contract with Golding Homes housing association. The contract, which is worth £70m over 10 years with the potential to rise to £120m, will see Mitie support the housing association's upkeep of 6,000 properties across Kent.

Nel to be Aquarius Platinum CEO

Aquarius Platinum has named its chief operating officer Jean Nel chief executive, a month after industry veteran Stuart Murray left the company. Mr Nel joined Aquarius, the world's fourth-largest platinum miner, in July 2011.

G20 countries ease up on cuts

G20 finance ministers are preparing to ease the pace of their budget cuts and tax rises so as not to pull the rug from under the global – and mainly US – economy. "We will ensure the pace of fiscal consolidation is appropriate to support growth," said a draft communique, released at the G20 meeting in Mexico City yesterday.

NS&I cuts interest rate on Direct ISA

More than 320,000 savers were dealt a blow yesterday when Government-backed National Savings & Investments cut its Direct ISA interest rate from 2.25 per cent to 2.25 per cent. The move, NS&I said, "reflected market trend to lower rates on similar products". This year NS&I also cut the interest rate on its Direct Saver account.

Goldman Sachs axes 31 partners

The banking industry's jobs squeeze has reached the very top of Goldman Sachs after the investment bank shed more than 30 of its partners in the past nine months, according to US filings. Goldman has 407 partners, down by 31 since February. The bank has lost 3100 staff since the end of 2010.

Investors head for safe havens

Two-year German bond yields fell below zero yesterday as low-risk assets rallied before an uncertain US presidential election and another make-or-break parliamentary vote in Greece. Law makers will vote on on the Greek government's latest austerity package tomorrow.

Netflix looks to thwart Icahn

Netflix has adopted a poison pill defence to prevent a hostile takeover, just days after activist investor Carl Icahn disclosed he had bought shares in the video service. The move will prevent anyone without board approval building a stake of 10 per cent.

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