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The Business Matrix: Wednesday 15 June 2011

Avis buys out European arm

The US car hire giant Avis Budget is to buy its European counterpart in a £636m deal that reunites the two businesses after 25 years. The swoop for the London-listed Avis Europe, which operates Avis and Budget in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, already has the support of D’Ieteren, the Belgian firm that owns 60 per cent of the group.

Glencore’s maiden figures disappoint

Glencore, the commodity-trading giant which began life as public company with a blockbuster listing last month, missed City forecasts with its maiden results yesterday. The group’s underlying profits rose 45 per cent to £1.1bn in the first three months of the year. But the company said that it remained well-positioned for 2011.

Nokia wins patent battle with Apple

The beleaguered mobile phone group Nokia has triumphed in a patent dispute with Apple. The Finnish company, which recently warned on profits, announced it had signed a patent licence deal with Apple that would settle all litigation between the companies. Apple will make a one-off payment to Nokia followed by ongoing royalties on all iPhones.

Tesco sales fall as shoppers cut back

The rising cost of petrol is forcing consumers to cut back on supermarket spending, Tesco warned yesterday as the UK’s biggest grocer reported a muted UK performance. Tesco posted a 0.1 per cent fall in underlying quarterly sales, short of City hopes. Total group sales were up 7.8 per cent, helped by Tesco’s fast-growing Asian businesses.

Inflation surges in India and China

Inflation surged in India and China last month, fuelling expectations of rate rises. Soaring food prices led to inflation hitting a 34-month high of 5.5 per cent in China and prompted the central bank to raise banks’ reserve requirements. Inflation hit 9.06 per cent in India as the cost of manufactured goods rose.

City workers look to hang on to jobs

Job vacancies in London’s financial sector fell 19 per cent in May from April, as worries about the economy saw fewer City workers move, according to Morgan McKinley. The recruitment consultants said changes to bonuses, with higher portions now deferred, were an extra incentive to stay put.

Rentokil poaches Royal Mail execs

Rentokil has poached two senior executives from the Royal Mail’s Parcelforce to revive Rentokil’s struggling City Link parcels business. The pest-control-to-cleaning firm said David Smith will join as City Link’s managing director later this year, alongside Robert Peto who will take on the role of finance director.

Lord Flight named chairman of Arden

Howard Flight, the former Tory frontbencher, has been named as chairman of Arden Partners, the small and mid-cap broker which is increasingly focusing on emerging markets such as India. Lord Flight was at NM Rothschild in the 1980s and set up Guinness Flight before becoming a MP.

Israeli bank chief too old for IMF job

The International Monetary Fund has refused to change its age limits to allow the 67-year-old Bank of Israel governor Stanley Fischer into the race for the top IMF job. The fund has shortlisted the French foreign minister Christine Lagarde and Mexico’s central bank chief, Agustin Carstens, for the post.

Bance cedes power at Ceres

Peter Bance, the chief executive of Ceres Power, quit the AIM-listed company with immediate effect yesterday. The group, which was spun out of Imperial College and provides fuel-cell technology for boilers, said Brian Count would run the company as executive chairman until a successor to Mr Bance is named.

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