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The Business Matrix: Wednesday 2 April 2012

Dickinson rocking out in South Wales

Bruce Dickinson, lead singer of heayy metal band Iron Maiden, has announced plans to open an aviation centre in South Wales that will bring up to 1,000 jobs to the area. Mr Dickinson, who is also a commercial airline pilot, said his company Cardiff Aviation will provide support services, including training and maintenance, to clients such as Boeing.

Etihad buys 3% Aer Lingus stake

Abu Dhabi yesterday threw more cash into European aviation when its flagship airline Etihad bought a 3 per cent stake in the Irish carrier Aer Lingus for about €15m (£12m). The Middle East emirate, which owns Manchester City FC, also raised its stake in Air Berlin to nearly 30 per cent from just under 3 per cent in December.

Manufacturing beats forecasts

US manufacturing grew in April at the strongest rate in 10 months, easing concerns the economy had lost momentum. The Institute for Supply Management said its index of national factory activity rose to 54.8 from 53.4 in March, beating economists' expectations. Manufacturing accounts for about 12 per cent of US economy.

OAP subsidy cut hits coach firm

The Government's decision to axe pensioners' discounted, long-distance coach travel is costing National Express £15m this year. The Coach Concessionary Travel Scheme, which paid for half-price, long-distance travel, was cut in November. Seniors' spending on National Express coaches is down 40 per cent, or £2.8m, year on year.

Actis buys out government stake

The Government is selling its stake Actis, one of the largest private equity investors in the world's poorest countries. The firm is buying out the state's 40 per cent stake in the company for £8m in cash and has agreed a profit share deal on assets sold that could be worth more than $100m over time.

Top brand focus helps Reckitt

The Nurofen to Cillit Bang group Reckitt Benckiser has reported a slightly better than expected 4 per cent rise in first-quarter sales as a new focus on its top brands started to pay off. Its chief executive Rakesh Kapoor said the results were driven by strong emerging market growth and new products.

Anglo-Lafarge sell-off ordered

The Competition Commission has told Anglo American, which owns Tarmac, and France's Lafarge to sell off assets in order to pave the way for a new competitor in the UK cement market before a proposed £1.8bn merger of their UK operations can go ahead.

Rolls-Royce wins LiftSystem deal

Rolls-Royce has won a £194m contract with US aircraft designer Pratt & Whitney. Rolls-Royce will supply its LiftSystem technology for 17 Lightning II aircraft. It is the only company in the world to produce the technology that enables aircraft to perform vertical landings.

Delta Air Lines to buy US refinery

Delta Air Lines is to buy an idle Pennsylvania oil refinery in a move the US airline said would cut $300m from its annual $12bn jet fuel bill. BP will supply the crude oil under a three-year deal. The refinery is set to produce 80 per cent of Delta's US fuel needs.

Amec wins Mad Dog BP contract

Amec has won a contract with oil giant BP to design services for its Mad Dog field in the Gulf of Mexico. The engineer said the facility will be one of the largest floating production systems to be installed in the Gulf. The value of the deal was not disclosed.

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