The Business Matrix: Wednesday 22 October 2014


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ECB mulls ways to boost eurozone  

The European Central Bank is considering buying bonds issued by eurozone companies in its latest attempt to pump money into the single currency area. The bank, which is set to move into its new Frankfurt headquarters in 2015, this week began buying covered bonds – a very safe form of debt usually sold and guaranteed by banks.

‘Risks’ spotted at JPMorgan Chase

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York had identified trading risks at JPMorgan Chase’s chief investment office four years before the investment bank’s $6bn “London Whale” derivatives scandal broke – but then failed to carry out two planned examinations of the business, a scathing report  said yesterday.

Whistleblowing saves RBS £91m 

RBS has escaped a €115m (£91m) fine from the European Commission after it alerted the regulator to bank cartels rigging Swiss franc interest rates and associated products. The EC fined JPMorgan €62m for rigging the Libor rate, while UBS and Credit Suisse were fined €22m over derivatives.

DAS suspends its boss over inquiry

A British insurer owned by Munich Re suspended its chief executive yesterday ahead of an inquiry into the unit’s relationship with an unnamed supplier. DAS, which specialises in legal expenses cover, said Paul Asplin has been replaced by its chief operating officer Paul Timmins. The division said its finances were in order.

Five-year low strikes Beijing

Chinese growth dipped to a five-year low over the first three quarters of 2014, official data from Beijing showed yesterday. The year-on-year increase in GDP was 7.3 per cent, down from 7.5 per cent in the second quarter and the weakest performance for the red dragon economy since early 2009.

Eurostar in tenth year of growth

The number of passengers taking Eurostar rail services through the Channel Tunnel between Britain, France and Belgium rose 3 per cent to 2.8m between July and September. Sales climbed 2 per cent to £211m, the 10th successive year of summer growth. George Osborne wants to sell the Government’s 40 per cent stake.

Sales driven up by 3% at GKN

GKN has posted a 3 per cent rise in underlying sales to £1.8bn for the quarter to the end of September. The engineer, which makes drive shafts for almost half of all new cars, said third quarter trading profit rose 14 per cent to £160m, although it was hit by the strong pound.

Problems bite at McDonald’s

McDonald’s quarterly profits fell 30 per cent to $1.07bn (£660m) as it was hit by problems in most of its main markets. Chinese sales suffered after a food safety scare involving a supplier; Russia has closed outlets and US customers are eating elsewhere.

BAE pushes into cybersecurity

BAE Systems is paying £232m (£144m) for SilverSky, a US group which provides internet services including email protection and network security, in the defence giants’s latest push into cybersecurity. The US group has 5,500 clients.

William Hill  on to a winner

William Hill nudged analysts’ forecasts for its full-year results firmly up yesterday, after an 89 per cent surge in third-quarter operating profits. Broker Peel Hunt added £10m to its pre-tax forecast, taking it to £318.5m from the 2013 figure of £280m.