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The Business Matrix: Wednesday 23 January 2013

£56bn merger has one more hurdle

The mining and commodity trading giants Glencore and Xstrata have just one regulatory hurdle left before they consummate their £56bn merger, after South Africa's competition authorities gave the green light. The transaction now only needs clearance from China, which the companies expect to secure in the coming months.

202m forced to sign on in 2013

The global dole queue will stretch to a record 202 million this year as another five million people are thrown out of work, the International Labour Organisation warned. The UN jobs watchdog predicts an even bigger rise in unemployment this year than the 4.2 million increase seen last year, taking the global jobless rate to 6 per cent.

CBI quashes hopes of recovery

Hopes of a new year revival for British manufacturers were quashed yesterday as the CBI warned of another month of plunging order books. The business organisation's industrial trends survey revealed an unexpected slide in factory orders in January, with a far worse than feared 20 per cent of firms reporting lower levels of business.

Storm doesn't deter drinkers

Brewery Marston's saw like-for–like sales rise 1.2 per cent in its managed pubs during the e snowfall. The company, which has more than 2,000 pubs across the country, said sales were up 10 per cent on Christmas Day with "wet" sales growing by 1 per cent and food sales up 3.5 per cent in the period.

Government is £12bn overspent

Government spending is still running almost £12bn ahead of the tax take, sending the UK's public finances from bad to worse in December. Chancellor George Osborne racked up another £15.4bn in borrowing last month, £600m ahead of the same month last year, according to official figures.

Landlord gets Dutch injection

The UK's biggest residential landlord has attracted £158m from a Dutch pension fund to invest in rental properties in London and the South-East. Grainger is forming the new GRIP unit trust to the buy up the residential assets in its G:res fund, which owns around 2,000 flats worth £350m.

Barclays staff face redundancies

Barclays' investment banking arm is reported to be starting a consultation process to identify potential redundancies across its business. The move, which comes ahead of Barclays' new chief executive's review of the bank's operations, could mean hundreds of job cuts in London.

Battle over Google HQ contract

Two British companies are battling with Dutch and Swedish giants for the multimillion-pound project to build Google's 2.4-acre headquarters in King's Cross, London. Balfour Beatty and Carillion have been shortlisted, as have Holland's Bam Construct and, Sweden's Skanska.

Dignity snaps up Yew Holdings

Britain's only listed undertaker, Dignity, has invested £58.3m by buying the Yew Holdings chain of funeral homes based in the north of England. Yew Holdings arranges more than 6,000 funerals each year at its 40 sites and two crematoria.

£21m in damages for hotel chain

The hotel chain InterContinental yesterday said it will get $31m (£21m) in damages from a property group which is removing eight hotels, currently branded as Holiday Inns, from its management. The FelCor Lodging Trust hotels had 2,526 rooms.

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