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The Business Matrix: Wednesday 25 September 2013

Amazon is hiring for Christmas

Amazon is set to hire 15,000 seasonal workers across the UK to cope with the expected demand for deliveries this Christmas. The hiring spree beats the 10,000 hired last Christmas. Catherine McDermott, director of operations at Amazon UK, said: “On our busiest shopping day last Christmas, customers ordered 44 items a second.”

Chip-makers in $29bn tie-up

The US semiconductor equipment maker Applied Materials will buy rival Tokyo Electron in a deal valued at more than $9bn (£6bn), combining the No 1 and No 3 makers of chip-making gear as demand for their products slow and it gets tougher to turn a profit. The all-stock deal will create a new company valued at about $29bn.

Shanghai 'to open access to Twitter'

Facebook and Twitter are going to be accessible in a planned free-trade zone (FTZ) in Shanghai, according to Chinese reports. A number of websites in the country are aggressively censored by the ruling Communist Party, and Facebook and Twitter were blocked in 2009 following deadly riots in the western province of Xinjiang.

Sainsbury's riding rise of discounters

Sainsbury's was the only one of the big four supermarkets to see a boost in market share, as the discounters continued to squeeze Tesco, Asda and Morrisons. In the 12 weeks to 15 September Aldi grew sales by 32.7 per cent compared with a year earlier, while Lidl grew 14.3 per cent, according to retail analysts Kantar Worldpanel.

Premier Foods loses director

Premier Foods, the owner of the Hovis and Mr Kipling brands, has lost a second senior board member in just nine months as its chief finance officer unexpectedly quit yesterday. Mark Moran, who joined Premier Foods in 2011, said he was leaving for “entirely personal reasons”.

Airbus predicts big rise in demand

The aircraft maker Airbus said air traffic is likely to grow by 4.7 per cent a year over the next two decades. The group, which makes jets used by airlines including British Airways and easyJet, said growth in emerging markets will mean 29,220 new passenger and freight aircraft are needed.

Close Brothers toasts £163m gain

Close Brothers has toasted higher share trading activity as firms rushed to raise money in London. The bank, which makes most of its money from small business lending, grew annual profits by 21 per cent to £163m. Its stockbroker Winterflood saw profits rise 5 per cent.

Panmure Gordon back in the black

Panmure Gordon moved back into the black as income rose 44 per cent to £9.5m during the first half of the year. The company helped 16 clients raise £900m and was also involved in the listings of Polar Capital Global Financials Trust and Globalworth Real Estate on AIM.

Lloyds sells off loans portfolio

Lloyds Banking Group has sold a portfolio of European commercial property loans for £263m to the private equity firm Cerberus as the taxpayer-backed bank continues to off- load non-core assets. The bank said the assets are worth £371m.

Float rumour for Miller Group

The Scottish housebuilder Miller Group has become the latest firm in the sector to be linked with a potential float. It is understood the company, which said it was examining strategic options in recent results, has yet to appoint advisers on any deal.

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