Today's letter from the Editor
Today's Matrices
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Clinical Negligence Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...

Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF, BGP, Multicast, WAN)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...

Commercial Property Solicitor - Bristol

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM A high qual...

DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, Linux, Shell, Bash)

£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, L...

The Business Matrix: Wednesday 5 December 2012

Zhu Zhu hamsters cause profits drop

Character Group has blamed unloved Zhu Zhu hamsters for a sharp fall in annual profits, as it warned of a "disappointing" Christmas as retailers delayed new orders while they cleared old stock. The toy maker's annual profits fell 22 per cent to £7m. But it said its Peppa Pig, Fireman Sam and Scooby-Doo toys "performed well".

Northgate stalls as demand slows

Northgate, the van-hire firm seen as a barometer of the smaller business end of the economy, saw profits slide 13 per cent to £28m in the last six months as demand slowed. "Against the backdrop of a fragile economy trading remains challenging," the company said. Overall revenues fell 16 per cent to £3,314m in the half year.

Berkshire seeks £600m damages

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is seeking up to $1bn (£600m) in damages from Swiss Re over a 2010 deal between the companies. Swiss Re disclosed the dispute with its third-quarter earnings update. The reinsurer accepted a $3.3bn emergency loan from Berkshire during the financial crisis.

Fastjet may bid to purchase 1time

The African low-cost airline Fastjet said it is in talks with the provisional liquidator of 1time, the South African low-cost airline, over a possible bid. The carrier, the brainchild of easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, would pay a nominal fee for the purchase of 1time.

Datong profits increase five-fold

Datong, a provider of covert-intelligence-gathering equipment, reported a five-fold increase in its annual profits to £269,000. The Leeds-based group saw revenues fall from £11.7m to £9.7m, reflecting the economic and political climate in the US and Europe.

Old EDF plants to stay open longer

The French energy giant EDF is to extend the lives of two of the UK's oldest nuclear power stations by seven years until 2023. The company said the extension of the lives of the Hinkley Point B and Hunterston B plants has no bearing on the outcome on its proposed £10bn investment in a new nuclear generator in a joint venture with Centrica.check.

Wolseley sees profits rise to 8%

Wolseley, the plumbing and heating specialist, has hailed a recovery in the US construction market for a jump in first-quarter profits, although it has shed more jobs in the UK, where it owns the Plumb Center, after challenging trading. The firm, which is holding a strategic review to consider its future, saw profits rise 8 per cent to £198m.

AstraZeneca signs deal with HSCIC

AstraZeneca has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Health and Social Care Information Centre to improve the usefulness of data in healthcare decision making. Astra said the collaboration is the first of its kind with the HSCIC, England's central source of health and social care information.

Bramson to take back seat at F&C

Edward Bramson, the American investor who staged a boardroom coup at F&C Asset Management, is preparing to move to more of a back seat. Mr Bramson will give up the executive part of his executive chairman role in March when Richard Wilson becomes CEO.

Postmen threaten Christmas boycott

Postmen are threatening to disrupt Christmas mail by refusing to deliver post sent via anyone other than the Royal Mail. Unions will hold a consultative ballot in the new year with the intention of boycotting competitors' mail.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone