The Business Matrix: Wednesday 5 September 2012


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28,000 new planes needed by 2031

The European planemaker Airbus has predicted some 28,000 new aircraft, worth $4trn, will be needed to cater for air travel growth in the next 20 years. By 2031, the global passenger plane fleet will rise to over 32,550 from 15,500 today, Airbus said, adding that China's domestic passenger traffic will overtake US domestic traffic.

Lonmin workers stay away

The platinum miner Lonmin said the disruption at its Marikana mine in South Africa, where 34 striking workers were shot by police, continued yesterday. Only 6.5 per cent of staff turned up for work and most workers are thought to be waiting for a peace agreement between the dominant NUM union and the newer Solidarity.

McBride profits surge by 39%

Shoppers ditching big name brands for cheaper supermarket own-label products helped boost profits at one of the UK's biggest household goods suppliers. McBride, which supplies own-label toothpaste, mouthwashes and detergents to the major supermarket chains, reported a 39 per cent rise in annual UK profits to £16.5m.

Freesat all set to go 'backwards'

The satellite TV service Freesat has claimed to be stealing a march on rival BSkyB by launching a set-top box with a "backwards TV guide" – allowing viewers to watch shows from the last seven days. Freesat, which is jointly owned by the BBC and ITV, includes access to "catch-up" services such as the BBC's iPlayer on its new box.

Ashtead posts record quarter

Equipment rental firm Ashtead said results for the year to May will exceed its expectations after it posted record first quarter underlying profits, up 76 per cent to £61.4m. Conditions in the UK, where it operates as A-Plant, have been more challenging but the US saw a gentle improvement.

M&S makes some changes at the top

Marks & Spencer has rung more changes at the top of its clothing division. M&S said John Dixon, who replaced Kate Bostock as head of general merchandise in July under an initial shake-up plan, had appointed Stephanie Chen as director of kidswear & home, and Scott Fyfe as director of menswear.

Nine TV sells magazine division

CVC Capital Partners' heavily indebted Nine TV network in Australia has sold its ACP Magazines unit to German publishers Bauer for £322m. The proceeds will pay down debt as CVC looks to avoid a debt-for-equity swap and a possible £1bn loss on its investment in Nine.

3's owners sell India call centres

The Indian software services provider Tech Mahindra has bought Hutchison Whampoa's back-office call centre business in the country for £55m. The centres provide services to the clients of Hutchison's mobile firm 3 in the UK, Ireland and Australia.

Shell eyes Black Sea opportunities

The oil giant Shell is assessing oil exploration opportunities in the Black Sea with the Turkish state oil firm TPAO, its chief executive Peter Voser said yesterday. It has already started exploring for shale gas in southeastern Turkey.

Santander looks to raise £3bn

The Spanish bank Santander is looking to raise up to £3bn through the stock market listing of a quarter of its Mexican unit as it looks to boost capital levels and weather the recession at home in Spain. It plans to list the shares in new York and Mexico.