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The Business Matrix: Wednesday 8 August 2012

InterContinental Park Lane for sale

One of London's best-known hotels, the InterContinental in Park Lane, has been put on sale by InterContinental Hotels Group as it moves from owning to managing hotels. The hotel, which overlooks Hyde Park Corner, could fetch more than £200m, according to analysts. The group's first-half profits rose by 6 per cent to $286m.

Co-op boss retires after Lloyds deals

The boss of the Co-operative Group surprised the City yesterday by announcing his retirement, just weeks after buying 632 branches of Lloyds Banking Group to boost its high-street presence. Peter Marks will step down next May, after a six-year spell at the helm.

Italy's recession bites deeper

Italy's economy shrank 0.7 per cent in the second quarter, underlining a deepening recession, as austerity measures continue to affect everything from factory activity to consumer spending. The country's GDP fell for the fourth quarter in a row.

Lloyds worker in £2.4m fraud

A former Lloyds Bank worker in charge of online security has admitted her part in a £2.4m fraud. Jessica Harper, 50, was accused of submitting false invoices between 2007 and 2011 while working as the head of fraud and security for digital banking. She will be sentenced on 21 September.

Falling prices hit Xstrata's profits

Xstrata, which is pursuing a £57bn merger with Glencore, reported a 42 per cent fall in first-half profits as commodity prices fell sharply. The FTSE 100 miner said operating profits were $2.45bn (£1.57bn), down from $4.24bn last time, and blamed a "cyclical downturn in commodity prices".

Jubilee's slump blow is softened

The Jubilee slump for Britain's manufacturers did less damage to the overall economy than originally feared, official figures showed yesterday. The extra holiday for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee sent manufacturing output sliding 2.9 per cent in June. The 0.7 per cent second-quarter fall the ONS estimated should be 0.6 per cent.

Bellway bends succession rules

The housebuilder Bellway has bent the rules on City best practice by naming its chief executive, John Watson, as its next chairman. Mr Watson said: "In housebuilding you need a bit of experience and continuity." Current chairman, Howard Dawe, has been with Bellway since 1961.

Legal & General's profits surprise

Legal & General said it was braced for more shocks from the eurozone, but produced a better-than-expected 5 per cent rise in operating profits to £518m for the first six months of 2012. The improvement, driven by strong sales of corporate and housing protection insurance, saw profits at L&G's risk division climb by 15 per cent.

Kenyon moves to HMV finance job

HMV has hired Ian Kenyon from Carphone Warehouse as its group finance director, in the latest management reshuffle at the beleaguered entertainment retailer. Mr Kenyon, who was the finance chief of the joint venture Best Buy Europe, replaces David Wolffe. HMV is set to post an annual loss of £16m tomorrow.

Northern Ireland suffers jobs hit

Almost 11,000 jobs have been lost in the private sector in in the past two years, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Its Economic Outlook report predicts that the Northern Ireland economy will shrink further this year.

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