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The Business Matrix: Wednesday 9 November 2013

Struggling HTC posts $102m loss

Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC confirmed its first-ever loss yesterday, saying it fell $102m into the red in third quarter. It warned of more bad news ahead as it loses ground to rivals, with revenue expected to fall further in Q4, even after the impending sale of its stake in Dr Dre's headphone firm Beats Electronics for $265m.

Imperial forecasts modest growth

Imperial Tobacco's shares rose 2 per cent despite the maker of JPS, Davidoff and Lambert & Butler cigarettes saying it expected only modest earnings growth in 2014. Boss Alison Cooper said it would focus on developing its top brands, especially in growing markets, while pushing up returns in more mature ones.

FCA rules benefit smaller investors

Investors with minority holdings in London-listed companies have been empowered by new rules. The Financial Conduct Authority said firms with controlling shareholders – those holding 30 per cent or more of a company's stock – must ensure that they are run independently to hold on to their premium listings.

Shire binge-eating drug passes tests

Shares in drugs-maker Shire rose yesterday on news that its binge-eating disorder treatment Vyvanse has passed clinical trials. The amphetamine-based drug is already used to treat US students with attention-deficit disorder but has now been shown to reduce over-eaters' urge to binge.

BoE predicts new future for Hayes

Barclays Bank's chief economist, Simon Hayes, has been hired by the Bank of England to head its forecasting team. Before joining Barclays in 2005, Mr Hayes was at Threadndeedle Street for eight years, when he advised the Monetary Policy Committee. He will report to the BoE chief economist, Spencer Dale.

InterContinental rooms earn more

Richard Solomons, the chief executive of InterContinental Hotels, said he was confident about its future after strong growth in Asia, the Middle East and Africa helped it to improve global room revenues by 3.3 per cent over the past three months – slightly less than the 3.7 per cent in the first half of the year.

Balfour Beatty's market challenge

Balfour Beatty said its markets were still challenging despite a pick-up in US and UK prospects. The builder said its professional services business in Australia was struggling, but continued improvement in its UK arm would drive results ahead of City forecasts.

Mears sells off business for £1

The social housing repair firm Mears will write down £17.5m on the sale of its loss-making mechanical and electrical engineering unit to management for £1. It said London-based Haydon Mechanical and Electrical faced tough competition and limited opportunities.

Bloc is at 'turning point', says Rehn

The European Commissioner Olli Rehn insisted the eurozone had reached a "turning point" despite its growth forecasts for 2014 being cut from 1.2 per cent to 1.1 per cent. Forecasts of a 0.4 per cent contraction this year were left unchanged.

More funds bank Co-op refinancing

Three hedge funds holding £30m in bonds have backed the Co-op Bank's refinancing plan. J Goldman, Carlson Capital and Peak6 Advisors said they would vote in support of the move. Britain's biggest mutual has a £1.5bn hole in its finances.

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