Business week in review
Sunday 05 August 2012
Hugo Boss, the private-equity-owned retail group, still has plenty of fashion kudos in Europe, despite the region's economic woes. Claus-Dietrich Lahrs, its well-dressed chief executive, boasted a 17 per cent jump in European sales in its second quarter. While group profits leapt by nearly a quarter, slowing growth in Asia took the shine off its performance.
The millionaire Tchenguiz brothers were also upbeat this week after a court ruling paved the way for them to pursue more than £100m of compensation claims. The High Court launched a blistering attack on the Serious Fraud Office's investigation, detailing a series of errors.
The road ahead also appears to be clear for the digger business JCB, which is benefiting from the building boom in China and India. JCB, whose chief executive is Alan Blake, said sales of diggers for road and house building in Brazil, Russia, India and China had accelerated to more than 35,000 in the first six months of 2012.
...at a loss
Investors at Mouchel, the motorway maintenance firm, seem to have all but run out of road. Creditors to the group, whose chief executive is Grant Rumbles, have agreed to write off £87m of its debt in return for control of the company. While the debt-for-equity swap will see creditors take a majority of Mouchel shares, existing investors will get just 1p a share, or a total of £1.14m.
Last week was far less painful for Ryanair's shareholders but the no-frills airline saw its pre-tax quarterly profits tumble by more than a quarter to €112.5m (£88.5m). Ryanair, run by Michael O'Leary was hit by the eurozone crisis and rocketing fuel bills, as well as fierce competition from easyJet.
Turbulence at the float of Facebook, the social media site founded by Mark Zuckerberg, was blamed by UBS for a quarterly loss of Sfr130m (£85m). The Swiss bank said the delay when Nasdaq processed its purchase of shares on the first day left it with more shares than clients ordered.
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