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Business Analysis & Features

Business week in review

In profit ...

Such are the ups and downs of being BP's boss that Bob Dudley regularly graces both the top and bottom of this column. Well, it was a good day for him last Monday, as the New Yorker was able to announce the $2.5bn (£1.6bn) sale of the oil giant's Carson refinery in California.

BP has now collected about $26.5bn in sales since the Gulf of Mexico disaster, having earmarked $38bn to pay for the clean-up, fines and compensation related to the spill. Whisper it softly: BP's turnaround is nearly complete.

Vladimir Yakunin told our daily sister paper on Wednesday, that Russian Railways, the state-owned company of which he is president, is eyeing a part-flotation in London that could value the company at £33bn. Yakunin said that he feels "quite comfortable" with London's banks, which surely puts him in a select minority.

Just before the closing bell on Thursday, it was announced that Marks & Spencer's former clothing boss Kate Bostock had cashed in £900,000 of the retailer's shares. About half was the result of a performance-related bonus.

... at a loss

OK, in the end it wasn't such a bad week for Standard Chartered boss Peter Sands – shares jumped on Wednesday after he had reached a deal on money-laundering allegations late on Tuesday.

But, paying out $340m (£217m) to the US Department of Financial Services to settle accusations that it handled $250m of transactions in breach of US rules will still be a blow after a bruising week. Sand told staff that he had reached the deal "in the best interests of shareholders, clients, customers and staff". The bank denied the allegations, but is now accelerating a boardroom shake-up in the wake of the affair.

On Wednesday, Sir Richard Branson was left fuming after Virgin Rail was stripped of its contract to operate the West Coast mainline. FirstGroup won the right to run the country's most lucrative franchise with a £5.5bn bid, £750m more than Virgin's offer.

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg faced staff ahead of Thursday's share issue which took its stock price to nearly half what it was when it listed back in May.