Business week in review
Sunday 21 April 2013
Who needs nuclear power? Not British Gas owner Centrica, that's for sure. Instead, boss Sam Laidlaw looked to electrify the market (we're proud of that one) by snapping up $1bn (£656m) of natural gas and crude oil assets in Canada.
The buy was announced on Monday. This was the first made with Qatar Petroleum International since the companies signed a memorandum of understanding to co-operate on energy investment in late 2011. However, Centrica was still hit by criticism that it should focus more on its domestic, UK base. Earlier this year, Centrica pulled out of the Government's new nuclear power station programme.
The billionaire titan of the mining industry, Ivan Glasenberg, finally got the greenlight from Chinese authorities on Tuesday for his Glencore commodities empire to takeover FTSE 100 stalwart Xstrata. The deal has been protracted as it waited approval from regulators around the world, with the Chinese having taken the longest to give the go-ahead.
Another company thankful to the People's Republic was Burberry, with Chinese demand for its expensive leather handbags helping to beat sales forecasts on Tuesday. Angela Ahrendts said Burberry had benefitted from a strong Christmas and Chinese New Year.
...at a loss
What a dreadful week for three of the biggest names in British retailing. Let's start with Janie Schaffer AKA the Knicker Queen.
On Tuesday, the woman who founded the Knickerbox chain left Marks & Spencer just three months after being brought in to breathe life into the high-street chain's lingerie division. The word is that she wasn't given the sort control that a monarch would expect.
Schaffer resigns at a time when M&S is under such pressure from investors for recording seven consecutive quarters of falling sales in its general merchandise division. Previously, she was chief creative officer at the rather saucier Victoria's Secret chain.
Analysts and investors in the City who didn't nip out to catch a glimpse of Lady Thatcher's coffin being taken to St Paul's on Wednesday will have been shaking their heads at Tesco's first decline in profit for nearly two decades. Chief executive Philip Clarke also confirmed that the cost of exiting the US, where the Fresh & Easy shops have failed capture Americans' imaginations, will cost £1.2bn.
Finally, on Wednesday it emerged that Sainsbury's boss Justin King is closing the chain's final salary pension scheme to existing staff.
- 1 Woman 'suffocates newborn baby in plastic bag and puts it in her desk minutes after giving birth'
- 2 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
- 5 Chinese student carries disabled friend to school every day for three years
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
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