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.
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Scottish independence: Despite defeat history may still point to Alex Salmond as the victor
Scottish independence referendum: Frankie Boyle reacts to nation's 'No' vote - 'To be fair, I've always hated Scotland'
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish referendum: Police struggle to control Unionist rally in Glasgow's George Square
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
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