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Business Analysis & Features

The Business Week in Review: Bombardier, The Hinduja brothers, and Mark Hurd...


In profit...

Transport Secretary Justine Greening claimed credit for providing some cheer to the city of Derby.

The Department for Transport (DfT) gave more than £80m to Southern Railways to help fund a £188m contract to build 130 carriages.

Southern selected Bombardier, which came as a relief to the DfT after it received so much flak for failing to award a £1.4bn Thameslink contract to the Canadian company last summer. Germany's Siemens won the deal resulting in Bombardier's decision to axe 1,400 jobs from its Derby factory.

The billionaire Hinduja brothers were left with a clear run at Aim-listed UK Optare last Thursday, after a bid from the specialist single deck busmaker's rival, Alexander Dennis, disappeared.

The brothers' Indian busmaker company, Ashok Leyland, would seize control as the result of a £12m rescue loan that will severely dilute Optare's other shareholders. However, that does mean that Optare warded off bankruptcy, which was at one point expected to happen as early as today.

In the last hours of 2011 trading, Better Capital, the listed private equity vehicle chaired by Jon Moulton, announced it had completed the purchase of the UK and Irish operations of stationery supplier Spicers.

...at a loss

Former Hewlett-Packard boss Mark Hurd lost a legal appeal to block the publication of an eight-page letter that details sexual harassment allegations that led to his resignation in 2010.

The letter was sent by the lawyer for former soft-porn actress Jodie Fisher, who worked for Hurd between 2007 and 2009. She alleged he made sexual advances towards her, which were rejected. The letter also alleged that Fisher had been tipped off about HP's $13bn acquisition of IT services firm EDS two months before the deal was announced.

Although Hurd resigned 10 weeks later, HP cleared him of sexual harassment allegations. HP did find expense claim irregularities during the course of the investigation into Fisher's claims, which led to his departure.

Former Lloyds chairman Sir Victor Blank might be regretting his decision to accept the guest-editorship of Radio 4's Today last Thursday, in which he tried to defend the disastrous merger with HBOS which he oversaw in 2008. Lloyds shareholders fumed at claims he was trying to save the banking system and an MP described his appearance as "incredible" – and not in a good way.

On Friday, 1,610 staff at shoe shop chain Barratts received the news that they were dreading: their jobs were gone after administrator Deloitte failed to find a buyer.