Business Diary: Lloyds buries the bad news

Taxpayers hoping one day to get their money back from Lloyds Banking Group will be pleased to see it doesn't miss a trick. What better day than yesterday to announce 1,300 job losses? After all, the bank knew people would be focused on the riots. Just to make sure it was slipping the announcement under the radar, it was headlined "Lloyds Banking Group announces organisational changes" – the words "jobs" and "losses" were nowhere to be seen. With nous like this, it can be only a matter of time before the black-horse bank pays us all back.



It seems Roubini called the crash

We reported yesterday on the frustration of Nouriel Roubini, the doom-mongering economist who has been on holiday in a remote corner of Maine during the latest outbreak of the crisis. Frustrating for us, too: if only he hadn't been on vacation, he could have warned us about the sell-off in the US on Monday, since he knew it was coming. "[John] Mauldin and me won the weekend bet at Camp Kotok in Maine that the Dow would fall more than 300 points today," he tweeted late on Monday, adding magnanimously, "I will give away my prize to charity".



LG defends the mobile's honour

This is one of the more specious surveys we've seen from PR operations, but top marks to mobile phone company LG for timing. We woke up yesterday to news coverage of how smartphones were playing an important part in the riots, with one Radio 4 contributor explaining that they have become "weaponised". Far from it, says LG – the smartphone is a "modern-day sex object", it claims, with 51 per cent of Britons admitting they would use their phone while in bed with a partner.



Former dragon is still on fire

Proof that former dragons never stop breathing fire: James Caan may have stood down from the BBC's Dragons' Den, but he is still working hard on the investments he made while on the show. Take Motormouse, which makes computer mice designed as miniature classic sports cars or Mini Coopers – it has just completed negotiations with a string of airlines, including British Airways, Emirates and KLM, to sell its wares on their aircraft. Caan is very proud, we hear.

businessdiary@independent.co.uk

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