Business Diary: The future's bright, the future's foreign

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The Independent Online

"UK businesses play a pivotal role in transforming the entrepreneurial culture in the UK," said Tom Alexander, boss of Orange, as he helped to launch the National Enterprise Academy yesterday. Who better to tell young British entrepreneurs that than the boss of a French company that is about to merge with its German opposite number?

Toyota man has shock for electric car fans

Not everyone in the car industry is obsessed with electric cars, despite the hype at the Frankfurt Motor Show last week over green vehicles. Toyota's Executive Vice President for R&D Takeshi Uchiyamada, points out that people first got excited about electric cars in the mid-Nineties. He added: "If the question is if there have been any major technological developments since then, the answer is no."

Steam train operator reaches boiling point

Spare a thought for the good folk of the Brecon Valley Railway. The steam engine in which the railway, based in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, has just invested is proving a big hit. Just one problem: laws that ban the transport of coal by road prevent the line sourcing the fuel from the local mine three miles away, which has no rail link. Instead, they're buying it in from Siberia.

Floating on a sea of optimism

Not every company is in the same boat as the recession continues. Those in the posh ones are doing very nicely thank you. Superyacht UK, the trade association for builders of top-class boats, says its members' sales have risen by more than 15 per cent over the past year. Someone out there still has some money to burn.

Finance chiefs on the road to salvation

People say the financial services industry is full of greedy, selfish types. Someone forgot to tell the 20 senior financial services executives setting off on Friday to cycle from Land's End to John O'Groats for charity. Directors from companies including Santander and Aegon are set to raise thousands of pounds for Naomi House Children's Hospice.

Number of the day: £30m

The value of the remuneration package though to be under discussion between ITV and potential boss Tony Ball.