The 10 biggest business stories on Wednesday February 24

Pound drops below $1.40 for the first time since 2009; New Aston Martin to be built in Wales

Zlata Rodionova@zlata07
Wednesday 24 February 2016 10:15
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George Osborne has described the £130m tax deal with Google as being a “major success”
George Osborne has described the £130m tax deal with Google as being a “major success”

1. The pound drops below $1.40, down 50 cents at $1.398 against the dollar, for the first time in 7 years.

2. The London Stock Exchange is in talks with Germany’s Deutsche Börse in a deal that would create one of the biggest exchange owners in the world and inevitably lead to speculation that the British business is preparing for a possible post-Brexit world.

3. Oil prices slid on Wednesday, extending sharp falls from the previous session after top exporter Saudi Arabia ruled out production cuts and industry data showed a further build in US crude stockpiles.

4. Sterling could lose up to 15 per cent of its value and UK economic growth could be up to 1.5 percentage points lower next year if Britons vote to leave the European Union in the June 23 referendum, HSBC said on Wednesday.

5. Aston Martin, the luxury carmaker has announced it will open a new factory in south Wales, creating more than 750 jobs.

6. Uber launched “uberMOTO” on Wednesday, its first motorcycle-hailing service, choosing Bangkok for a pilot project it says it's developing specifically for cities in emerging markets.

7. Weir Group, a Scottish engineering firm, has reported a near 50 per cent slump in annual pre-tax as its customers continued to delay spending in order to weather the slump in oil prices.The company, which makes pumps and valves used in oil rigs, said pre-tax profit for the year fell to £220 million from £409 million a year earlier. The company said revenue fell 21 per cent to £1.92 billion.

8. Powa Technologies, the London payments business once valued at £1.8 billion ($2.7 billion) that collapsed into administration last Friday, has laid off 74 of its 311 staff.

9. Viacom is planning to sell a “significant” minority stake in its film and television studio Paramount Pictures. The company had been approached by several investors, said chief executive Philippe Dauman, and would be holding talks with some investors, the BBC reports.

10. Airbus has reported a 15 per cent rise in annual net profits and predicted deliveries of more than 650 aircraft in 2016 and a rise in orders to record levels. The European aerospace group reported a net profit of €2.7 billion, with sales up 6 per cent to €64 billion.

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