SPAIN AIMS TO BRING EU STATES INTO LINE
The European Union should apply “corrective measures” against member states that fail to meet their obligations under a new 10-year plan to improve the bloc’s competitiveness, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Spain’s premier, said. In a proposal likely to stir controversy among other EU governments, Mr Zapatero said the European Commission should be granted powers to police compliance with the plan, which is expected to be adopted in March and is known as the “2020 strategy”.
SONY’S PS3 ENJOYS LATE JUMP IN SALES
A hefty price cut and a new model PlayStation3 appeared to have paid off for Sony, as the company revealed that it had sold 3.8m of the games consoles worldwide in the final five weeks of 2009. This is a 76 per cent increase on last year and the best holiday sales the PS3 has had. The company said that its PlayStation Network, the online gaming service that can be accessed from the PS3, PlayStation Portable or by personal computer, now has 38m registered accounts. The announcement comes a day after rival Nintendo said that it had sold more than 3m Wii consoles in the US in December, a 40 per cent increase on the previous year.
CABINET PRESSURE MOUNTS ON BROWN
Gordon Brown has been told by two of his most senior ministers to change his leadership style, clarify Labour’s election strategy and abandon “class war” rhetoric if he wants to rebuild cabinet unity after Wednesday’s failed leadership coup. Harriet Harman, deputy Labour leader, and Jack Straw, justice secretary, sought assurances he would include them in a wider circle of advisers.
LLOYDS FACES £200M LOSS AS PROPERTY COMPANY WITHERS INTO RECEIVERSHIP
Lloyds Banking Group is facing a loss of at least £200m after Kilmartin, an HBOS-backed property company, went into receivership. Directors of Kilmartin Holdings, a Scottish group founded by Iain Wotherspoon, the property entrepreneur, handed over the company to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the accountant, yesterday.
NATIONAL EXPRESS LAUNCHES BOND ISSUE ON JOURNEY BACK TO FINANCIAL STABILITY
National Express, the troubled bus and train operator, launched a £350m corporate bond issue yesterday. The group said that it would use the money to repay €270m (£242m) of bond debt, which was fast approaching maturity.
The Daily Telegraph
AMAZON KINDLE UNDER THREAT FROM “UNBREAKABLE, LIGHT-AS-PAPER” QUE E-READER
Plastic Logic unveiled a new e-reader with a screen made of plastic, rather than glass, that has the potential to reinvigorate newspaper and magazine publishing. Henning Sirringhaus, one of the Cambridge dons who founded the company, which was spun out of the university's Cavendish Laboratory in 2000, said the 10in screen on the Que reader is “unbreakable”.
TIM GEITHNER’S NY FED TOLD AIG TO KEEP QUIET ABOUT $105BN PAID TO BANKS.
The New York Fed, under Mr Geithner’s leadership until he was appointed US Treasury Secretary in January 2009, instructed the troubled insurer to withhold details of the payments from the public.
WALL STREET JOURNAL
SEVERAL RETAILERS BOOST THEIR FORECASTS
A number of retailers raised earnings forecasts after reporting stronger than expected December sales, perhaps signaling a slow return to health for America’s chain stores. Sales for the five-week period ending in early January rose 2.9 per cent compared to the prior year, nearly one percentage point greater than Wall Street anticipated.
AMERICAN AIRLINES RAISES JAL OFFER
American Airlines raised its offer to invest in Japan Airlines by $300m to $1.4bn, according to people familiar with the situation, intensifying American’s battle with rival Delta Air Lines to forge a partnership with the cash-strapped Japanese carrier. American met with JAL executives yesterday morning and sweetened its offer.