US CHAINS BEEF UP MEALS TO LIFT PROFITS
Fast-food chains in the US are rolling out more expensive premium products after two years of relentless focus on lower priced meals in the hope of recouping profit margins surrendered during the recession of 2008 and 2009. McDonald’s is selling a “smokehouse deluxe” burger in Canada priced at more than US$5.00 at close to 100 restaurants in the province of Ontario.
UK COAL EXPECTS RETURN TO BLACK
UK Coal said the end of lossmaking legacy contracts coupled with burgeoning production should return the group to profitability next year. However, pre-tax losses at the UK’s largest coal miner widened from £81.5m to £93.2m in the six months to June 26, on revenues down from £159.8m to £141.3m.
OUTLOOK IMPROVES FOR FORTH PORTS
Oil producers’ safety concerns following April’s Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico hit first-half throughput at two of the Scottish oil and gas terminals operated by Forth Ports, its chief executive said on Wednesday. Announcing interim results at the ports and property business, Charles Hammond said oil shipments through Hounds Point and gas exports through Braefoot Bay, both on the Firth of Forth, had fallen.
DUBAI WORLD PLANS $19BN ASSET SALE
Dubai World has told lenders it could raise up to $19.4bn from selling its assets, in a bid to repay $14.4bn of the holding company’s debt, the terms of which it is looking to restructure, according to people close to the situation. In late July, the company set out its debt restructuring plan, including a time frame over which it would consider selling assets to raise funds to repay lenders.
CONFUSED.COM FAILS TO COMPARE TO A TENOR
Confused.com lost the battle of the price comparison websites in the first half, ceding the market-leading position in online car insurance to its upstart rival GoCompare.com. Confused.com, owned by the Admiral Group, has been locked in a high-profile TV marketing war with GoCompare.com.
IT COMPANY THAT AXED 700 JOBS HAS 700 NEW VACANCIES
Hewlett Packard, a global computer company that axed 700 jobs last year at its factory at Erskine, Renfrewshire, has announced that it is to create 700 new jobs there. The remarkable turnaround by Hewlett Packard exemplifies global trends in manufacturing, for while the lost jobs were in making computer equipment.
The Daily Telegraph
APPLE TAKES A BITE AT HULU WITH TV SHOW RENTAL
Apple is poised to unveil a major revamp of its Apple TV offering, a make-over which includes giving US users the option to rent – rather than buy – programmes for as little as 99 cents. The consumer technology giant is reported to be talking to a number of US television networks about its proposals, which could be announced as early as next month.
ROEWE CASHES IN ON MG ROVER'S BRITISH HERITAGE
Five years ago, the last car stuttered off the production line at Longbridge as MG Rover, Britain’s last major car manufacturer, collapsed ignominiously. Today, however, sales of Rover’s twin brother, the Roewe, are soaring in China. And the white gates of Longbridge are open again, producing a new MG6.
WALL STREET JOURNAL
COST SAVINGS, SALES HELP L'ORÉAL'S FIRST-HALF PROFIT
L'Oréal, the world’s largest cosmetics company by revenue, said Wednesday its first-half profit jumped 21 per cent, as a sharp sales increase and drastic cost cuts drove a rebound. The French company, owner of such brands as Maybelline, L'Oréal Paris and Lancôme, said net profit reached €1.31bn in the first six months of the year, up from €1.08bn a year earlier.
RUSSIA'S AUTO MARKET PICKS UP SPEED
Russia’s car market is rebounding more quickly than expected, buoyed by a return of cheap credit and a successful government scrappage scheme, top auto makers said on Wednesday. Car sales in the country are up 9 per cent for the first seven months of the year compared to the same period in 2009.