UK ATTORNEY GENERAL VOWS FRAUD CRACKDOWN
Britain aims to become the most hostile country in the world to fraudsters, the government’s top law officer has pledged, in an eye-catching riposte to growing criticism about the lack of big financial crime cases being mounted. Baroness Scotland, attorney-general, said domestic investigation agencies would soon be giving their assertive US counterparts a “real run for their money”.
TWO-YEAR WAIT TO MOVE MOBILE NUMBERS
Consumers will have to wait at least two years before they can move their mobile phone numbers between service providers almost instantaneously.
Ofcom yesterday sought to revive its stalled efforts to cut the length of time it takes for mobile users to transfer their phone numbers.
METRO WARNS OF FURTHER RETAIL WOE
Metro, the German retailer, yesterday dashed hopes for a rebound in Europe’s largest economy when it posted a second-quarter profit drop and said an upswing in consumer spending remained out of sight. Eckhard Cordes, Metro’s chief executive, said he expected retail sales to fall further in the second half.
CLOROX GETS SALES BOOST FROM FLU OUTBREAK
Clorox, maker of bleach and other cleaning products, yesterday joined a select group of US companies that have seen sales lifted by the H1N1 swine flu pandemic.
Larry Peiros, chief operating officer, said sales volumes of bleach cleaners had risen by 10-15 per cent during the fourth quarter against a year ago due to swine flu fears, with strong growth in Latin America. The company saw a 3 per cent decline in sales volumes in North America against last year.
SCHUBERT AND NASSER IN RUNNING FOR BHP BILLITON
BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining company, is hoping to achieve a dignified transition of power in the boardroom having narrowed its shortlist for a new chairman to just two. After the messy appointments of chairmen at BHP’s closest rivals, Rio Tinto and Anglo American, investors are hoping for a calmer succession when Don Argus steps down from the board next year.
PWC AIMS TO TREBLE ITS FEES FROM CONSULTING
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the UK’s largest professional services firm, plans to treble its fees from management consulting to more than £1.3bn within the next four years and hire 2,000 staff, including more than 100 partners. PwC is counting on aggressive growth.
The Daily Telegraph
ANDREW HALL SEEKING ‘QUIET DIVORCE’ FROM CITIGROUP
Andrew Hall, the Wall Street oil trader allegedly owed a $100m (£59m) bonus by Citigroup, has held talks to separate the trading business he leads from the troubled banking conglomerate. Mr Hall, who was born in the UK but is a naturalised American citizen, is reported to be pushing for a “quiet divorce” between Citigroup and its commodities trading business Phibro.
‘COMBAT BAN’ FOR AFGHANISTAN HELICOPTERS
Helicopters earmarked by the Ministry of Defence to help British troops in Afghanistan will not be able to fly on combat operations because they are not armour-plated. A failure to equip the six Merlin helicopters with proper protection will endanger the lives of passengers and crew.
WALL STREET JOURNAL
PAYPAL USERS HIT BY GLOBAL SERVICE OUTAGE
EBay’s PayPal unit experienced a world-wide system outage yesterday, leaving millions of customers of the online payments service temporarily unable to complete transactions.
The outage began around 1:30 p.m. EDT, and affected all PayPal customers for about an hour, said spokesman Anuj Nayar. By about 6:30 p.m. EDT, service had been restored to all customers, the company said.
CHESAPEAKE REPORTS A PROFIT
Chesapeake Energy swung to a second-quarter profit as hedging played in the company’s favor. The natural-gas producer reported a profit of $243m (£168m), or 39 cents a share, compared with a loss of $1.59bn, or $3.16 a share, a year earlier. The latest results included a $597m hedging gain.