There has been some good news over the last week that may have escaped even the keenest eye. Jobs are being created as a result of Jaguar Land Rover signing supply contracts exceeding £2bn with UK companies for its new Range Rover Evoque model; some 1500 jobs are being created in Merseyside.
Marketing giants WPP’s profits in 2010 were a staggering £851m, almost a third up from the previous year, thanks in part to a rebound in US advertising in Q4. This suggests that manufacturers believe that the US consumer has money to spend.
One of our “beloved” nationalised banks, Northern Rock reported a loss of £232.4m for 2010; the nationalised bank said it was making progress and is in talks on returning to private ownership. This may be somewhat premature but as with other banks, demonstrates that repairs are being made to balance sheets. Mind you I still don’t really understand how bonuses are awarded for lossmakers and for effectively doing your job.
The politically sensitive nature of the media has been exposed to some extent again as News Corp owner Rupert Murdoch came under pressure to increase his £7.8bn takeover bid for the remaining stake in BSkyB. The media mogul, who also owns the Times and Sun newspapers, has been trying to ensure his offer avoids issues with the Competition Commission.
Lego prove that childrens toys – or at least good ones, are fairly recession proof. They reported a pre-tax profit of £563m in 2010, a massive rise of 63% from the year before, thanks to its Harry Potter range; the Danish toy manufacturer also reported that sales grew by 32% to £1.8bn and now claims to be the world’s fourth largest toy manufacturer with a global market share of 5.9%.
There is gold in the ground… along with many other things…a consortium of Japanese and South Korean firms has bought a 15% stake in Brazil’s rare earth mining company Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgie e Mineracao in a deal worth £1.9bn. This is further evidence of the growing confidence in Brazil as an investment region.
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