The Business: Wednesday April 30 2014
Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday
Warren Buffett has been dealt a blow as one of his major investments files for bankruptcy. Energy Future has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, in what is set to be one of the biggest corporate collapses since Enron. The company has been struggling under the weight of nearly $50bn of debts since it was formed. It was due to repay $100m of debts this week, but filed for protection as it conjured a plan to appease creditors by dealing the business out to those that it owes.
Shares in Twitter have dropped by 11%, the lowest level since the company's stock market flotation. The social network has suffered slower than expected user growth. The number of active users on the microblogging website reached 255m in the first three months of 2014, up 5.8% on the previous quarter but below analysts' expectations. Twitter also reported a net loss of $132m (£78m) for the latest quarter.
The business secretary has defended the sale price of Royal Mail, reports the BBC. Vince Cable told MPs: “We don't apologise for it and we don't regret it.” He added: “Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but on the basis of facts we had, the information we had, the knowledge we had of the company, this was a successful transaction.” Royal Mail's share price has risen by almost 90% since the first day of trading in October last year.
The Baskin-Robbins ice cream chain has got one over one of its bitterest rivals by landing a franchise deal to replace Ben & Jerry’s at 45 Cineworld cinemas across Britain. The chain’s owner, Dunkin’ Brands, already has stores in 16 Cineworld locations among its 125 British outlets. The new deal includes any future Cineworld sites. Chief executive Nigel Travis hopes to push take-away ice cream cakes, which are a popular kid’s treat in the US.
“It has, in all honesty, been a long time coming. The recession was deep and the recovery – until the last 12 months – painfully slow. Slower even than after the Great Depression of the 1930s.” The Guardian’s Larry Elliott says the economy is growing but within Mark Carney’s comfort zone.
Profits at Costa are on the rise again as the coffee chain brews up a healthy set of figures for its owner, reports The Guardian. Profits at the chain’s 1,755 shops in the UK and Ireland rose by 22% to £110m with revenue at stores open a year or longer up 5.7%. The figures helped owner Whitbread beat City forecasts for annual profits. During 2013, Costa served over 400m cups of coffee in Britain. Sales are on course for a target of £2bn by 2018 as it targets 2,200 UK stores and expands abroad.
FTSE-100: up +1.04 to 6769.91
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Dax: up +0.48 to 9584.12
Cac-40: up +0.83 to 4497.68
Nikkei: up +0.21 to 14317.84
Hang Seng: down -1.34 to 22153.70
US dollar: buys €0.72440 and £0.59470
Sterling: buys $1.68150 and €1.21810
Oil: $108.79 up +0.6