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September 5: British Airways has estimated the cost of last month’s terror alert at around £40m, which is lower than some people feared. The airline had to cancel about 1,280 flights but was still able to record a 5 per cent rise in August passenger traffic.
The West Ham story just gets more and more bizarre. Today Kia Joorabchian (we think it’s him but can’t be sure as there are no contact details on his release) says he is no longer seriously considering a bid for the club because of a “family bereavement”. He doesn’t rule out a bid, but for now “the immediate focus of his attention is on family matters”, he says.
Vodafone has fuelled speculation that Arun Sarin’s days are numbered by bringing back Vittorio Colao as deputy chief executive and head of its European business. This looks like an aggressive move by Sir John Bond, Vodafone’s new chairman: Colao was already regarded as a possible successor to Sarin before he left Vodafone two years ago to run a business in Italy. Nonsense, says Vodafone: the appointment was Sarin’s idea and the two are the best of friends. This remains our best story today and analysis of it will probably occupy quite a bit of our first right-hand page in tomorrow’s paper. We have some fabulously baroque pictures of Colao. Vodafone shares are only up a touch. Quick apology: I mispelt Colao’s name in the email that went out to subscribers at lunchtime.
Mark Preston, the Deutsche Banker who seems to have bought or sold most of Britain’s ports recently, is leaving to join JP Morgan Cazenove. In fact he seems to have left already as the email he sent out this afternoon has his private contact details on it. Good news for Caz, and good news for Preston.
There is also alot going on in the oil sector. According to a story out of the US overnight, BP has retained a former judge to handle worker complaints in the US. It is an extremely unusual move and merely serves to highlight the extent of worker unhappiness about BP’s operations. Elsewhere in the sector, Cairn says it is on track to demerge its Indian operations in December but said its largest field, Mangala, would come on stream later than expected. Also, Premier Oil, responding to market speculation, says it has not received a takeover approach from Royal Dutch Shell. Shell, which one wire story rather vaguely says is looking for advisers to study a Premier bid, refuses to comment. John Wood Group, the oil industry support group, is benefiting from all the activity in the sector and produced a sharp rise in first half results. It also appears that Royal Dutch Shell has had to cease pipeline-laying at its Sakhalin-2 oil and gas project in eastern Russia after a complaint by Russia’s Natural Resources Ministry. Our correspondents in Moscow are checking it out.
Hopes that chairman John Hargreaves will come up with a 200p a share offer for Matalan were boosted this morning by the retailer’s better-than-expected first half sales figures. The stock rose 7 per cent.
Solid figures from Aegis– or solid enough at least to strengthen the group’s arm in its attempts to fend off Vincent Bolloré. Otherwise, today brings another mass of results: good figures from Admiral, dreadful ones from John Menzies, and figures too from Meggitt (brushing off Airbus problems), Hays, Brixton (disappointing) and Savills (better than expected).
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