UK car sales soar
British new car sales rose to their highest level since 2007 last year, bucking a weak European trend to grow by 10.8pc on the year, industry data for the continent's second-largest car market shows.
Cheap finance was a major factor in helping to shift 2.265 million cars in 2013, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said yesterday, up from 2.045 million in 2012 and slightly beating its forecast for sales of 2.25 million. It also said billions of pounds in compensation paid to consumers by banks for past insurance mis-selling had helped some car-buyers fund deposits.
MAERSK SELLS STAKES
SHIPPING giant Maersk has agreed to sell substantial stakes in Denmark's largest retailer and a department store chain, as the shipping and oil conglomerate slims down to boost performance. Maersk said it was selling 48.7pc of Dansk Supermarked, which owns 1,200 supermarkets in Scandinavia, Germany and Poland, and 18.7pc of department store chain F Salling for about 17 billion Danish crowns (€2.2bn).
Maersk, Denmark's largest company by revenue, is selling the stakes as part of a five-year plan to shrink its sprawling business empire to five core areas.
ANDROID TO BREAK 1BN
THE number of smartphones and tablet computers shipped with Google's Android operating system will break the one billion barrier this year, research firm Garnter has found.
Android, which is installed on products made by Samsung, HTC, Sony and many other manufacturers, is forecast to reach 1.1 billion users in 2014, up 26pc on last year, with the strongest demand in emerging markets.
GERMAN JOBS BOOST
GERMAN unemployment unexpectedly fell in December, the first drop since July, the country's Labour Office said yesterday, bolstering hopes that domestic consumption could lift growth in Europe's biggest economy.
The number of people out of work fell by 15,000 to 2.965 million, the biggest decrease in two years, data showed. The jobless rate held steady at 6.9pc, close to its lowest level since Germany reunified more than two decades ago. Labour Office chief Frank-Juergen Weise expressed optimism about the coming year. "The economic expectations are good," he told reporters.