Thursday, 11 August 2011

German nuclear shutdown forces E.ON to cut 11,000 staff

The financial effects of the Fukushima nuclear power crisis continued on Wednesday as Germany's E.ON announced that plans by its government to shut the country's reactors in response to the Japanese disaster would result in up to 11,000 job losses.

As fears mounted that the nuclear shutdown would significantly increase Germany's industrial operating costs – weakening its competitiveness in an already fragile global economy – E.ON announced a swing into the red, a dividend cut, the redundancies and profits warnings for the next three years.

Germany's biggest utility, which on Friday announced an average 15% price rise for its five million domestic UK gas and electricity customers, took a €1.9bn (£1.7bn) charge relating to plant closures and a new tax on spent nuclear fuel rods, pushing the group to its first quarterly loss in 10 years – a second-quarter deficit of €1.49bn.

Sale of MySpace knocks News Corp

Media giant News Corporation has seen its quarterly profits fall 22% on the back of losses caused by the sale of the MySpace social networking website.

The company, whose UK subsidiary News International has been rocked by the phone hacking scandal, made $683m (£423m) net profit in the three months to 30 June - down from $875m last year.

News Corp sold MySpace in June for $35m, having paid $580m for it in 2005.

Stock markets rally as fears of France downgrade abate

European markets have rebounded in early trade after Asian markets steadied overnight.
In London, the FTSE 100 index was up by 1.85%, Germany's Dax index was 2.2% higher and the Cac 40 in France rose 2.1%.

French banking shares were among the biggest gainers, with Societe Generale shares up 6%.

Fears about the financial stability of France and its banks were a key trigger for Wednesday's steep falls.