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Hundreds of jobs to go at Imperial Tobacco factory

Imperial Tobacco is to end cigarette manufacturing in the UK after announcing plans to close its factory in Nottingham with the loss of up to 540 jobs.

Imperial Tobacco factory in Nottingham Credit: PA

The Bristol-based company, which employs 1,700 people in the UK, said the factory has the capacity to make 36 billion cigarettes a year but will only produce 17 billion in 2014.

It blamed declining industry volumes in Europe, which have been impacted by increasing regulation and taxation and the growth in illicit trade.

The company is also closing a production site in Nantes, France, where 320 people are employed.

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House of Fraser sold to Chinese retail giant

Department store chain House of Fraser has sold a majority stake in its business to Chinese conglomerate Sanpower in a deal worth £480 million.

House of Fraser on Oxford Street in Central London Credit: PA Wire

The Chinese retail giant acquired a 89% stake in the 165-year-old brand's UK and Ireland department stores through its Nanjing Cenbest subsidiary.

Its announcement comes after reports last week that Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley had bought an 11% stake in the business in an attempt to derail the deal with the Chinese.

Osborne: Critics of economic plan proved 'wrong'

Chancellor George Osborne has said that critics of Britain's economic recovery plan have been proved "comprehensively wrong".

Chancellor George Osborne Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Speaking in Washington, Mr Osborne said: "Cutting deficits and controlling spending has not choked off recovery but has instead laid the foundations for sustainable growth."Many risks remain, but all this should be cause for cautious optimism."

He conceded "many risks remain" for the UK, including the fall out from the Ukraine crisis and the sluggish eurozone recovery, but hailed the success of the upturn a year after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that his austerity policies were "playing with fire".

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Co-op Bank chief to get £2.9m pay package

Niall Booker says management "kept the bank alive" during its troubles.
Niall Booker says management "kept the bank alive" during its troubles. Credit: Reuters

Co-operative Bank chief executive Niall Booker is to receive a total £2.9 million pay package for the financial year 2013 and could receive a further £1.2 million dependent on the bank's future performance.

On the publishing of the results, Mr Booker said the new management had succeeded in keeping "the bank alive".

Co-op Bank loss 'reflects magnitude' of task ahead

The Co-operative Bank announced a £1.3bn loss for 2013.
The Co-operative Bank announced a £1.3bn loss for 2013. Credit: Tim Goode/EMPICS Entertainment

Co-operative Bank chief executive Niall Booker said today's belated 2013 annual results "reflect the magnitude of the issues that have come to light" since he took charge of the troubled bank ten months ago.

However, he said he said "initial progress on our business plan is encouraging and we remain enthusiastic about the long term potential for the Bank".

"The level of change required in improvement in processes, systems and culture is significant," he said.

"We are determined to rebuild trust in the Bank after the events of last year and reward the loyalty our customers and shareholders have shown us."

Read: Co-operative Bank announces £1.3bn annual loss

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