Barclays pledge over jobs cuts

Barclays pledged it would look to avoid compulsory job cuts "where possible" if its £45bn merger with Dutch bank ABN Amro goes ahead.

Barclays pledged it would look to avoid compulsory job cuts "where possible" if its £45bn merger with Dutch bank ABN Amro goes ahead.

The two companies have announced proposals to axe or relocate 23,600 of their 217,000 staff if the merger to create the world's fifth largest bank takes place.

Co-op members share £19.6m

THE Co-operative Group said its members would share dividend payments of £19.6m after another strong year from the business.

The Manchester-based group, which is due to complete a merger with Rochdale's United Co-operatives at the end of July, said its annual share of profits would be equivalent to 1.43p for each point earned across its businesses.

HMV hopes that worst is behind

TROUBLED music retailer HMV more than halved pre-tax profits last year but offered hope the worst of its woes were behind it. The group, which owns book chain Waterstone's, said its recovery plan had seen the new financial year start with like-for-like sales up 3.8%.

Potter fever drives exports

HARRY Potter fever surrounding the seventh and final book in the series about the schoolboy wizard has driven a boom in overseas demand, publisher Bloomsbury said. Exports ahead of the launch next month of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows are soaring, according to Bloomsbury, which said it had already sold 17% more copies than total export sales of the previous title.

Germans to run Queen's train

THE Queen's royal train is set to be run by German train company Deutsche Bahn after the group announced an agreement to buy UK freight giant English Welsh & Scottish Railway (EWS).

Further bid for warranties firm

THE prospect of a £500m battle for Domestic & General emerged after the warranties specialist said it had attracted further bid interest. D&G disclosed last month that it was in the sights of Homeserve, a household repairs and emergencies business. However, it added it had received other approaches, lifting shares by another 8% to 1333p and giving the Wimbledon-based firm a market value of around £484m.

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