Business Review of 2013

looks back at the biggest and most controversial stories of 2013

Jussi-Pekka Erkkola

Jussi-Pekka Erkkola


The year started off with American aerospace giant, Boeing, losing 1.5 per cent in share price, due to one of its 787 Dreamliners being grounded because of the ongoing issue of overheating of batteries. This was a problem which they carried over from 2012, and have aimed to rectify with Japanese engineers.


In February came the year’s biggest supermarket story hit, as it was revealed that two of ALDI’s ready meals, supplied by Comigel, tested positive for 30 per cent and 100 per cent horsemeat. The scandal caused a subsequent 3 per cent drop in beef sales for the rest of 2013.


The start of spring saw the return of the unbeloved banks to the news, with accounting firm KPMG stating that the £31.5bn profit from the UK’s top five banks had been wiped out by the cost of previous mistakes and exorbitant regulations.


April gave us one of the more unusual stories of the year, as British retailers were found to have been rationing powdered baby milk, because of a sudden surge of demand in China. A representative of Danone, manufacturers of Aptamil, disclosed restrictions of two cans per person were in place at certain supermarkets.


In may the most talked about business story was that of Aaron Levie, Co-founder of Box, who made it into the news after it was revealed that the file sharing entrepreneur, worth $100m still had his meetings at McDonalds, and said he lived mainly off ‘Spaghetti-o’s.


At the halfway point of the year, fashion designers and owners Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, were sentenced to 8 months in prison for evading 1 billion euros worth of tax. Both men appealed their sentence.


The summer uncovered a scandal in the Church of England. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, spoke out against controversial short-term loan companies, such as ‘Wonga’. Yet, not long afterwards he was embarrassed to find out that the Church of England itself had indirectly invested £75,000 in the company.


The Bank of America returned to the forefront of the news, as the death of Moritz Erhardt – a Meril Lynch employee – led to enquiries into excessive working hours in London’s biggest companies.


The start of autumn brought about the biggest technological takeover as Nokia were bought by Microsoft for €5.4bn (then £4.6bn). This sad news for those of us privileged enough to have owned a 3310, caused a 35 per cent increase in share price for the company. The sale was set to be completed early this year.


In October the newly privatised Royal Mail experienced a 38 per cent rise in shares on the very first day of conditional dealing, with 225mn shares being traded. The pinnacle of the prices reached 459.30p a share.


Amazon became the focus of a working conditions investigation in November. The online retailer was found to have caused dangerously high stress levels and night shifts which included an 11 mile walk.


The Christmas period gave yet more banking drama, with Lloyds receiving a record £28m fine for poor conduct with staff relation to staff bonus schemes, which pressured the employees to hit targets or face demotion.

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