City&FinanceBriefing 30 Tuesday, 28 July 2009 London Lite Inbrief Londons o2 arena is on track to be named the worlds most popular concert venue for the second year in a row, despite the 20,000- seat venue lying empty on 21 nights when Michael Jackson was due to perform. The Greenwich complex, run by Us enter- tainment giant AEG, will host a total of 175 events this year -- 25 more than last year -- and AEG is now confident it will beat venues including new Yorks Madison square Gardens to be industry analyst Pollstars worlds number one concert arena. An AEG source said: Yes, the empty nights will cost millions, but it will not effect our bottom line. If the Michael Jackson shows had gone ahead we would have broken all records. This year will still be a hugely suc- cessful one for the venue. Bosses are confident of signing up big- name stars for some of the 23 shows Jackson was due to perform in early 2010. The venue has already secured six replacement shows in 2009, including two tribute concerts featur- ing singers Justin Timberlake, Leona Lewis and Jacksons brothers. Among the artists who have performed at the o2 this year are AC/dC, Beyonc and the Pet shop Boys. BY lucY toBin Cussons cleans up in swine flu germs war SOAPMAKER PZ Cussons has received a swine-flu booster as virus-fearing shoppers stock up on its Carex handwashes and gels to wash off germs. The consumer products group said today that sales of its anti-bacterial hand gels have surged in the pandemic as it reported a recession- defying 10% jump in pre-tax profits. I wouldnt say that consumers are being paranoid. Theyre just keen to catch it and kill it and are buying Carex to do that, said finance director Brandon Leigh. The company, which also owns Imperial Leather and Original Source, is launching a Healthy Habits campaign in the autumn to encourage people to wash their hands more often. Pre-tax profits rose to 84.4 million for the year to the end of May from 76.5 million last time on the back of turnover up 27% at 838.1 million. In the UK, like-for-like sales rose 7.5% on the previous year thanks to product launches. Cussons splashed out 75 million to buy the Sanctuary last year, and says the Covent Garden-based spa is operating at full capacity despite the recession, with 64,000 women going through its doors each year. The Sanctuary has been profitable in its first year under its ownership, and Cussons is looking at opening spas outside London. The dividend payout rises 12% to 5.27p for the year. Rolls to build new factories RoLLs-Royce today unveiled plans to build four new factories in the UK, three focusing on the aerospace sector, and the other to develop technology for the nuclear power industry. The company is spending more than 300 million on the plants -- with the Government chipping in 45 million -- in a move which will create or secure about 800 jobs. Rolls-Royce is also investing in two research programmes to cut the carbon dioxide emissions of its future engines. Australia Dollars 1.9015 Canada Dollars 1.6993 Denmark Kroner 8.1940 Eurozone Euro 1.1041 Hong Kong Dollars 12.1300 Japan Yen 149.1100 New Zealand Dollars 2.3341 South Africa Rand 11.9100 Sweden Kronor 11.7400 Switzerland Francs 1.6799 UAE Dirham 5.6830 United States Dollars 1.5747 TouRisT RaTes UP 18.10 at 4604.23 fTse 100 dow jones nikkei -$ UP 15.27 at 9108.51 DOWN 1.40 at 10,087.26 UP 0.58 at $1.6547 >>for all the latest City share prices, call 0905 817 1694* or visit * Calls cost 75p/min from a BT landline & last approx 1 min per quote. not all stocks are available BP battered by falling oil price l BP today reported a 53% dive in profits as the recession hit the price of oil. In the second quarter they were $3.14 billion (1.9 billion) compared with $6.75 billion in the same period last year but 30% higher than the first quarter. the swings reflected fluctuations in the oil price which hit $147 a barrel last summer before sinking to below $35 over the winter. Electrifying: Brian Johnson and Angus Young of AC/DC at the O2 Games firm Rings up profits l Lord of the rings and Warhammer helped Games Workshop to today post a 580% rise in pre-tax profit, hitting 7.5 million for the year to May. Stripping out currency movements, the tabletop wargames specialist earned 125.7 million in the UK, US, France, Japan and elsewhere during the last year, up from 110.3 million in 2008. Provident says rates are fair l doorSteP lender Provident Financial today denied it was charging poor families extortionate rates because they were unable to borrow from High Street banks. Childrens charity Barnardos told the office of Fair trading Provident was charging up to 545% aPr (annual percentage rate). Its profits rose 3.5% to 53.1 million in the six months to end-June. High street woe is set to linger l retaILerS misery will drag on until 2011 as the recent revival in stores fortunes proves unsustainable, a leading ratings agency has warned. High Street sales rose 1.2% in June, said the office for National Statistics. But Fitch argues shops have benefited from sunny weather and slashing prices, not economic recovery. o2 is worlds no1 venue for second year index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html