Business

Morning business round-up: Greece 'in selective default'

What made the business news in Asia and Europe this morning? Here's our daily business round-up:

Rating agency Standard & Poor's has classified Greek debt as in "selective default" following the deal it made with creditors to reduce its debts.

S&P said the terms of Greece's latest bailout agreement triggered the latest downgrade.

Separately, the European Central Bank said it was suspending the eligibility of Greek bonds as collateral for loans to commercial banks.

Portugal has passed the latest test of its main international backers.

The country has made deep spending cuts and is introducing economic reforms to get its bailout.

In company news, Irish airline Aer Lingus saw its annual profits more than double, as it continues to benefit from extensive cost-cutting.

The carrier made a pre-tax profit of 84.4m euros ($113m; £72m) in 2011, up from 27.2m euros a year earlier.

German pharmaceuticals giant Bayer also said its profits almost doubled last year, fuelled by sales in emerging markets.

In Asia, there were no buyers for Elpida shares at the Tokyo Stock Exchange as investors shunned the stock after the chipmaker filed for bankruptcy protection.

Shares of Australia's Billabong dipped after the firm rejected an improved takeover bid from TPG Capital and said that talks between the two had broken down.

Japan's retail sales rose more-than-expected in January driven up by a surge in car sales as government subsidies on energy-efficient cars boosted demand.

In the UK, Barclays bank has been was ordered by the Treasury to pay back £500m in tax that it had tried to avoid.

Barclays was accused by HM Revenue and Customs of designing and using two schemes that were intended to avoid substantial amounts of tax.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionBusiness headlines

The UK's service sector weakened in the three months to the end of January, according to the latest report from the CBI business group.

Consumer services, which includes hotels, bars and restaurants, saw a sharp drop in activity.

The actor Michael Douglas, who played a greedy executive in the iconic movie Wall Street, has been announced as the Federal Bureau of Investigation's new spokesman against insider trading.

In his new role, Mr Douglas is warning executives against following the on-screen credo of his character, Gordon Gekko.

In the latest edition of Business Daily, the Greek minister for tourism pleads for the nation's rescuers to put more focus on helping Greece towards growth and jobs.

Around the BBC