News in brief

There was some welcome cheer from the nation's builders today as official figures showed a bounceback to growth in the construction sector in October. Construction output grew 8.3 per cent month-on-month in October, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, compared with a 2.8 per cent decline on September and 0.4 per cent fall in August. The data is not seasonally adjusted. Every sub-sector recorded positive growth except public housing and public non-housing repair and maintenance, the ONS said, with infrastructure projects performing strongly.

TERMINAL OPENS: Foreign Secretary and Richmond MP William Hague opened Leeds Bradford Airport’s £11m passenger terminal development today (December 14). Construction work to improve the airport started in December 2011. The completed terminal investment now provides for a 65 per cent increase in airside space over two floors, creating a new larger departure lounge, a range of new food and drink outlets, a walk-through Tax and Duty Free store and additional retail brands. This development has created an additional 2500m² of airside space of which 600m² is new construction.

LIBOR FINE: Swiss bank UBS is poised to be hit with a £620m fine to settle allegations it rigged Libor, as early as Monday. The Zurich-based bank, which has around 6,500 staff in London, is in last-minute negotiations with authorities around the world, the Financial Times said. A £620m fine would more than double the £290m paid by Barclays for its Libor settlement over the summer. The fine would cap a turbulent year for UBS, which saw rogue trader Kweku Adoboli jailed and it suffer a £233m loss on the botched Facebook stock market flotation.

WEB GROWTH: Fashion and home furnishings chain Laura Ashley said like-for-like sales improved by 4.9 per cent in the 19 weeks to December 8, while website revenues were up 22.6 per cent after the introduction of a mobile site that offers the complete range of its products and increased overseas deliveries.

INSURANCE SALE: Equity Red Star, which is one of the UK's top ten motor insurers and a personal lines syndicate at Lloyd's of London, has been sold by Insurance Australia Group (IAG) to Aquiline Capital Partners for £87 million. A separate deal has been struck to sell IAG's smaller commercial broking arm to management.

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