Mixed fate for airlines as banks dominate top five

Banking group HBOS was the biggest top-ten riser in this week's Reputation Monitor.

First it announced it would return cash to shareholders rather than 'hoard' capital to finance acquisitions. Then it increased pressure on local authorities to release details of council tax arrears - a crucial indicator in credit scoring, which the bank says will help it identify who will struggle to keep up credit card payments.

Top-placed HSBC claimed the custom of 22 per cent of all new businesses started in the past six months, beating nearest rival NatWest by one per cent. HSBC also agreed a three-year pay deal for UK staff, ending a lengthy dispute with union Amicus.

Ryanair's expansion into Poland put it second in the table, as it announced plans to carry five million people a year between the central European country and the UK. Meanwhile, Air France slumped to the bottom of the chart after one of its jets slid off the end of a Toronto runway and burst into flames.

Also in the bottom five was gifting firm Red Letter Days, which went into administration. Elsewhere, telecoms equipment maker Marconi, second from bottom, revealed losses of £6m as it tried to secure a takeover by Chinese partner Huawei.

Reputation Monitor is compiled from Thomson Intermedia's National News Index, a measure of media sentiment that excludes stock market reports and passing mentions.

REPUTATION MONITOR - 2-8 AUGUST 2005 Ranking Rank last week Organisation NNI Best performers 1 8 HSBC 234.6 2 43 Ryanair 187.6 3 86 HBOS 149.8 4 4 Royal Bank of Scotland 131 5 9 Asda 111.8 Worst performers* 1 1,217 Air France -66.6 2 910 Marconi Corporation -53.3 3 1 EUjet -50 4 35 Red Letter Days -35.5 5 n/a Unilever -32.5 Source: www.newsmetrics.co.uk/Thomson Intermedia plc *Rank last week is position from bottom of table

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