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The Business Matrix: Friday 15 February 2013

Fall in number of repossessions

There was good news for the housing market yesterday as figures showed the number of repossessions in the UK in 2012 fell to their lowest level since 2007. Just under 34,000 homes were seized in 2012, the Council of Mortgage Lenders said. In 1991 there were 75,000 repossessions.

Banks told not to leave Libor panel

Banks have been told by the Financial Services Authority that they should not try to leave the panel which sets Libor because they fear becoming embroiled in the growing scandal over rate rigging. A number of European banks including Rabobank and BNP Paribas are believed to have wanted to quit the panel.

Airline merger gets off the ground

American Airlines and US Airways have agreed to merge in an $11bn (£7bn) deal to create the world's biggest airline. The tie-up, which is due to complete in the third quarter, reduces the number of major US airlines to four – the new American, United, Delta and Southwest.

Entertainment One movie boost

Distributing such hit films as Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained helped Entertainment One to lift group revenues by 11 per cent on a like-for-like basis. The Anglo-Canadian company, which specialises in TV and film production and distribution, is on track to hit its full-year profit target by the end of February, with new films in the pipeline.

Rio Tinto unveils first full-year loss

Rio Tinto's new chief executive, Sam Walsh, promised an "unrelenting" focus on shareholder value as he unveiled the FTSE 100 miner's first-ever full-year loss, of $3bn (£1.9bn).Mr Walsh was promoted to the top job after his predecessor quit.

US investigation into merger closed

Pearson and Bertelsmann have been told by the US Department of Justice that it has closed its investigation into the proposed merger of Penguin and Random House, without conditions.

The two firms announced their agreement to combine Penguin and Random House in October. The merger is being reviewed by the European Commission.

German decline hits eurozone

A shocking decline for the mighty German economy has sunk the eurozone even deeper into recession.The single currency bloc suffered a far worse than expected 0.6 per cent fall in output in the final quarter of 2012 – twice as bad as the UK's 0.3 per cent reverse.

Hugo Boss sales help SVG's value

A bounce-back in Hugo Boss's share price in the final quarter helped SVG Capital, the listed private equity fund, to record a 16 per cent jump in the value of its assets in 2012. Boss was caught in the slipstream of Burberry's profit warning last year, but recovered strongly as investors realised it was still growing strongly.

Tata sees profits fall 50% in quarter

India's Tata Motors has reported a 50 per cent drop in its quarterly net profit to 1.6 billion rupees (£190m) in the September-December quarter, reflecting sales declines for its core business and investment costs at subsidiary Jaguar Land Rover.

EC unveils tax on financial trading

Brussels has unveiled plans for a tax on financial trading that could raise up to €35 billion annually. The European Commission formally proposed its financial transaction tax – known as the Tobin tax – which is aimed at making banks pay for taxpayer help they received in the financial crisis and will apply from next January.

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