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The Business Matrix: Friday 15 November 2013

Ireland emerges from bailouts

Ireland is to make a clean break from its EU/IMF bailout next month, becoming the first eurozone country to emerge from recent bailouts. With the country having raised money on the bond markets for the past 18 months, its Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, yesterday said it was the right decision at the right time for his country.

Pearson to set out tablets strategy

Pearson will give more clues about its future in tablets, not textbooks, today as it sets out a strategy to let schools and students measure performance of its courses and learning aids. The owner of the Financial Times is looking to push digital and education services to 70 per cent of group sales by 2015, up from around half today.

Ted Baker scales back expansion

Ted Baker said it would open fewer new stores in 2014 after a big expansion push across Europe, the United States and Asia that has helped sales surge, and would wait for better opportunities the following year. The clothing retailer's sales jumped 31 per cent in the first half of the year and rose by 24.4 per cent in its third quarter.

Prudential riding high after AIA fail

Prudential's chief executive Tidjane Thiam said the insurer is within weeks of beating growth targets set after its failed bid for AIA in 2010. The company reported a 12 per cent rise in new business profits to £1.95bn in the first nine months of 2013, and is set to double Asian new business to £1.4bn by the end of the year.

London price hike boosts Savills

Upmarket homes in central London are selling for more than £3m for the first time, according to the property agent Savills. A 12 per cent jump in transactions and 6 per rise in prices in the prime London market helped Savills overcome sluggish conditions in Hong Kong and beat expectations.

Trinity Mirror shares jump 20%

Trinity Mirror shares jumped 20 per cent after the Daily Mirror owner said trading is improving and annual profit should be at the "higher" end of expectations. Revenues fell 3 per cent in October after a 5 per cent slide in the third quarter. That compares with a 9 per cent plunge in the first half.

4G launch reduces Carphone profits

Carphone Warehouse said underlying sales growth slowed to 3.6 per cent in the latest quarter, from 13.2 per cent the previous quarter, amid a quieter market prior to the launch of 4G services. Carphone's half-year underlying earnings still rose to £21m from £6m a year ago.

WH Smith stores take a battering

Books, newspapers and stationery retailer WH Smith saw same-store sales fall another 4 per cent in the 10 weeks to last Saturday. The high street stores took most of the battering, with like-for-like sales down 6 per cent, while the travel outlets showed a 2 per cent drop.

3i chief to raise dividend payout

3i, which owns fashion chain Hobbs, said its net asset value stood at 322p at the end of September, up from 311p in March. The private equity group's chief executive will pay a special dividend of 4p on top of an interim dividend of 2.7p.

Taylor Wimpey surpassing targets

Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey said it had met targets for 2013 completions and was already 30 per cent sold on the target for next year. The current total order book represents 7,557 homes and is worth £1.5bn. It also predicted a boost to next year's margin.

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