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The Business Matrix: Friday 19 July 2013

Hermès bags sales rise of 16 per cent

Europe’s desire for expensive handbags appears stronger than its taste for champagne as the French luxury group Hermès posted a 16 per cent sales rise while champagne maker Laurent-Perrier recorded a 10.5 per cent drop. Hermès, which sells £300 silk scarves and £10,000 Birkin handbags, said demand “remained strong in Europe”.

Ireland passes IMF review

Ireland met its international bailout commitments, and successfully concluded the latest review of the €85bn programme, its finance ministry said. Rescued in late 2010, Ireland would be the first bailed-out eurozone country to wean itself off emergency aid if it exits the scheme on schedule at the end of this year.

Sirius warns of potash mine delay

Shareholders in Sirius Minerals face more uncertainty after the AIM-listed firm asked officials to delay their decision on its $1.7bn (£1.1bn) plan to mine potash fertiliser in an English national park on the North Yorkshire coast. The company said it needs to deal with lingering issues over environmental assessments.

HR Owen fends  off takeover bid

One of London’s oldest car dealerships urged shareholders to reject a £32.5m offer for the business from the Malaysian billionaire and owner of Premiership football club Cardiff City, Vincent Tan. HR Owen, which opened for business in Mayfair more than 80 years ago, said the 130p-a-share offer from Berjaya Philippines was “inadequate”.

LSE boasts 39% revenues lift

The London Stock Exchange posted an impressive 39 per cent rise in revenues, as it was lifted by more companies choosing to list in London as well as increased fundraising from listed companies. Firms raised a total £6.1bn in the quarter to June 30, more than double the £2.3n seen a year earlier.

Future may cut some magazines

The closure or sale of some print magazines could be on the agenda for the games and technology magazine publisher Future after it warned it would miss profits. Chief executive Mark Wood admitted “senior management and the board are not satisfied” and vowed to slash “legacy print costs”.

Eurostar sales rise ‘thanks to Games’

Eurostar said publicity from last summer’s Olympics saw a surge of international passengers from the US, Australia and Brazil buy tickets this year. The Channel Tunnel rail route saw sales jump 7 per cent to £453 million in the first half of this year, partly thanks to the 2012 Games legacy.

EasyJet sees its busiest summer

The hot weather is not keeping everyone in the UK: easyJet has predicted its busiest summer yet, with nine million due to fly out of UK on the budget airline between mid July and the end of September. Its most popular routes are to Malaga, Palma, Alicante and Barcelona.

Anglo slips in iron ore production

Anglo American has failed where fierce rivals Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton succeeded, announcing a 1 per cent fall in iron ore production. Rio this week announced record-breaking output, and BHP said production soared 7 per cent in the year to June.

Speedy Hire sales dip post-Olympics

Plant and tool hire firm Speedy Hire suffered an Olympic hangover as UK and Ireland sales sank 2.6 per cent on last year in the quarter to June 30. The firm was trading against a significant uplift in infrastructure spending last year ahead of the Olympics.

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