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The Business Matrix: Friday 19 October 2012

China still upbeat as growth slows

Hopes of a soft landing for China's economy were raised yesterday despite its slowest advance since the worst depths of the financial crisis. China's economy grew 7.4 per cent year on year between July and September – the lowest since the beginning of 2009 and below the Chinese government's official growth target of 7.5 per cent.

Morgan Stanley suffers $1bn loss

The US investment bank Morgan Stanley swung to a $1bn (£620m) loss over the third quarter – but beat market hopes with earnings that rose on the back of strong revenues from its bond-trading business. The company's net revenues rose to $7.6bn (£4.7bn) against $6.4bn last year, helping it beat analysts' hopes.

Britvic says merger on track

Britvic says it is on track for a £1.3bn merger with Scottish Irn-Bru maker AG Barr, but admits that its sales are down due to a costly recall of popular children's drink Fruit Shoot. The company said that merger talks with AG Barr were "ongoing" after both parties requested an extension of the deadline to finalise a deal to 31 October.

High prices good for SABMiller

A pint of Peroni is now going for more than £5 in some City bars, a development which has helped SABMiller, the group which brews Peroni, Miller Lite and Aguila, to cash in. The group said its revenues were up 8 per cent in the six months to 30 SeptembeR. That compares with 6 per cent growth in the same period last year.

Spanish banks see bad loans escalate

The bad loans in Spain's debt-laden banks hit an all-time high of €178bn (£144bn) in August, shocking new figures revealed yesterday. More than 10 per cent of all loans held by the nation's tottering banks are now non-performing, as Spaniards give up on their mortgages amid soaring unemployment.

UBM disappoints with low growth

Business publisher and events organiser UBM disappointed investors yesterday as it said revenues for the first nine months of the year had risen by only 4 per cent. Total sales at the company came in at £735m. This disappointing result was some £30m short of analysts' forecasts.

Poor summer for UK betting shops

Blanket Olympics TV coverage and cancelled horse races in a soggy summer cut the sums gambled in British betting shops, the bookmaker Ladbrokes said yesterday as it reported that amounts staked in its shops fell 4.9 per cent in the three months through to September.

Business booms for Go-Ahead

Transport Group Go-Ahead cheered investors yesterday when it announced that revenues from its bus services shot up by 21 per cent in the first quarter and announced a target to organically grow bus operating profit to £100m by 2015/2016.

FSA fines Canada's Sun Life £600,00

The FSA has fined Sun Life of Canada £600,000 for not properly looking after one of its with-profit business funds, which had 114,000 policyholders and £1.2bn of assets. Sun Life hedged the fund using derivatives in 2008 and 2009.

Biggest Italian lender failing

Moody's cut the rating of Italy's third largest lender, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, to junk yesterday and said it may need more state aid. Monte dei Paschi was the only Italian lender to fail the European Banking Authority's stress tests.

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