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The Business Matrix: Friday 20 January 2012

Endemol secures £1.7bn debt deal

Endemol, the TV group behind Big Brother and Diary Of A Call Girl has reached a deal with a majority of its lenders over restructuring its £1.7bn debt – despite opposition from one of its three owners, the ex-Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset, and one of its lenders, Barclays. The deal will see Endemol's debts cut to $500m.

Pearson expects profits to rise 10%

Pearson, the owner of the Financial Times and Penguin Books, upgraded its 2011 profit forecasts yesterday, saying it enjoyed a strong Christmas and had bucked the wider economic gloom. Its chief executive, Dame Marjorie Scardino, expects a 10 per cent rise in profits, with earnings per share of 83p, compared with 77.5p a year earlier.

Comet may burn £15m hole in Kesa

A post-Christmas collapse at Comet will cost its parent, Kesa Electricals, up to £15m more than it thought to get the retailer off its hands. Kesa agreed last year to sell Comet for £2 to OpCapita but promised to bear debt carried by Comet above £32m. Comet's poor trading means its debts will top that by up to £15m.

'Angry Birds' firm delays a float

Rovio, the Finnish creator of the global smash-hit Angry Birds computer game will not join the stock market this year but still aims to eventually seek a listing, its marketing chief said yesterday. Rovio executives had said it would look to float in New York or Hong Kong.

Rolls-Royce wins shipping contract

Rolls-Royce has won £23m of contracts to build seven ships for the Brazilian group Navegacao Sao Miguel. The contracts are for three bunker tankers and four oil spill recovery vessels, which use new technology designed for the deep-water oil industry.

Record exports drive car industry

The number of cars built in the UK increased by 5.8 per cent to more than 1.3 million last year, with record exports driving the growth. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders yesterday called on the Government and industry "to encourage more investment in research and development, skills and new plant and machinery".

Solar subsidy to be halved by March

The Government has removed some of the confusion plaguing the solar energy industry, confirming that a 50 per cent cut in photovoltaic subsidies will come in by 3 March at the latest. The courts blocked the Coalition's initial attempt to cut the tariff in December, but the Government said the cut could be backdated if it wins its court appeal.

Questions over diabetes drug

US regulators have asked AstraZeneca and its American partner Bristol-Myers to provide more clinical data on their new diabetes drug dapagliflozin. The drug makers did not say why the request had been made, but analysts believe it is due to lingering concerns over liver toxicity and bladder cancer.

Select sees 17% surge in sales

The value fashion retailer Select has posted a 17.1 per cent surge in underlying sales over the six weeks to 7 January. The 135-store chain has vowed to open a further 30 shops in 2012, creating 500 jobs, as ittargets a pre-tax profit of £2.5m this year.

Lager goes flat for SABMiller

SABMiller saw poor growth in Europe and North America in the last three months of 2011. The brewer said lager volumes fell 2 per cent across Europe, but gains in Latin America, South Africa and China helped push revenues up 7 per cent.

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