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The Business Matrix: Friday 21 December 2012

Theo Fennell halves losses

Theo Fennell, purveyor of bling to celebs such as Sir Elton John and Kate Beckinsale, has cut its interim losses by more than half. The jeweller said it had benefited from a cost-cutting programme as it posted a £610,083 loss for the six months to 30 September, against £1.4m last time. However, sales slipped by 8 per cent to £4.9m.

Superstorm bills continue to mount

Amlin and Lancashire Holdings have together added more than $200m (£123m) to the clean-up bill for Superstorm Sandy.

The two insurers joined the growing list unveiling their exposure to the disaster, which is expected to cost the global industry up to $25bn. Amlin said Sandy was likely to cost it about £145m.

Stansted 'should stay regulated'

Stansted airport should continue to be regulated because of its dominance among budget and charter airlines, the Civil Aviation Authority has decided, saying the airport's market power was likely to grow between 2014 and 2019 as airport capacity constraints continued to tighten in London.

Weir in $385m Mathena deal

Glasgow-headquartered engineering firm Weir has agreed to buy US drilling company Mathena for up to $385m (£237m) in a deal that will boost its presence in the American shale gas sector. Mathena provide specialist rental equipment used in fracking.

Kent to merge with DCC unit

Kent Pharmaceuticals has been bought by the support services company DCC for €71.2m (£58m). DCC will merge Ashford-based Kent Pharmaceuticals with its existing pharma business, DCC Healthcare.

Sportingbet takeover unveiled

Betting giant William Hill and partner GVC holdings have unveiled a £485m takeover of online gambling company Sportingbet. The recommended cash and shares offer values Sportingbet shares at 56.1 p each, comprising 44.8p in cash from William Hill, a 1.1p dividend declared by Sportingbet and the rest in GVC paper.

Pace baulks at Motorola price

TV set-top box maker Pace lost out in a bid battle to expand its US business yesterday as it baulked at the price demanded by internet giant Google for its Motorola Home division. The fate of Motorola's set-top box arm has been in doubt ever since Google paid $12.5bn (£7.7bn) for the US mobile-phone maker earlier this year.

Premier on a roll with its Mini Roll

Premier Foods yesterday extended its licence with Cadbury to continue making cakes under the chocolate company's brand through to 2017. Cadbury's Mini Roll is one of Premier's top-selling products, and the brand is the fastest growing in the cake market. Total sales have reached £60m a year.

Facebook link-up boosts 888

Online gaming firm 888 said trading continued to be strong across the group ahead of its 31 December financial year end. The group recently announced a tie-up with social network giant Facebook to offer real-money games in the UK, starting in the new year.

NAR renews deals worth £30m

Vehicle crash repair firm Nationwide Accident Repair said it had renewed contracts with Hastings Direct and Zurich Insurance worth a combined £30m. The group said it had also agreed a deal with Aviva worth £3m.

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