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The Business Matrix: Friday 22 February 2013

Ladbrokes profits rise 8% to £206m

Ladbrokes has increased operating profits by 8 per cent to £206m. When high-roller punters, who had a particularly bad year, are included, profits were up 26 per cent to £236m. Revenues rose 7.4 per cent to £1.05bn. Ladbrokes also plans 100 more shops this year and will put Sky Sports screens into all 2,200 of its shops.

Yorkshire BS deposits surge

Yorkshire Building Society, which has benefited from the unpopularity of the banks, saw 324,000 new savings accounts opened in 2012. Pre-tax profits at the lender rose by 21 per cent to £157m last year while its core tier capital ratio, a key measure of balance sheet strength, rose from 12.6 per cent to 13.6 per cent.

Kingfisher catches cold

Kingfisher's DIY chain B&Q has followed rival Wickes in reporting a slump in UK sales after January's heavy snowfall. Europe's largest home improvement retailer performed strongly in Russia and China, but a 6.4 per cent slump in UK and Ireland sales in the fourth quarter, to the end of January, capped a year to forget.

Mercedes fined £2.6m over prices

Mercedes-Benz and three of its commercial vehicle dealers have been fined £2.6m by the competition regulator. The Office of Fair Trading reported that it had spotted three breaches of competition law by the German company, including price co-ordination and the exchange of commercially sensitive information.

Setback for the eurozone

A surprise setback for Europe's manufacturing and services firms in February damped hopes of the eurozone pulling out of recession. Financial data firm Markit's snapshot of private sector activity showed a decline over the month despite a thir d successive month of growth for Germany.

Lancashire gives back cash

Lancashire Holdings said yesterday that it woulds said it will hand back $170m (£111m) to investors because flat insurance prices were limiting opportunities for profitable underwriting. The company will pay a special dividend after pre-tax profits rose 8 per cent to $236.8m in 2012.

Informa gets life from academia

Business media group Informa said that its underlying pre-tax profits rose 7 per cent to £317.4 m as its academic book publishing arm offset tough trading in its events division. Revenue from its academic information business rose 5 per cent to £340.3m.

Ferrovial snaps up Enterprise

Spain's Ferrovial, which acquired infrastructure firm Amey in 2003, is to buy Enterprise – one of the UK's biggest providers of services to the public sector – in a £385m deal with 3i. Enterprise will be integrated into Amey once approval is granted from Europe

Rolls-Royce waterjets arrive

Rolls-Royce has delivered its new Axial Mk1 waterjets for the latest Littoral Combat Ship class under construction for the US Navy. At 22MW of power, a single waterjet can move almost half a million gallons of seawater in a minute.

Filtrona ties up with Bommidala

Plastics supplier Filtrona has formed a tie-up with tobacco products firm BBM Bommidala Group in the United Arab Emirates to manufacture filters. Milton Keynes-based Filtrona will be the majority shareholder in the joint venture.

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