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The Business Matrix: Friday 22 March 2013

Secure Trust boosts Arbuthnot

rbuthnot Banking Group saw profits jump from £5.1m to £12.6m. Its own private banking business edged profits up from £2m to £2.1m but the bulk of the improvement came through its 70 per cent holding in Secure Trust, which it bought in 2011. Both banks have signed up for the Bank of England's funding for lending scheme.

ITV boss's salary jumps to £1.8m

ITV chief Adam Crozier's annual pay jumped to £1.8m from £1.5m after a third year of rising profits under his leadership. As well as salary and short-term bonus, he got £448,000 in shares and will get another £945,000 worth as part of a long-term award, which will vest in 2015. Mr Crozier hit 91 per cent of targets, according to the annual report.

Eurotunnel hits record figures

Last summer's London Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee celebrations drove cross-channel tunnel operator Eurotunnel to a record year in 2012. Traffic records were broken pushing net profits up almost 80 per cent to €34m from €11m in 2011. As a result the board recommended boosting the dividend by 50 per cent to 12 cents a share.

Brewin Dolphin chief steps down

Jamie Matheson yesterday stepped down as executive chairman of Brewin Dolphin after eight years in the firm and 40 in the City. He will be replaced by two men. Simon Miller, a non-executive director for seven years, will become chairman while David Nicol, a former Morgan Stanley banker, becomes chief executive.

Barr says Britvic merger will be OK

AG Barr said there are no competition issues to derail its planned £1.4bn merger with rival Britvic. The Office of Fair Trading referred it to the Competition Commission but the Irn Bru-maker said: "The boards believe that there are no grounds for a significant lessening of competition as a result of the merger."

Water firm points to higher profits

Britain's largest-listed water company United Utilities said its annual underlying operating profit is likely to be slightly higher than last year as cost-cuts boosted its bottom line. The company said it is trading in line with expectations and will invest £750m in the year ending 31 March, up from £680m a year earlier.

Panmure Gordon banks on AIM

Panmure Gordon has pinned its hopes on a sustained recovery in London's IPO markets. The 137-year-old City broker said it expects to benefit as more companies consider listing their shares, particularly on London's junior AIM market where the company does a lot of business.

London helps Ted Baker's growth

Ted Baker has hailed "buoyant" trading in London for helping the fashion brand grow its annual profits by nearly a fifth. Chief executive Ray Kelvin said: "London sits in a bubble outside the rest of the UK. We have done well everywhere but generally it is more difficult outside of London."

Sales climb £320m at DFS in half-year

Furniture retailer DFS said sales were up 7.6 per cent to £319.4m in the six months to 26 January, helping underlying earnings improve 10per cent to £31.1m. It opened three new stores, at Stockport, Stirling and Cork,as well as relocating one.

Pottery pumps up profits 6.6%

Tableware firm Portmeirion grew revenues across all its four brands, including Spode, Royal Worcester and Pimpernel, as it posted a 6.6 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £6.8m for 2012. The Stoke-based firm has launched 360 new products for this year.

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