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The Business Matrix: Friday 26 July 2013

Aston Martin in Daimler tie-up

Aston Martin, the 100-year-old company whose cars are a favourite of James Bond and the Royal Family, is to join forces with Mercedes owner Daimler on its next generation of sports cars. The companies yesterday announced a deal that will see Aston Martin use high-performance engines from Daimler’s Mercedes-AMG division.

Dixons boss’s pay rises to £1.3m

Sebastian James, the chief executive of Dixons Retail, enjoyed a significant rise in his total pay to £1.3m last year after boosting profits at the Currys owner. The bulk of the increase in the payout came from his cash bonus increasing  by £493,000 to £572,000, and from his salary jumping from £114,000 to £600,000.

Irn-Bru profits squash Britvic

AG Barr, the maker of Irn-Bru, saw sales rise 9.8 per cent in the last quarter. Robinson’s squash maker Britvic had growth of only 4 per cent. Wayne Brown at Canaccord Genuity said: “Following Britvic’s decision to abandon merger talks, we would like the company to highlight clearly how it intends to deliver long-term shareholder value.”

New deals offer boost for Capita

New deals with the Cabinet Office, Barnet Council and Carphone Warehouse helped Capita, Britain’s biggest outsourcer, post a 10 per cent rise in first-half pre-tax profit to £205.2m. The FTSE 100-listed firm, which manages airwave radios for the emergency services, won a record £2bn of new contracts in the first half of this year.

Rolls-Royce chief vows to cut costs

The Rolls-Royce chief executive John Rishton vowed to clamp down on the engine-maker’s high costs, even though the group beat profit expectations in its first-half results. Profit was up by 34 per cent to £840m, around £10m ahead of the average forecast. Revenue increased by 27 per cent to £7.3bn.

Ofwat boss warns water companies

The outgoing chief executive at Ofwat has warned the big water companies that it is “now time to deliver” to customers after finalising the regulator’s approach to price negotiations. Regina Finn is to be replaced by Cathryn Ross, but has set up her successor with a tough bargaining position.

CEO to step down at Travis Perkins

Geoff Cooper, chief executive of builders’ merchant Travis Perkins, is retiring next year on his 60th birthday. Mr Cooper will be replaced by his deputy John Carter from January. The firm today reported a £5m rise in first-half profits to £136m on sales up 2 per cent at £1.5 bn.

Alliance predicts more volatility

Uncertainty over money printing in the US and the policies of the new Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, will lead to more market volatility, Alliance Trust warned. The Dundee-based investment group said net asset values were up 15.2 per cent to 495.6p a share.

Dambuster boost for Hornby

The toy-maker Hornby said the 70th anniversary of the Dambusters bombing raid boosted sales of Airfix model planes. The Margate-based group said sales of Corgi and Airfix models were also helped by other notable wartime anniversaries.

SSE on track for dividend increase

The energy company SSE, which trades as Southern Electric, Scottish Hydro and Swalec, said it was on track to deliver a full-year dividend increase for 2013-14 that is greater than RPI inflation. It reported 9.47 million customers at the end of June.

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