The Business Matrix: Friday 3 August 2012


BT and Virgin face pay-movie blow

BT and Virgin Media reacted angrily yesterday after the Competition Commission said it would not intervene in the pay-TV market for premium movies, boosting leading player BSkyB. The telecoms giant BT said the commission's decision "flies in the face of BT's experience as a retailer and the experiences of other retailers".

RSA motors back to car claim profit

More Than insurer RSA has made a profit on car insurance for the first time in four years. By cutting back business levels by 19 per cent and not chasing unprofitable lines, the firm is taking in more in premiums than it is paying out in claims. In the half year to June, RSA saw operating profits fall by 23 per cent to £316m.

Sporting summer helps Adidas

Sponsoring the Olympics and the Euro 2012 tournament will help the sportswear manufacturer Adidas's full-year earnings to hit the top end of investors' expectations. "We have delivered another winning performance in the first half of 2012," said chief executive, Herbert Hainer.

Bookie counts cost of late winner

Sergio Aguero's goal in the 94th minute of the last game of the football season clinched the title for Manchester City – and cost Ladbrokes £3m in payouts. That's one figure from the half-year results at the bookie, under fire for failing to capitalise on the rush to internet and mobile-phone betting. But pre-tax profits rose 49 per cent to £109.6m.

Laxey gives up in Alliance battle

The activist investor Laxey Partners has dropped its two-year battle to force Alliance Trust, the country's second-largest investment trust, to take measures to boost its share price. Laxey, which built up a 1.7 per cent stake in Alliance, suffered defeats for proposals it put at the trust's last two annual meetings.

Trinity profits up amid pension row

Trinity Mirror shares soared by nearly a fifth yesterday after strong profits, but the publisher attacked regulators for refusing to discuss its pension deficit. Vijay Vaghela, the finance director, has had "no dialogue" since he wrote to the pensions regulator in March, after his decision to defer £70m of payments.

Smith & Nephew dividend up 50%

The replacement hip maker Smith & Nephew increased its dividend payment by 50 per cent after a "good" first half-year. The group said underlying profits rose 6 per cent to £234m in the three months to 30 June, while underlying revenues were up 2 per cent.