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The Business Matrix: Friday 6 September 2013


Super results for SuperGroup

SuperGroup, the Superdry fashion company, enjoyed its fastest quarter of growth for more than a year in the three months to July as better design and better products fed through to faster sales. Total sales were up 25.7 per cent at £75m in the latest quarter. Chief executive Julian Dunkerton gave credit to chief operating officer Susanne Given.

Russian firm sheds Facebook

The Russian internet group Mail.Ru, part-owned by Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov, has sold its remaining shares in Facebook for $525m (£337m). The sale follows a bounceback in Facebook's share price after last year's slump, following its stock-market debut. Mail.ru spent $200m to take a 2 per cent of Facebook in 2009.

Melon sales help Fyffes profits

Fruit group Fyffes upped its full-year profit forecasts as it posted a 1 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £19m in the first half of 2013 after revenues rose 6.4 per cent thanks to growth in banana and melon sales and price inflation in pineapples. The Dublin-headquartered firm now expects annual underlying earnings of £24m to £29m.

Budget carriers boost passengers

Budget airlines easyJet and Ryanair flew more passengers last month, up 3.9 per cent and 1 per cent respectively. The Irish carrier Ryanair said passenger numbers hit a record 9 million. Its rival easyJet notched up 6.1 million fliers in August and said its load factor – a measure of how well it fills its planes – rose 1.1 percentage points.

Bus division lifts Go-Ahead results

A record number of passengers at Go-Ahead led to full-year profits in its bus division jumping 11 per cent to £78.2m. This helped the public transport giant to beat expectations with group profits of £86.2m, although this was a drop of 8 per cent from the year before. Rail profits fell by £15.7m to £24.3m.

Stagecoach keeps jobseeker pricing

Stagecoach's discounted bus travel scheme for jobseekers is to be made permanent following a six-month pilot scheme that gave thousands of jobseekers a 50 per cent discount on their bus travel to help them find employment. The biggest use of the initiative has been in Scotland and the East Midlands.

Betfair defends cost-cutting steps

Betfair, which rejected a £1bn takeover in May, has defended cost-cutting and focus on regulated markets in the face of falling revenues in its first quarter. The betting exchange said it was on track to meet full-year expectations, despite revenues down 13 per cent to £90.4m.

Buxton bullish on FTSE 100

Old Mutual's star fund manager Richard Buxton has predicted the FTSE 100 could reach 7,300 points next year. Mr Buxton said he expected the UK to grow modestly over the next few months with the market shoulon course to beat its all time high 6,930.20.

US data continues to bolster opinion

Solid US jobs and service sector data yesterday bolstered views the Federal Reserve could start slowing its bond-buying programme as soon as this month, but plunging orders for factory goods highlighted uncertainty around the economic outlook.

Axa to sell Bluefin to wealth adviser

Axa UK is to sell its financial planning business, Bluefin Personal Consulting to wealth adviser Towry. The agreement does not include Bluefin Insurance Group, the insurance broking business, which remains core to Axa's strategy.