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The Business Matrix: Friday 8 February 2013

Battery rethink for Dreamliner

Regulators need to rethink how they approved the Boeing 787 batteries that caught fire, forcing the grounding of the entire fleet, a US safety official said. This could add more time to attempts to solve the problem. The comments came as a 787 "ferry flight" left Texas for Washington to see if any more battery problems cropped up.

Punch tries to cut £2.1bn debt pile

The embattled pubs company Punch Taverns has launched a plan to cut its £2.1bn debt pile. At present, the debt structure is split into two vehicles, Punch A and Punch B. It said it will cancel certain tranches of Punch B debt and would amend covenants in Punch A. This would cut Punch B's debt by £229m and save Punch £463m over five years.

Key brands help Dairy Crest sales

Dairy Crest said its key brands Cathedral City, Country Life, Clover and Frijj grew sales volumes by 4 per cent over the nine months to 31 December, slower than the half-year due to tougher comparatives. Its dairies business has faced difficult conditions but it has continued with initiatives designed to restore profitability.

Vodafone warns of Europe struggle

Vodafone said market conditions remained very difficult in Europe, with service revenues in the UK down by 5.2 per cent in the last quarter of 2012 due to "intense competition" and poor confidence. However, with emerging markets continuing to do well, it still expects operating profits for the year to March to be above £11bn.

Windfall for Whitbread staff

Just under 900 staff working for Whitbread – owner of Premier Inn, Costa, Beefeater and Brewers Fayre – have collectively made more than £2.8m from the annual Sharesave scheme. They doubled their original investment with the five-year option while those on the three-year scheme made about 64 per cent.

Own-label boosts profits at McBride

McBride, which supplies own-label products such as toothpaste and detergents to the UK's top supermarkets, posted a 13 per cent rise in half yearly profits to £11.6m after an improvement in margins and cost reduction measures. Sale revenues from its core products were 2 per cent higher.

Beazley profits rise fourfold

Beazley kick-started the Lloyd's of London reporting season yesterday with a fourfold rise in annual profits. The insurer said its profits hit £160m last year, up from £40m in 2011, on the back of fewer catastrophe losses. It expects to pay out $90m linked to hurricane Sandy.

Rolls-Royce gets engine go-ahead

Rolls-Royce has received airworthiness certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency for the Trent XWB that will power the Airbus A350 XWB aircraft. The engines have been despatched from Derby to be prepared prior to the first flight later this year.

Playtech deal was a sound bet

The online gaming firm Playtech posted a 51 per cent rise in income, boosted by its joint venture with bookie William Hill. The gaming software specialist has a 29 per cent stake in William Hill Online, which the betting firm is planning to buy out.

Final curtain for Anglo Irish Bank

The failed Anglo Irish Bank is to be liquidated after emergency laws were rushed through the parliament on Wednesday. The bank will now cease to exist, with its debt, which had been costing Irish taxpayers €3.1bn a year, converted into a bond.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment