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The Business Matrix: Friday 8 March 2013

Tally ho as Spitfire beer gets a boost

Shepherd Neame has scrambled the comedians Armstrong and Miller, left, in their fighter pilot roles to promote its best-selling Spitfire Ale in an ad campaign this summer. The move came as the Kent brewer, which has 350 pubs, reported a 2.6 per cent rise in half yearly sales, with a particularly strong Christmas period.

Executive is Game for Barracuda role

Ian Shepherd, the former chief executive of Game, has taken a role at the executive search firm Barracuda to lead its digital division. The headhunter said it would benefit from Mr Shepherd's experience in running commercial operations and delivering digital strategies. Mr Shepherd has also held senior roles at Vodafone andBSkyB.

Publisher in doubt as TV made focus

The future of IPC Media, the London publisher of Country Life, Marie Claire and NME, was plunged into fresh uncertainty after US parent company Time Warner announced plans to spin off its global magazine division. Time Inc, which includes IPC, will be floated on the NYSE as Time Warner focuses on TV and film interests.

Energy firm sees profits rise by 11%

Temporary power supply firm Aggreko sparked a 10 per cent share price rally as it reported an 11 per cent hike in annual profits to £365m. The group, which had warned over profits twice at the end of last year, said its local business enjoyed a strong start to 2013 with almost 20 per cent more power on rent than a year earlier.

IAG takeover bid 'should be rejected'

The board of Spanish low-cost airline Vueling has recommended that shareholders reject a takeover offer from IAG, saying it does not reflect the company's value. IAG already owns 45.85 per cent of Vueling as well as British Airways and Iberia, and offered in November to buy the rest.

Gold margins are under pressure

H&T Group saw annual profits plunge 28 per cent to £17m after gold margins came under pressure and as its pawnbroker was also hit by tough comparisons after gold prices soared by 24 per cent in 2011. H&T said it opened a net 26 stores in 2012 and added another six in 2013 to take its total estate to 192.

Wash out year for builders SIG

Specialist building products group SIG posted a 0.5 per cent fall in annual profits to £84m after being hit by weak construction markets following a rain-soaked year. The wet weather particularly affected the outside building trades in the UK.

Balfour Beatty in £140m write-off

Balfour Beatty wrote off £104m as it announced plans to sell its mainland European rail arm and said it had already offloaded the Spanish business to its management. Annual results revealed a 7 per cent fall in profits to £310m after revenues fell 1 per cent.

Spending cuts lead to profits drop

Cobham posted an 8 per cent fall in annual profits to £302m as it was hit by a drop in demand as the United States and debt-laden European governments cut defence spending. The group saw orders fall 19 per cent to £1.7bn.

Chrysler looks to banks for pitches

Chrysler has asked banks to pitch next month for a mandate to run a potential public listing of its shares. The US car maker is 58.5 per cent owned by the Italian group Fiat, and 41.5 per cent by Veba, a United Auto Workers' union retiree trust.

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