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The Business Matrix: Saturday 17 August 2013

Maersk doubles shipping profits

Profits at Maersk’s shipping line almost doubled to £282m in the last quarter as global trade improved. Maersk, which recently took delivery of the world’s largest container ship, accounts for 15 per cent of global container capacity. Group profits at Maersk, which also has oil and logistics units, fell 11 per cent to $856m (£550m).

New listings up 14% over last year 

New stock-market listings globally have raised a total of $79.2bn (£51bn) so far this year, according to Thomson Reuters data, a 14 per cent increase on the same period in 2012. There has been a 34 per cent increase in the number of offerings by US companies, which account for 35 per cent of global initial public offerings this year.

Tesco to sponsor Downton Abbey

Tesco has become the latest retailer to link up with television show Downton Abbey, hoping an association with the popular period drama will boost sales of its premium own-brand food range. Britain’s biggest grocer said the “Tesco Finest” range would sponsor Downton Abbey in the first television sponsorship deal by the range.

Car market gathers speed

Europe’s ailing car market grew in annual terms for only the second time this year in July, supporting hopes of a much-needed stabilisation in the second half. Registrations of new cars in Europe rose 4.8 per cent compared with the same month a year ago to 1.02 million vehicles, according to data published by the German auto industry.

Housing market in US loses impetus

US housing starts and permits for home construction rose less than expected in July, suggesting that higher mortgage rates could be slowing the housing market’s momentum. The Commerce Department said housing starts increased 5.9 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 896,000 units.

Bauer sells tech brands to Future

The publisher behind magazines including T3 and Total Film has bought two Australian technology brands to boost its online presence. Future said it had bought APC and TechLife – including the brands’ magazines, digital editions and subscriptions – from Bauer Media for an undisclosed sum.

Thornton & Ross sold to Stada

The German generic drugmaker Stada is buying British over-the-counter drug manufacturer Thornton & Ross in a  €259m (£221m) deal, including assumed debt. The transaction will contribute to net income from 1 September, Stada said yesterday.

RSM Tenon warns against buyout

The accountancy and restructuring firm RSM Tenon has said shareholders are likely to be wiped out if it is bought by rival Baker Tilly. The firm, which has been hammered by accounting errors, said its high debt levels mean shareholders are likely to recoup “minimal, if any” value.

Former JJB Sports chief sets new goal

The former chief executive of JJB Sports Tom Knight is launching a new sports chain, Sports Pro, next month. The chain, which plans to have 14 shops by December, is being rolled out by the discount fashion retailer Matalan.

WS Atkins sells  US business

WS Atkins is selling its US construction management firm, Peter Brown, for £2.6m to focus on engineering consultancy. The group is selling the business to US building firm Moss & Associates, and will book a £3m loss on the sale.

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