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The Business Matrix: Thursday 11 October 2012

Avanti shares dip 19% after losses

Shares in the telecoms satellite group Avanti Communications fell by 19 per cent after its full-year revenues and losses came in worse than expected. The London-based firm's shares dropped 65p to 283.75p, almost a six-month low. Analysts said that despite the jump in revenues from £6.1m to £15m, it was some £2m below forecasts.

Direct Line float will open at 175p

Shares in Direct Line will start trading today at 175p a piece, valuing the insurer at £2.6bn in London's biggest flotation this year. Its owner, Royal Bank of Scotland, is floating about a third of company, which also includes the Churchill and Green Flag brands. The sale was ordered by the EU as a condition of receiving state aid.

Repairing banks 'will take 5 years'

Nearly three-quarters of European banks reckon it will take at least another five years for them to repair their balance sheets following the global financial crisis, a report by Deloitte has found. The recession and the continuing crisis in the eurozone seems to be to blame for the slow recovery of the banking sector.

Smythson boosts stores and brand

The posh stationer Smythson is ramping up its expansion by opening a flagship store at Sloane Street, in Chelsea, west London. Smythson is trying to move up the style ranks to compete with top-end luxury goods groups. The opening of the 8,000 sq ft shop comes after it reopened and doubled the space of its Bond Street branch.

M&S boss jumps ship to Asos

Kate Bostock, the former head of clothing at Marks & Spencer, said yesterday she was in "awe" of Asos after the online fashion retailer hired her as its product supremo. Asos said she would bring a "wealth of experience" after the company confirmed that Robert Bready, its product director, was leaving.

Apps are on the up at NetPlay

NetPlay TV, the online gambling business, said yesterday that uptake of its mobile and tablet applications had doubled in the third quarter of this year, helping its revenues to rise by just over a third. NetPlay also saw a 52 per cent jump in new depositing casino players to 11,978 in the three months to September.

Chibuku moves into 10 countries

SABMiller, the maker of Peroni and Grolsch, has stepped up its assault on the African market by expanding its Chibuku brand into 10 countries. SAB is using the low-alcohol beer, made with maize or sorghum, to convert drinkers of illicit "moonshine" to the commercial beer market.

Vitesse reports £220,000 loss

Vitesse Media, the publisher whose titles include What Investment, said its half-yearly results were disappointing, with revenues down a third to £1m and an operating loss of £222,000. Costs were cut by 20 per cent as it invested in existing and new products.

Yorkshire BS can't stop growing

Yorkshire Building Society will open its fourth new branch this year next month at in Malton, North Yorkshire, taking its number of sites to 228. The society has opened sites in Pudsey, Bingley and Ilkley and plans eight more by the end of 2013.

Vodafone turns on 4G in South Africa

Vodafone's Vodacom unit has launched South Africa's first fourth-generation mobile phone network. It will initially be accessible in Johannesburg, with other cities following. Vodafone has also launched 4G services in Germany and Portugal.

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