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The Business Matrix: Thursday 18 October 2012

Diageo sales hit by weak market

Diageo said a postponed duty-free shipment and a weak South Korean market hampered quarterly trading. The duty-free shipment to the Asia-Pacific region, which accounts for 14 per cent of its sales, came in the following quarter. Analysts at Shore Capital said it was likely to have knocked 2 to 3 percentage points off growth.

Speedyhire sees 5.3% revenue rise

Speedyhire, the plant rental business, yesterday posted a 5.3 per cent increase in overall first-half revenues. In the UK, Speedyhire said focusing on industries including water, waste, energy and transport helped underlying revenues increase by 3.2 per cent. Steve Corcoran, chief executive, said: "Market conditions remain challenging."

C&W in talks to sell Macau operation

Cable & Wireless Communications said it is in talks to sell its stake in its Macau operation in a deal which could raise £400m. The telecoms firm is looking to sell its 51 per cent holding in its Macau subsidiary, CTM, the Chinese territory's only fixed-line and mobile phone company, to Hong Kong-listed industrial conglomerate CITIC.

RBS to leave insurance scheme

The taxpayer-controlled Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is to leave the Government-backed insurance scheme which has covered its most toxic assets for the past two years. The company, headed by Stephen Hester, will make a final £25m payment to the Treasury today, taking the total it has paid for the Asset Protection Scheme to £2.5bn.

Büchner return to work is delayed

Ton Büchner, chief executive of Akzo Nobel, is not expected to return to work until the end of the year – much later than the mid-October the chemicals group suggested when he took sick leave in September. "It is important that the full cycle of treatment is completed," said chairman Karel Vuursteen.

888's profits defy the odds

Online gaming company 888 Holdings has said its profits will be better than the City has realised after a strong third quarter. The group behind the 888 casino, poker, sport and bingo brands said revenue from its 12.5 million customers was up 7 per cent to £57m in the three months to September.

BoA profits hit by legal costs

Bank of America, the second-largest bank in the US, reported net income of $340m (£210m) for the three months to the end of September, substantially down from $6.2bn in the same period last year as the bank took a $1.6bn charge for litigation expenses in the quarter.

Vertu Motors in £5.2m profits rise

Vertu Motors, the car dealership, expects to beat City forecasts this year thanks to better market conditions. Pre-tax profit in the six months to September rose 27 per cent to £5.2m, Vertu, which trades as Bristol Street Motors, Macklin Motors, and Vertu Honda, said.

'We're not to blame for merger failure'

Philipp Roesler, the German Economy minister, insisted his country was not to blame for the collapse of the proposed £30bn merger between BAE Systems and EADS, adding that German wants to remain an equal partner of France in EADS.

MPs to investigate Starbucks' taxes

Two British Parliamentary committees are due to quiz tax officials about how the US coffee chain Starbucks was able to avoid paying tax on £1.2bn of sales since 2009. MPs said Starbucks had undermined public trust in the tax system.

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