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The Business Matrix: Thursday 21 March 2013

Skoda expects rise in deliveries

Volkswagen's Skoda expects more deliveries this year after record sales in 2012. But the car-maker said the introduction of a new small-car version of the Octavia and Spaceback hatchback countered by weak demand in Europe will have an impact. Skoda sold 939,200 cars in 2012, with revenues of €10.44bn (£8.9bn).

Countrywide shares rocket

The revival of big flotations continues as Countrywide, the Britain's largest estate agent, saw its shares jump to a 13 per cent premium on the first day of dealings yesterday. Its shares, sold at a top-of-the-range 350p and raced up to 397p as more than 186 million shares changed hands. At that price, the business is valued at £848m.

Deutsche Bank ups damage costs

Deutsche Bank has knocked €600m (£514m) off its 2012 profits after saying it had to set aside more money to cover litigation costs. That cut its pre-tax profit for last year to €800m and raised its provisions for litigation matters to €2.4bn. The bank refused to specify which areas the extra money covered.

UAE could hand Shell gas project

State-run Abu Dhabi National Oil Company has recommended oil major Shell to win the multibillion dollar project to develop its Bab gas field. However the UAE's higher authorities have yet to rule on the decision, insiders said. The winning bidder for the project will be expected to form a joint venture with Adnoc as majority shareholder.

ANA wants cash from Boeing

The airline which suffered the most disruption from Boeing's Dreamliner crisis wants compensation in cash, not cut-price deals, which may see the planemaker's costs soar. Insiders at All Nippon Airways, which with 17 787s was the Dreamliner's biggest customer, said: "ANA would prefer to have the cash."

Organic food sales fall again

Consumers are leaving organic food on the shelf, with revenues falling again. The Soil Association said organic sales fell by 1.5 per cent to £1.64bn in 2012, after a 3.7 per cent decline in 2011. The association's Jim Twine said: "In the worst economic downturn in living memory, the organic sector is not immune."

InterContinental boss nets £1.26m

InterContinental Hotels handed its chief executive Richard Solomons £1.26m last year. The company, which owns the Crowne Plaza and Staybridge Suites, revealed Mr Solomons had been paid a basic salary of £716,000 alongside a bonus of £494,000 and other benefits. The pay package, disclosed in a regulatory release while the Budget was being announced, compares to £1.14m last year.

African boost for Wood Group

The oil and gas services group Wood has won 11 new contracts in Africa totalling $240m in the last year. They include detailed engineering services for an offshore project in Angola, and services to clients in Equatorial Guinea, Chad and Algeria, the Aberdeen-based Wood said.

Apple brand is less 'inspiring'

Apple is thought of as being less "inspiring" than it was three years ago, according to research by Added Value, part of Sir Martin Sorrell's WPP group. Shareholders have already seen about $230bn wiped off Apple's stock market value since September.

Airlines fly to higher profit

The world's airlines will make a higher than expected profit thanks to strong passenger demand and cargo business. The industry's trade body, the International Air Transport Association, predicts the sector will make a net profit of $10.6bn (£6.9bn) this year.

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