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The Business Matrix: Thursday 23 May 2013

Shares up as profits pour in for Britvic

Britvic shares fizzed up 10 per cent as the City warmed to  decent profits and plans for cost cuts of £30m that will see hundreds of jobs axed. The company has been in limbo since February, when the Competition Commission put on hold its merger with AG Barr over fears the market would be cut to two players, with only Coca-Cola as a rival.

House of Fraser hits new highs

House of Fraser, the privately owned department store chain, showed it is defying the gloom on the high street with record sales and profits. In the year to 26 January sales hit £1.2bn, a rise of 3.3 per cent. Underlying profits were up 4.3 per cent to £61.1m. Chairman Don McCarthy thinks the group’s “premium brand” will help it keep growing.

HICL profit up on new investments

HICL, the listed infrastructure fund that owns the Home Office headquarters and Lewisham Hospital, is in exclusive talks on five new investments worth more than £100m. The fund confirmed that it was close to bolstering its portfolio to nearly 90 projects alongside its results. Pre-tax profit was up 50 per cent to £93.1m.

Shell Centre to get £1bn revamp

The Qatari-backed £1bn overhaul of the South Bank’s drab Shell Centre in London has been given the go-ahead by Lambeth council in a move that could create 5,000 jobs. Braeburn Estates, a joint venture of Canary Wharf Group and Qatari Diar, will start work later this year. The scheme has eight new buildings around the 27-storey tower.

Coalition ‘failing’ the professions

The overwhelming majority of the capital’s lawyers, accountants and architects believe that the Coalition has failed to introduce the tax breaks needed to foster innovation. In a survey of professional services firms, 93 per cent told London First and FTI that the Government had not provided sufficient support.

Value of insurance premiums falls

Motor insurance premiums in 2012 were worth £13.1bn, about £200m lower than in 2011, figures presented at Deloitte’s motor insurance seminar showed. Between 2009 and 2011 the total value of premiums rose by nearly £2bn, taking the l ucrative motor market from £11.4bn to £13.3 bn.

Battersea deal is won by Carillion

Construction services firm  Carillion has been selected to  deliver the £400m first phase of redevelopment at Battersea Power Station in London. The project includes 866 flats, together with retail facilities, theatre space and business studios, in two blocks, by the Thames.

Hogg Robinson boosts margins

Corporate travel specialist Hogg Robinson said it achieved a “resilient performance under testing conditions” after pre-tax profits rose by 1 per cent to £34.3m in the year to March 31. Revenues were 8 per cent lower at £343.2m in a sign of how corporate clients are demanding greater value.

Wood Group drills into software deal

Wood Group, the FTSE 100 Index oil and gas services firm based in Aberdeen, has acquired Intetech, a provider of software and engineering consultancy services. Formed in 1991, Chester-based Intetech had revenues of around £2.8m last year.

McDonald’s drops Angus beef in US

McDonald’s is phasing Angus burgers from American restaurant menus, an anticipated move that comes after US beef prices hit a 10-year high. The company said in March it could remove its “premium” Angus burgers.

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