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The Business Matrix: Thursday 24 July 2014

Games provided UK £14.2bn boost

The London 2012 Olympics have generated a £14.2bn trade and investment boost for the UK in the past two years, the Government claimed. The figure – a combination of contract wins, extra sales by UK firms and new foreign investment since 2012 – beats a previous target of an £11bn increase over four years two years early.

Capita bullish over revenues

Capita expects a buoyant outsourcing market to keep the firm on track to hit its full-year revenue target, it said after announcing a 16 per cent rise in first-half profit. Its CEO, Andy Parker, said revenues are likely to rise by at least 8 per cent and the outlook remains optimistic after it won £1.3bn-worth of contracts in the first half.

Challenge to Drax switch to biomass

The Government will appeal a High Court decision which overruled its plans to drop one of Drax’s coal-to-biomass conversion projects from a new renewable-energy subsidy scheme. Earlier this month, the Court ruled the utility had met all the Government’s key criteria when it applied to convert a second coal-generation unit.

Ryanair to appeal  10m fine

European regulators have ordered Ryanair to repay about €10m (£7.9m) in illegal state aid from France for operating at three regional airports. The European Commission said the support (contractual rebates and airport and marketing deals) gave the airline an unfair advantage. Ryanair said it would appeal against the decision.

Profits down 13% at Iberdrola

ScottishPower’s Spanish owner, Iberdrola, saw first-half profits slip 13 per cent to €1.5bn (£1.2bn) after green subsidies were cut in its home market. But earnings from its UK business rose 8.5 per cent to €244m. ScottishPower said customer numbers remained static, as rivals have seen numbers fall.

Tesco told to keep new FD off site

Tesco has removed a photo on its corporate website of Alan Stewart, its newly appointed finance director, after its rival Marks & Spencer complained he was technically still its employee. Mr Stewart is on “gardening leave” after he quit M&S on 10 July and is unlikely to start at Tesco before the end of the year.

Lord Sugar builds empire further

Lord Sugar has added a £23m building on City Road to his property empire in London’s “Tech City”. His property firm is already generating higher returns in the three buildings it has in the area, pushing rents up from about £20 a square foot to above £40 in recent lettings.

Sage’s quarterly revenues up 7%

Sage’s chief executive, Guy Berruyer, said the accounting-software firm continues to make solid progress after recurring quarterly revenues growth of 7 per cent, driven by strong subscriptions. The firm remains confident of achieving its target of 6 per cent underlying growth.

Number of jobs falls 2.5%

Full-time jobs in retail fell 2.5 per cent in the last three months compared with the same period last year, according to the British Retail Consortium. The fall came despite 2.5 per cent more store openings, mainly of supermarket convenience stores.

Provident profits up a quarter

Provident Financial saw profits jump as more cash-strapped consumers turned to the subprime lender after mainstream banks turned them away. Pre-tax profits hit £90.1m, up 25 per cent, as the company introduces a new loans business.

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