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The Business Matrix: Thursday 27 June 2013

Right royal result for Crown Estate

The Queen is nearly £38m better off following record results from her property company, the Crown Estate, an £8bn empire stretching from swaths of London's West End to offshore wind farms. The Crown Estate produced a 5 per cent rise in profits of £252.6m in the year to 31 March. The Treasury gives 15 per cent back to the monarch.

Rebranding for Murdoch's empire

Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation has dropped the name of its troubled UK newspaper arm, News International, and rebranded it as News UK. Mike Darcey, the chief executive, said the rebrand "begins a bright new chapter" for the group, which continues to face allegations over phone hacking and illegal payments.

StanChart shares show small gains

Shares in Standard Chartered, the London bank focused on emerging markets, rose by 1.72 per cent yesterday after it said trading was better than investors feared. Although full-year income is likely to grow by only high single-digit percentages, the bank said the second quarter had seen a sizeable improvement over the first.

US output shows slight growth

The US economy grew by just 1.8 per cent during the first quarter of the year, far below the initial estimate of 2.4 per cent, according to new figures published yesterday in a US Commerce Department report. The figures showed consumers spent less than previously estimated, a sign that higher taxes could be dampening growth.

British Airways sets up bond issue

British Airways has launched a $927m (£605m) publicly traded bond issue, using 14 new planes as collateral. The firm, which is owned by International Airlines Group, is issuing two classes of certificates, backed by a pool of six Boeing 787-8 aircraft, two 777-300 jets and six Airbus 320-200s.

Ashley buys HMV Oxford St store

The flagship Oxford Street store of the fallen music retailer HMV has been snapped up by Mike Ashley, the founder of Sports Direct. The billionaire has struck the deal with HMV's administrator, Deloitte, for the lease on the 60,000 sq ft store. Sports Direct already has a smaller store on Oxford Street.

TM Lewin seeks advice over sale

TM Lewin, the maker of shirts worn by hordes of City workers, is close to appointing advisers to sell the business for up to £100m. Rothschild and Ernst & Young are battling it out for mandate to sell Lewin, which opened its first store in Jermyn Street in London in 1898.

Stagecoach motors ahead

Busier UK buses plus more passengers in the US drove Stagecoach to post an 8 per cent rise in full-year profits to £218.9m. Profits at its North American bus business almost doubled to £49.9m. Stagecoach hiked its full-year dividend by 10 per cent to 8.6p.

Dazzling find for Gem Diamonds

Gem Diamonds has recovered a 100-carat diamond from its Letseng mine in Lesotho – the third such discovery there since May. A 164-carat diamond from Lesotho sold for $9m (£5.9m) last month. Analysts said the stones would sell for at least $6m each.

BP has plans in Adriatic pipeline

The BP-led group developing Azerbaijan's vast gas reserves has chosen the Trans Adriatic Pipeline via Greece to link to Europe, defeating an Austrian route. The project reflects a European Union push for alternatives to Russian gas imports.

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