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The Business Matrix: Thursday 29 February 2013

Airbus owner flies 19% ahead

Airbus owner EADS drew a line under its failed merger with BAE Systems yesterday as it reported a 19 per cent jump in full-year profits. EADS recorded a €1.23bn (£1.1bn) profit for 2012, as a strong performance by its Airbus unit helped to boost sales by 15 per cent to €56.48bn. EADS reported a €325m profit for the fourth quarter.

Trafford Centre heads Intu profit

Intu Properties, the former Capital Shopping Centres business with 16.6m sq ft or £7bn-worth of retail space, reported occupancy at 96 per cent and a 0.6 per cent rise in property valuations. With locations such as the Trafford Centre remaining attractive to shoppers, pre-tax profits for 2012 were £159m against £34m a year earlier.

Ryanair appeals Aer Lingus deal

Ryanair will appeal against the European Commission's decision to block its proposed takeover of Aer Lingus. Joaquin Almunia, of the EC, said: "For [passengers], the acquisition of Aer Lingus by Ryanair would have most likely led to higher fares." But Ryanair said the move was "motivated by narrow political interests".

NewBuy scheme boosts Barratt

Barratt Developments has reported a "good" half-year performance with a 113 per cent increase in pre-tax profits to £46.1m. Its order book of more than £1.1bn reflects strong interest in the early weeks of the year, supported by the Government's NewBuy initiative.

Brit raises rates to beat Sandy impact

Brit Insurance, now one of the largest syndicates at Lloyd's following the sale of its regional UK business to QBE, said annual profits rose 88 per cent to just under £100m after average rate increases of 3.4 per cent offset the impact of Hurricane Sandy.

Insider dealers arrested

Three men have been arrested and are being held in connection with an inquiry into insider dealing and market abuse. The Financial Services Authority said it carried out six searches alongside police at addresses in the City of London and Greater London. The arrests of the men, in their thirties, were not linked to other investigations, it said.

Horse tests cost chain £100,000

The Restaurant Group, owner of the Frankie & Benny's, Chiquito and Garfunkel's chains, has spent "over £100,000" independently testing more than 150 of its product lines in the past five weeks since the horse meat scare. Sales rose by 9 per cent during 2012 with pre-tax profits up 7 per cent to £64.6m.

Profits pump up 12% at Weir

Glasgow-based pumps and valves group Weir, which serves the oil and gas sector, topped the FTSE 100 Index risers board after it reported a 12 per cent lift in pre-tax profits for 2012 and said it expects to build on the record performance with more revenues growth in the year ahead.

Carillion gets 2013 order boost

Support services firm Carillion has new and probable orders this year that are expected to be worth £650m, including projects in Oman and Saudi Arabia. It follows a "robust" performance in 2012, with pre-tax profits up by 26 per cent to £179.5m.

Aviva flogs its Russian interests

Aviva has sold its life and pensions operations in Russia to a non-state pension fund in a deal worth €35m (£30m). The sale is part of Aviva's strategy to narrow its focus on businesses and markets where it has leadership positions.

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