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The Business Matrix: Thursday 6 March 2014


Eurostar enjoys profits rise of 4%

The boss of Eurostar hailed a "record-breaking year" as the Channel Tunnel rail line revealed that revenues for 2013 jumped by seven per cent. The Anglo-French firm – which last year carried more than 10 million passengers for the first time – said operating profits for the year rose four per cent from 2012 to £54 million.

Beware 'monetary methadone'

Legal & General has warned that the UK's recovery could falter once the "monetary methadone" of quantitative easing is withdrawn. The FTSE 100 insurer also said that political and regulatory uncertainty could prevent businesses from investing. It came as Legal & General posted annual profits of £1.13 billion, up 10 per cent.

Government has never ad it so good

The Government's monthly spend on advertising has hit its highest level in four years amid suggestions that public awareness on issues such as health and Army recruitment has slumped. Figures from the research firm Nielsen suggest that the Government spent £12.1 million in January, 20 per cent more than a year ago.

Cheap cabs make it tough in London

Eco City Vehicles, distributor of the Mercedes Vito London black cab, has warned that new rival models and changes to emission regulations are making life tough. It sold 543 cabs last year, down from 561 in 2012, with revenues up five per cent to £32 million. The Vito faces challenges from Nissan and Metrocab taxis due soon.

Water meters give Melrose a big hit

The turnaround specialist Melrose revealed its profits for last year nearly doubled after buying water meter firm Elster. Profits rose to £226 million – up from £117.9 million for the 12 months before – with revenues up 65 per cent to £1.7 billion. But the FTSE 100 firm also warned "sales growth remains challenging".

£4bn paid out to business victims

Banks have so far paid out £482 million to compensate businesses that were mis-sold complex interest rate hedging products. The products were designed to protect smaller companies against rising interest rates but, when rates fell, they had to pay huge bills. Banks have set aside £4 billion for compensation.

Pop-up shops help the high street

Town centre shop vacancy rates have continued their improvement after the Local Data Company reported a figure of 12 per cent in February, down from 12.5 per cent a year ago. It said the decline reflected a council incentives and the trend for deals such as pop-up shops.

Rentokil strikes hot deal in Chile

Rentokil Initial is to start trading in Chile after it struck a deal to acquire Bestway, which is the market leader in hygiene services and the third largest provider of pest control services in the country. Revenues last year were £11 million, while the business employs 274 people.

43.5m pints of beer raise a cheer

The brewer Shepherd Neame said half-yearly profits rose two per cent to £6.8 million after its tenanted, managed pubs and hotels accelerated their growth. Turnover rose 4.7 per cent to £73 million after it sold 151,000 barrels of beer – 43.5 million pints.

Lookers' success is accelerating

Lookers, which has 119 car franchise dealerships representing 32 marques from 70 locations, has reported its fifth year in a row of profits growth. The company said new car sales increased by 19 per cent as annual profits rose £10 million to £44 million.