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The Business Matrix: Thursday 7 February 2013

Halifax points to homebuying lift

Would-be homebuyers are being persuaded back to the market despite a sluggish start to the new year, lender Halifax said yesterday. Halifax's latest index showed a 0.2 per cent drop in average prices last month, at odds with a 0.5 per cent rise recorded by the Nationwide. But the bank's quarterly measure showed prices up 1.9 per cent.

Hargreaves see record client base

Peter Hargreaves, founder of Hargreaves Lansdown, which he describes as the "largest investment supermarket" in the country, yesterday said his firm was seeing record numbers of new clients partly because people no longer trust banks. "Customers are opening new accounts at a greater rate than ever in our history," he said.

Page's appetite to invest in Fulham

David Page, the restaurants entrepreneur who has backed and made fortunes from PizzaExpress and Gourmet Burger Kitchen among many other chains, is back with a new venture called Fulham Shore. The firm has raised £850,000 to invest in London restaurants which it believes are ripe for expansion.

Greencoat plans market float

Greencoat UK Wind plans to raise £205m by listing its shares on the London Stock Exchange. The infrastructure fund, managed by Greencoat Capital, said it would use the money to buy six wind farms from utility groups SSE and RWE. The flotation is backed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Tchenguiz claims £200m damages

The property tycoon Vincent Tchenguiz has lodged a claim for about £200m damages from the Serious Fraud Office, which carried out a dawn raid on his house and office almost two years ago. He is claiming tresspass, false imprisonment, breaches of his human rights and malicious prosecution.

Mail revenues rise as circulation falls

The Daily Mail and General Trust, owner of the Daily Mail newspaper, saw revenues rise by 3 per cent to £503m in the three months to 30 December, helped by a surge in advertising revenues from its websites, including MailOnline. But circulation of the Daily Mail titles fell by 6 per cent.

EasyJet attracts more passengers

EasyJet carried 3.8 million passengers last month, 4 per cent more than in the same month last year. Its aircraft were also fuller, with the load factor up to 84.4 per cent from 82 per cent. This figure represents the number of passengers as a proportion of the number of seats available.

Homeserve hangs on to customers

Household emergency repair and insurance firm Homeserve said it expected pre-tax profits at its year-end in March to be in line with expectations as it continued to shrink its UK business. It held on to slightly more customers than in the first half of the year.

Mobile phone boost for Wolfson

Wolfson Microelectronics's revenues rose by 52 per cent in the final three months of last year, helping it to return to profit. The Edinburgh-based chip-maker saw a 60 per cent boost in sales for mobile phones and tablet computers last year.

BK Gulf wins £64m airport deal

Balfour Beatty's joint venture company BK Gulf has won a £64m contract to expand Dubai Airport. It said the aviation hub, which is having new electrics installed, would be able to accommodate millions more passengers each year.

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