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The Business Matrix: Tuesday 26 March 2013

Shoppers on credit-card spree

Shoppers were in more buoyant mood in February as they spent £7.6bn on credit cards, the highest since January 2006. The spree was higher than repayments, leaving net credit card debt up £367m over the month, according to the British Bankers' Association. The figures follow data showing a 2.1 per cent jump in retail sales last month.

YouGov half-year profits rise £2.6m

Market research firm YouGov said it enjoyed a strong first half of its financial year, with solid like-for-like sales growth of 5 per cent and profits up 16 per cent to £2.6m in the six months to 31 January. It said its pioneering products such as BrandIndex have demonstrated its ability to respond to the explosion of online activity.

MailOnline powers ahead

Digital advertising revenue at the MailOnline site grew 59 per cent in the five months to the end of February, offsetting an 8 per cent decline in advertising at the parent Daily Mail group's print titles, which also include Metro. The number of users accessing MailOnline is already 43 per cent and is set to pass 50 per cent this year.

Michelmersh under pressure

Michelmersh Brick said its niche products enabled it to continue to maintain turnover at £24.5m last year, although margins remain under pressure and the slow process of industry adjustment to a smaller marketplace continues. In the face of growing energy and finance costs, it made profits of £52,000 against £530,000 last year.

BAT boss sees pay shrink in 2012

Nicandro Durante, chief executive of British American Tobacco, saw his pay drop from £3.6m to £3.4m last year despite profits rising by 14 per cent. Meanwhile, the group's finance director, Ben Stevens, and chief operating officer, John Daly, were paid £2.4m and £2m respectively.

Finsbury makes £3m on baking

Finsbury Food, which makes cakes and speciality bread, increased profits by 33 per cent to £3m in the six months to 31 December after revenues improved by 1 per cent to £103m in the period. Licensed cake sales continue to perform well, with a strong performance from Spider-Man and Moshi Monsters.

Travelex gets boost from Africa

Travelex saw revenues in 2012 rise 8 per cent to £630m. Strong growth in America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East offset tougher times in the UK and Europe, where sales were up just 2 per cent. The company refused to comment on rumours that it is up for sale.

Pay climbs 50% for Glencore CFO

Glencore's finance chief, Steven Kalmin, saw his pay package jump by nearly half to £2.13m in 2012, after the commodities trading giant reported a $1bn (£660m) profit, down from $4bn the year before. Chief executive Ivan Glasenberg waived a bonus but got $172m in dividends.

Aberdeen sees assets grow £3.5bn

Aberdeen Asset Management pulled in £3.5bn of new money during the first two months of the year as investors rode the stock rally. The blue-chip fund manager said its assets rose to £212bn on 28 February, compared to £193bn at the start of the year.

Banks to continue Libor participation

Banks' participation in compiling the Libor benchmark interest rate at the centre of a fixing scandal will remain voluntary when new rules come into force. The Financial Services Authority's rules are due to come into force next month.

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