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The Business Matrix: Tuesday 26 November 2013

Momart business drives FIC profits

Exhibitions including Ellen  Gallagher at Tate Modern (left) helped to boost first-half profits at the Falklands Island Company. In addition to shops, construction and transport services on the islands, the firm operates the fine art transport business Momart. The group’s pre-tax profits rose by 14.8 per cent to £1.37m.

McMillon takes helm at Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart has named the head of its international division, Doug McMillon, to replace Mike Duke as its chief executive from 1 February. Mr Duke is retiring from the world’s largest retailer after five years at the helm. Mr McMillon, a 47-year-old Wal-Mart veteran, will take charge after the Christmas shopping season.

7digital to make its market debut

The online music platform  7digital will make its stock market debut next year after plans for a reverse takeover of UBC Media were confirmed. The deal will create a business with customers ranging from the BBC and Yahoo! to Samsung and HTC. It will operate in 42 countries and have nearly five million registered users.

Nasdaq rallies  to 13-year high

The Nasdaq index pierced through the psychologically important 4,000-point level after the opening bell in New York yesterday – for the first time since September 2000. America’s Dow Jones benchmark also extended its record rally. US stock markets will be closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving Day.

Business loans slump to £940m

The rush to climb on to the property ladder showed few signs of abating in October but business lending slipped back. The British Bankers’ Association said 42,808 house purchases were approved by high-street banks last month, while business lending fell to £940m over the month.

Cupid adds new string to its bow

Bill Dobbie, the boss of online dating group Cupid, will move to a non-executive role at the Aim-listed firm next month and be replaced by Phil Gripton, head of its dating services division. In July Cupid was cleared of using fake profiles, but staff were told to identify themselves more clearly.

Cook sells Neilson Active for £9.1m

Thomas Cook has sold tour operator Neilson Active Holidays to its management, backed by private equity firm Risk Capital Partners, in a £9.1m deal. Neilson offers sailing, skiing and beach holidays to 90,000 customers a year and had sales of £70m last year.

Wetherspoon’s to open in Ireland

The pubs operator JD Wetherspoon has exchanged contracts on its first outlet in the Republic of Ireland. The Watford-based company plans to invest €1.5m (£1.25m) in the Tonic Bar in Blackrock, near Dublin, making a total investment of €3m.

Outlet mall draws 350,000 shoppers

The London Designer Outlet in Wembley has attracted 350,000 shoppers in the month since its launch. Max James, of developer Quintain, said most of the rental value of the centre – anchored by M&S, Gap, Nike and Cineworld – had been let.

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