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The Business Matrix: Tuesday 30 July 2013

Flu brings healthy profits for Lemsip

An awful year for flu in Europe and North America triggered healthy profits for Lemsip maker Reckitt Benckiser. The firm sold more Lemsip, Nurofen and Strepsils in the UK and Europe, and extra Mucinex in the US. Healthcare products make up more than a quarter of the company’s revenues, sales rose 16 per cent in the second quarter.

Barclays hunts for fresh capital

Barclays has confirmed to the stock market that it is looking to raise fresh capital with growing speculation that it could announce a £4bn rights issue alongside tomorrow’s first half results. Barclays said it was “in discussions with the Prudential Regulatory Authority regarding its financial and capital management plans”

Not such an easy wicket for LV

County cricket sponsor LV said profits from its general insurance business dipped during  the first half of the year. The company, which claims to be  the UK’s third largest car insurer, saw operating profits fall to £43m in the unit compared with £62m in 2012. Life and  pension sales also fell 14 per cent to £74.3m.

Metro sees 54% rise in customers

The first new bank to open on Britain’s high streets in more than a century increased its number of account holders by 54 per cent during the first half of the year but still remained loss making. Known for its drive-through branches and coin-counting machines, Metro Bank said it had now opened more than 200,000 accounts.

Hiscox profits beat expectations

Art-to-catastrophe insurer  Hiscox boosted its profits  during the first half of the year despite sluggish returns from its investments. The company, which operates in the Lloyd’s of London market, beat City expectations with a 44 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £180.7m.

Tough June for Aberdeen Asset

Fears over the ending of quantative easing in the United States spooked clients of Aberdeen Asset Managment last month with the vast majority of the net £3.1bn of funds it saw cashed in coming in July. “June was a pretty tough month for the industry,” said chief executive Martin Gilbert.

Fears spur local government audit 

China has ordered an audit of all local government borrowing levels raising fears that the country’s growth may have been partly spurred by multibillion debts which have gone unreported. The survey has reportedly been sparked by an “urgent message” from the cabinet.

Bauxite setback for Vedanta

Vedanta Resources plans to mine bauxite to feed its alumina refinery in the eastern Indian state of Odisha have suffered a blow after a majority of local residents voted against mining.Failure to source bauxite might force the firm to shut itsone million tonne per year plant.

PPI complaints slacken off

Britain’s Financial Ombudsman Service is starting to see a decline in the amount of complaints it receives about mis-sold loan insurance but  levels remain very high, said Chief Financial Ombudsman Natalie Ceeney.

Hammerson sees rental income rise

Brent Cross owner Hammerson has been growing rents and enjoying fuller shopping centres in the first half of the year. Hammerson saw rental income rise 2.5 per cent while occupancy rose above its 97 per cent target to 97.4 per cent in the first six months.

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