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The Business Matrix: Wednesday 10 April 2013

EE to double network speed

The phone giant EE, vowed to double the speed of its network by the summer just as rivals such as O2 and Vodafone finally launch their own services. Olaf Swantee, chief executive, said that EE's enhanced 4G service will be 20 megabits per second or 10 times faster than existing 3G offered by all the main operators.

Digital revenues jump 12.5%

The growth in digital advertising shows no signs of slowing down, with annual revenues jumping 12.5 per cent to a record £5.4bn last year as mobile devices turbo- charged demand.Mobile ad spending leapt by 148 per cent to pass £500m and now accounts for one tenth of digital spend, according to a report, conducted by the accountancy firm PwC.

Inflation falls as food price slows

China's inflation tumbled to 2.1 per cent last month as food price growth slowed, taking pressure off consumers but raising questions about the strength of its economic recovery. The consumer price index increase in March was well below the 3.5 per cent target for the year, and a significant decline on the 3.2 per cent jump recorded in February.

Lagardere sells stake in EADS

French media group Lagardere has sold its entire 7.4 per cent stake in Airbus-owner EADS for €2.3bn (£1bn), sparking an overhaul in ownership of Europe's biggest aircraft-maker. As part of the deal, in a complex financial move, EADS bought €500m of the shares in a buyback scheme, representing a 1.6 per cent stake in itself.

Eat sees profits more than halve

The sandwich and coffee chain Eat saw its profits more than halve last year. The company reported a pre-tax profit of £1.1m during the year ending 28 June, compared to £2.7m the year before. Turnover rose almost 9 per cent to £94.9m after the company opened eight new stores during the period.

FirstGroup posts rise in revenues

FirstGroup, the UK's biggest bus operator, posted a 2.4 per cent rise in underlying bus revenues yesterday and said the turnaround was going to plan. The group said rail revenues rose by 7.4 per cent in the year to the end of March. The group also announced the sale of eight bus depots in London for £80m.

Diversifying aids Robert Walters

City jobs specialist Robert Walters boosted revenues during the first three months of the year after diversifying away from banking. The company said 85 per cent of its fees were now generated outside the financial services having moved into areas such as oil, gas and engineering.

Late-night TV bets boost Netplay

Persuading late-night viewers of ITV and Channel 5 to gamble on casino-style games is paying off for Aim-listed Netplay TV, which has seen annual profits soar to more than £3m. Revenues leapt by 32 per cent to £27.3m due to profits from Supercasino.com and Jackpot247.com.

Virgin backs grounded Boeings

The new boss of Virgin Atlantic has backed Boeing and its new Dreamliner jet, grounded worldwide since January. Virgin made one of the largest single 787 orders buying 16 of the aircraft, with options for a further eight in a deal worth up to $8bn.

£20.9m bonus for LV members

Liverpool Victoria is to hand its members a shared £20.9m bonus after swinging back into the black last year. The friendly society, which sponsors rugby's LV Cup, posted a £103.2m pre-tax profit in 2012 compared to a £16.9m loss.

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