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The Business Matrix: Wednesday 13 March 2013


Smart TV turns on Imagination Tech

Demand for smart-TV sets is helping to keep profits on track at Imagination Technologies, the British company which designs graphic processors for smartphones and tablets including the iPhone and iPad. Sir Hossein Yassaie, the chief executive, credited a slew of product launches, including smart TVs from Sony and LG.

IG shrugs off Euro woes to grow sales

The UK's biggest spread-betting firm, IG, yesterday toasted booming stock markets and investor wobbles in the wake of Italy's hung parliament as revenues rose by 18 per cent. Chief executive Tim Howkins said: "There have been some isolated patches of volatility – around the Italian election and the US fiscal cliff."

'Pay-as-you-go' fees at Bupa

Bupa is offering patients "pay-as-you-go" operations to boost business after the double impact of poorer Britons and rising healthcare costs cut UK profit at the private medical giant by one-fifth to £109.7m last year. Bupa started in August offering patients treatments such as hip replacements plus all the associated consultations for a fixed fee.

Alliance Trust sees bumps ahead

Katherine Garrett-Cox warned that the FTSE 100 faces "significant roadblocks" over the next few months as her company posted its strongest start to a year for two decades yesterday. The chief executive of Alliance Trust, which manages £2.4bn for investors, said headwinds threatened to throw the market off course.

Punch toasts trading uptick

Tenanted pub group Punch Taverns saw improvements in the second quarter to 2 March as underlying net income fell 3.5 per cent, compared with a decrease of 5.2 per cent for the previous quarter. The firm has sold off more of its unwanted pubs than expected, completing £55m of disposals in the first half.

Happy new year for Winterflood

Winterflood, the biggest market maker for private-client stockbroking, has enjoyed a boost since the start of the year as the stock market has risen. "January was better than December, and February and March have seen trade hold up well," said Preben Prebensen, boss of parent Close Brothers.

Quarto suffers profits slump

Quarto, the British publisher of how-to guides whose founder, Laurence Orbach, was ousted in a boardroom coup last year, saw pre-tax profits tumble by a quarter to $7.1m (£4.8m) last year, with sales down 2.8 per cent at $180.9m. Quarto spent more than £3m on restructuring.

Antofagasta mines divi hike

Shares in the Chilean copper miner Antofagasta jumped yesterday after the group more than doubled its full-year dividend. Antofagasta announced a $US 12.5-cent final dividend and a 77.5-cent special dividend, bringing its full-year payout to 98.5 cents.

St Ives touts marketing shift

Book-printing firm St Ives said marketing services now accounted for 31 per cent of profits as it moves away from commoditised sectors of the print market. New contracts won during the six months to 1 February included Innocent Drinks.

Inchcape driven by Asian growth

Car dealership Inchcape reported a 10 per cent rise in underlying pre-tax profits to £250.3m in 2012, helped by record profit in Australasia and North Asia. It said more than 70 per cent of trading profit came from Asia-Pacific and emerging markets.