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The Business Matrix: Wednesday 6 February 2013

Thomas Cook to merge its airlines

Thomas Cook has set out plans to merge its German, British and Belgian airline businesses, with a new management board overseeing the single outfit. As part of the world's oldest travel group's turnaround plan, Thomas Cook Airlines UK will be merged with Condor, its German airline brand, and Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium.

Claims firms earn £7.4m from PPI

Claims-management firms last year pocketed £7.4m of the compensation awarded to PPI mis-selling victims who turned to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme because the firm they dealt with has gone bust. The FSCS said consumers, who can claim direct for free, have needlessly handed claims firms £22m since the scandal broke.

Toyota raises profit forecast

The world's biggest-selling car maker, Toyota, kicked its profit forecast up a gear yesterday on the back of strong sales in the US and the weak yen. The company posted a net profit of ¥99.9bn (£685m) for the three months to 31 December, up 23 per cent from the same period a year ago when natural disasters disrupted supplies.

Arm Holdings' profits hit $276.5m

Arm Holdings, whose chips power Apple's iPhones and iPads, beat City expectations with £276.5m annual pre-tax profits yesterday. The Cambridge company, which started in the 1970s making some of the earliest PCs under the Acorn brand, saw pre-tax profits rise 16 per cent in the fourth quarter to £80m.

UK economy to return to growth

The UK may avoid a triple-dip recession after encouraging signs of a return to growth for the services sector, which accounts for three-quarters of output. The latest snapshot of services activity from the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply, where a score above 50 indicates growth, hit 51.5 in January.

UBM to sell data firms for £160m

UBM, which organises events and runs marketing campaigns, has sealed a £160m deal to sell some of its data-services businesses to the private equity firm Electra. The divisions sold by UBM, which employs more than 6,000 people, include its health, technology, trade and transport, and paper business units.

TalkTalk reports rise in customers

TalkTalk, the broadband provider, saw the first quarterly rise in customers over the past three months as it transforms itself into an internet, TV and mobile supplier. Since launching its TV service and mobile handset offer last summer it has signed up 80,000 TV customers.

BlackBerry says UK sales 'booming'

The chief executive of BlackBerry has boasted that sales of its new device, launched last week, have boomed in the UK. Thorsten Hein needs the new BlackBerry 10 operating system to take off after a tough few years that saw the company lose ground to Apple and Samsung.

St Modwen to focus on the South

The developer St Modwen is training its sights on more buoyant property markets in the South this year as the rest of the country struggles. The group has a third of its portfolio and 50 per cent of its housing assets in London and the South-east.

Boeing looks to test grounded 787

Boeing has asked the US plane-safety board, the Federal Aviation Administration (FFA), for permission to conduct test flights of its trouble-hit 787 Dreamliner. The entire fleet was grounded three weeks ago after battery problems emerged.

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