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image   Thorntons chocolates have recorded strong demand for its products in supermarkets as well as in high street stores in the country allowing the company to increase its profitability.

Increased sales in supermarkets and other high-street retailers helped the company record profits during the first half of the year. Thorntons has said that sales in stores including Debenhams and WH Smith were higher than its own stores for the first time during the period in the six months till January.

The company’s pre-tax profits increased 47 per cent to £7.2million as the sales to third party retailers increased 14.5 per cent to £70.6million. The comp
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image   According to the latest figures released, the net lending to small businesses fell in the previous year even as the authorities worked to boost lending in the UK.

Official figures confirmed on Monday that banks lent lesser amount of funds to small firms in the previous year even as the Bank of England and the UK Treasury offered incentive to the banks to increase lending to small firms in the country. The data showed that banks taking part in the Funding for Lending Scheme took £18.7 billion of affordable loans in the fourth quarter of 2013. The banks created £5.8 billion in net new loans to households and businesses in quarter.

The banks ha
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image   New Delhi, March 4 : State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) expects a peak gas output of 25-30 million standard cubic metres per day (mscmd) from its KG basin block on the country's east coast, exploration director N. K. Verma said here Tuesday.

Verma told mediapersons that gas production from the deep water block, which holds over 2 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas, will begin in 2017.

In July 2013, ONGC signed an agreement with Reliance Industries (RIL) to explore possibility of hiring RIL's infrastructure facilities on the east coast to economise on costs, as well as expedite field development.

ONGC had said the infrastructu
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image   The Supreme Court of India has asked Nokia India to come up with a concrete plan to settle its tax dispute with the country's income tax (I-T) authorities.

The Indian arm of Finnish handset maker stressed on the need for an early settlement of the tax row, saying the transfer of assets to Microsoft Corp had to take place in another 2-3 weeks.  A lawyer for Nokia India said a failure to resolve the dispute would lead to more problems.

The lawyer added that if the deal did not go through, the company would have to close its Chennai plant, which would lead to as many as 35,000 job losses.  The amount fetched from the deal would also be far be
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image   New Delhi, March 4 : Reliance Jio Infocomm would utilize the telecom tower infrastructure of Bharti Infratel to launch its services across the country, the company said here Tuesday after the two firms signed an agreement in this regard.

"This agreement is in line with our earlier comprehensive telecom infrastructure sharing arrangement with Bharti Airtel aimed at avoiding duplication of infrastructure, wherever possible, and to preserve capital and the environment. The agreement will help us with the faster roll out of our services across the country," Sanjay Mashruwala, managing director, Reliance Jio, said.

Reliance Jio Infocomm is a subsid
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image   Sydney, Mar 04  : Etihad airways' official travel-route map reportedly shows surrounding countries appropriately, but has no sign of Israel on it.

Etihad, owned by the United Arab Emirates, shows countries including Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Cyprus, but not the Jewish state or its major cities.

According to news. com. au, the carrier, which partners with Virgin Australia, has also refused to transport any Israelis, who aren't allowed in the UAE.

In 2010, the carrier even began teaching its flight agents how to identify Israeli travellers by their "accents and traits."

A Jewish travel exp
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image   New Delhi, March 3 : Tata Housing Development Company, a unit of Tata Group, Monday said it will invest Rs. 1,200 crore in 12 projects in eight major cities in India by 2018.

Addressing a media conference here, managing director and chief executive officer of Tata Housing Brotin Banerjee said the company targets a market share of 25 percent by 2018 in senior living segment.

Tata Housing unveiled its expansion plans for the senior living brand “Riva Residences”.

“Gone are the days when Indians after retirement thought of sitting at home and leading a passive life. Today’s globetrotting Indian consumer is aware of in
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image   Stock in Indian infrastructure conglomerate Jaypee Group's subsidiary Jaiprakash Power Ventures Ltd (JPVL) slipped as much as 17.32 per cent on Monday after the company announced its decision to sell its two hydroelectric power plants to a consortium led by Abu Dhabi National Energy Co.

The Abu Dhabi National Energy Co.-led consortium will spend $616 million on equity in the two power plants, in addition taking over JPVL's non-recourse project debt, which brings the total enterprise value of the deal to $1.6 billion (around Rs 9,900 crore).

Analysts said the deal value was lower than expected. Profit-taking also discouraged investors and played
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image   Experts have said that the government in the UK must reduce its fuel duty in order to bring to the same level as that in European nations.

George Osborne has been urged to reduce petrol and diesel duty by three pence during this month's budget. It is believed that the UK has higher taxes on fuel than most European nations. The FairFuel UK campaign, which his headed by television personality Quentin Willson, said that the UK has the highest duty on diesel in the EU and the second highest duty on petrol just behind Sweden.

He said, "Having the highest duty for diesel and second-highest for petrol in the EU is a cruel and needless burden on the mi
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image   Ulster Bank staff members are expected to hold 15 meetings across the country to discuss concerns over further job cuts and branch closures at the bank.

The bank has now has 5,800 staff and they are concerned over the uncertainty in the bank's future plans. The bank's hundreds of thousands of customers are also concerned over the prospects for the bank, according to the Irish Bank Officials Association (IBOA). Ulster Bank, which is owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), announced that it is committed to the Irish market but pointed out that it will have a smaller presence in the market.

The bank did not announce the number of jobs that might
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image   The banking unit of the Virgin Group headed by Sir Richard Branson, will join other lenders this week to announce that it backs high bonuses for bankers in the UK.

Virgin Money is planning to announce higher bonus for its senior executives, a move that might be against new European rules. The bank is expected to announce that its board has approved a plan to award up to 200 per cent of the salaries of top executives as bonuses. The bank said that bonus decision is restricted under the new European rules.

The European Commission has ruled that banks cannot pay more than two times a banker's salary in bonuses. Bank of England governor Mark Carney has
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image   Financial experts and the supporters of online currency, Bitcoin are still confidence over the future of the currency even after the collapse of Mt. Gox of Torkyo, which was of the world's largest exchange for digital currency transactions.

The government said that it will look at factors that resulted in the closure of the exchange, which was the leading exchange for bitcoin virtual currency. The currency did not have much value earlier but its value increased significantly after online traders began using it for business purposes. The value of increasing popular cyber currency, Bitcoin has risen to the mark of $1,000 for the first time since it was created.
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image   Bangalore has become India's first city to receive an electric zero-emission bus. Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy launched the environment-friendly Rs2.7-crore bus in the city on Thursday.

Mr. Reddy acknowledged that the electric bus is very expensive, but he stressed that it would likely prove to be a good deal in the long-term. He expressed hope that price of electric buses would likely come down in the future.

Speaking on the occasion of the official launch of the electric bus, the minister said, "The bus costs about Rs2.7 crore and this is expensive. But this is one bus in the entire country. Once the demand for the bus goes up and more
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image   Los Angeles, Feb 28 : Actor Leonardo DiCaprio has purchased the former estate of singer/actress Dinah Shore in the Old Las Palmas neighbourhood of Palm Springs for $5.2 million.

The 39-year-old bought the Donald Wexler-designed home that is spread over 1.3 acres and features six bedrooms, a pool, tennis court and detached gym, reports hollywoodreporter. com.

The sellers, Ben Lipps and wife Jude, bought the estate for $4.9 million in April 2011. The home was offered for $5.5 million Jan 16 and was promptly purchased by the actor for $5.2 million.

"This is the quintessential mid-century modern home," said a local architecture expe
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image Weighed down by prolonged slowdown of the automotive industry, Germany-based engineering & electronics giant Bosch on Thursday reported a fall of more than 19 per cent in net profit for the October-December quarter.

Bosch said its net profit fell 19.22 per cent to Rs 138.98 crore in the three months ended December 31, 2013, from Rs 172.05 crore in the previous three months.

The company suffered the fall in net profit despite an increase 1.4 per cent in revenue, from Rs 2,132 crore in the third quarter to Rs 2,162 crore in the fourth quarter.  It may be noted here that the company follows January to December financial year.

Announcing the
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image New Delhi, Feb 27 : Industrial conglomerate Mahindra and Mahindra Thursday rolled out its electric vehicle e2o in Bhutan.

The launch followed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that it entered with government of Bhutan.

"With the Mahindra e2o we are taking the lead in not only creating a comprehensive ecosystem to nurture sustainable mobility solutions, but also partnering Bhutan to redefine the future of urban mobility," said Pawan Goenka, executive director and president, automotive and farm equipment sectors, Mahindra and Mahindra.(IANS) Source: Top News  
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image   Employees of information technology services provider Infosys will receive much lower than expected pay increments in FY2015, according to some media reports.

Citing unnamed sources, the Business Standard reported has reported that Infosys told its employees in India on Wednesday that they would receive pay increments of 5-7 per cent in the next financial year. The reported increment is well lower than employees' average expectation of 10-12 per cent.

Commenting on the report, a senior analyst with a domestic brokerage house said, "Everyone was expecting at least 10-12 per cent more. Five to seven per cent is really low. Already the company is
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image   Arvind Saxena, managing director of Volkswagen India, is reportedly all-set to leave the German vehicle maker and join General Motors (GM) India as the new chief executive officer.

Mr. Saxena will replace GM India's outgoing managing director Lowell Paddock. GM Indian decided to move out its Paddock midway through his term months after a government-appointed committee accused him of a corporate fraud.

A company executive, with direct knowledge of the matter, said Paddock would be shifted to GM's International Office at Singapore.

Paddock, who had joined GM India around a couple of years back, was one of the managing directors unde
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image   Islamabad, Feb 27 : The economy of Pakistan grew at an average rate of 2.9 percent per annum during the last five years, the country's Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) said in a report.

However, GDP grew at 3.6 percent during 2012-13 financial year, against the fixed target of 4.3 percent, the Daily Times reported Thursday citing the report.

Sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and services remained below their capacity.

The recent European Union (EU) approval of duty waiver in the form of awarding GSP PLUS status (Generalized System of Preferences Plus) brought some positivity to the economy of the country.

The ene
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image   General Motors India has slashed prices of its various models by up to Rs 49,000, thanks to the excise duty cuts announced by Finance Minister P Chidambaram in the interim budget for FY2014-15.

P Balendran, Vice-President of GM India, said the company reduced prices across models by Rs 12,000 to Rs 49,000.

GM India sells hatchbacks Spark, Sail, sedan Sail U-VA, premium sedan Cruze, multi-utility vehicles Tavera, Enjoy and premium sports utility vehicle Captiva.

The Indian arm of the U. S.-based car manufacturer also unveiled refreshed version of Chevrolet Beat. The base variant costs Rs 3.98 lakh, while the top model has been priced at Rs
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