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Daily Telegraph: A summary of this week’s main business stories

Daily Telegraph: A summary of this week’s main business stories

“Shell declared a 27pc increase in first-half profits to $10.17billion (£5.8billion) but admitted that its oil and gas production had fallen by 129,000 barrels a day over the period.”

Saturday 30 July 2005

• Sir Tom McKillop, chief executive of Astrazeneca, said he would step down in January and be replaced by US head David Brennan, as second-quarter pre-tax profits at the pharmaceutical giant rose 7pc to $1.75billion (£1billion) on sales up 16pc to $6.13billion.

• Glaxo Smithkline, Britain’s biggest drug company, reported a 7.8pc rise in first-half pre-tax profits to £1.66billion on sales up from £4.97billion to £5.35billion, despite problems at its Puerto Rico plant which led to the disruption in supply of two key drugs.

• Shell declared a 27pc increase in first-half profits to $10.17billion (£5.8billion) but admitted that its oil and gas production had fallen by 129,000 barrels a day over the period.

• Telecoms company BT boasted its best quarter of revenue growth for three years – up 5pc to £4.78billion – fuelled by a 48pc leap in “new wave” revenues from broadband, mobile and big IT contracts.

• Legal & General chief executive Sir David Prosser said he believed the Government would force firms to match staff pension contributions as he announced a 28pc rise in first-half sales and a sharp rise in profits.

• Mortgage bank Northern Rock defied the slowing housing market to produce a 13pc rise in underlying pre-tax profit to £239.2m in the first half as it increased its share of net UK mortgage lending to 14.2pc – up from 11.2pc last year.

• National Express said it had only seen a slight dip in rail passengers in the wake of the bomb attacks in London as first-half profits rose from £16.9m to £39.5m.

• The Royal Mail lost more than £200m last year on post that weighed under 100g – the one area where it is regulated.

• The maker of Tiny and Time computers, Granville Technology Group, collapsed leading to the closure of its The Computer Shop chain and the loss of 1,500 jobs.

• Somerfield could be forced by the Competition Commission to sell 14 of the 115 medium-sized former Safeway supermarkets it bought from Wm Morrison last year.

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