THE economic slump in Greece deepened in the third quarter, with output shrinking 7.2pc on an annual basis as the debt-racked country heads into its sixth year of depression. The contraction was deeper than the drop in the second quarter.
It follows the passage of a tough 2013 budget by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' government that is expected to continue to smother growth for most of next year. Since 2009, Greece's economic decline has wiped a fifth off economic output and put one in four Greeks out of work.
Property firm posts €12m profit
THE property company behind Belfast's Titanic visitor centre and a host of commercial developments on this side of the Border has posted an operating profit of €12m for 2011.
Developer Pat Doherty's Harcourt Developments had a turnover of €131m last year. Harcourt has a portfolio of hotels, shopping centres and other assets across Ireland, Jersey, the UK, the Bahamas and Las Vegas.
Dairy Board in €20m Tesco deal
THE Irish Dairy Board has secured a contract worth €20m with Tesco for the supply of packet butter for 2012 and 2013. The deal will see the board supplying own- brand butter to Tesco's European shops in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.
Poland is the fourth biggest butter market in the EU and, combined, these four markets consume 22 times the amount of butter consumed in Ireland. The Irish Dairy Board is responsible for just under €1bn worth of dairy product exports from Ireland a year. It owns the Kerrygold brand along with other brands such as Pilgrims Choice and Beo.
Britvic and AG Barr in £1.4bn merger
Drinks brands Robinsons, Squash and Irn-Bru are to be poured into the same company after their makers unveiled a £1.4bn (€1.7bn) merger deal. Britvic and AG Barr said the proposed tie-up will create one of Europe's leading soft drinks firms with annual sales of more than £1.5bn.
They said the combined group's brand portfolio will benefit from enhanced routes to market and is expected to drive opportunities for further revenue growth. "Internationally, the combined group will enjoy significant presence in France and Ireland, and growing distribution of proprietary brands in markets such as the USA," they added.
Joblessness in UK at lowest in a year
Unemployment in Britain has fallen to its lowest total for more than a year, new figures show. But there was an increase in the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance. The jobless total dropped by 49,000 in the quarter to September to 2.51 million, the lowest figure since last summer.
But the claimant count jumped by 10,100 last month to 1.58 million, the highest since July, and the biggest monthly rise since last September. The number of people in work increased by 100,000 in the latest quarter to just under 30 million, a rise of over half a million over the past year.