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Ryanair lashes OFT over BA's BMI plans

RYANAIR has lashed out at a decision by the UK's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) not to ask the European Commission to refer the planned acquisition of BMI by British Airways back to it for assessment. Ryanair claims the decision runs contrary to OFT's attempt to review the Commission's ruling regarding its failed 2006 takeover bid for Aer Lingus. Meanwhile, Ryanair has also said it has "deferred" legal action against Aer Lingus related to the deficit at a pension scheme that serves the latter's employees.

BMW heralds 2011 as a 'bumper year'

MOTORING

GERMAN carmaker BMW said 2011 was a bumper year, with new records in sales, revenues and profits, adding that it expected to continue to grow again this year. BMW reported net profit of €4.9bn in 2011, an increase of 51.3pc from 2010, and pre-tax profit rose by 52.1pc to €7.38bn. BMW sold almost 1.67 million vehicles, up 14.2pc, pushing revenues up by 13.8pc to €68.8bn.

Surprise rise in US jobless figures

ECONOMY

THE number of Americans filing for jobless benefits unexpectedly rose last week, but not enough to change perceptions that the labour market was strengthening. Initial claims for benefit increased 8,000 to 362,000, the Labour Department said yesterday. Even with the increase, new claims remained near the four-year low reached last month. They have dropped about 40,000 since the start of 2012. (Reuters)

Viva Las Vegas, it's Chinese New Year

GAMBLING

LAS Vegas Strip gambling revenue increased 29pc to $623.5m (€470m) in January on a surge in baccarat play, adding momentum to the recovery for the largest US casino market. Revenue for all of Clark County, including the Strip and downtown, increased 22pc from a year earlier to $925.5m, the Nevada Gaming Control Board said. A surge in baccarat linked to the Chinese New Year drove the gain, according to Mark Lipparelli, board chairman. The Chinese New Year fell on January 23 this year.

Irish Independent