EchoBusiness [Northern Echo (England)]
(Northern Echo (England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) BTin mobile market return BThas signed a deal with mobile phone operator EE to use its network to provide mobile services. The deal paves the way for a return to the consumer mobile phone market for BT, which disposed of its BT Cellnet network in 2001. It will also allow it to offer mobile services alongside its existing offer of landline, internet and TV, the socalled "quad-play" market.
EE, Darlington's largest private employer, operates the Orange and T-Mobile brands in the UK.
The owner of Glasgow Prestwick has suggested it may give away the airport for nothing. The Scottish government announced it was negotiating to buy the unprofitable airport from New Zealand owner Infratil.
But in a statement on its website, the company said it did not expect any transaction to give rise to material proceeds. Prestwick was put up for sale last March after heavy annual losses. Several investors expressed interest but no offers were made. Infratil has also been trying to sell its other UK airport, Manston Kent.
Outdoor clothing company Regatta has secured a [pounds]25m refinancing package with HSBC and Lloyds Bank to support the company's domestic and overseas expansion. Family-owned Regatta, which was founded in 1981 and employs 450 people, already exports to 55 countries.
Dixons Retail Group, which owns PC World and Currys, is to merge its Unieuro business in Italy with private equityowned Marco Polo. The combined business will operate from 173 own stores as well as through franchise partners.
The Queen's supplier of chartered jets said pre-tax profits fell five per cent to [pounds]3.9m in the year to the end of July, while revenues dipped three per cent to [pounds]220.6m. Gatwickbased Air Partner blamed the fall on slumping freight sales and restructuring, but said it is well placed to benefit from the improving economy.
Competition authorities are to control the price of a mineral used to make paint and adhesives after the merger of two major suppliers. The Competition Commission said it will cap the price at which Imerys Minerals and Goonvean can sell kaolin, also known as china clay, into the paint and adhesives market for the next five years. But it will not fix the price of china clay for other markets.
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