Business briefs: FirstGroup | Kier | German economy

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FirstGroup’s disposal of two bus businesses in the West Midlands has been given the green light by regulators.

The Office of Fair Trading launched an investigation into the deal in April, three months after Aberdeen-based FirstGroup agreed to sell two depots, in Kidderminster and Redditch, to Aim-quoted peer Rotala for £1.5 million.

The watchdog wanted to check whether the sale, which included 36 buses, would lead to reduced competition in the local market, but said yesterday that it would not be referring the deal to the Competition Commission.

• Construction firm Kier has won a pair of maintenance contracts from Aberdeenshire Council worth a total of nearly £10 million.

Under the two deals, Kier will carry out repairs over the next five years to more than 470 schools and other public buildings, along with nearly 760 council houses. Aberdeenshire Council head of property Allan Whyte said: “We are very pleased to confirm Kier is one of our new term maintenance contractors and look forward to working with it to ensure our property portfolio continues to meet high standards.”

• Broad-based domestic demand drove the strongest German quarterly expansion in more than a year between April and June, fuelling optimism Europe’s largest economy will outperform in 2013 and support the nascent eurozone recovery.

Data yesterday showed that a construction flurry after the harsh winter, firms’ strong appetite for machines and equipment and healthy private consumption underpinned a 0.7 per cent quarterly rise in gross domestic product. The bounce-back is likely to prompt

upward revisions to 2013 growth forecasts.