Business briefs: Thomas Cook | AstraZeneca | BAE

THOMAS Cook Boss Harriet Green shrugged off fears that bookings would be hit by the recent heatwave, insisting the travel firm was “back from the brink”.

• AstraZeneca Patents expiring and higher tax charges led to a 10 per cent fall in second–quarter profits at Britain’s second–largest drug maker to £4.1 billion.

• BAE Budget cuts in the US continued to hit the defence contractor, which posted a 6 per cent fall in half–year underlying profits to 
£865 million, with prospects for double–digit, full–year profits growth hinging on a successful conclusion to talks with Saudi Arabia over a jet deal.

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• Intu First–half rental income fell 2.9 per cent at the owner of shopping centres including Braehead on the Clyde, Manchester’s Trafford Centre and Newcastle’s Metrocentre following the collapse of some of its tenants.

• Primary Health Properties The investor bought the Gracemount Medical Centre in Edinburgh for £6.35 million.

• ReNeuron Chief executive Mike Hunt was “delighted” as his life sciences outfit secured £1.5 million from the UK government’s Technology Strategy Board to fund the second phase of its stroke stem cell trial, the first phase of which took place at Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital.

• Rentokil Initial Alan Brown is to step down as chief executive in October after five years and will be replaced by Andy Ransom, who is in charge of the pest control firm’s operations in Africa, the Americas, the Middle East and parts of Europe.

• Sigma Capital The Edinburgh–based developer, in which Sir Tom Hunter owns a 22 per cent stake, is to build more houses in Liverpool in a £21m deal.

• The Town House Collection Turnover at the owner of the Blythswood Square hotel in Glasgow rose 12 per cent to £10m as losses fell to £368,000 from £1.5m.