Business news in brief: Eco City | Kleenex | P&G | V

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Taxi supplier Eco City Vehicles has predicted sharply lower full-year losses following a jump in sales of its converted Mercedes people carriers.

The group said it sold 561 Mercedes Vito taxis during the year to 31 December, an increase of 71 per cent compared with the previous year. Revenues grew 40 per cent to £31.1 million. Rival Manganese Bronze, maker of the iconic black cab, fell into administration in October.

Eco City chairman John Swingewood said pre-tax losses should narrow to between £100,000 and £300,000, down from £2.2m a year earlier.

Cost-cutting helps Kleenex maker

KLEENEX tissue maker Kimberly-Clark posted a greater-than-expected rise in quarterly profit yesterday as it cut costs, and the company said it expects the savings to help it overcome moderate increases in commodity prices.

It also forecast full-year earnings could beat Wall Street estimates. Kimberly-Clark has been cutting costs and benefited from a decline in commodity prices.

In October,it said it would stop selling its Huggies nappies in much of Europe as part of a plan to leave low-profit businesses in the region.

P&G profits higher on growth spurt

Procter & Gamble Co posted higher quarterly profits yesterday, as the world’s largest household products maker tries to reignite growth in sluggish markets such as the US.

Activist investor William Ackman is also pushing for improvements in performance at the group.

P&G, the maker of Gillette razors, Fairy washing-up liquid, Pampers nappies and Tide detergent, earned $4.06 billion (£2.57bn), or $1.39 per share, in the second quarter ended in December. The figure is up from $1.69 billion, or 57 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenues on track to treble at Blur

Blur, the business technology firm set up by Philip Letts, whose family previously owned the eponymous Dalkeith-based diary publisher, is on track to generate revenues of about $2.7 million (£1.7m) this year.

The firm, which floated on the Alternative Investment Market in October, runs online “exchanges” where companies can bid for business projects.

Revenues for last year came in at $900,000 and Letts, the group’s chief executive, said: “Results for the year will be in line with market expectations, delivering year-on-year revenue growth of over 200 per cent.”