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Spain's Zara group owner sees 2013 profits dented by heavy store investments

MADRID - Spanish fashion retailer Inditex, which owns Zara stores, says its profits barely grew in the year to end-January as it continued to invest heavily in new stores globally. The company said Wednesday net profit during the period was up 1 per cent at 2.38 billion euros ($3.31 billion) as sales rose 5 per cent to 16.7 billion euros. The company said it invested €1.2 billion euros refurbishing and expanding its stores, offices and logistics platforms. Store numbers increased by 331 to total 6,340, while 8,000 jobs were added, taking the total workforce to 128,313.

Zara owner Inditex profit growth slows, stores expand

Spanish textile titan Inditex, owner of global fashion brand Zara, reported Wednesday slower profit growth in 2013 as it poured money into new stores, with up to 500 more to open this year. Created 40 years ago in the northwestern Galicia region by the son of a railwayman, Amancio Ortega, the group boasted a worldwide empire of 6,340 stores in 87 markets at the end of its 2013 business year, which runs to January 31.

Spanish public debt hits new record in 2013

Spain reported Friday its public debt soared to a new record high in 2013 despite a slew of budget-cutting measures, ballooning to nearly 94 percent of the economy's entire annual output. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative government has raised taxes, frozen public salaries and curbed spending on items such as education and health so as to rein in bulging annual budget deficits and the fast-accumulating state debt. The austerity drive sparked mass street protests.

Spain slashes trade deficit by a fifth as exports grow

Spain slashed its trade deficit by nearly a fifth year-on-year in January as strengthening exports by Spanish firms boosted a timid recovery in the eurozone's fourth-biggest economy, the government said. The shortfall of exports to imports in goods and services fell by 19.5 percent compared to January 2103 to 2.8 billion euros ($3.9 billion), the economy ministry said in a statement. Exports grew in January by 3.1 percent compared to a year earlier to reach 18.4 billion euros while imports declined by 0.6 percent to 21.3 billion euros, it said.

YPF makes oil find in Argentina's Rio Negro province

Buenos Aires, Mar 12 (EFE).- State-controlled oil company YPF said it discovered an oil field in Rio Negro, a province in southern Argentina. The find was made in the Los Caldenes block, located 30 kilometers (about 19 miles) north of the town of Cinco Saltos, the company said in a statement. The field contains an estimated 15 million barrels of petroleum, YPF said. The discovery was made at the Los Caldenes x-2 well, which was drilled to a depth of 31.54 meters (about 102 feet) below the well head, YPF said.

Argentina, Repsol sign accord on YPF 2 years after expropriation

Buenos Aires, Feb 27 (EFE).- The Argentine government and Spanish oil company Repsol on Thursday signed a $5 billion accord putting an end to the bitter dispute that erupted after President Cristina Fernandez expropriated 51 percent of Repsol's stake in energy company YPF in May 2012. The agreement establishes compensation for the Spanish oil firm of $5 billion in dollar-denominated government bonds, a debt that will be settled by 2033, at the latest, if the bonds are held to maturity.

EU issues objections to Spain's Telefonica over proposed E-Plus buy

Brussels, Feb 27 (EFE).- The European Commission said Thursday it expressed its concerns to Spain's Telefonica about the proposed 8.55-billion-euro ($11.7-billion) purchase of mobile operator E-Plus by the Spanish giant's German subsidiary. "I can confirm that the Commission on Wednesday sent a statement of objections related to the proposed acquisition of E-Plus by Telefonica Deutschland," Antoine Colombani, the EC's spokesman for competition policy, said at a press conference.

EU issues objections to Spain's Telefonica over proposed E-Plus buy

Brussels, Feb 27 (EFE).- The European Commission said Thursday it expressed its concerns to Spain's Telefonica about the proposed 8.55-billion-euro ($11.7-billion) purchase of mobile operator E-Plus by the Spanish giant's German subsidiary. "I can confirm that the Commission on Wednesday sent a statement of objections related to the proposed acquisition of E-Plus by Telefonica Deutschland," Antoine Colombani, the EC's spokesman for competition policy, said at a press conference.

Spain grows 0.2 pct in 4th quarter, contracts 1.2 pct for all of 2013

Madrid, Feb 27 (EFE).- Spain's economy expanded by 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 relative to the previous quarter, falling just short of an earlier official estimate, while the country's gross domestic product fell 1.2 percent for the year as a whole, the National Statistics Institute, or INE, said Thursday in a report.

Spanish fourth-quarter growth picks up pace: official data

Spain's economy picked up pace in the fourth quarter, official data showed on Thursday, adding to signs that the country is emerging from five years of stop-start recession which destroyed millions of jobs. The Spanish economy expanded by 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter from the third, accelerating from the previous quarter's growth of 0.1 percent, the National Statistics Institute said in a report. The figure were below earlier estimates by the institute and the Bank of Spain that the eurozone's fourth-biggest economy grew by 0.3 in the October-December period.
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