WINTER BOOST: Consumer goods group Reckitt Benckiser, which owns the Nurofen painkiller brand, has reported strong sales for the start of the year after a heavy flu and colds season boosted demand.

The firm said the cold temperatures increased sales of its Strepsils lozenges and Nurofen tablets, with total revenues improving by seven per cent to £2.5bn.

It said its rapidly-expanding markets in India, Brazil and China had driven revenues further forward, with US sales of children's Strepsils and heat patches boosting its North American and European sales division by three per cent.

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TAKEOVER REJECTED: Bosses at gambling website Betfair have highlighted its “unique” business and prospects after turning down a £910m takeover approach.

The bid, from CVC Capital Partners, which is the buy-out group behind Formula One motor racing, was rejected by Betfair on valuation grounds.

Betfair's betting exchange works by matching gamblers and allowing them to bet against each other, eliminating the traditional bookmaker, while charging commission on bets.

It processes about seven million bets every day.

THEATRE DEAL: Family tea-makers Ringtons will supply tea and coffee to a historic theatre after signing a three-year deal.

The firm, which has a factory in Longbenton, Newcastle, will see its beverages served up at Blackpool's Grand Theatre.

The tea-maker earlier this year revealed turnover had hit £41m, with sales increasing by £7m in 12 months.

Last year, Ringtons agreed a deal to ship about 250 containers of tea every year through the Port of Tyne, in South Shields, South Tyneside, for the first time in 50 years.

NEW FILLING: Sandwich chain Pret A Manger says it wants to create about 500 new jobs in the UK, as par of plans to add 1,000 new staff to its workforce across the world.

The business, which has outlets in Newcastle and York, announced the proposals after revealing profits had risen by 17 per cent to £61m in 2012, with sales also up by 17 per cent to £443m.

PROFITS MOVE: Earthmoving equipment company Caterpillar has warned it faces weaker sales and profits this year after a slow down in its mining business.

The company revealed its worries after reporting a 45 per cent decline in first quarter net income to £579m.

GAMES SALE: Retail group Dixons has reached an agreement to sell Sweden's Webhallen, a subsidiary of PIXmania, to Norwegian-based e-commerce company Komplett for £14m.

Webhallen sells games and related products from 10 stores and online.

TOY LOSS: Hasbro, the toy maker of Monopoly and Transformers, has reported a wider first-quarter loss as a result of heavy restructuring charges and adverse foreign exchange rates.

It said it lost £4.4m in the three months to March 31.

TOP GEAR: A North-East car parts manufacturer has won an award for the design of its new factory.

Gestamp Tallent Automotive, in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, which employs about 1,400 workers making and developing parts for Volvo, Ford and Jaguar, picked up the commercial property award at the RICS North-East Renaissance Awards for its 15,250sq metre plant, used to make chassis components.

DRIVING FORWARD: A North-East marketing manager will be sharing the secrets of her business success in an event in Stockton.

Bridget Charlton, managing director of Simon Bailes Peugeot, will speak about adapting new technology, reducing costs and growing sales in a talk at the company's dealership, in Stockton Riverside, from 6pm on Thursday, April 25.