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Admiral Group's pre-tax profits fall

More than 7,00 staff who work for Cardiff-based Admiral Insurance are to get bonuses of £3,000 worth of shares after the company announced its preliminary results.

Credit: Admiral

Pre-tax profits for the year ending December 2014 stand at £357 million.

Admiral Group’s 2014 was the year of the Baked Alaska - hot and cold in a single bite.

The hot? Profits emerging from our international insurance businesses, in ConTe in Italy, and record profits at Rastreator and LeLynx, our price comparison businesses in Spain and France, respectively.

The cold? For the first time since we went public, Admiral Group did not post a record profit, but we still made a lot of money, had an enviable 52% return on equity and distributed 95% of our after-tax profits to our shareholders.

– Henry Engelhardt, Group Chief Executive Officer

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£70m plan for Milford Dock given green light

Credit: Milford Haven Port Authority

Milford Haven Port Authority says a £70m plan to develop Milford Dock has been granted outline planning permission.

It says the development will feature a wide range of new attractions for visitors and local residents , as well as creating new opportunities for the local fishing industry.

Now that Outline Planning has been approved we can move forward with marketing this exciting development opportunity which will create up to 600 new jobs and generate an estimated £45 million of extra spend in the town. We are already talking to a number of development agents who are interested in working with us. They will carry out extensive market testing and it is at this stage that detailed plans will begin to define and shape the specific parts of the development

– Jeff Teague, Estates Director

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Town centres to get £5m regeneration loan

Welsh town centres are set to receive £5 million of loans to help develop them and bring empty buildings back into use.

Credit: PA

Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister, Lesley Griffiths today announced that the funding will be loaned to seven Local Authorities.

Each council will be able to re-invest the money into different projects. It's hoped that the improvements will create jobs and encourage economic growth.

Town centres in Tredegar, Rhymney, Grangetown, Llanelli, Rhyl, Caernarfon and Barry will benefit from the loan. The Welsh Government identified the seven centres as areas with a high level of deprivation.

As the funding comes in the form of a loan, the projects supported will need to be able to generate a return so that the loan can be recycled and ultimately repaid to Welsh Government.

Our town centres are assets to be nurtured, and the revolving nature of this funding will allow for a longer term approach to be taken to town centre regeneration, while also giving local businesses a much needed economic boost.

– Cllr Neil Moore, The WLGA spokesperson for regeneration

Jobs found for ex-Murco workers

The Welsh Government says more than four out of ten people, who lost their jobs with the closure of the Murco refinery in Pembrokeshire, have found work - half in the area.

Hundreds lost their jobs at the Murco refinery after a deal to buy the business fell through. Credit: ITV News

Hundreds were laid off when a deal to buy the business fell through.

Meanwhile six engineers from the refinery have set up a new business in with help from the Welsh Government.

InSite Technical Services will operate out of Pembroke Dock in the Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone.

Wales sees biggest fall in shopper numbers

Credit: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire

The British Retail Consortium says Wales has seen the highest decline in shopper numbers across the UK.

In January they fell by 4.6% compared to a year ago. The biggest decline was at shopping centres followed by the High Street and out-of-town sites.

Meanwhile the number of empty shops was also up on the previous three months.

Our report ‘Welsh Retail: An Economic and Social Contribution’, which was launched this week, highlights the importance of the retail industry to communities across Wales and today’s figures will no doubt be of concern to many.

With almost 130,000 employees and 8,000 businesses Welsh retail is key to the wellbeing of our economy and we need be doing all we can to encourage investment by retailers and consumers alike.

We welcome the Minister’s recent comments around business rates and the potential for radical reform in the medium to long term. Retailers want to be at the heart of these discussions.

– Sara Jones, Head of Policy & External Affairs, WRC

Swansea horse charity pleads for donations

A group of volunteers are calling for help to safeguard the future of a scheme which looks after neglected or abandoned horses in Swansea.

The Community Horse and Pony scheme which currently has seven horses in its care but is facing a bleak future after the charity that funds it has gone into administration.

The group says that despite their best efforts food and supplies are starting to run out.

Our Swansea Correspondent Dean Thomas reports.

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