ITV appoints Kingfisher chair Andrew Cosslett to its board


ITV appoints Kingfisher chair former English rugby boss Andrew Cosslett as it seeks to ramp up digital revenue

  • ITV has appointed Kingfisher chair Andrew Cosslett to its board
  • He will be replacing Peter Bazalgette as ITV seeks to boost digital revenue 

Kingfisher chair Andrew Cosslett has been appointed chair designate non-executive director of broadcasting giant ITV.

Stepping onto the board from July, Mr Cosslett succeeds Sir Peter Bazalgette will remain chair of the board at Kingfisher.

The incoming board member will take up his role as non-executive chair when Mr Bazalgette steps down at the end of September after six years in the position.

New appointment: Andrew Cosslett has been appointed chair designate non-executive director of broadcasting giant ITV

ITV boss Carolyn McCall said in a statement: ‘ITV is very grateful to Baz for the role he has played as our chair as we have transformed the company into the much stronger, more flexible digitally scaled business it is today.’

She added: ‘He will be greatly missed by the entire business.

‘The next few years will be exciting for ITV as we launch ITVX continue to deliver our digital acceleration. 

‘I’m really pleased that Andrew, with his huge wealth of experience, will be with us as chair as we continue to grow deliver on our ambition.’    

Mr Bazalgette, also a non-executive director of YouGov, was formerly the chief creative officer at TV company Endemol until 2007 – is best known as the man behind Big Brother in the UK.

Mr Cosslett is the former chief executive of InterContinental Hotels Group the former chair of the Rugby Football Union, the governing body for rugby in England. 

ITV is set to launch a new on-demplatform called ITVX in a bid to boost revenue from its digital operations.

The broadcaster, which wants to double its digital revenue by 2026, plans to launch the platform in the fourth quarter of this year.

ITV said ITVX will become the first such platform to integrate advertising-based video on demwith subscription video on demstreaming in the UK.

The platform will offer viewers digital-first shows, weekly premieres over 15,000 hours of content at launch.

However, markets were not impressed by the broadcaster’s new digital proposition last week as its share price plummeted in the wake of the announcement.

ITV reported a 48 per cent surge in pre-tax profits to £480million last year, with operating profits up 46 per cent to £519million.

The group saw total advertising revenues surge 24 per cent to £2billion, which is the highest in its history. It said that demfrom advertisers had remained strong so far this year.

It expects advertising revenues to rise by around 16 per cent in the first quarter, but for the following three months to be affected by tough advertising comparatives the Euros from June.

ITV is looking to boost its digital revenues to at least £750million within four years, with the group also pledging to increase digital content investment, spending £20million, £160million next year for ITVX.

ITV shares fell in early morning trading were down 0.35 per cent or 0.29p to 82.59p at 8.15am. The group’s share price has dropped by around 30 per cent in the past year 

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Brittany Ferries would fully refund my trip due to Covid, but not after my husbpassed away


I thought you may be interested in the different levels of customer service I have experienced with travel companies following the recent, very unexpected death of my husband.

We had several trips away booked for this year, which I did not want to go on alone or with someone else as I would find this too upsetting.

I contacted British Airways, Ryanair Travel Republic regarding bookings they all refunded me promptly treated me with compassion, which I really appreciated.

But it was a totally different story with Brittany Ferries, with which we had paid a deposit of £550 for a ferry crossing to Santander, Spain. 

This reader was only offered a partial refund of her Brittany Ferries fare after her husbsadly passed away, despite earlier being offered a full refund due to Covid

It was initially set for October 2020, but was cancelled due to Covid. We were offered a full cash refund, but at that time were happy to reschedule to keep our holiday support the company.

After several subsequent cancellations, the booking is now for this june.

After my husbdied I contacted Brittany to cancel, but it said it could now only offer me half of the money back, the other £275 as a voucher for another trip to use within two years.

This is the standard refund offered to anyone cancelling a trip, for any reason or none.

I explained that it was a trip with my husband, I could not foresee being in a position in the near future to spend hours in a car with another person or sleep overnight in a cabin with someone else.

I have spent hours on the phone to customer services, the case has been escalated to supervisors who still say they are unwilling to take my special circumstances into account refund the full amount.

I accept that companies have terms conditions on tickets, but I feel that in the case of Brittany Ferries, unlike all the other companies I have spoken to, there has been no willingness to look at these exceptional circumstances.

Bereaved people have enough to deal with without the stress of having to deal with numerous companies. A.O, via email

CRANE ON THE CASE 

Our weekly column sees This is Money consumer expert Helen Crane tackle reader problems shine the light on companies doing both good bad.

Want her to investigate a problem, or do you want to praise a firm for going that extra mile? Get in touch:

[email protected]

Helen Crane, This is Money, replies: First of all, I am very sorry for your loss.

Our mailbox is sadly full of tales from readers who have not been treated with compassion when they have contacted companies to inform them of a bereavement.

While you say some of the customer service operators you spoke to were sympathetic to your situation, they were ultimately told by managers that they could not offer you your money back in full.  

It is especially galling in this case, as you could have got a full refund had you cancelled the trip when Covid hit in 2020.

Instead, you – like many other holidaymakers at the time – were willing to support the travel industry by letting Brittany Ferries keep your money rescheduling the crossing for a later date.

Holiday firms were urging customers to do this at the time, to save them from going under during the pandemic.  

Unfortunately, Brittany has not returned the favour. When you contacted the company following your husband’s death, it appeared unwilling to support you in your time of need.

I contacted Brittany Ferries to ask whether it could reconsider its decision due to your circumstances.

Unfortunately it did not offer an apology for the stress this has caused you, at a time when spending hours on hold to customer service departments was the last thing you needed.

However, it has now done what I consider to be the right thing refunded your deposit in full.

You have already received a cheque for £275, another for the same amount is now on its way meaning you will get back the full £550.

I wish you all the best at this difficult time.

Flight fail: Reader Heather experienced significant delays when she attempted to get a refund from Easyjet for her journey to Malta, which was cancelled in the spring of 2020

Flight fail: Reader Heather experienced significant delays when she attempted to get a refund from Easyjet for her journey to Malta, which was cancelled in the spring of 2020

Hit miss: This week’s naughty nice list 

Every week, I look at the companies who have fallen short when it comes to customer service, those who have gone above beyond. 

Miss: Easyjet Following the havoc Covid wrought on the travel industry, our mailbox is full of customers who find themselves on a wing a prayer, hoping to get a refund from an airline.  

Many have found themselves in for a long haul when it came to getting back their cash. This week, reader Heather told us that securing a refund for flights she booked with Easyjet has been far from easy, taking almost two years. 

She said: ‘I join the great number of people whose flight was cancelled during the first lockdown in 2020. I was due to travel to Malta the flights cost £196. 

‘A voucher was issued there was initially no choice of having a refund. However, last year I received an email from Easyjet saying I could indeed have one.

‘After trying to say it made a mistake I wasn’t eligible, Easyjet eventually said it had processed it, that the money would be in my account in seven days. 

‘But the bank transfer was processed wrongly the money was sent back. 

‘After two months of phone calls, emails complaints to my bank, I discovered the fault appeared to be at Easyjet’s end.  

‘They asked for a letter from the bank proving the funds had not gone into my account, which I provided. 

‘But now they say they can’t process a refund as the letter was not signed. How can this shoddy service be allowed?’ 

Heather since got a signed letter from the bank, the money has now landed in her account. 

But why has it taken two years for her to receive what should have been a relatively simple refund? 

I contacted Easyjet to find out. A spokesperson for the airline said: ‘Easyjet initially paid the refund using the account details [the customer] provided we received confirmation that the original refund to the original payment method was successful.

‘Because we were then informed her bank was unable to trace the transaction, we required a signed, stamped letter from the bank to confirm that they have not received the payment, in order for us to raise another bank transfer. 

‘We do need to have processes in place to mitigate against any potential fraudulent activity. As soon as we received the signed letter we processed the refund.’

While this technical hitch sounds legitimate, it took far too long for the money to arrive at its final destination – safely in Heather’s account.

Chef's kiss: Steve's experience with cookware firm Circulon exceed his expectations, as they replaced a 15-year-old set of saucepans when the non-stick coating began to wear off

Chef’s kiss: Steve’s experience with cookware firm Circulon exceed his expectations, as they replaced a 15-year-old set of saucepans when the non-stick coating began to wear off

Hit: Circulon On a brighter note, reader Steve received such fantastic service from saucepan company Circulon that he just couldn’t keep a lid on it.

He said: ‘I’ve never done this before, but I wanted to give Circulon a round of applause. 

‘We purchased a set of their saucepans around 15 years ago the non-stick coating has started to show signs of wear on three of the pans. 

‘I contacted Circulon after sending photos of the issues they are replacing the three pans, free of charge. Amazing customer care.’

It’s always nice to hear of a firm that has a handle on good customer service, we are sure Circulon will appreciate your warm words. 

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.



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Cost of living crisis: Half of Britons cite it as their biggest money concern


Britons now consider the rising cost of living as their biggest money concern.

Almost half are concerned about it, according to Aldermore Bank’s latest savings tracker, which surveyed 4,000 UK adults.   

Households currently face a perfect storm of financial strain from the forthcoming National Insurance contribution rise, jump in energy price cap fuel costs, alongside bigger food shopping bills, other bills rising with inflation.

These costs combined, would mean a worker earning £30,000 faces an additional cost burden of £1,128 a year from April, according to estimates by Interactive Investor. 

Nearly a quarter of UK adults say they do not have any funds saved in case of an emergency.

One in five Britons are worried about not having adequate emergency funds in case of unexpected expenses, according to Aldermore.

A similar number are also mindful of health costs, while many are equally still worrying about the impact of Brexit on the economy.

Not being able to afford a good quality of life not having enough money for retirement are also major worries shared by a large number of Britons.

Ewan Edwards, head of savings at Aldermore said: ‘With inflation at a 30 year high, energy bills predicted to increase by over 50 per cent, more households across the country will be feeling the effects on their disposable income.

‘As the cost of living rises, we’d encourage people to be proactive in planning for it, so they do not feel underprepared.

‘Taking positive action to review personal finances, budget, save can make all the difference in maintaining long term financial stability.’

BRITISH MONEY WORRIES OF 2022
Top ten money worries Percentage citing it as a concern 
Rising costs of living 47%
My health  21% 
Not have enough money for unexpected expenses  20% 
The impact of Brexit on the economy  20% 
Not being able to afford a good quality of life  17% 
Not having enough money for retirement  15% 
A slow economic recovery  15% 
Not being able to pay bills  14% 
Not being able to go on holiday  11% 
Potential of losing my job/wage decreases  8% 

What’s behind the worries?

A third of households were spending more than their income even before Covid struck, according to the Office for National Statistics, barely half had a financial buffer that would cover their excess outgoing for a year. 

With economists warning that families are set to be £2,500 worse off this year as the world reels from the standoff over Ukraine, it isn’t surprising that many will be fearing the cost of living squeeze in 2022 could prove catastrophic for their finances.

Two in five UK adults are worried about their financial future, according to Aldermore, more than a quarter say that their current financial situation is not sustainable.

Similarly, two in five weren’t able to save last year, with one in three saying this was due to having no money left after outgoings bills. 

With inflation having hit 5.5 per cent as of January predicted to peak at 8.3 per cent this Spring this is likely to get worse, indicating many could begin to struggle amidst the rising cost of living.

And yet, over a third of UK adults haven’t made any plans to combat the rise in living costs.

Of those that are trying to mitigate the cost of living crisis confronting us in 2022 many are focusing on cutting spending on non-essential or luxury items.

Of those who have taken steps to prepare themselves for the increased costs of living, a third said they will be shopping less frequently for non-essentials such as clothes toys, 28 per cent will reduce spending on socialising 22 per cent plan to shop in lower-cost supermarkets.

Cutting back on holidays abroad, switching energy providers, using cheaper forms of travel canceling streaming subscriptions such as Netflix were also all cited as actions that a large number of Britons plan to employ to counteract the cost of living crisis.

How Britons are planning to combat the cost of living crisis?
Rising inflation actions Percentage
Shopping less frequently for non-essentials (e.g. clothes, toys) 33 %
Reducing spend on socialising (e.g. dining at restaurants, bars)  28% 
Shop in other supermarkets to save money  22% 
Cutting back on holidays abroad  18% 
Switch energy providers to ensure I am on the best deal  15% 
Cycle/walk to from places more rather than using a form of transport  11% 
Cancel streaming subscriptions (e.g. Netflix)  10% 
Working from home more instead of commuting  9% 
Use my car less use public transport more instead  8% 
Move savings into equities investments  6% 
Use some savings to pay off some of my mortgage  4% 
Switch mortgage providers lock in a cheaper deal  4% 

Nearly a quarter of Britons also said they do not have any funds saved in case of an emergency, of those who do have an emergency fund, one in three say it would last them less than a month without an income.

This rises to just over half who say it would last less than three months without any income.

Edwards added: ‘It’s concerning that our research shows over half of UK adults do not have enough to last three months without an income, with a quarter having no rainy day fund at all.

‘I’d advise everyone to start growing an emergency fund as it is hugely beneficial in acting as a buffer against unexpected costs easing the stresses that can come with it.

‘As living costs rise in 2022 possibly beyond, it’s more vital than ever to nurture good financial health.’

Will further base rate rises inspire savers?

The increased cost of living is unsurprisingly proving a major barrier for Britons appetite to save.

According to separate research by Paragon Bank, three in five Britons admit to struggling to maintain savings commitments, with one third highlighting the increased cost of living as the main obstacle.

Of those who didn’t save anything last year, one in five said that poor interest rates meant there was little point, according to Aldermore’s analysis.

Poll

How are you planning to combat the cost of living crisis?

  • Shopping less frequently for non-essentials 11 votes
  • Reducing spend on socialising 2 votes
  • Shop in other supermarkets to save money 1 votes
  • Cutting back on holidays abroad 1 votes
  • Switch energy providers to ensure I am on the best deal 0 votes
  • Cycle/walk to from places more rather than using a form of transport 0 votes
  • Cancel streaming subscriptions (e.g. Netflix) 1 votes

The hope then, is that the recent base rate rises may inspire people to build up that emergency fund.

Nearly a third of Britons said rate rises will encourage them to save more in 2022, rising to 45 per cent among 18 to 34 year olds.

However, many will likely be wondering when the base rate rise will be passed on in savings deals.

The savings market is divided between smaller challenger banks building societies pushing rates up at the top of the market larger banks refraining from passing on any benefit to savers.

The best easy access deals are currently offered by Cynergy Bank, Tandem Bank Yorkshire Building Society paying between 0.77 per cent 0.82 per cent.

The worst easy access deals are offered by the high street banks paying often as little as 0.01 per cent.

In fact, the interest rates paid by the

 bottom half of all easy access savings accounts pay 0.2 per cent or less, according to analysis on behalf of Investec by Andrew Hagger, founder of Moneycomms.

As of last month, that’s 90 easy access deals out of a possible 164 paying 0.2 per cent or less – Less than a quarter as much as the best deal offered on the market.

With most of the bottom half containing the biggest names, it is perhaps not surprising therefore that over 70p in every £1 saved into easy access savings deals in the UK is languishing in an accounts paying 0.1 per cent or less.

What can Britons do combat rising cost of living?

1) Set a savings goal

Whether it’s saving for a holiday, a house deposit, or a special occasion, being clear on what you’re saving for will help motivate you to save rather than spend. 

It’s important to set a timeframe for when you’re aiming to reach your savings goal. Doing so will help you estimate how much you’ll need to set aside each week or month.

2) Check where your savings are currently being held

Smaller banks generally offer better savings rates than high street giants, so it is worth shopping around. There is value in getting the best rate possible as the compound interest can really add up over time. Utilising different savings products for your various savings goals can be helpful also. 

Fixed rate accounts typically offer higher interest rates can be useful when saving for a bigger expense on the horizon assist in avoiding temptation to withdraw funds early.

3) Review your monthly expenses regularly

Take a look at your recent bank statements familiarise yourself with your spending patterns. Calculate all your outgoing expenses work out how much of your pay you spend on these items. 

Next, turn your attention to those unnecessary spending habits which you can drop. Small changes, such as occasionally making your own coffee or lunch a few days a week, will add up over time. 

4) Allocate a budget stick to it

After identifying your necessary outgoings, allocate a monthly budget to spend on socialising, shopping other activities. Hold yourself accountable don’t shy away from reviewing your bank balance regularly. 

Ahead of every week, keep track of how much you’ve spent so far adjust your budget for the forthcoming weeks based on this. 

5) Review your savings habits regularly

If you’re having difficulty meeting your savings target amount, reduce your monthly contributions to make it more manageable. If you receive a pay rise, a financial gift or find your monthly outgoings are reduced, consider increasing your contributions to achieve your savings goals sooner. 

Getting into the routine of regularly saving, even if small amounts, is a positive habit to do it can be surprising how it adds up over time.

6) Grow a separate emergency fund

While many tend to save with a particular goal in mind, it is important to also consider the unexpected. 

By growing a ‘rainy day’ or emergency fund, alongside regular savings, you can gain peace of mind that if unexpected costs or any financial difficulties arise then there are funds to help ease the stress of this and, in the cases of for example damage to a car or urgent repairs needed on a home, you’re able to get back to normality more quickly.

Credit: Aldermore Bank 

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.



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Where have house asking prices grown the most in the last year?


House hunters continue to head for the coast, with the fishing town of Brixham in Devon seeing asking prices rise more than any other area over the last year.

The Devon hotspot saw asking values jump 25 per cent last month compared to a year earlier, reaching £329,699 on average, according to Rightmove.

Overall, in the borough of Torbay, where Brixham is located, asking prices are up 21 per cent during the past year, with buyer dem– defined as enquiries to estate agents via its website – up 6 per cent.

Nearly two years on from the start of the pandemic restrictions there seems to be no let up in desire for more open space, particularly near the seaside.

The fishing town of Brixham, Devon, (pictured) has seen asking prices rise more than any other area in Britain in the last year

Rightmove has revealed the places where asking prices have risen the most in the past year

Rightmove has revealed the places where asking prices have risen the most in the past year

While some seaside towns become incredibly quiet out of season, at the heart of Brixham is a fishing community that means it is busy throughout the year.

Estate agents said the area is continuing to attract city dwellers – not just those seeking second homes but those who are moving to the area lock, stock barrel.

Ben Strike, of Boyce Brixham, explained: ‘Just half an hour from Exeter nestled on the coast between the family resorts of Torquay Dawlish to the North the beautiful South Hams in the other direction, Brixham is perfectly positioned to take advantage of everything that South Devon has to offer.

‘In a post-pandemic world, we have seen a marked influx of all types of buyers. 

‘City dwellers are keener than ever for that idyllic fisherman’s cottage by the sea to retreat to at the weekend, families are giving up the urban belts completely, in favour of a full-time move to the coast.’

The Devon hotspot of Brixham (pictured) saw asking values jump 25 per cent last month compared to a year earlier, reaching £329,699 on average, according to Rightmove

The Devon hotspot of Brixham (pictured) saw asking values jump 25 per cent last month compared to a year earlier, reaching £329,699 on average, according to Rightmove

THE BIGGEST RISES IN ASKING PRICES DURING THE PAST YEAR
Location Region Average Asking Price February 2022 Average Asking Price February 2021 Average Asking Price Change YoY
Brixham, Devon South West £329,699 £264,254 25%
Jesmond, Newcastle Upon Tyne North East £361,564 £293,049 23%
Farnham, Surrey South East £728,413 £594,808 22%
Raunds, Northamptonshire East Midlands £281,279 £232,724 21%
Gedling, Nottinghamshire East Midlands £256,897 £212,570 21%
Newton-Le-Willows, Merseyside North West £203,150 £168,133 21%
Cowes, Isle Of Wight South East £342,834 £285,060 20%
Heysham, Lancashire North West £189,527 £157,793 20%
Childwall, Merseyside North West £305,483 £254,395 20%
North Walsham, Norfolk East of England £274,490 £228,788 20%
Source: Rightmove         

He added: ‘With prices considerably less than neighbouring Dartmouth with a much shorter travel time to the area than Padstow St Ives in Cornwall, the secret of Brixham is definitely out.

‘With its world-famous fish market fishing heritage at its very heart, Brixham has become a real destination for seafood aficionados. 

‘There is an abundance of new well-established bars restaurants, unlike many seaside towns that close during the winter season, the thriving fishing community, which is busiest during the winter, ensures that there is life bustling through the town all year-round.’

Mike Williams, of estate agents Eric Lloyd & Co in Brixham, said: ‘Brixham has always been a popular destination for tourism, but the lockdown has provided the opportunity for many people to work flexibly, realise their dream of living by the sea.

‘Interestingly, the demographic of retiring buyers has also changed. We are seeing far more people buying a cottage in the harbour area, enjoying their retirement walking to the breakwater, or seal dolphin watching off Fishcombe Cove, followed by a coffee or breakfast in one of the excellent cafes in the town.

‘Demfor cottages for this purpose, or as second home or holiday let, has never been so high, some of the achieved prices have exceeded even our expectations.’

This three-bedroom detached house in Brixham is for sale for £550,000 via estate agents Boyce Brixham

This three-bedroom detached house in Brixham is for sale for £550,000 via estate agents Boyce Brixham

The detached property has far-reaching views of the sea is only a five minute walk from the harbour

The detached property has far-reaching views of the sea is only a five minute walk from the harbour

The spacious property has easy access into the town of Brixham all of its facilities

The spacious property has easy access into the town of Brixham all of its facilities

Second in the list of areas where asking prices have seen the risen the most during the past year is the suburb of Jesmond in Newcastle Upon Tyne, where average asking prices are up 23 per cent over the last year, rising to £361,564.

The increase outpaces the wider Newcastle area where asking prices have risen 7 per cent on annual basis.

Farnham in Surrey is ranked third, with a rise of 22 per cent in asking prices during the past year, rising to an average of £728,413.

Pictured: Farnham in Surrey is ranked third, with a rise of 22 per cent in asking prices during the past year, rising to an average of £728,413

Pictured: Farnham in Surrey is ranked third, with a rise of 22 per cent in asking prices during the past year, rising to an average of £728,413

Also included in the list of top 10 are Gedling, Nottinghamshire, Newton-Le-Willows, Merseyside Cowes, on the Isle of Wight.

Across Britain, average asking prices are up 9.5 per cent annually in February new listings are up 16 per cent compared to January.

Rightmove’s Tim Bannister, said: ‘The rise in the number of buyers looking for a home by the coast since the pandemic started is still being felt in asking price rises nearly two years on as Brixham takes the top spot for annual asking price growth this month.

‘The data shows that prices in the Devon borough of Torbay grew steadily between 2020 2021 as supply kept better pace with demand, but have accelerated over the last year as the number of buyers looking in the area has outpaced the homes available.

‘However, a recent uptick in the number of new listings compared to last year will be some welcome news for those looking to buy in Brixham.’

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BUSINESS LIVE: Ex-RFU chair to join ITV; Balfour Beatty boosts buyback


BUSINESS LIVE: Ex-RFU chair to join ITV; Balfour Beatty rewards investors amid soaring profits; Kremlin set to default on its debts

ITV has hired chairman of Kingfisher Andrew Cosslett to lead its board from September this year, with current chair Sir Peter Bazalgette set to retire from the broadcaster after nine years.

Cosslett, who previously served as chair of the Rugby Football Union, will be charged with guiding the broadcaster through a ‘digital acceleration’ plan the upcoming launch of ITVX.

Infrastructure group Balfour Beatty saw underlying profit from operations of £181million in 2021, which is up from £75million in the prior year an improvement on pre-pandemic levels.

As a result of strong performance, the firm will hout £57million in dividends to shareholders for the year it has boosted a recently announced share buyback programme from £100million to £150million.

Russia will soon be unable to pay its debts after the invasion of Ukraine caused its economy to tank, a leading credit ratings agency warned yesterday.

Fitch Ratings said a default from the Kremlin was ‘imminent’, meaning investors who have bought Russian government bonds could find themselves out of pocket.

>If you are using our app or a third-party site click here to read Business Live 

Support Services contributed the most to Balfour Beatty’s 2021 performance, adding £102million – up from £46million in the previous year. 

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