Proactiveinvestors RSS feed en Tue, 22 Aug 2017 04:23:10 +0100 Genera CMS (Proactiveinvestors) (Proactiveinvestors) <![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: Tin hat time for sterling? ]]> Mon, 21 Aug 2017 10:50:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - North Korea's nuclear rhetoric fuelling excitement around Lithium ]]> Fri, 18 Aug 2017 13:03:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - Destiny Pharma confirms plans to float on London's junior market AIM ]]> Destiny Pharma has announced its plans for an initial public offering, making it only the second biotech company to float on the London stock market this year.

The clinical stage biotechnology company, focused on the development of new anti-microbial drugs, said it has applied for the admission of its ordinary shares to trading on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM).

The amount of capital raised through the placing will be determined in coming days, the company said, adding that it will use the funds to progress its leading drug XF-73 to Phase III pivotal studies in the prevention of post-surgical Staphylococcus aureus infections during 2019.

“This should be a key value inflection point as, if successful, our drug would be the first to be specifically labelled for this new US Food and Drug Administration sanctioned indication; a market we believe to be worth a billion dollars in the US alone and growing,” said chief executive, Neil Clark.

The X-73 drug targets antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections in hospitals. It represents the only antibacterial drug known to resist 55 repeat exposures to superbug, Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics and can cause a variety of problems such as skin infections, sepsis and pneumonia.

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 08:26:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: ‘Oil prices key to future US rate hikes’ ]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 11:15:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: Chinese bubble set to burst? ]]> Wed, 16 Aug 2017 10:30:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: ‘Buyers beware in thin markets’ ]]> Tue, 15 Aug 2017 12:00:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - Monarch Airlines owner mulls bid for Alitalia ]]> The owner of Monarch Airlines is mulling a bid for Italy’s flag-carrier, Alitalia, according to reports on Sky News.

Private equity firm Greybull Capital, which also owns British Steel, is said to be among the list of companies interested in buying the Italian airline, which has been put up for sale by an Italian government weary of pumping money into it to keep it airborne.

Sky News’s City Editor Mark Kleinman reports that people involved in the bidding process believe Greybull wants to acquire Alitalia’s engineering business and integrate it with Monarch’s existing operation.

It is said to be lukewarm to the prospect of acquiring Alitalia’s ground handling operations, which could count against it in the bidding process.

Loss-making Alitalia fell into administration in May and industry observers think the airline could have new owners before the year is out.

Greybull is flushed with success from turning around the fortunes of the British Steel unit it bought from Tata Steel UK, but it may have a tougher job reviving the fortunes of Alitalia.

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 09:23:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: Quiet day but North Korea détente lifts markets ]]> Mon, 14 Aug 2017 11:30:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - Wilko warns almost 4,000 jobs at risk as part of restructuring ]]> High street homeware chain Wilko has warned that almost 4,000 of its employees could face the axe as part of shake-up that will see it do away with a layer of management.

Wilko is the latest retailer to announce that jobs are on the line, with Asda and Sainsbury’s both confirming plans to reduce staff numbers earlier this week.

The high street stalwart has placed 3,900 stock supervisors, till supervisors and assistant managers into consultation which could lead to redundancy.

The family-run business, which saw profits drop by 80% last year, said it expected the new structure to create about 1,000 new senior supervisor roles.

Wilko added that the new “simplified retail team structure” would “ensure it is best placed to continue to thrive within an ever-changing retail landscape and to ensure it can operate successfully and competitively”.

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 15:20:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: Markets concerned with North Korea tensions ]]> Fri, 11 Aug 2017 12:45:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - Nationwide profits fall as new tax changes hit buy-to-let market ]]> Building society Nationwide saw profits tumble in its first quarter as the volume of mortgage lending dropped amid declining UK house prices.

For the three months ended 30 June, Nationwide, Britain’s second-largest mortgage provider, posted a pre-tax profit £322mln, 18% lower than the £401mln it delivered in the same period last year.

The 2016 results were boosted by a £100mln gain from the sale of its Visa Europe stake, though.

On a net basis, Nationwide lent out £2.4bn to mortgage borrowers in the three month period, down from £3.5bn in the same quarter of last year.

It said this decrease was mainly due to a “reduction in BTL (buy-to-let) advances” with new tax changes making it considerably more expensive for people to buy second homes.

The housing market in general has showed signs of slowing recently, with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors claiming this week that a downturn in the London property market has spread out to other parts of the UK.

Away from its mortgage lending business, Nationwide said just over 200,000 new current accounts were opened during the period; a year-on-year rise of 17%.

More broadly, the building society noted that recent data suggested the public had become less optimistic about the economic outlook, although its own research showed most of its customers don’t expect Brexit to affect their ability to access credit.

“It will be important for lenders to balance carefully credit supply with affordability as we seek to support the long-term interests of consumers in a responsible way through any potential economic slowdown ahead,” said chief executive Joe Garner.

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 08:39:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: North Korea missile threats spook markets ]]> Wed, 09 Aug 2017 11:50:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: Wages to start creeping up soon? ]]> Tue, 08 Aug 2017 11:30:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: ‘Pound to hit US$1.40 this year’ ]]> Mon, 07 Aug 2017 12:15:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - Ten years on from the financial crisis: Where should you have put your money back in 2007? ]]> It’s coming up to ten years since the financial crisis first started to set in, with lines of people queuing round the block to take their money out of Northern Rock.

The ensuing credit crunch and economic downturn (how many times have we heard those phrases over the past decade?) irrevocably changed economies, markets and the world we live in.

Understandably investments of any kind were viewed as a dangerous game back in those uncertain times in the summer and autumn of 2007, but had you have been brave enough to do so, where would it have been best to put your money?

Analysts at Fidelity International have done the maths and found that high yield bonds generated the highest cumulative returns over the past decade, with emerging market debt following closely behind. Both edged out US equities, which came in third.

Had you have invested £100 in high-yield bonds in August of 2007, that would now be worth £316.68 (+216.68%) while £100 invested in emerging market debt would be worth £316.45 (+216.45%).

A £100 investment in US equities back in 2007 would be worth £309.45 today (+209.45%). Commodities would’ve been the worst option, as a £100 investment would now be worth £89.94.

Balanced portfolio essential

“The analysis of the returns of the various asset classes over the past ten years throws up some interesting findings,” said Fidelity’s investment director for personal investing Tom Stevenson.

“For example, and somewhat surprisingly, the cumulative returns of high yield bonds and emerging markets over the past decade have pipped US equities.

“Bonds have benefited from the collapse in interest rates in the wake of the financial crisis but without first suffering the savage bear market that equities experienced in 2008 and the start of 2009.”

Stevenson adds: “What jumps out even more for me, however, is the benefit of a balanced portfolio. While there have been some years when every single asset class has risen, and some when there was a mixture of risers and fallers, there hasn’t been a single year in which everything has fallen together.

“This is really good news for a hands-off, long-term investor because it shows that diversification works.”

Pound set to climb against the dollar

The decline of the pound over the past decade is well-known and it’s difficult to remember the glory days – for UK holidaymakers at least – when one quid could get you two dollars plus a little change.

Just before the crisis, the pound was hanging at around US$2.05, but then fell down to around US$1.60 in the immediate aftermath which is where it stayed (give or take) until Brexit.

As news filtered through that the UK had voted to leave the European Union, sterling collapsed to US$1.30 which is where it finds itself now.

Has the rot stopped? Fidelity’s Stevenson reckons so, although he’s not so convinced about the GBP/EUR exchange rate.

“Sterling has been on the back foot since the EU referendum, but it has traded in a range between $1.20 and $1.30 for the past nine months or so, shrugging off a deterioration in economic conditions and intensifying political concerns,” Stevenson said.

“That suggests to me that the bottom may have been reached versus the dollar.

“Against the euro things may well get worse before they improve, however. The economic outlook in Europe is better and there is much less political uncertainty.”

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 12:10:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - Proactive Investors' regular AIM Journal update with Andrew Hore. ]]> Fri, 04 Aug 2017 16:05:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - London Finance Show: ‘Dollar to claw back lost ground after strong non-farms’ ]]> Fri, 04 Aug 2017 13:45:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - Hold onto your guns ...and your gold ]]> Fri, 04 Aug 2017 09:50:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - Liverpool Victoria and Allianz join forces to create new UK personal insurer in £1bn deal ]]> Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society and German giant Allianz have a struck a £1bn joint venture deal to create the UK's third largest personal insurer with more than £1.7bn in annual premiums.

The new general insurance business will be branded LV= and  have more than 6mln customers, the 174-year-old UK mutual said on Friday.

Allianz will pay LV £500mln for a 49% stake initially but will move to own 69.9% in the long term.

The  venture will combine LV='s strong brand and reputation for personal insurance with Allianz's digital and data exertise, LV said.

The German firm is the largest property and casualty (P&C) insurer in the world.

Initially, Allianz  will hold a 49% stake in the venture for which it will pay £500mln, while LV= will have 51%.

Allianz will pay LV= a further £213mln by 2019 in the second step for a further 20.9% stake in a longer term joint venture called LV= GI through an agreed, forward purchase.

"The transaction allows Allianz and LV= to take a leading role in the growing UK retail sector by creating a strong and customer-centric insurer in the personal home and motor insurance markets," said the UK group.

The first stage of the deal  is expected to close during the second half of 2017.

The joint venture will be run by Steve Treloar, reporting to a board drawn from LV= and Allianz.

In April this year, LV= announced that its general insurance business plunged to a full-year loss of £26mln following UK government moves to amend the Ogden Discount rate at which compensation rates are calculated in personal injury claims.

Fri, 04 Aug 2017 08:33:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - European gold demand strengthening ]]> Thu, 03 Aug 2017 15:06:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - Bank of England stands pat on interest rates despite inflation and Brexit worries ]]> The Bank of England has cut its economic growth forecasts and expects inflation will peak at 3% in October, driven by a weaker pound following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union.

In a press conference on the central bank’s Inflation Report, Governor Mark Carney warned that Brexit is affecting the UK economy as the nation adjusts to a “new and uncertain” relationship with the EU.

The Bank slashed its economic growth forecasts for 2017 to 1.7% from 1.9% and lowered next year’s estimate to 1.6% from 1.7%.

On inflation, the Bank said it sees it overshooting its 2% target through to 2020 and will average about 2.7% in the third quarter, up from 2.6% predicted in May.

As inflation rises, the BoE expects to see a fall in household disposable incomes, in real terms, this year.

The Inflation Report was released alongside the Bank’s policy announcement and meeting minutes in what markets have dubbed ‘Super Thursday’.

Bank of England votes 6-2 to stand pat on interest rates 

The Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee voted 6-2 to keep interest rates unchanged at 0.25% and leave the asset purchase programme at £435bn.

However, in the minutes on the policy meeting the Bank said some monetary tightening may be needed in the next three years if the economy improved as expected. 

“If the economy were to follow a path broadly consistent with the August central projection, then monetary policy could need to be tightened by a somewhat greater extent over the forecast period than the path implied by the yield curve underlying the August projections,” the minutes said.

Minutes and forecasts lack hawkish tone, says Pantheon Macroeconomics

Pantheon Macroeconomics chief economist, Samuel Tombs, said the minutes and the latest forecasts lacked the hawkish tone to warrant markets’ previous expectations for a 45% chance of a rate hike by the end of this year.

He said while the MPC expects some tightening, its statement “falls a long way short of giving markets a stronger steer”.

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said it was no surprise that the BoE decided to hold fire on lifting interest rates given the slowdown in economic growth and consumer spending.

BoE needs to tighten policy as consumer lending boom presents risks, says Hargreaves Lansdown

Khalaf said the worry is that consumer borrowing looks to be building and has breached the £200bn mark for the first time since 2008.

“Meanwhile the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) is warning that 2.2 million borrowers are in financial distress, despite ultra-low interest rates, which means the Bank of England is going to have to remove the sticking plaster of loose monetary policy very slowly indeed,” he said.

“Unfortunately that spells many more years of poor returns for cash savers.”

He added: “The Brexit process is really only just beginning, and it will have many long-lasting implications. Consequently the task of determining just what effect Brexit had on the UK economy will mostly fall on the shoulders of tomorrow’s historians, rather than today’s economists.”

Thu, 03 Aug 2017 13:15:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - LV= confirms advanced discussions with German giant Allianz on sale of significant minority stake in its general insurance operation ]]> The Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LV=) has confirmed that it is in advanced discussions with German insurance giant Allianz regarding the potential sale of a significant minority stake in its general insurance operation.

In a statement noting recent press speculation, the mutually-owned financial services group said: “Discussions are on-going and there can be no certainty that any transaction will be agreed, or any certainty as to the terms of which any such transaction might proceed.” 

The firm - which has nearly six million British customers - added: “A further announcement will be made if and when appropriate.”

Sky News had reported that the stake sale could value the LV= general insurance division at up to £1bn, and would transform Allianz's position in the UK market.

In April, LV= announced that its general insurance business plunged to a full-year loss of £26mln following UK government moves to amend the Ogden Discount rate at which compensation rates are calculated in personal injury claims.

Thu, 03 Aug 2017 08:14:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - Livingbridge UK Microcap fund chasing 'attractive, long-term returns' from sub-£250mln companies ]]> Wed, 26 Jul 2017 14:48:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - UK GDP grows 0.3% in second quarter, first half lacklustre ]]> The UK economy grew by 0.3% in the second quarter of the year, in line with market expectations, after the 0.2% increase in the first three months of 2017, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.

Taken together, the data for the first and second quarters indicate a first half performance that was lacklustre and suggest that the Bank of England will likely keep interest rates unchanged for the time being.

Second quarter growth was driven by the services sector which grew 0.5%. The largest contributors to growth in services were retail trade, which improved after a fall in the first quarter, and film production and distribution.The construction and manufacturing sectors weighed down on growth as they contracted by 0.9% and 0.5% respectively.

In 2016, UK GDP held up well, growing 1.8% despite predictions that Brexit will lead to recession. On Monday, the International Monetary Fund downgraded its forecast for UK GDP growth to 1.7% from 2.0% previously.

Ben Brettell, senior economist at Hargreaves Lansdown said in a note that despite the lacklustre growth so far, there are tentative signs of improvement in the second half, citing the decent data on retail sales and news that inflation had begun to recede

He added that: "Yesterday a CBI survey showed UK factories increasing output at the fastest rate since the mid-1990s, suggesting manufacturing  - which makes up around ten percent of the economy - might make a meaningful contribution to overall economic growth in the third and fourth quarters."

Nancy Curtin, chief investment officer at Close Brothers Asset Management said in a note that it’s difficult to see an interest rate rise on the immediate horizon.

She added: "However, at the same time, consumer credit levels are clearly causing a headache for (Bank of England governor) Mark Carney. We may see some macro prudential action to tackle this, although this in turn may inhibit consumer spending, which has been so instrumental in recent economic growth."

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 10:17:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - BMW to use UK plant to produce electric version of Mini despite Brexit concerns ]]> BMW has confirmed its plans to build a fully electric version of the Mini at the Cowley plant near Oxford.

The new model of the three-door Mini will go into production in 2019.

BMW had considered several locations for the car, including Born, the Netherlands and a location in Germany before deciding on Britain.

Mini makes about 60% of its estimated 360,000 vehicles a year at the Oxford plant. However, BMW has built an alternative manufacturing base in the Netherlands amid uncertainty over Brexit’s impact on trade.

"The electric MINI’s electric drivetrain will be built at the BMW Group’s e-mobility centre at Plants Dingolfing and Landshut in Bavaria before being integrated into the car at Plant Oxford, which is the main production location for the MINI 3 door model," BMW said in a statement.

The government has not given the company any reassurances over trading arrangements after Brexit, a BMW spokesman said.

Chancellor Philip Hammond has called on a transition period for businesses to cushion the blow after the UK leaves the European Union.  

Prime Minister Theresa May has said the UK would lose access to Europe’s single market, which would likely hurt trade unless the government is able to negotiate a new deal.

BMW already produces hybrid or fully battery powered vehicles at 10 plants worldwide and expects electrified cars to make up 15% to 25% of sales by 2025. The group has overhauled its manufacturing system to make combustion engined, plug-in hybrid or fully electric drive models.

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 14:58:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - UK manufacturing output rises at fastest rate since mid-1990s ]]> Manufacturing output in the UK rose at its fastest rate since the mid 1990s over the past three months, according to the Confederation of British Industry in a survey released today.

It said the quarterly balance for manufacturing rose to +31 in the three months to July, the highest reading since January 1995. In the three months to April, the reading stood at +22.

CBI added that expectations for export order growth in the quarter ahead were the strongest in 40 years, despite a moderation over the past quarter.

Headcount increased at the quickest rate in three years and hiring intentions strengthened while cCost pressures cooled and are expected to soften further in the near-term, it added.

Investment intentions bounced back across the board, particularly for training and retraining, where spending plans for the year ahead are the highest in over two years, CBI said.

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Economist, said: “Output growth among UK manufacturers is the highest we’ve seen since the mid ‘90s, prompting the strongest hiring spree we’ve seen in the last three years. Cost pressures are easing and firms are upbeat about the outlook for export orders."

Newton-Smith added that : “It’s great to see the benefits from the decline in sterling for UK exporters feeding through. But the flipside is the broader hit to consumer spending power across the economy from stronger inflation, which is likely to have fuelled the slowdown in the economy in Q1 and is expected to pull down growth in Q2.”

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 11:39:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - Everyone should have about 10% of investments in ‘crypto-assets’ – David Siegel ]]> Wed, 19 Jul 2017 14:52:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - Bank of England unveils new tenner to grumbles from Jane Austen fans ]]> Fresh from the vegetarian controversy over its polymer-based five pound note, the Bank of England has unveiled its new tenner to complaints from Jane Austen devotees.

The new note comes into circulation from 14 September but also derives from tallow, the same animal fat source that prompted calls from vegans for the five pound note to be withdrawn.

It wasn't, but the Bank said that in future its notes would be made of a different substance.

The Bank faced more esoteric criticism as Jane Austen fans complained that the quote on the note came from a character in Pride & Prejudice, Caroline Bingley, who hated reading.

There were suggestions too that Jane's picture had been photoshopped to make her look prettier.

Bank governor Mark Carney appeared unruffled by the jibes, saying that the new note was its best yet with features that help the blind identify it and a 3D hologram of the coronation crown that changes colour

 "Our banknotes serve as repositories of the country's collective memory, promoting awareness of the United Kingdom's glorious history and highlighting the contributions of its greatest citizens," he said.

"The new £10 note celebrates Jane Austen's work. Austen's novels have a universal appeal and speak as powerfully today as they did when they were first published," noting, as is his central banker want, that £10 in Austen's day is now worth about £1,000 thanks to inflation.

It is about 15% smaller than its paper predecessor, which will start to be withdrawn from circulation in the Spring of 2018. A new £20 note will be introduced in 2020.








Tue, 18 Jul 2017 15:20:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - Tip TV: ‘If the pound falls then I'm bullish on FTSE 100 and Dow Jones’ ]]> Tue, 11 Jul 2017 12:30:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - Camden Lock Market landlord says its business as usual at London site after huge blaze ]]> A major shareholder in Camden Lock Market said today it was business as usual at the popular London tourist attraction after a fire broke out at the site.  

The shareholder, Market Tech Holdings Ltd (LON:MKT), said only a small section of the site would be closed to the public. The rest of the market, including the Stables Market and Union Street, will be open to visitors.

Market Tech is working closely with the emergency services to investigate the cause of the fire that tore through a building adjacent to the market hall area of Camden Lock. Seventy firefighter and 10 fire engines were sent to the site, the London Fire Brigade said.

The blaze was brought under control by 2.50am and no one was injured during the incident. About 30% of the first, second and third floors, and a third of the roof of the building, was reportedly damaged.

We now have ten fire engines and over 70 firefighters dealing with the #Camden Lock Market fire. Please avoid the area © @CamdenJohnny

— London Fire Brigade (@LondonFire) 10 July 2017

The incident happened ahead of Market Tech’s delisting from London’s main market tomorrow after its takeover by LabTech Investments becomes wholly unconditional.

LabTech Investments - owned by Playtech founder and Israeli billionaire, Teddy Sagi – already holds a majority stake of 71% in Market Tech.

It will buy the shares it does not already own for 188p, valuing the firm at £891.5mln. The deal, announced on 12 June, represented a 30% premium to Market Tech’s closing price the day before the offer. 

Mon, 10 Jul 2017 13:18:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - Australia to become a 'very important lithium & cobalt producer' - SP Angel's John Meyer ]]> Fri, 07 Jul 2017 13:12:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - John Harrington talks through 'startlingly good' performance of virtual 'Dogs of the Footsie' fund ]]> Fri, 07 Jul 2017 08:50:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - Liontrust reports drop in quarterly net flows, addresses FCA asset management report ]]> Liontrust Asset Management plc (LON:LIO) has reported a drop in quarterly net flows, blaming the repatriation of assets from an institutional client, though assets under management almost doubled.

Net flows in the period from 1 April to 30 June came to £22mln, compared to £66mln the same period a year ago, according to a year-end trading update.

UK net retail flows in the last three months, however, reached the second highest quarterly amount in more than seven years at £177mln, up from £36mln the prior year.

Assets under management at 30 June were £9.3bn, compared to £4.8mln the same time the previous year and £6.5mln at the end of March.

The company also touched on the Financial Conduct Authority’s recent review into asset managers. The FCA’s report called on sweeping reforms of the £7trn sector that would force fund managers to cut costs and increase transparency.

Liontrust chief executive John Ions said: “We welcome the FCA asset management market study given that the low savings ratio is a problem for the country. As active fund managers, there is a key role for us to play in helping investors meet their financial requirements. The moves to improve transparency, communication and value are steps in the right direction.”

Ions added that he believes the company is in a “strong position” to play a part in helping to alleviate the savings problem in the asset management industry.

Thu, 06 Jul 2017 08:08:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - CityFibre set to challenge BT’s Openreach division with expansion of UK fibre network ]]> London-listed telecoms group CityFibre Infrastructure Holdings plc (LON:CITY) is set to rival BT Group plc’s Openreach division after announcing a £200mln fundraising to support the expansion of its full fibre network in the UK.

The company will more than double its issued share capital with its plans to raise at least £185mln through the placement of 336.4mln shares at a price of 55p per share. CityFibre will raise a further up to £15mln though a non-underwritten offer for sUBScription of up to 27.3mln shares at the same price.

Shares rose 11.57% to 67.50p in afternoon trading.

The capital raising will be backed by Woodford Investment Management, founded by star fund manager Neil Woodford. Woodford has agreed to sUBScribe for 65.5 million shares for a total £36mln.

Proceeds will be used to expand CityFibre's fibre metro networks from 42 UK towns and cities to at least 50 by 2020 and to fund the £29mln acquisition of Entanet International Limited, a provider of wholesale communications services. Funds will also be used to begin constructing fibre to the home for residential markets.

CitiFibre describes itself as a British builder of ‘gigabit cities’ and could challenge Openreach, which builds and maintains the UK's main telecoms infrastructure used by telephone and broadband providers. 

"We are building Gigabit Britain, driven by growing demand from internet service providers and their customers to switch to full-fibre infrastructure,” said chief executive Greg Mesh.

“Our announcement to enter the residential market is the first step in our vision to bring gigabit connectivity to millions of UK homes and small businesses.

"Today's capital raising also better positions CityFibre to undertake larger projects coming forward with the public sector as well as mobile operators in readiness for their small-cell roll-outs and 5G services.”

UK continues to outrank Europe for technology investment

The announcement comes as new research showed the UK remains Europe’s hotspot for technology investment despite last June’s Brexit vote.

Figures from London & Partners revealed a record level of investment in UK technology in the first six months of the year.

More than £1.3bn was injected into UK technology by venture capitals in the first half, the most for a six-month period in 10 years. London accounted for £1.1bn of the total. Since the UK voted to leave the European Union, £2.4bn of venture capital funding had been put into British technology companies.

“For a technology business looking to raise growth capital and scale, investment can come from anywhere in the world, but London is a great place to be located," said Herman Narula, chief executive of virtual reality start-up Improbable.

Improbable achieved the biggest deal of the last six months, raising more than US$500mln in May, backed by Japan’s Softbank.  

Investments half-year to June jumped 86% on the same period last year when traders exercised caution ahead of the Brexit vote.

Fast internet likely to keep financial frims in London after Brexit, says ECB

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank has released a study that argues access to ultra-fast internet cables in London is likely to make financial firms reluctant to move out of London even after Brexit.

Many financial institutions based in London, including HSBC, JP Morgan and UBS, have warned they would have to move some of their businesses to Europe as Brexit means they could lose access to the European Union’s single market.

However, the ECB said any withdrawal from London would likely be gradual as firms would find it difficult to give up Britain's fiber-optic cables, imperative for ultra-fast electronic trading

"The UK’s advantage as a hub for trading using fiber-optic cables, combined with institutional inertia, suggest that any relocation of trading after Brexit, if at all, would likely be gradual," the ECB said in its study.

Wed, 05 Jul 2017 15:24:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Tanzanian miners respond to new laws threatening to derail mining contracts ]]> Mining and energy companies operating in Tanzania have been dealt a fresh blow after the country’s parliament passed a trio of bills that allow the government to dissolve existing contracts.

Tanzania’s government could revoke a contract if it is deemed to have “unconscionable terms” under the terms of the new laws. The parliament also passed a bill to prohibit disputes relating to natural resources being heard in foreign courts.

The bills are aimed at giving the country a bigger share of revenue from its natural resources. 

Shore Capital analysts said they feared that Tanzania was tranforming into "yet another African basket case" from what was once a "relative safe haven of stability and sense" in mining. 

In response to the new laws, Acacia Mining (LON:ACA) said it had served ‘notices of arbitration’ on two of its three gold mines in the country. This means it can seek intervention at the London Court of International Arbitration, should Tanzania honour its original contracts.

READ: Acacia Mining, Shanta Gold and Capital Drilling hit by red tape after Tanzania parliament passes new laws

"This is a necessary step to protect the interests of our stakeholders in light of the ongoing dispute, however we still believe a negotiated resolution is the best outcome and will continue to work towards this," an Acacia spokesman said.

The company is currently engaged in a legal dispute with Tanzania’s government over royalties it allegedly owes on the exports of gold/ copper concentrate from its two mines in the country.

Last week Acacia’s woes grew after the government approved a new Finance Act, which will impose a 1% clearing fee on all minerals exports. 

Other miners with Tanzania operators that will be hit by the new legislation include Shanta Gold Limited(LON:SHG), Capital Drilling Ltd (LON:CAPD) and Kibo Mining (LON:CAPD).

Shanta said in a statement that it was seeking advice on the changes while Capital Drilling said it was “monitoring the situation closely” and will update shareholders on any potential risks.

Kibo also said it was reviewing the legislation. Edenville Energy plc (LON:EDL) stressed that it has recently been through a comprehensive permitting process for its Rukwa coal project in Tanzania with the government and had received “widespread support”.


Wed, 05 Jul 2017 09:49:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Hinkley Point nuclear power station already over budget and late warns French builder ]]> EDF, the French power group building the new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point has warned the project is already at least £1.5bn over budget and may be delivered more than a year late.

The admission comes just days after the UK’s National Audit Office described the £18bn nuclear power station in Somerset as ‘risky and expensive’.

An internal review of the project by EDF said the cost had now risen to £19.5bn with first power unlikely now before 2027, some ten years behind the date originally promised.

Delays to the first reactor have added £1.5bn to the cost, it said, while it faces a further £700mln charge as the second reactor is also well behind schedule.

A £2.2bn cost overrun would reduce EDF's return on the project to 8.2% from 9%.

The state-controlled is funding two-thirds of the project, with China investing the remaining £6bn.

Under the terms of 35-year contract, EDF is guaranteed a price of £92.50 per megawatt hour it generates or double the current market price.

Through this agreement thrashed out between EDF and the UK government, electricity customers will top up the French group’s income through a levy.

The NAO has predicted sliding prices on the wholesale market mean the cost this support has now soared from £6bn to £30bn.

EDF’s chief executive Edward de Rivaz is to be replaced in October, something that has added to the delays said the power supplier.

Mon, 03 Jul 2017 12:40:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - ‘Don’t do this at home folks!’’ – Proactive’s virtual fund manager still hoping to strike it lucky ]]> Fri, 30 Jun 2017 11:09:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - FCA to delay bringing in new CFD rules while it waits on pan-European regulator’s report ]]> The Financial Conduct Authority is set to delay its crackdown on contracts for difference (CFDs) providers while it waits for European regulators to carry out their own investigations.

At the end of last year, spread betting firms saw their share prices crash as the FCA – the UK’s financial regulator – said CFDs were too complex for the majority of customers and greater regulation was needed.

READ MORE: Spreadbet firms tumble as FCA gets tough on CFDs

Trading on margin – where a customer is only required to put up a fraction on the total investment – in particular was earmarked for much tighter control.

Under the FCA’s proposals, retail clients who do not have 12 months or more experience of active trading in CFDs will have maximum leverage of 25:1, with a 50:1 maximum for all retail clients.

Any changes are unlikely to come in until next year now though as the FCA said it will wait to finalise its proposals now that the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has launched its own investigation.

“Given progress in ESMA's own consideration of the use of its product intervention powers in this area, the FCA has decided to delay making final conduct rules for UK firms providing CFDs to retail clients, pending the outcome of ESMA's discussions,” the City regulator said today.

ESMA is considering bringing in similar changes suggested by the FCA such as leverage limits and limits on advertising, although it is also said to be looking at new measures such as guaranteed limits on client losses.

The FCA said today it will wait for the time being to see what ESMA comes up with as it will want to have its own domestic rules in sync with those is continental Europe.

Should there be a “significant delay” in ESMA’s process, the FCA will reconsider making final rules at a domestic level in the first half of 2018.

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 09:53:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - FCA review: 'Good luck with that!', says Proactive's John Harrington ]]> Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:51:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - Now is not the right time to raise interest rates, says Bank of England's Jon Cunliffe ]]> Bank of England Deputy Governor, Sir Jon Cunliffe, has said it was not the right time to raise interest rates but suggested he may vote in favour of a hike later in the year.

Cunliffe told the BBC lifting borrowing costs now would only make matters worse given that households are already being squeezed by rising inflation and weak wage growth.

“[Consumer spending] is slowing as households’ real incomes are squeezed by higher inflation, we expect some of that slowing to be offset by growth in business investment, growth in exports. And I want to see how that plays out,” he said.

“(We) do have to look at what’s happening to domestic inflation pressure, and I think that on the data we have at the moment, gives us a bit of time to see how this evolves.”

Cunliffe wants to see if improvements in business investment and exports could offset the slowdown in consumer spending.

His comments echoed that of Governor Mark Carney’s last week but came in contrast to that of the Bank’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, who signalled that he was ready to vote for a rate increase “relatively soon”.

It adds to evidence of a split between the BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee members on whether to hike rates.

Three out of eight MPC members voted in favour of raising interest rates at the last policy meeting on 15 June, the closest the Bank has come to making the move since 2007. The ninth seat on the MPC has yet to be filled.

The pound intially weakened against the dollar but has recovered since, rising 0.02% to US$1.2816, but versus the euro is down 0.21% to €1.1278.

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 10:57:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - Short-term oversupply still weighing heavily on uranium price - analyst Justin Chan ]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 11:44:00 +0100 <![CDATA[Media files - Brexit anniversary: Soft data & hard data diverge - Tip TV ]]> Mon, 26 Jun 2017 11:20:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - UK's biggest health food retailer, Holland & Barrett to be bought by a Russian billionaire for £1.8bn ]]> Holland & Barrett, the UK's biggest health food retailer, is reportedly to be bought by a Russian billionaire for £1.8bn.

The BBC said L1 Retail, a fund controlled by Mikhail Fridman, is to buy the high street chain from US private equity firm Carlyle.

Carlyle acquired Holland & Barrett in 2010 as part of its US$3.8bn (£3bn) purchase of US firm Nature's Bounty, now NBTY.

Last week, Sky News reported that Superdrug owner AS Watson Group - part of the vast Asian conglomerate CK Hutchison Holdings - had tabled a £1bn-plus indicative offer for Holland & Barrett.

Chain has around 1,400 stores

Holland & Barratt, which has about 600 stores in the UK, also operates in 15 other countries, including China, India and the United Arab Emirates, from around 1,400 stores in total.

The stores chain was founded in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, in 1870, and now employs more than 4,000 people.

Fridman is best known for his role as chief executive of BP PLC's (LON:BP.) Russian joint venture TNK between 2003 and 2012, when it was sold to Rosneft for US$56bn.

L1 also has funds focused on energy, technology and health.

Indication of the strength in the health retail sector

Jonathan Buxton, partner and head of retail at Cavendish commented: “This massive £1.8bn sale of Holland & Barrett to L1 Retail is an indication of its view of the strength in the health retail sector despite it being perceived to be an industry struggling to remain afloat.

“Throughout the UK we have seen a number of businesses, including L’Oreal’s The Body Shop, facing difficult times due to a decline in consumers shopping on the high street and instead moving to online shopping.”

He added: “ What will be interesting to watch is how Holland & Barrett will move forward. With this kind of investment, we would expect that the retailer will continue to invest in its stores but more importantly, seek to increase its online presence to push back against the likes of Amazon following its acquisition of Whole Foods.”

 -- Adds analyst comment --

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 08:15:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Regulatory grip tightens on online gambling, but betting machine review should be biggest concern for investors - broker ]]> As the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launches as fresh clamp down, one analyst has observed that the “regulatory trend” is presently working against the UK’s bookies.

“The move highlights the willingness of the regulator to act and forms part of what appears to be a much broader clampdown on the industry after a period of liberalisation,” said Neil Wilson, analyst at ETX Capital.

That said, Wilson doesn’t think this latest censure will make a ‘material impact’ even if it involves any of the ‘big listed players’.

“According to the CMA, customers are not getting the deal they sign up for and operators are holding on to people’s money when they shouldn’t. A rap on the knuckles is deemed necessary. 

“If it affects any of the big listed players in the sector the chances are it would not have a material effect on earnings long term, but coming at a time of increased scrutiny on the sector, investors have decided that the bookies are not such a hot bet.”

He added, however, that separate and ongoing regulatory look at fixed-odds betting machines could “blow a hole” in revenues.

“This review is critical – these machines account for around half of betting shop revenues.  Punters lost £1.8bn on these machines in the year ending September 2016,” Wilson said.

“The government review is likely to see the maximum stake on these machines reduced from £100 to around £10-20, but it depends on the amount of pressure Labour can exert on the government now the Conservatives have lost their majority – Labour has pushed for a cap of £2.

“A £2 limit would amount to a serious problem for bookies and probably hasn’t been reflected in the drop in share prices over the last year.”

“We have to assume that with some Conservative MPs also favouring a £2 limit, the odds of a worst-case scenario playing out have increased. A £10 cap would be bad, but this has already been pretty well reflected in stock valuations which have declined markedly since August.”

'Unfair' sign-up promotions

In a statement today, the CMA revealed it is clamping down on online gambling operators that are suspected of breaking consumer law.

Consumers aren’t getting the ‘deal’ they expect from sign-up promotions, the CMA believes, and it said operators are unfairly holding on to people’s money.

It has not yet been disclosed which online gambling companies are being scrutinised though it is understood that the CMA will be taking action against a number of them, and the watchdog is planning to use its formal enforcement powers.

Through an investigation, launched at the end of 2016, the CMA has had contact with 800 unhappy customers of online gambling companies, and it closely examined a range of website.

“Sign-up promotions are designed to attract players onto casino-like gaming websites by offering bonus cash when they put in their own money,” the CMA said in a statement.

“However, the CMA is concerned that people often don’t get the deal they are expecting as the promotions come with an array of terms and conditions that are often confusing and unclear and, in some cases, may be unfair.

The CMA claimed customers may need to play hundreds of times before they are allowed to withdraw any money, so they’re unable to while they are ahead.

“We know online gambling is always going to be risky, but firms must also play fair,” said Nisha Arora, CMA senior director of consumer enforcement.

“People should get the deal they’re expecting if they sign up to a promotion, and be able to walk away with their money when they want to.

“Sadly, we have heard this isn’t always the case. New customers are being enticed by tempting promotions only to find the dice are loaded against them. And players can find a whole host of hurdles in their way when they want to withdraw their money.”

At the same time, Gambling Commission chief executive Sarah Harrison said: “Whilst the CMA takes enforcement action on how consumer legislation is followed, the gambling industry should be under no illusion that if they don’t comply with consumer law, we will see this as a breach of their operating licence, and take decisive action.”

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 12:08:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - China growth great news for metals & miners - Mining Capital's Alastair Ford ]]> Fri, 23 Jun 2017 10:27:00 +0100 <![CDATA[News - Hinkley Point nuclear power station ‘risky and expensive’, says spending watchdog ]]> A damning report from the UK spending watchdog has labelled the government’s plans to build a new £18bn nuclear power station in Somerset as ‘risky and expensive’.

The National Audit Office said the case in favour of Hinkley Point C was “marginal”, adding that the project was “not value for money”.

At the heart of the NAO’s criticism is the failure of the past two governments to look at any other way of financing the power station, which will create around 25,000 jobs.

The watchdog suggests that the coalition could have saved money for consumers in the long-run by shouldering some of the upfront costs.

“Our analysis suggests alternative approaches could have reduced the total project cost,” the report read.

The report comes nine months after the government granted final approval for the project, which is being financed by the French and Chinese governments.

State-controlled French energy firm EDF is funding two-thirds of the project, with China investing the remaining £6bn.

Under the terms of 35-year contract, EDF is guaranteed a price of £92.50 per megawatt hour it generates, double the current market price.

In response to the NAO’s findings, the business, energy and industrial strategy department said building the plant is “an important strategic decision to ensure that nuclear is part of a diverse energy mix”.

EDF added that Hinkley “remains good value for consumers compared with alternative choices”.

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 08:41:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Online gambling firms face censure over ‘unfair’ sign-up promotions ]]> The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is clamping down on online gambling operators that are suspected of breaking consumer law.

Consumers aren’t getting the ‘deal’ they expect from sign-up promotions, the CMA believes, and it said operators are unfairly holding on to people’s money.

It has not yet been disclosed which online gambling companies are being scrutinised though it is understood that the CMA will be taking action against a number of them, and the watchdog is planning to use its formal enforcement powers.

Through an investigation, launched at the end of 2016, the CMA has had contact with 800 unhappy customers of online gambling companies, and it closely examined a range of website.

“Sign-up promotions are designed to attract players onto casino-like gaming websites by offering bonus cash when they put in their own money,” the CMA said in a statement.

“However, the CMA is concerned that people often don’t get the deal they are expecting as the promotions come with an array of terms and conditions that are often confusing and unclear and, in some cases, may be unfair.

The CMA claimed customers may need to play hundreds of times before they are allowed to withdraw any money, so they’re unable to while they are ahead.

“We know online gambling is always going to be risky, but firms must also play fair,” said Nisha Arora, CMA senior director of consumer enforcement.

“People should get the deal they’re expecting if they sign up to a promotion, and be able to walk away with their money when they want to.

“Sadly, we have heard this isn’t always the case. New customers are being enticed by tempting promotions only to find the dice are loaded against them. And players can find a whole host of hurdles in their way when they want to withdraw their money.”

At the same time, Gambling Commission chief executive Sarah Harrison said: “Whilst the CMA takes enforcement action on how consumer legislation is followed, the gambling industry should be under no illusion that if they don’t comply with consumer law, we will see this as a breach of their operating licence, and take decisive action.”

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 08:22:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Ethereum cryptocurrency hit by ‘flash crash’ after plummeting from US$319 to just 10 cents ]]> The price of cryptocurrency ethereum plummeted on Wednesday after the bitcoin rival was hit by a ‘flash crash’ on the GDAX exchange.

Ether, as it’s also known, crashed as low as 10 cents from around US$320 in just a few seconds after a “multimillion dollar sell” order was executed.

The digital currency did stabilise not too long after the sharp fall and is hovering around US$317 on GDAX, although it had been trading as high as US$352 earlier on Wednesday.

According to the vice president of GDAX, Adam White, the sell order resulted in a number of trade being filled from US$317.81 to US$224.48.

As the price continued to fall, another 800 or so stop loss orders – a trade that is automatically executed once a security hits a particular price – were taken out, causing ether to trade as low as 10 cents.

Analysts have pointed to the crash as the latest example that alternative currencies are untrustworthy or unreliable.

Some on social media had suggested that illegal activity had taken place, but White denied this in a blog post.

“Our initial investigations show no indication of wrongdoing or account takeovers. We understand this event can be frustrating for our customers.”

Blockchain start-up backed by Google and Richard Branson in US$40mln raise

Elsewhere in the digital world Blockchain Ltd – a bitcoin wallet start-up – has raised US$40mln, led by Google’s investment arm and UK billionaire Richard Branson among others.

The investment comes at a time of rising excitement and interest in the cryptocurrency world, with both bitcoin and ethereum both recently hitting all-time highs.

Blockchain has created a ‘wallet’ which is a piece of software that can store bitcoins and allows customers to carry out transaction with other users.

The cash raised is expected to be used to expand its team and invest in more research and development.

What is blockchain technology?

A blockchain is a digital ledger in which all transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publicly.

Think of it as a spreadsheet that is duplicated thousands of times across a network of computers. Then imagine that this network is designed to regularly update the spreadsheet so all users can see a ‘live’ database.

Importantly, users can add to these databases but can't erase past transactions or data. That, and the fact data is stored on lots of different computers, means the records of transactions are truly public and verifiable.

Without a centralised version of all the information, there is nothing for a hacker to corrupt either.

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:05:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - New share trading platform launches with zero commission deals ]]> A new share trading service launched today claims to be the first yet to offer commission free trading in UK, US, and German shares.

Trading 212 will allow investors to make ten free trades per month up to a value of £10,000 each.

Larger and more active clients pay £1.95 plus 0.05% per trade, a charge that founder Ivan Ashminov told Proactive is about 80% lower than the current broker competition.

WATCH: Trading 212 launches 'trading revolution' with commission-free platform

Trading 212 launched three years ago as a foreign exchange mobile app and buoyed by  success here - Ashminov says its FX app has had 7mln downloads - looked at other areas to replicate the model.

“We studied the commission structures of the brokers and thought, wow, this is ripe for disruption.”

“Brokers are pretty comfortable at operating at 50% profit margin, which is unheard of in other industries, and this is why this disruption had to come from outside.”

Ashminov suggests that by eliminating the cost of commissions a new, younger generation of investors can be attracted to equities.

"A combination of zero commissions, premium quality execution and a great user experience, should make trading more attractive.”

Trading 212 will provide access initially to over 1,500 commonly traded UK, US and German stocks. 

Its parent company Avus Capital UK Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.  

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 10:07:00 +0100
<![CDATA[Media files - Trading 212 launches 'trading revolution' with commission-free platform ]]> Thu, 22 Jun 2017 08:54:00 +0100