column Proactiveinvestors column RSS feed en Wed, 29 Mar 2017 04:23:14 +0100 Genera CMS (Proactiveinvestors) (Proactiveinvestors) In the Papers - Dyson, UBS, Samsung, BT, Ladbrokes and others Newspaper Summary

The Times
Dyson hits out at plan for greater openness: Government plans to force private companies to be more transparent will harm Britain’s competitiveness and impose unfair and expensive burdens on the most innovative businesses, Sir James Dyson has said.

Train builders set for joint HS2 bid: Britain’s two train manufacturers could team up to build £2.75 billion of superfast rolling stock for the High Speed Two rail project. With HS2 due to start canvassing soon for bids to deliver 60 225mph trains, each able to carry 1,000 passengers by 2026, Bombardier and Hitachi seem increasingly likely to pitch together for the contract.

Profits go supersonic as hairdryer blows away opposition: Demand for supersonic hairdryers and reliably solid sales of bagless vacuums have helped Dyson to report another stellar year where its profits soared after stealing market share from rivals.

New broom will not sweep old brands out of her stable: Emma Walmsley is understood to have decided against a spin-off of Glaxosmithkline’s consumer healthcare division as she prepares to take formal charge of the pharmaceutical giant next week.

UBS set to secure a Very good role: UBS is poised to land the lead role in advising the owners of Shop Direct on a possible sale or stock market listing of the retailer behind the Very and Littlewoods brands.
Energy firm pulls plug on face-to-face sales team: Ovo Energy, one of Britain’s biggest independent energy suppliers, is shutting its face-to-face sales operation with the loss of about 100 jobs.

Bank’s spending on legal fees triples: The bank’s average annual payments to City of London law firms are running at nearly £7 million, compared with an average of £2 million between 2011 and 2013 and the number of lawyers the bank employs has increased by nearly 50% from 46 in 2014 to 68 in 2016.

Shetland find lifts North Sea oil hopes: Hurricane Energy has made another oil discovery near the Shetland Islands, bolstering hopes that it may have the biggest find in British waters this century.
The Independent

No Brexit deal would mean a ‘painful and costly’ EU departure, manufacturers warn: Theresa May’s suggestion that no Brexit deal was better than a bad deal risked condemning U.K. manufacturing to a “painful and costly” exit from the EU, an employers’ body warns.

Theresa May faces ‘legislative swamp’ after she triggers Article 50, Tory MPs warn: Tories have warned their leader Theresa May that she faces being “swamped” in years of complex parliamentary and legal wrangling once she triggers the Brexit process.

Donald Trump printed out made-up £300 billion NATO invoice and handed it to Angela Merkel: Angela Merkel will reportedly ignore Donald Trump’s attempts to extricate £300 billion from Germany for what he deems to be owed contributions to NATO.

Home ownership now out of reach for most young people, study finds: Home ownership is increasingly out of reach for young people without “the bank of Mum and Dad”, a study warns – demanding “radical action” from the Government.

Financial Times
Oil trading surge strengthens grip of big commodity houses: The world’s largest independent commodity houses have expanded their oil trading volumes by more than 65% during crude’s near three-year slump, marking them out as the biggest beneficiaries in the industry from oil’s protracted downturn.

Chinese overtake Singapore as top Malaysia property investors: China has eclipsed Singapore as the biggest source of investment in Malaysian real estate, as soaring domestic property prices push mainland investors to hunt for bargains abroad.

London and New York lose ground to Asian rivals in finance rankings: London remains top of a ranking of global financial centres but saw its overall score slide on concerns about its competitiveness in the wake of Brexit.

Brussels close to approving $140 billion Dow-Dupont tie-up: Brussels is set to deliver its verdicts on two big corporates deals this week with authorities expected to bless the $140 billion union of U.S. agrichemical giants Dupont and Dow Chemical while formally vetoing the €29 billion merger of the London Stock Exchange Group and Deutsche Börse.

Reviving Deutsche Bank in U.S. is priority for CEO John Cryan: Just over a year ago, when shares in Deutsche Bank were tumbling, the bank started putting out messages on screens in the lifts and lobbies of its building in lower Manhattan, assuring staff that it had plenty of capital to absorb losses and cash to pay bills.

Standard Chartered and Barclays face investor ire over CEO pay: Two of Britain’s leading banks have drawn criticism from some big shareholders over decisions to lower the hurdles for long-term bonuses for their Bosses, in the latest example of U.K. companies coming into conflict with their investors over Executive pay.

Credit Suisse pays out SFr250 million to retain top bankers and traders: Credit Suisse paid its top investment bankers and traders almost SFr250 million ($252 million) under a special scheme created to stop them jumping ship during the bank’s restructuring, its annual report reveals.

Advertisers demand Google discounts after YouTube backlash: Advertisers are demanding from Google prime space at discounted prices, after this month’s revelation that many brands had appeared next to extremist content on YouTube, the Google-owned site.

Britain’s shopkeepers struggle to absorb minimum wage rises: Thousands of British shopkeepers are set to take a pay cut next month because of a minimum wage rise that is part of the U.K. government’s plan to wean the economy off low-paid work.

Samsung looks to Galaxy S8 to win back consumer trust: Samsung will seek this week to draw a line under the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone safety scandal with the launch of the South Korean technology company’s latest handset, the Galaxy S8.

BT hit with record £42 million Ofcom fine: BT has been hit with a record £42 million fine by the telecoms regulator Ofcom and has agreed to pay £300 million to its rivals over the use of a loophole that artificially reduced the amount it compensated companies including Vodafone when it failed to connect a line in time.

Arconic/Elliott: lock them up: The “Secret August Voting Lock-Up” is not an upcoming thriller at the cinema. Activist investment fund Elliott Management may soon pen that screenplay, however. It is currently in a heated proxy fight hoping to dump Klaus Kleinfeld, Chief Executive of Arconic, the former Alcoa affiliate separated last November. Elliott’s intrigue-filled title spices up the situation, highlighting an odd corporate arrangement at Arconic.

Iceland banks: vote of confidence: Catharsis has given way to optimism in Iceland. In what amounts to the largest foreign equity portfolio investment in the country’s history, Goldman Sachs, Och-Ziff and two more hedge funds acquired just short of 30% of Arion Bank this week in a private placement worth IKr49 billion ($444 million).

The Daily Telegraph
Fading Trump rally threatened by rare contraction of U.S. credit: Credit strategists are increasingly disturbed by a sudden and rare contraction of U.S. bank lending, fearing a synchronised slowdown in the U.S. and China this year that could catch euphoric markets badly off guard.

WeWork launches fund for U.K. start-ups amid plans to double its London presence: U.S. shared offices company WeWork will almost double its space in London this year, as it launches a £1.2 million award scheme to back U.K. start-ups.

Ladbrokes may be looking up after better Cheltenham for the bookies: Bookmaker Ladbrokes Coral could be facing better odds this year ¬as the profits from a less punter-friendly Cheltenham Festival emerge.
Theresa May’s red tape burden ‘too much for listed companies’ says Legoland Boss: The Chief Executive of Britain’s biggest quoted leisure group has called for a “sanity check” on the Government’s corporate governance agenda as he warned management time is being “soaked up” with even more U.K.-led red tape.

National Grid prepares for ‘summer excess’ with calls to use more power: National Grid is gearing up for summer with the start of a scheme which pays companies to use more electricity when wind and solar power surges past demand.

Lendlease to build first ultra-green homes in central London: Development company Lendlease is to pioneer ultra-energy-efficient homes in central London, monitoring the residents over several years to see how new technology could change the housing market.

Booths, ‘the Waitrose of the North’, sets up shop in Malaysia: Booths, the upmarket northern grocery chain, has chosen to set up shop 6,588 miles away rather than attempt to crack the South of England.

The Guardian
Snapchat ‘will be bigger than Twitter, Yahoo and AOL with advertisers’: Snapchat could become more popular with advertisers than Twitter, Yahoo and AOL within three years, with the messaging app company forecast to bring in revenues of more than $3 billion (£2.4 billion) a year before the end of 2019.

‘Bank of mum and dad’ making housing market more unfair, study finds: The number of first-time buyers relying on family loans from the “bank of mum and dad” to fund their deposits is exacerbating inequality and impeding social mobility, a government-backed study has warned.

Uber suspends fleet of self-driving cars following Arizona crash: Uber has suspended its fleet of self-driving cars while it investigates a crash in Arizona involving one of its vehicles.
Brewdog accused of hypocrisy after forcing pub to change name: Brewdog, the craft beer company that prides itself on a “punk” ethos, has been accused of acting like “just another multinational corporate machine” after forcing a family-run pub to change its name or face legal action.

Daily Mail
Lancashire’s textile industry wins Brexit boost as uniforms return to U.K.... but a big City jobs drain begins: Lancashire’s textile industry has won an unexpected Brexit boost as one of Britain’s largest providers of workers’ uniforms has brought manufacturing back to the U.K.

800 jobs rescued as investment firm Endless revives Jones Bootmaker £11million deal: Footwear retailer Jones Bootmaker has been bought by private equity firm Endless in an £11 million deal, saving around 840 jobs. But 262 jobs will be lost at 25 stores and six concessions considered underperforming and not part of the deal.

Europe’s top banks relying heavily on stashing profits offshore in tax havens to save cash: The 20 biggest banks in Europe have been accused of funnelling £18 billion of profits through tax havens in a bid to save cash.
How cavemen and yoga raves have put Gymbox in great shape with yearly profits of £2.4 million: A fitness chain with a difference is booming on the back of yoga raves, caveman jumping, circus training and even a workout that aims to make you taller. Gymbox sales grew last year from £13 million to £17 million, with pre-tax profits of £2.4 million, as it cashes in on a trend for unorthodox fitness classes.

Daily Express
Lloyds of London Chairman plays down Brexit challenges: Lloyd’s of London Chairman John Nelson says insurance market veterans view the challenges thrown up by Brexit as a “walk in the park” compared to the difficulties that nearly obliterated the business just decades ago.

Why after reporting a 2.6 billion loss would a company gives its Boss a 20% pay rise?: For some reason, the head of Pearson’s remuneration committee Elizabeth Corley and her colleagues think otherwise, awarding Chief Executive John Fallon a 20% pay rise, taking his total pay packet for 2016 to £1.52 million.

Larvae-ly solution to animal testing problem: Tech firm seeks crowdfunding for new project: University spin-out BioSystems Technology is looking for investment as it seeks to transform live animal testing by enabling researchers to use insect grubs instead of small mammals like rabbits and mice.

The Scottish Herald
Construction firms negative on Brexit: Nearly four times as many construction companies in Scotland fear Brexit will be negative for the sector as expect it to be positive, a survey has revealed.
U.K. financial services firms expand but signal caution: The U.K. financial services sector has achieved faster growth in business volumes in the first quarter than it had expected but expansion is projected to slow over the coming three months, a survey shows.

Enterprising teacher looks overseas for her inspiration: With the outlook for the economy uncertain we hear from an entrepreneur who reckons authorities at national and local level still need to do more to help the small and medium sized enterprises that play a vital part in supporting employment.

OnGen signs up key clients as funding increases: The green energy business called “the first step in an energy revolution” by early investor Ian Marchant has raised a further £200,000 in funding, and signed major clients.
‘Overlooked engine room’ firms key to Brexit talks: With overseas revenue of £5 billion, the needs of high-growth entrepreneurial mid-sized businesses must be considered in negotiations over the U.K.’s exit from the European Union, according to accountancy firm BDO, writes Kevin Scott.

Small offices targeted for energy boost: Environmental technology firm NetThings is targeting smaller commercial, and residential, properties for the first time with the launch of a web-enabled monitoring and control system that can reduce energy consumption by up to 20%.

Booker to update on trading ahead of expected probe into £3.7 billion Tesco merger: Wholesaler Booker will update on trading on Thursday amid mounting calls for a competition inquiry into its £3.7 billion merger with supermarket giant Tesco.

The Scotsman
Top Scots attractions outperforming rest of U.K.: Scotland’s leading visitor attractions are outperforming the rest of the U.K., according to new figures which showed they attracted more than 15 million visitors last year.
Labour sets out six ‘red lines’ on final EU deal: Labour will reject Theresa May’s Brexit deal with the EU if it doesn’t deliver the “exact same benefits” as being in the European single market and customs union, the party has warned.

City A.M.
Export support needs more long-term planning and stability, the British Chambers of Commerce has warned: One of the U.K.’s largest business lobbyists is calling for more “stability” in export planning ahead of the formal launch of Brexit talks.

Visitor figures for the Royal Academy and the Tate Modern pushed up by blockbuster exhibition and popular new extension: London’s cultural attractions welcomed 66,938,947 visitors last year, with the Tate Modern and the Royal Academy doing particularly well.

Gulf Arab states want to secure a speedy trade deal with the U.K. post-Brexit: Gulf Arab states are pushing for an early deal on free trade with Britain in the wake of Brexit.
Sentiment in the financial sector has stabilised in the three months to March despite falling throughout 2016: A robust economy has helped stabilise sentiment in the financial sector in the three months to March despite falling throughout 2016, according to a CBI/PwC financial services survey.

U.K. trade will grind to a halt if goods have to be declared after Brexit, warns the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA): As Brexit talks draw nearer, another industry has taken the chance to press the government for a suitable outcome.

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 09:18:00 +0100
In the Papers - Starbucks, Emirates, Virgin, BT Newspaper Summary

The Times

Inflation doesn’t mean rate rise, Bank Chief says: A doveish member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee said a rise in inflation would not make him consider raising interest rates.

Clashes ‘put U.K. at risk from money launderers’: Britain is dangerously exposed to money launderers as investigators are failing to work with other agencies to gather evidence against foreign criminals, a think tank has claimed.

Businesses paid to cut energy at peak times: Businesses that agree to cut energy use when national supplies are running low will receive subsidies six times higher than plants that guarantee to provide power.

De Beers cuts partner out of diamond stores: The world’s leading diamond specialist has taken full ownership of its retail business after buying out its partner to boost its high street presence.

Homebuyers ‘priced out of market’ in key cities: House price inflation in some of Britain’s largest cities is beginning to “run out of steam” as growing numbers of potential buyers cannot afford the asking prices, according to a property analyst.

Ford warns of profits fall as result of spluttering demand: Ford warned that its full-year profit would be $1.4 billion less this year than last year as it forecast a substantial hit to its bottom line in the first quarter.

Rockhopper sues Italy over oil field ban: Rockhopper Exploration is fighting for compensation from Italy after it banned offshore drilling, leaving the company unable to develop one of its oil and gas fields.

Weak pound gives brewer a headache: Adnams brewed up record beer sales last year as volumes passed the 100,000 barrels mark for the first time in the Southwold brewer’s 145-years.

Back to work at world’s biggest copper mine: Workers at BHP Billiton’s Escondida mine in Chile said they would present their decision to the government and return to work. A swift restart of Escondida, which produced about 5% of the world’s copper last year, may bring some relief to the Chilean economy but there was little immediate effect on copper prices.

The Independent

CEO uses ‘snowflake’ test when hiring to avoid ‘whiny millennials’: A U.S. company has introduced a “snowflake test” to weed out overly sensitive, liberal candidates who are too easily offended.

State pension age could rise to 70: Millions of young people could face having to work an extra year before being able to draw a state pension, according to two separate reports.

Eurogroup head accused of racist and sexist comments pressured to quit: Jeroen Dijsselbloem faced pressure to resign as head of the euro area’s finance Ministers after comments he made on the obligations of aid-receiving countries were seen as both offensive and widening the north-south divide in Europe.

Data points to peak in immigration of European Union workers: Signs are growing that inflows of European Union workers to the U.K. have peaked, just as Prime Minister Theresa May is due to trigger Article 50 to commence the Brexit divorce process.

U.K. homes could see energy bills increase by up to £445 per year: Homes across the U.K. could see their energy bills increase by up to £445 a year as a result of fixed-rate deals offered by 10 popular providers expiring.

Richard Branson writes emotional farewell letter to Virgin America: Sir Richard Branson has written a heartfelt farewell letter to Virgin America after owner Alaska Airlines said it would soon stop using the Virgin brand.

The Daily Telegraph

Ithaca Energy Boss backs Delek takeover after $54 million loss: The Boss of North Sea takeover target Ithaca Energy has reasserted his backing for the £517 million cash bid from the group’s largest shareholder after reporting a £54 million loss for last year.

AkzoNobel shareholders turn up the heat on Dulux owner over rejected PPG takeover bid: AkzoNobel’s largest shareholder has increased the pressure on the Dulux and Polyfilla owner to enter takeover talks with American rival PPG Industries.

Blue Inc creditors approve store rescue plan: Creditors for struggling retailer Blue Inc have approved a plan to stage payments for rent arrears and write off some of the company’s debt in a bid to keep the stores trading.

Clampdown on big winners boosts gaming business GVC: A crackdown on big-ticket gamblers who were winning huge amounts of cash has helped improve the performance at online gaming business GVC.

Northern Powerhouse fires up as house prices in Manchester rise faster than any other U.K. city: Manchester has sped ahead of southern rivals, recording the fastest house price growth of any city in the U.K. Homes in the capital of the Northern Powerhouse increased in value by 8.8% over the past 12 months, according to Hometrack.

Robots will take a third of British jobs by 2030, report says: A third of existing British jobs are at risk of being taken over by robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) within 15 years, a report reveals.

City regulator reopens probe into Qatar’s crisis-era rescue of Barclays: Barclays faces renewed scrutiny of its emergency fundraising during the financial crisis after the City regulator reopened its investigation into the bank’s cash call with Qatar.

The Questor Column:

Anthony Bolton’s old trust has doubled in three years but the discount is still 14%: Investors in the Fidelity China Special Situations trust have experienced plenty of drama over the portfolio’s short history. Its listing in 2010 attracted a blaze of publicity because the trust was managed by Anthony Bolton, who had made investors in his Fidelity Special Situations fund rich with annual returns of about 19%. His successor, Dale Nicholls, has had a happier time: under his stewardship the share price has roughly doubled. Despite this strong performance, the trust was trading at a discount of 14%. The portfolio seems well positioned to avoid the fallout from any trade war between China and America, which has been feared as a result of Donald Trump’s protectionist leanings. The fund is heavily focused on domestic companies, with the portfolio’s stocks making 82.5% of their revenues within China and only 2% in the U.S. Growth is still strong, although slowing: the latest official prediction is for economic output to grow at an annual rate of about 6.5%. The portfolio is well diversified, with about 150 holdings, although the top 10 account for 42% of assets. Up to 10% of the fund can be held in unquoted stocks. The annual “ongoing” charge, 1.22%, does not seem excessive for a specialist fund such as this. Questor says ‘Buy’.

The Guardian

U.K. retail sales shrug off Brexit fears with February rise: Britain’s retailers received a respite from a two-month losing streak when spending in high street stores and online bounced back in February.

1,100 Jones Bootmaker jobs at risk as private equity deal collapses: Jones Bootmaker is expected to call in administrators on Friday in a move that will put more than 1,100 jobs at risk. The shoe retailer, which employs 1,145 people, has nearly 100 stores and a handful of concessions in department stores. It is understood to be close to collapse after a deal with a private equity firm collapsed.

Housebuilder’s investors reject Executive pay deal in 2017’s first revolt: Shareholders in Crest Nicholson, one of the largest housebuilders in Britain, have voted against a pay deal for the company’s Directors because of concerns that the performance targets were too easy.

Brexit could damage U.K.’s fight against corruption, says OECD: Brexit could damage the U.K.’s efforts to tackle corruption and give multinationals leverage over the British government in bribery cases, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has warned.

YouTube and Google boycott spreads to U.S. as AT&T and Verizon pull ads: The growing advertiser boycott of YouTube has reached the U.S., with AT&T, Johnson & Johnson, Verizon and Enterprise all halting adverts on the site, as well as Google’s wider ad networks, over the video-sharing site’s inability to guarantee promotional messages won’t appear alongside extremist content.

Daily Mail

Next suffers first fall in profits since 2008 as it battles against online rivals, subdued shoppers and the slump in the pound: High street retailer Next suffered its first profit fall for eight years in 2016 and has warned that 2017 is set to be ‘another tough year.’ With inflation rising and wages stagnating, shoppers were spending less on clothing last year and the group’s underlying pre-tax profits fell 3.8% to £790.2 million.

FTSE 100 ekes out small gain on a big day for British retailers, while Trump seeks to overturn Obamacare: London shares ticked marginally higher, in a session dominated by retail and President Donald Trump’s healthcare bill.

New tax rules set to hit thousands of public sector contract workers: Around 26,000 public sector contractors, including NHS staff, social and care workers, are facing an income drop of up to 20% next month.

Number of landlords planning to sell up doubles since the buy-to-let crackdown was announced - and experts warn renters will suffer: Rising numbers of landlords are planning to abandon the buy-to-let market, prompting fears that rents will spiral up as the number of properties available to rent falls.

Daily Express

Deutsche Bank won’t leave City with new London HQ: Deutsche Bank has kept its faith in the City being the hub of European banking with plans for a new London HQ.

EUR soft on ECB inflation claims despite above-forecast consumer confidence: Newly-released consumer confidence data has failed to soothe investor fears that the ECB will stand firm on its ultra-loose monetary policy.

GBP rises after U.K. February retail sales growth bounds over forecasts: The pace of U.K. retail sales picked up significantly in February, outpacing economists’ already-strong predictions.

RBS and NatWest to close 158 branches and cut 470 jobs: Taxpayer-backed NatWest and RBS are closing 158 branches and axing hundreds of jobs, blaming a rise in online and mobile banking.

Crucial vote on Trump healthcare bill could trigger crash: Nervous investors are braced for U.S. lawmakers to vote on Donald Trump’s healthcare plans, amid fears a defeated bill could spark panic and sends stocks crashing.

Saudi Arabia’s credit rating cut as low oil prices crumble Middle East nation’s economy: Saudi Arabia’s economic woes have worsened after a top rating agency downgraded its credit rating and said plans to save the economy look set to fail.

The Scottish Herald

Growth in Scotland will lag U.K., forecaster says: Economic growth in Scotland will trail that in the U.K. as a whole this year and in 2018, partly because of a drag resulting from oil and gas sector weakness, PricewaterhouseCoopers has forecast.

Giants to hunt for oil and gas off Hebrides: Oil majors have shown confidence in the exploration potential of the frontier territory off the Hebrides and Shetland in spite of the prospect of a long period of low oil prices.

Kier warns of construction slowdown as profits rise: The Boss of Kier Group’s construction division in Scotland has signalled there is an expectation across the industry that activity will slow down in the coming months as a result of Brexit uncertainty.

Shares crash as potato firm warns on profit for year: Produce Investments has issued a profit warning after booking non-cash write-offs worth £1 million relating to the implementation of a new back office system.

Whisky giant sees slide in profits: Chivas Brothers saw pre-tax profits fall 22% to £284 million in the year to June 30, as the producer contended with a reduction in foreign exchange gains and an increase in marketing costs.

Boozy Cow giveaway helps Stirling charities: Four Stirling charities are in line for a funding windfall after philanthropist Garreth Wood said he would donate all profits from his restaurant group The Boozy Cow.

Scottish pubs are least likely in U.K. to go under: Pubs in Scotland are the least likely to go bust in the U.K., despite the mounting costs faced by hospitality operators, new insolvency figures have signalled.

Scottish Enterprise Chief is paid £69,000 for non-Executive role: Lena Wilson, the Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise, received total remuneration of £69,000 for her role as a non-Executive Director of London-listed product testing group Intertek in 2016.

Group in talks on storage project: The Renewables Infrastructure Group has revealed it is in talks to acquire a battery storage project in West Lothian.

Craneware wins new contract: Craneware, the Edinburgh-based software provider to the U.S. healthcare market, has won a new $3.7 million contract with a current client.

The Scotsman

Eddie Stobart motors ahead with £550 million flotation plan: Eddie Stobart has announced plans to float on the London Stock Exchange in a listing that would value the logistics group at over £550 million.

Nucleus Boss in the running for DigiTech CEO award: David Ferguson, the Founder and Chief Executive of financial wrap platform Nucleus, has been shortlisted in the CEO of the year category in the latest Digital Technology Awards.

BT to create 31 customer service roles in Glasgow: Telecoms giant BT is to create 31 jobs in Glasgow as part of a recruitment drive to transform customer service.

Job cuts at Jabil electronics plant in Livingston: Hundreds of jobs could be cut at Jabil electronics plant in Livingston after they announced plans to close.

Holyrood warned against sudden post-Brexit changes: While farm support measures will need to change in the post-Brexit era in order to both justify their existence to the taxpayer and to serve Scottish agriculture better, any sudden change could be disastrous for the industry.

City A.M.

Virgin Media reckons its slowest broadband is faster than the best anyone else can deliver: Virgin Media has revamped its broadband service speeds, claiming its slowest internet is now faster than what is widely available from any other providers.

Emirates has found a way to minimise turbulence caused by the U.S. laptop cabin ban: Emirates has laid out how it intends to bring in the laptop ban in a way that minimises disruption for passengers as much as possible.

Starbucks investors want the company to avoid ending up in hot water over President Trump controversy: A group of conservative Starbucks investors are warning the coffee company against provoking Donald Trump, which could cause an angry tweet and a drop in stock prices.

SSE snaps up a larger stake in the Dogger Bank offshore wind farm development: Britain’s SSE unveiled plans to hike its stake in the Dogger Bank offshore wind farm to 37.5%.

The U.K.’s share of the worldwide box office falls nearly 10% after films failed to live up to a blockbuster 2015: U.K. films’ share of the worldwide box office fell last year, down from 25% in a blockbuster 2015 to 16% in 2016.

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 09:00:00 +0000
In the Papers - Primark, Thames Water, Airbnb, Tesco The Times

Investors increase pressure on Akzo to enter takeover talks: The activist investor Elliott Advisors has put pressure on Akzo Nobel to engage in takeover talks after it rejected a €22.4 billion approach.

China signals end of the rank-and-file cab: Britain is to get two new vehicle plants in one after Geely said that its new factory in the Midlands would assemble hybrid black taxis and electric vans for shopping home deliveries.

Sterling fuels rising car exports and production: Boosted by the weaker pound, output rose by 8% to 153,041 units last month compared with a year ago, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Production also accelerated from January, when it rose by 7.5% year-on-year.

Tycoon’s Brexit fears come true as currency woes hit empire: The Hong Kong conglomerate that owns Superdrug, Northumbrian Water and the mobile operator Three suffered a big hit on revenue last year because of its exposure to the pound.

Savills bemoans ‘final nail in the coffin’ for the London market: The extra stamp duty surcharge for second homes and buy-to-let properties acted “as the final nail in the coffin” for the London housing market last year, the Chief Executive of Savills has claimed.

Chinese shoppers jump on low pound: Chinese visitors doubled their spending in Britain after the Brexit vote triggered a fall in the pound and increased the lure of tax-free shopping, The Times has learnt.

It’s time for a little bit of luxury: The luxury retailer famed for its Birkin bags and upmarket watches said that its profits had risen by 13% to €1.1 billion. Axel Dumas, Chief Executive, said that the performance was “better than expected in an “uncertain” environment.

Trump gives art connoisseurs the jitters: Global sales of fine art and antiques fell by 11% last year to $56.6 billion, the lowest level since 2010, as political and economic uncertainty around Brexit and the U.S. Presidential election weighed on auction houses.

Koreans make power play in Cumbria: A South Korean utility company has confirmed that it wants to buy a stake in the NuGen nuclear project in Cumbria, but it has ruled out buying Westinghouse, the troubled reactor-maker for the venture.

Ambitious energy supplier logs into home broadband market: Britain’s biggest independent energy supplier is launching a home broadband service as it tries to capitalise on “striking parallels” between the markets.

Bank, the word that dare not speak his name: Lobbyists for Britain’s banking industry might soon drop the word “bank” from their business cards as part of a four-way merger between the country’s main financial representative groups.

The Independent

U.K. homes could see energy bills increase by up to £445 per year: Homes across the U.K. could see their energy bills increase by up to £445 a year as a result of fixed-rate deals offered by 10 popular providers expiring.

Threat to U.K. credit rating from cliff-edge Brexit says Moody’s: The U.K.’s credit rating could be cut again if the U.K. crashes out of the European Union without a trade deal, the ratings agency Moody’s has warned.

Barclaycard Boss quits to defend U.S. civil liberties against Trump: One of Barclays’ most senior Executives is retiring to fight for civil liberties in his adopted homeland amid concerns about the rights of Muslims, immigrants and women.

Primark recalls children’s novelty cat leggings over choking hazard: Primark has recalled a pair of “novelty” cat leggings for children over fears they could present a safety hazard.

Thames Water fined £20.3 million for polluting the River Thames with sewage: Thames Water has been fined £20.3 million for polluting the River Thames with 1.4 billion litres of raw sewage, the largest ever fine to be handed down to a water utility for an environmental disaster.

EU to give U.K. banks new incentive to leave London, say officials: Banks in London that relocate operations to the euro zone after Brexit are likely to be spared a lengthy entry test by regulators, making it easier for them to shift, according to two officials with knowledge of the matter.

London Taxi Company opens new £300 million Coventry factory: A British icon received a boost on Wednesday as the London Taxi Company opened a new £300 million factory in Coventry. The plant has created 1,000 jobs and the firm says 5,000 black cabs will roll off production lines each year by 2019.

Modest pick-up in business investment intentions in Bank survey: Investment intentions among firms have picked up slightly this year, according to the Bank of England’s network of regional agents.

Airbnb changes its name to Aibiyin and doubles investment to woo China: Although Uber failed to dominate the vast and fiercely competitive Chinese market, Airbnb is still determined to make it a success.

The Daily Telegraph

Government’s pledge to cut energy prices risks leaving consumers worse off, ex-regulators warn: The Government’s pledge to curb household energy prices risks sabotaging the retail market leaving consumers worse off in the long run, a group of former regulators has warned.

VW attacked by MPs over failure to release findings of ‘dieselgate’ investigation: Volkswagen has been attacked over the evidence about the “dieselgate” emissions scandal it gave to MPs during a meeting of the House of Commons Transport Select Committee.

Oil price drops below $50 for first time since Opec deal: The oil price has fallen back below the key $50 a barrel mark for the first time since November after surging U.S. oil supplies dealt a blow to Opec’s plan to erode the global oversupply of crude.

Guardian to press ahead with compulsory redundancies for first time amid continued losses: The owner of The Guardian and The Observer newspapers is to make compulsory redundancies for the first time in its history as management attempts to stem years of financial losses.

First Utility branches into broadband as multi-utility market heats up: The largest independent challenger to the U.K.’s ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers has set its sights on the broadband sector in an attempt to widen its consumer appeal as retail competition heats up.

City watchdog wins legal battle with ‘London Whale’ Executive: The City regulator has won a protracted legal battle with an ex JP Morgan Executive caught up in the “London Whale” controversy who had argued the watchdog had wrongfully identified him when it fined the Wall Street bank £138 million.

Ferrexpo restores dividend on premium performance: Ukraine-based miner Ferrexpo has reinstated its final dividend after growing sales during a tough year for commodities.

The Questor Column:

Unilever may appear to be expensive, but this is a business of unique quality: The share price reacted predictably to the bid – it rose by about 13% – and to its abandonment two days later, which resulted in a 6.6% fall. What has happened since is more remarkable: the shares closed at £40.29, above the £37.97 close on the day of the bid. At such levels – the share price is more than 20% above its average for the past year and has roughly doubled in five years – many investors will be asking whether Unilever is now overvalued. Questor agrees that Unilever is a business of unmatched quality. We advise readers to follow these investors’ example. Questor says ‘Hold’.

Update: Revolution Bars: In November we tipped Revolution Bars, the cocktail chain, at 178p. The shares have gained 26.2% since then but there should be further to go. Keith Ashworth-Lord, who holds the shares in his SDL U.K. Buffettology fund, said the company had recently announced an acceleration in its branch opening programme, which it funds entirely from profits generated by the existing bars. He added that the company had also reported the 14th consecutive quarter of like-for-like sales growth and had generated a “highly attractive” 19.2% return on equity in the last financial year. “This is a roll-out model at an immature stage with plenty of expansion potential,” he said. “Despite the recent rise, our projections suggest that the shares are still 10%-15% undervalued.” Questor says ‘Buy’.

The Guardian

U.K.-based airlines told to move to Europe after Brexit or lose major routes: EU Chiefs have warned airlines including easyJet and Ryanair that they will need to relocate their headquarters or sell off shares to European nationals if they want to continue flying routes within continental Europe after Brexit.

Tesco pulls Sol, Amstel and Tiger from shelves in Brexit price row: Fans of Heineken beers including Amstel, Sol and Kingfisher will not be able to find them in Tesco for the foreseeable future after the supermarket refused to accept price increases the brewer blamed on Brexit and the budget.

Number of women working past 70 in U.K. doubles in four years: The number of women working past the age of 70 has doubled in the past four years, according to official figures that also reveal one in seven men are continuing in the workforce into old age, amid growing concerns over the bleak outlook for pensions.

FTSE CEOs ‘earn 386 times more than workers on national living wage’: The average FTSE Chief Executive earns 386 times more than a worker on the national living wage, according to an analysis published by the Equality Trust as it steps up its campaign for new government rules to expose pay gaps.

Bank that lent $300 million to Trump linked to Russian money laundering scam: The German bank that loaned $300 million (£260 million) to Donald Trump played a prominent role in a money laundering scandal run by Russian criminals with ties to the Kremlin, the Guardian can reveal.

Plusnet fined £880,000 for charging more than 1,000 ex-customers: Plusnet, the BT-owned broadband and landline company, has been fined almost £900,000 by Ofcom for continuing to charge more than 1,000 customers even though they had cancelled their accounts.

Daily Mail

Budget footwear chain Brantano falls into administration, putting 1,000 jobs at risk: Footwear retailer Brantano has fallen into administration, putting 1,000 jobs at risk.

U.S. giant makes £19 billion bid for Dulux: 3,500 jobs at risk as Chemicals giant PPG swoops for Dutch owner of ICI: The future of thousands of British jobs has been thrown into doubt after an American chemicals giant launched a £19 billion bid for the manufacturer of Polyfilla and Dulux.

German bid for the London Stock Exchange ‘will be rejected by competition Chiefs within days’: A German takeover of the London Stock Exchange will be rejected within days, sources claim.

New Screwfix stores prop up B&Q’s owner Kingfisher as it warned over Brexit and the French elections: B&Q owner Kingfisher leaned on Screwfix to pull up U.K. sales, as it warned over Brexit and the French Presidential elections.

British Gas Chief Iain Conn slammed over ‘ridiculous’ £1 million pay rise that takes his earning to £4.1 million: The leader of British Gas-owned Centrica picked up a £1 million pay rise last year, in a move condemned as ‘ridiculous’.

Fury over £700k pay-off for Bovis Boss ousted in £7 million scandal over the quality of its new homes: Troubled housebuilder Bovis Homes has come under fire after handing its former Boss a pay-off worth nearly £700,000.

Daily Express

Cheque next-day clearance system to start from this year: Industry-wide moves to “put cheques firmly in the 21st century” - with new technology enabling them to clear by the next day - will start in October.

New Nationwide deal for parents to raise cash from their home to help their children: Mortgage deals allowing parents to raise funds from their property to help their adult children buy their first home have been launched by Britain’s biggest building society.

Wall Street losses spark global stock sell-off amid impending doom: Britain’s top stock indices dived in Wednesday morning trading, following huge losses overnight on Wall Street, as investors appear to be losing faith in new U.S. President Donald Trump.

Pound falls dramatically as terror attack rocks London: The pound fell dramatically against the U.S. dollar as a terror attack rocked London this afternoon.

The Scottish Herald

Kiltane swoops to save Ness stores: A buyer has been found for the high-profile Ness clothing brand and its remaining shops after the owner fell into administration last year, with the deal safeguarding 35 jobs.

Scots technology firm helps Unicef to focus refugee aid: An Edinburgh technology firm is helping to maintain the wellbeing of Somali refugees after collaborating with Unicef to monitor the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya through satellite imagery.

French giant hits North Sea acquisition trail: French testing and inspection giant Bureau Veritas has underlined its desire to expand in the North Sea after buying an Aberdeen company to help it win more work on facilities like oil and gas platforms.

Rebel investor in Bowleven raises pressure on oil firm: Crown Ocean Capital has ramped up the pressure on Bowleven by increasing its holding in the oil and gas company’s shares to 23%, from 22%.

QikServe adds customisable kiosk system for hospitality operators: Qikserve, the payments software solutions provider for the hospitality industry, is launching a new product that will allow bars and restaurants to offer self-service kiosk terminals for customers.

Crisis fears for Scottish building sector: The construction industry faces being plunged into a fresh crisis amid fears the uncertainty brought by Brexit and the prospect of a second vote on Scottish independence will pull the plug on funding for projects.

Households downbeat about future for finances: U.K. households are at their most pessimistic since November 2013 about the prospects for their finances, against a backdrop of surging inflation and subdued pay rises, a survey shows.

Fledgling restaurateur in £100,000 revamp: A famous St Andrews restaurant, housed in a glass and steel structure overlooking the North Sea, has been acquired by an up-and-coming hospitality entrepreneur.

Property developer Chris Stewart bolsters top-level team with two key hires: Edinburgh property developer Chris Stewart Group is looking to corner the urban regeneration market across Scotland and other parts of the U.K. after expanding its senior management team with two key hires.

Office fit-out firm to expand with £2 million IGF loan: Glasgow-based office refurbishment firm Insite Contracts is looking to expand its business after securing a £2 million asset-based loan from Independent Growth Finance (IGF).

The Scotsman

Travelodge to create 325 jobs with 15 hotel openings: Hotel chain Travelodge is to open 15 hotels this year, including in Inverness, Peterhead and Stirling, creating 325 jobs in the process.

Ardgowan Distillery seeks £17 million after green light: A planned new distillery with historic links to ¬Robert the Bruce has launched a bid to raise £17 million and appointed independent chartered accountants Campbell Dallas amid plans to be operational in 2019.

Property firm Bidwells hails ‘substantial’ growth: The Scottish arm of property consultant Bidwells has racked up a 12% increase in annual fee income.

First building confirmed for Magenta business park: Work is set to get kick off at Magenta, Glasgow’s new satellite business district, after project costs for the development’s first building were approved by the board of Clyde Gateway.

BrewDog eyes Asia brewery as annual sales near £72 million: Craft beer producer BrewDog is looking at opening a brewery in Asia to capitalise on surging demand in the Far East.

City A.M.

Treasury Committee chair Andrew Tyrie calls for one-stop watchdog to fight cybercrime, warning current system is too “opaque”: The chair of the Treasury Select Committee is calling on the government to setup a one-stop watchdog to tackle financial cybercrime.

U.K. government plays down concerns European Central Bank could seize euro clearing from London: The government has played down the prospect of euro clearing activity being prised away from London after Brexit.

Shared ownership is a win-win for investors and aspiring U.K. home-owners: Five out of six people want to own their own home. But as we all know, house prices in recent decades have accelerated wildly to end up beyond the reach of many.

Three Mobile says 5G auction will define the firm’s ability to challenge the market: The Boss of Three Mobile said the outcome of the U.K.’s 5G auction will be vital for the mobile operator’s future.

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 08:58:00 +0000
In the Papers - Co-operative Bank, Fiat, Emirates, Aldi Newspaper Summary

The Times

Government loans sale is pulled at the last moment: A secret privatisation plan to raise £600 million by selling a portfolio of government business loans and packaging them into a high-yielding listed investment vehicle has been ditched, The Times has learnt.

Early rate rise comes closer as economy strengthens: Sterling jumped by more than a cent to a three-week high against the dollar on the back of solid economic data that raised the hint of an early rise in interest rates.

Fund managers do not take enough risks, says Woodford: Neil Woodford told the House of Lords’ science and technology committee that pension funds had stopped investing in U.K. innovation and that long-term investors such as him were in an “extreme minority sport”.

Exporters cash in on sterling’s weakness: The lower pound has helped manufacturers to deliver the highest rise in export orders in more than three years, the CBI said, making companies more optimistic about the future than at any time in the past two decades.

Avon lady calls on trusty make-up bag: The Avon lady appeared to be on her last legs, struggling to sell door-to-door as online rivals muscled in on her market, but it seems that a bit of make-up here (and some discreet trimming of the fat there) could yet do wonders for one of America’s best-known, longest-established retail phenomenons.

Co-op sets deadline for bank bidders: Bidders for the Co-operative Bank have been told they have a fortnight to submit offers so that it can decide whether a sale is viable or if it will have to pursue more radical action to stem its losses.

Roll up for end of the pier show: A new fish and chip takeaway, a Christmas market and a website have been pulling in the customers at Brighton Palace Pier, offsetting some of the trading hit from the Southern Railway industrial dispute.

Arm’s new chip steers it towards driverless cars: Arm Holdings, best known for its hold on the phone chip market, has unveiled a new microprocessor targeted at emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence and driverless cars.

Fiat is latest to face diesel cheat inquiry: The diesel emissions scandal widened as French prosecutors announced the opening of a criminal inquiry into allegations that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles rigged anti-pollution tests.

Runaway house prices are poised to hit brakes: House prices rose by 6.2% in the year to January according to official figures, but a significant downward revision for November and December suggest a less buoyant property market than previously thought.

Troubled Bovis gives ex-Chief Executive £500,000 payoff: The former Chief Executive of Bovis Homes has been handed more than £500,000 in salary, bonus and benefits as part of his payoff.

Jones banks leadership role number 2: Eddie Jones has picked up his second job in the banking industry since taking over as head coach of the England rugby union team two years ago.

The Independent

Nearly one in seven retiring this year made no financial provisions: Nearly one in seven people retiring this year have made no financial provision for their retirement, and more than one in ten will be either totally or partially dependent on the state pension when they stop working, according to new research.

UN asks U.K. government to pause Hinkley nuclear reactor development: A United Nations committee has asked the U.K. to suspend work on the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant, pending assessment of the environmental impact.

U.K.’s biggest retailers have cut ‘nearly 4,000 staff this year’: About 4,000 shop employees have reportedly been made redundant this year as major retailers find new ways to save money despite having to implement the national living wage.

Stopping climate change could boost the world economy by £15 trillion: Efforts to slow climate change won’t just keep the planet habitable. They will also boost the world economy by $19 trillion (£15.2 trillion).

How the world’s biggest banks will react to Brexit: Big investment banks will begin the process of moving some London-based operations into new hubs inside the EU within weeks after U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May set a date to trigger the formal mechanism for quitting the bloc.

Emirates ‘has not been informed’ of Trump’s new inflight restrictions: The biggest airline thought to be affected by a ban on electronic devices by the U.S. authorities says it has not heard from the Department for Homeland Security (DHS) or its subsidiary, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Google and Facebook are now paying full tax in Australia: Tech giants Google and Facebook are now paying taxes in Australia based on revenues made in the country, instead of shifting income abroad to low-tax countries, the government has said.

Aldi customers urged to stay away from fake £65 vouchers: Aldi customers have been warned to stay away from hoax vouchers circulating on email and social media which trick shoppers into thinking that they can save money.

Minis could be latest victim of Brexit as BMW Boss hints at moving production out of U.K.: BMW hinted it may move production of the iconic Mini from England to continental Europe as a result of the U.K.’s decision to leave the EU.

The Daily Telegraph

Global funds think equities overvalued but keep buying, as U.S. markets take a dive: Global fund managers say stock markets are more overvalued than at any time this century, but are continuing to buy equities aggressively, betting the day of reckoning is a way off yet.

Bank of England ‘gets’ concerns around standards after Charlotte Hogg’s resignation, but industry can learn from it, says Mark Carney: The Governor of the Bank of England has defended the way it handled Charlotte Hogg’s resignation, saying that the banking industry can draw lessons from the incident.

Endeavour Mining dumps £3 billion gold merger talks with Acacia: The £3 billion gold mining merger talks between Acacia Mining and Canada’s Endeavour Mining have been brought to a halt, weeks after the Tanzanian government slapped Acacia with an export ban on its copper and gold concentrate.

Safestore becomes latest company to drop pay policy after threat of investor revolt: Safestore has become the latest company to drop changes to its Directors’ pay and benefits after coming under pressure from its shareholders.

Mears exits one-fifth of care contracts amid continued funding gaps: Outsourcing company Mears has ditched one-fifth of its care contracts as the industry struggles to make a profit amid funding cuts.

Fears for Moorside as Toshiba ‘lining up’ $500 million bankruptcy backstop for Westinghouse nuclear arm: Fears that Toshiba’s struggling nuclear business Westinghouse could be on the brink of going under have been reignited following reports that it is lining up a U.S. bankruptcy protection finance package.

The Questor Column:

Buy Halma, a great ‘get rich slow’ stock: When it is used properly – and when things go well – the stock market can be a very effective “get rich slow” scheme. Halma is a great example of why. The FTSE 250 firm provides a solution to a problem, in that its hazard detection and life protection systems, locks and devices help companies meet regulatory requirements and keep staff and customers safe. A forward yield of 1.5% might not look exciting but the company has grown its annual dividend by at least 5% a year since 1980, a run that analysts believe will continue with the full-year results in June. During that 37-year span the share price has risen from barely 4p to 975p – and it’s likely that, had investors known the firm would pay a dividend of around 13.7p in 2017, they would have found that 4p entry price pretty irresistible. This is not to say that Halma’s share price is invulnerable. A forward earnings multiple of 25 times for the financial year about to end and 22 times for the next year represent a big premium to the wider market. Questor says ‘Buy’.

Update: Devro: Judging by the full-year results released earlier this month, the turnaround story at sausage skin maker Devro has yet to really start sizzling but we have a small profit to show and can afford to be patient. Last year’s 6.6% drop in volumes reflected reduced demand in Latin America, China and Russia, while the stated operating profit slid by 25% to £15.4 million. The good news is that, in response, the management has launched its “Devro 100” programme, designed to boost sales and profits. The bad is that this initiative will burden the profit and loss account with an extra £10 million – £12 million of costs in 2017 18 and involve an additional £7 million   £8 million in capital investment. However, management felt confident enough to keep the dividend unchanged at 8.8p, enough for a 4.5% yield, and the fundamentals of the collagen skin market look sound enough. The shares are not without risk but Devro could still prove a tasty morsel. Questor says ‘Hold’.

The Guardian

Goldman Sachs to move hundreds of staff out of London due to Brexit: Goldman Sachs is to start moving hundreds of staff out of London before a Brexit deal is struck, the bank’s European Boss has confirmed.

Coal in ‘freefall’ as new power plants dive by two-thirds: The amount of new coal power being built around the world fell by nearly two-thirds last year, prompting campaigners to claim the polluting fossil fuel was in freefall.

Police to examine ‘Global Laundromat’ money laundering allegations: Fraud investigators have launched a review of the activities of Britain’s high street banks following revelations in the Guardian about a $20 billion money laundering scam that MPs described as a national disgrace and scandal.

Oil theft ‘provides billions for terrorists and drug cartels’: Oil theft is fuelling terrorist groups and drug cartels around the world, according to a new analysis.

Waitrose axes free coffee for shoppers – unless they buy something first: Waitrose is cracking down on free-loading coffee drinkers by forcing members of its loyalty scheme to buy something before pouring themselves a free hot drink.

Viagogo snubs MPs’ inquiry into online ticket reselling: Controversial ticket resale website Viagogo was accused of “naked mis-selling and fraud”, as it delivered an almost unprecedented snub to MPs by failing to show up for a select committee hearing.

Daily Mail

Posh tonic water maker Fevertree fizzes 2.5% despite some early profit-taking: The FTSE 100 narrowly missed out on a fourth day of record highs, closing down 51.47 points at 7378.34, or 0.7%.

Government borrowing at lowest level for a decade as families pay a record £18.1 billion of self-assessment income tax: Booming tax receipts have pushed Government borrowing down to the lowest level for nearly a decade, figures showed.

Frenchman who tried to sell London Stock Exchange to the Germans pocketed £5.7 million last year: The London Stock Exchange Chief Executive who led calls to sell his business to the Germans pocketed £5.7 million last year.

Domino’s Boss made 5p off every pizza the firm sold last year - trebling his pay packet to £4.5 million: The Chief Executive of Domino’s Pizza has more than trebled his pay packet after pocketing £4.5 million – about 5p for every pizza the firm made.

Homebuilder Bellway wary of backlash over the sale of new-build homes with leases: One of Britain’s leading housebuilders has admitted the industry has a ‘problem’ amid a fierce backlash over the sale of new-build homes with leases.

Investing in the Co-op Bank is riskier than investing in Italian finance with interest rates on bonds at 39%: Investing in the Co-op Bank is considered more risky than even Italy’s troubled financial stocks. Interest rates on bonds at the bank are 39% – twice as high than in banks such as Veneto Banca which is in need of emergency funding from the Italian banking sector.

Sainsbury’s Director Mary Harris to step down from the board after nine years: Sainsbury’s Director Mary Harris is stepping down from the board after nine years. Harris, 50, is being replaced as Chairman of the grocer’s remuneration committee by Susan Rice.

Website’s fit for a Princess: Duchess of Cambridge and Pippa Middleton inspire a collection at Koovs: The Duchess of Cambridge and her sister Pippa Middleton have inspired a collection at online fashion retailer Koovs.

Daily Express

The last call for savers to cash in on tax relief: Savers have been urged to make full use of pension tax relief amid fears it could soon be scaled back or scrapped.

Factories tool up for exports as demand for U.K.-made products rise: Britain’s factories are gearing up for their biggest overseas push for more than two decades as a weaker pound drives demand for U.K.-made products.

Businesses ‘face scrap for foreign staff’ as immigration rules tighten: Companies in every business sector will be competing for a reduced pool of workers because of expected migration controls, according to a new report.

Brexit is good news for Britain, say rich investors living in U.K.: Millionaires and wealthy investors living in Britain believe the U.K.’s exit from the European Union (EU) will have a positive effect on the country, a survey has revealed.

‘Don’t overreact’ Mark Carney warning as cost of living hits highest level since 2013: Bank of England Governor Mark Carney warned against “overreacting” after U.K. inflation surged to its highest level in more than three years in February in a blow to British families and savers.

Manufacturing reaches two-year high thanks to weaker pound: Britain’s economy is set to benefit from a stronger manufacturing sector as it gears up to leave the European Union, after output soared to its highest level in more than two years.

The Scottish Herald

Asian brewery next on Brewdog’s list: The self-styled captain of Aberdeenshire craft-beer maker Brewdog has revealed that the firm is on the hunt for a brewery site in Asia after unveiling turnover growth of 61% for the 2016 year.

Scots Chairman of stock exchange says EU needs successful London: The Scot who chairs the London Stock Exchange, Donald Brydon, has played down fears about the impact of Brexit on the City saying the European Union needs the Square Mile to be successful.

Bellway says independence won’t change Scottish plan: Housebuilder Bellway has said Scottish independence would not impact its growth strategy north of the Border.

Faroe Petroleum hails transformational year and outlines bold five-year production plan: Faroe Petroleum said a “transformational” 2016 has left it well-placed for organic and acquisitive growth.

RBS Chief says fintech will help bank to stay relevant: Royal Bank of Scotland Chief Executive Ross McEwan has said that the rapid uptake of mobile and digital banking as well as advances in financial technology mean the organisation is becoming “more and more a financial services company with good technology” than a traditional bank, writes Margaret Taylor.

Bowleven launches strategic review of options open to firm: Bowleven has started a strategic review which could result in the sale of the oil and gas company. Following a boardroom shake up last week, Edinburgh-based Bowleven said it would review all options available to the company in the interest of maximising value for all shareholders.

North Sea player targets further cost cuts: North Sea-focused EnQuest expects to ramp up cash generation in coming month with the giant Kraken heavy oilfield due to come onstream off Shetland but wants to make further cost cuts across its supply chain.

Scots tourism businesses told to gear up for cyclists: Tourism businesses are being urged to do more to capitalise on the country’s growing reputation among visitors who come to Scotland for cycling breaks, as research revealed the market is worth £345 million to the economy.

Ardgowan Distillery in £17 million fundraiser: The company which plans to build a distillery on Inverclyde land with historic links to Robert the Bruce is looking to raise £17 million to fund its development.

The Scotsman

Cost of living fears mount as inflation hits 2.3%: Rising fuel and food prices have pushed inflation beyond the Bank of England’s 2% target to hit its highest level since September 2013.

Goals eyes ‘dozens’ of U.S. sites as sales accelerate: The new Chief Executive of five-a-side football firm Goals Soccer Centres is hopeful that the East Kilbride company could have “dozens” of sites across the U.S. after seeing it move back into the black.

Glasgow smart meters firm hails ‘transformation’: Smart Metering Systems (SMS) posted a 4% rise in profits following a “year of transformation” for the Glasgow company.

Small firms say EU trading a priority after Brexit: Unimpeded access to EU markets is vital for Britain’s smaller firms in Brexit negotiations, and one in four would be deterred from exporting there if even a very small tariff was introduced, suggests a report.

Greater efforts required to fund female-led firms: A new report is calling for widespread measures to help women entrepreneurs overcome the ‘frustrating’ hurdle of access to funding.

City A.M.

Transport for London (TfL) pushes ahead with “rigorous approach” to cost-cutting as it unveils draft budget for 2017/18: London’s transport commissioner Mike Brown said Transport for London (TfL) is continuing a “rigorous approach” to driving costs down in its “biggest ever overhaul”, as it unveils a draft budget for 2017/18.

Renters twice as likely to have no savings than mortgage holders, report reveals: Private renters are twice as likely to have no savings than mortgage holders and regularly cut back on food, new figures reveal.

City Brexit deal risks being undermined if the government ignores professional services, as House of Lords report warns comprehensive free-trade agreements will be need for services sectors: Professional services have not received the attention they deserve in the run-up to the Brexit negotiations, the chair of a House of Lords committee has warned, and that could undermine any deal secured for the financial sector.

Nike hit by fierce U.S. competition and a strong dollar: Nike shares fell over one% in U.S. trading after its third quarter revenue numbers failed to impress the market.

Uber’s facing a fresh legal challenge - this time over VAT: Uber is facing a fresh lawsuit, this time over VAT payments, from a tax lawyer who is also fighting Brexit in the Irish Courts.

Online retail sales maintains double-digit growth - but sales from smartphones slow: Online retail sales maintained double-digit growth in February, but there are signs that sales on smartphones are faltering.

Bank of New York Mellon and Commerzbank to do battle in U.S. court over $1 billion of losses: A U.S. court has ruled Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon) must face Commerzbank over claims it is liable for $1 billion (£800 million) of losses incurred by the German lender from toxic assets it bought.

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 09:17:00 +0000
In the Papers - British Airways, Tesco, Goldman Sachs, Vodafone Newspaper Summary

The Times

Tesco failed to honour its promises on store merger: Nearly 15 years after Tesco bought One Stop it is still paying staff at the convenience chain less and charging customers more for products than in its Tesco Express outlets.

Cable urges May to clamp down on ‘lax’ takeover laws: Sir Vince Cable has become the latest grandee to call for the government to tighten the rules governing foreign takeovers of British businesses as pressure mounts for change in the wake of Kraft Heinz’s aborted bid for Unilever.

Historic pubs shielded from last orders: Southwark has become the second London borough to introduce formal protection for pubs from demolition or redevelopment as mini-supermarkets, estate agents, homes or shops.

Tesco overseas division reorganised as shake-up continues: Tesco has shaken up its international management team as Britain’s largest grocery group continues to reorganise its overseas business and turn round its operations.

Tobacco giants in talks with cash-and-carry: A couple of the world’s biggest tobacco manufacturers are understood to be in discussions with Palmer & Harvey over investing in the cash-and-carry group in return for a stake in the business.

Goldman Sachs and hedge funds break the ice on Iceland: Goldman Sachs and a group of hedge funds have become the first foreign investors in Iceland since the country’s announcement last week that it was ending capital controls put in place during the financial crisis.

Investors set to challenge companies on top pay: Companies face showdowns with shareholders at their forthcoming annual meetings over Executive pay deals that are too generous, complex or out of line with performance, according to a shareholder group.

The Independent

London living costs fall to lowest level in decades: Living in London is cheaper now than it has been in decades, at least by one measure.

Subway slammed for ‘sandwich apprenticeships’ paying £3.50 an hour: Fast food chain Subway has come under fire for seeking to pay young “apprentices” just £3.50 per hour.

Bank Bosses push for lower taxes and lighter regulation after Brexit: Senior figures in the world of finance have urged the Government to combat the negative impact of Brexit by lowering taxes and relaxing regulations.

Lord Myners urges crackdown on U.K. corporate takeovers: Lord Myners has predicted that “five or six” of Britain’s biggest publicly listed companies could be targeted by takeover bids this year, underscoring just how important it is that regulators enhance controls to protect the best interests of U.K. corporations.

Movie-tax lawyer Jolyon Maugham’s bid to stop Brexit in a Dublin court: Jolyon Maugham is hurrying through the streets of west London on his way to a meeting about Britain’s impending departure from the European Union. Even as he sidesteps dawdling tourists and dodges black cabs, Mr Maugham is arguing about Brexit.

Unilever ‘considering selling’ brands including Flora and Stork spread: Unilever could be preparing to sell some of its best-known brands, including Flora margarine and Stork butter, in a bid to enhance investor returns, according to media reports.

British Airways’ new sister airline is offering transatlantic fares dramatically lower than rivals: Level’s new transatlantic network was launched at the weekend and takes to the skies in June. The budget carrier is part of the IAG conglomerate, which includes Aer Lingus, Vueling and Iberia as well as BA.

The Daily Telegraph

JKX Oil shrugs off troubled year to narrow losses: Troubled oil explorer JKX Oil has drawn a line under its most difficult year to date by halving its full year losses under the leadership of a new board.

Champagne producers blame Brexit for 2016 sales decline: Sales of champagne fell last year as a weaker pound weighed on British demand in the wake of the Brexit referendum vote, France’s main champagne industry body said on Monday.

Bad managers to blame for U.K.’s productivity crisis, says Bank of England’s Chief economist: Bad managers stand accused of holding back economic growth in the U.K. by undermining productivity, preventing pay and living standards rising.

Challenger bank Secure Trust enters mortgage market: Challenger bank Secure Trust is pushing into the mortgage market by offering loans to people who struggle to borrow from the big high street banks, such as the self-employed.

Sports Direct muscles out of trademark battle over gyms: Sports Direct has lost a trademark battle against a small online business despite claiming that the company, run by a husband and wife team, would confuse consumers about its burgeoning gym business.

It’s kitchens only as the restaurant industry seeks to shake off property-driven expansions: Innovative young restaurant brands are shunning the conventional and costly growth strategy of multiple bricks-and-mortar sites in favour delivery-only kitchens and pop-up stands.

The Guardian

British banks handled vast sums of laundered Russian money: Britain’s high street banks processed nearly $740 million from a vast money-laundering operation run by Russian criminals with links to the Russian government and the KGB, the Guardian can reveal.

Hard Brexit ‘could increase cost of making a car in U.K. by £2,400’: The cost of assembling a car in Britain could increase by £2,370 in the event of a “hard Brexit”, forcing some manufacturers to look at moving production out of the country, a report has found.

London high streets ‘under threat from business rates hike’: Independent and family-run businesses could be forced off London’s high streets by the sharp rise in business rates that will come into force from April, spoiling the character of local communities, Sadiq Khan has warned.

NHS trust triples injury payout to £9.3 million under controversial new rules: The first case settled under controversial new compensation rules for serious injuries has seen an NHS trust forced to nearly triple its payout to a 10-year-old girl left with cerebral palsy from £3.8 million to £9.3 million.

Head of Google Europe apologises over ads on extremist content: Google’s European Chief has publicly apologised after online adverts for major brands appeared next to extremist material, but declined to say whether the company would begin actively seeking out such content and taking action against it.

Forbes billionaire list: Trump loses $1 billion as elite club gets 233 new members: U.S. President Donald Trump’s fortune has fallen by about $1 billion to $3.5 billion over the past year, as measured by Forbes magazine in its annual list of the world’s billionaires.

Daily Mail

Vodafone strikes £18 billion deal to merge its Indian operations with local rival to become country’s largest mobile operator: Vodafone has struck an £18 billion deal to merge its Indian operations with a local rival to become the country’s largest mobile operator. The U.K.-listed telecoms firm is joining forces with Idea Cellular in a tie-up that will create a giant responsible for more than 400 million customers.

Lloyds appoints business expert to investigate whether it should compensate customers who were victims of fraud committed by HBOS staff: Lloyds Bank has appointed an academic to spearhead an investigation into whether it should compensate customers who were victims of fraud committed by former HBOS staff. Business expert Professor Russel Griggs was chosen for the role because of his knowledge of small and medium-sized firms.

Delegates from Paris back in London to woo City’s leading digital firms to France after Brexit: Delegates from Paris are back in London to woo the City’s leading digital firms to France after Brexit.

As fund houses defend their £11 billion tie-up, investors say...You can’t run one firm with two Chiefs: Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management have sought to allay investor fears over their plans to have two Chief Executives following their £11 billion merger.

Bosses of engineering turnaround group in line for bonuses of around £35 million each in shares under incentive scheme coming to fruition: Bosses of an engineering turnaround group are in line for bonuses of around £35 million each in shares under a five-year incentive scheme coming to fruition. Top brass at Melrose Industries will share around 70% of a roughly £200 million bonus pot likely to be confirmed at the end of May.

Former Great British Bake Off judge Mary Berry brought in by baker Finsbury Food Group to release range of cakes: Mary Berry has been brought in by baker Finsbury Food Group to release a range of cakes. The 81-year-old former Great British Bake Off judge is launching nine cakes designed in collaboration with the baking giant, which supplies grocers across the U.K. They will cost from about £3 to £6, and will include round cakes, loaf cakes and celebration treats.

Daily Express

Greece debt crisis: ‘Groundhog Day’ talks fail to break deadlock over bailout: Greece debt crisis talks were labelled a “Groundhog Day” by a Minister, as Athens and its lenders remain in a bitter deadlock over the terms of the bailout programme.

Eurogroup Boss calls for new banking force in desperate bid to handle Eurozone crisis: Europe should have its own version of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help manage financial crises within the bloc, according to the Dutch finance Minister and Eurogroup President.

Car insurance prices set to jump by up to £1,000: Insurance costs for innocent drivers and businesses are set to surge following a change to personal injury compensation claims that comes into force.

Pound dips against dollar ahead of Article 50 trigger next week: The pound has dipped amid confirmation Article 50 will be triggered on March 29, after hitting a three-week high against the dollar in earlier trading.

Scotland faces junk credit rating if Sturgeon leads nation out of U.K., warns Moody’s: Scotland’s credit rating could be classed as ‘junk’ if it were to split from Britain amid a huge hole in its finances thanks to falling oil prices, top rating firm Moody’s has warned.

GBP holding gains as Le Pen level with Macron in latest French election poll: The French election is now only weeks away and concerns about the outcome are helping the pound hold last week’s gains against the euro.

The Scottish Herald

Brexit hit fear as 29% of large firms look abroad: Nearly three in 10 large U.K. businesses are considering moving activities to other European Union countries because of Brexit, or are doing so already, while small firms are signalling continued easy access to EU markets is crucial.

Bowleven faces fresh criticism after shake up: Bowleven has continued to keep its powder dry amid signs of unhappiness in some quarters that Chief Executive Kevin Hart remains in post in spite of being voted off the board last week.

Social enterprise firm aiming high after netting Celtic snood contract: An Aberdeen social enterprise that makes bespoke snoods under licence agreements has landed a contract with Celtic Football Club.

Overseas investors shrug off political concerns: The appetite of foreign investors for targeting commercial property in Edinburgh has not been diminished by constitutional uncertainty brought by Brexit and the growing prospect of a second referendum on Scottish independence.

Hydro specialist secures funding: The owner of Perth-based Green Highland Renewables has secured £51 million debt funding to support the growth of the hydro-electricity specialist. The Ancala Partners investment business said the new debt facilities will be used to support construction of six hydroelectric schemes by GHR, which will leave the firm with 10 hydro generators.

Surveyor offers drone service: Shepherd Chartered Surveyors has launched a drone service that can be used to take aerial pictures and videos of properties for clients. John Reid at the firm’s Dumbarton office is a licensed drone operator.

Tech firms in £2.5 million boost for wave device: Two Edinburgh tech firms have secured a £2.5 million grant to trial a prototype designed to turn wave power into cost-effective electricity.

Women Bosses face cash barrier: Access to funding remains a “persistent barrier” to female entrepreneurs, according to new research offering a range of recommendations to help more women set up their own firms.

The Scotsman

Edinburgh breaks into global top five for property: Edinburgh has entered the world’s top five cities on a prestigious global property investment index due to its growing attraction for international investors, boosted by its increasing role in the tech sector, according to a report published.

Standard Life and AAM Chiefs set out responsibilities: The Chief Executives of Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management (AAM) have set out the roles they will focus on when the firms complete their £11 billion merger.

Less in reserve for North Sea as debate rages on: The value of Scotland’s oil and gas was a key debating point during the 2014 referendum but new estimates suggest much has changed since then.

Openreach recruiting 195 trainee engineers in Scotland: Broadband infrastructure business Openreach has announced plans to recruit more than 195 trainees from across Scotland.

Archangels adds Shaolei McKie as investment Executive: Business angel syndicate Archangels has appointed chartered accountant Shaolei McKie as an investment Executive.

Edinburgh Gin toasts Tesco supply deal for liqueurs: Edinburgh Gin has secured its first U.K.-wide supermarket listing for both its raspberry and rhubarb and ginger liqueurs.

Property firm CKD Galbraith bulks up commercial arm: An independent property consultancy with offices across Scotland unveiled “significant” growth at its commercial property operations.

Apps start-up Beezer heads to Berlin after pitch triumph: Beezer, an Edinburgh-based firm that lets users develop their own mobile apps, has secured a place at a European technology showcase after winning the top pitch award at an event in London.

City A.M.

Bovis Homes approaches Wates Boss to take over at the top: Bovis Homes has held talks with the Boss of construction firm Wates Group in an attempt to snap him up as the firm’s next Chief Executive, according to reports.

Former Cobham Boss Bob Murphy’s £1 million payoff reflects “unsatisfactory performance”: The former head of Cobham will be given a golden goodbye of nearly £1 million after quitting the firm last year in the wake of a raft of profit warnings.

Neil Woodford’s flagship equity income fund breezes past £10 billion marker: Investment guru Neil Woodford has proved he can rival his former employer, after his flagship fund broke through the £10 billion mark for the first time.

Classic cars, booze and planes: FCA gives investors in HNW Lending tax-free status: A peer-to-peer lender offering a high-net-worth pawnbroking service has been given the green light by regulators to market a specialist type of Isa to investors.

Record growth across the board for Moneycorp, the foreign exchange firm, in 2016: Moneycorp, the foreign exchange currency provider has reported record income of £137 million for the year ending 31 December, an increase of nine% year-on-year.

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 08:55:00 +0000
In the Papers - Uber, Google, Unilever, Sports Direct Newspaper Summary

The Times

Fears over return to doorstep energy sales: Doorstep energy salesmen are approaching thousands of households every day as the industry revives the controversial practice that led to a mis-selling scandal seven years ago.

Briefing raises fresh questions over Hogg defence: Charlotte Hogg, the Bank of England Director forced to resign over a conduct breach last week, received briefings on confidential regulatory issues, calling into question her claim that having a brother at Barclays posed no conflict of interest.

Military train their sights on the City: Bankers will soon be able to switch their trading desks for military exercises without leaving London’s main financial district as the British Army sets up training units for reservists in Canary Wharf.

G20 set to review post-crisis regulation: Ministers from the world’s leading economies have agreed to review banking regulations in a move that could start to unpick reforms made since the financial crisis.

Miner attracted by growth in market for electric cars: Two British companies are expected to announce a project to research and develop components for electric cars to be made in the U.K. using neodymium, a rare earth.

Housing shortage continues to drive boom: Asking prices for homes in the East Midlands have topped £200,000 for the first time as Britain’s booming housing market showed no signs of slowing this month.

Sports channel ups sticks over prices: Marc Watson, now Executive Chairman of Eleven Sports, said that the cost of rights in the U.K. prevented new entrants. Since BT went into the market five years ago, the annual cost of live Premier League rights has gone up from £591 million to £1.71 billion.

Agent offers free bridging loan and it’s not pulling your chain: With Land Registry data showing housing transactions in London down by 38% annually, Nested says it hopes to bring an element of certainty back into buying and selling homes. It promises vendors it will sell their house within 90 days or provide them with an interest-free loan to buy their next property.

Factories see order books grow on the back of weak pound: The resilience of British industry after the Brexit vote has been underlined by a study revealing that the majority of small manufacturers grew orders over the final six months of last year.

Bovis urged to reconsider Redrow merger: One of Bovis Homes’ largest shareholders has urged the housebuilder to reopen merger talks with its rival Redrow.

The Independent

U.K. economy set for strong 2017 despite Brexit, top finance Chiefs say: The U.K. economy is set for a strong 2017 and could outperform other developed nations, despite uncertainty surrounding Brexit, according to Bosses at some of the world’s biggest finance firms.

Northern Ireland could see tax on tourism and flights slashed after Brexit: Tax on tourism and flights in Northern Ireland could be slashed once the U.K. leaves the EU, an influential committee of MPs said.

Banks join queue of advertisers ditching Google over extremist YouTube videos: Google is scrambling to respond to criticism after three of the U.K.’s biggest banks pulled their adverts from its platform after their campaigns appeared alongside extremist YouTube videos.

The Daily Telegraph

OPEC and Russia risk a lost decade as shale revolution spreads: The U.S. shale industry has become a hydra-headed monster. Before OPEC and Russia have contained one threat, fresh dangers keeps popping up in new and expanding zones.

Revolt brews over Bosses’ bonuses at housebuilder: The housebuilder Crest Nicholson is facing an embarrassing investor backlash over generous share awards for its top Executives as the Government weighs radical reforms to rein in excessive pay.

Water utilities poised for contract awards totalling billions: Billions of pounds’ worth of water contracts will be awarded to utilities in the coming weeks ahead of the opening of the business supply market.

CMA launches crackdown on cartels as illegal activity rises: A major crackdown on cartels in being launched by competition authorities after a rise in illegal business practices such as price fixing.

British biotech Pulmocide raises £24 million in bid to find treatment for deadly lung diseases: A small British biotech run by a group of former GlaxoSmithKline scientists has raised $30 million (£24.2 million) to continue developing two treatments for deadly viral and fungal lung infections.

Largest ever Travelodge site forms part of next wave of expansion: Travelodge’s largest ever hotel will form part of its next wave of expansion in yet another sign the low-cost player is putting its high-profile restructuring behind it.

Stock market boom helps keep economy growing: Surging share prices are making households wealthier, boosting confidence and offsetting some of the squeeze from rising inflation and sluggish wage growth.

The Guardian

Google braces for questions as more big-name firms pull adverts: Google Executives are bracing for a two-pronged inquisition from the advertising industry and the government over the company’s plans to stop ads being placed next to extremist material.

British firms warned over new wave of pay revolts at AGMs: Britain’s biggest companies have been warned they face a wave of revolts in the forthcoming annual meeting season and risk a government clampdown on excessive remuneration unless they show restraint over Executive pay.

U.K. Mail driver who was unable to work after car accident charged £800: Delivery company U.K. Mail has been accused of “ripping off” workers and using “inhuman” practices after it charged a courier nearly £800 when he was unable to work as a result of a car accident while on duty.

Unilever bids to heal shareholder rift amid ‘garage sale’ warnings: Unilever is drawing up plans to heal a rift among shareholders triggered by its rejection of a $143 billion (£115 billion) bid from Kraft Heinz, amid a warning that Britain could become home to “a garage sale” unless there is protection for domestic companies from foreign takeovers.

Daily Mail

Clothing giant Next poised to report fall in full-year profits for first time since 2009: Next is poised to report a fall in full-year profits for the first time since 2009. It is expected to post a 4% slump in profit on Thursday to £792 million in the year to January 31, down from £821.3 million last year.

Embattled Barclays Executives facing criminal charges over fundraising deal make last-ditch plea for leniency: Embattled Barclays Executives facing criminal charges over a fundraising deal have made a last-ditch plea for leniency.

Unilever drawing up plans to offload Flora and Stork spreads business to fend off another takeover approach: Unilever is drawing up plans to offload its Flora and Stork spreads business to fend off another takeover approach. It is understood the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant behind brands such as Marmite, Dove and Colman’s mustard, is considering a £6 billion sale of the underperforming division.

Sports Direct increases stake in Debenhams for second time in a week, taking it to 13%: Sports Direct has upped its stake in Debenhams for the second time in a week, taking it to 13.

Daily Express

Property prices in the U.K. on track to hit all-time high: The price of property coming to market is close to hitting a new all-time high, a website has reported.

Big Six energy companies face price caps after free market fails Brits: Britain’s Big Six energy companies face the prospect of price caps being imposed on them and it is fair to say that this is a situation that they have brought on themselves.

Youngsters put off jobs: Youngsters are being put off applying for jobs because of impenetrable business jargon such as “fulfilment service” and “SLAs”, a study has found.

Sainsbury’s could see Argos gamble pay off: The U.K.’s second biggest supermarket chain, Sainsbury’s, released a trading statement covering the nine weeks to March 11, last Thursday.

The Scottish Herald

Private investors eyeing city deals: The commercial property market in Scotland is set to become more reliant on overseas investment in 2017, as new money floods the country from ultra-high-net-worth individuals.

Crime-fighting software firm eyes Canada: Altia-ABM, which develops software for use in the fight against crime, is targeting a major expansion of its Canadian operations by opening a Toronto office and creating a dedicated business development team.

Veitchi to focus on health of staff as it hits 100: Clydeside construction-industry sub-contractor the Veitchi Group is launching a year-long series of events aimed at fostering employee engagement as it marks its first century in business.

Joy for the JR Group with strong orders for new arm: Paisley-based JR Group has secured £35 million of orders for its new construction division within its first year of trading.

Innovation centre backs four oil projects: The Oil & Gas Innovation Centre (OGIC), an organisation that matches companies with research and development capabilities in Scotland’s university community, has invested £230,000 in four projects in the oil and gas industry.

The Scotsman

Thousands of Scots scientists back global science campaign: Thousands of scientists, academics and others across Scotland are backing a global campaign to celebrate, promote and defend science.

Promising outlook for fuel price cuts says AA: Drivers face a brighter outlook for fuel prices which are at their lowest for two months, the AA said.

Drinks manufacturer considers leaving U.K. due to Brexit: Fentimans, the British soft drinks brand, is considering launching a manufacturing operation in Europe if trade tariffs rise after Brexit.

City A.M.

Consumer spending growth heading for four-year low as wages stagnate: Real earnings growth is forecast to be up just 0.1% in 2017, slowing sharply from 1.8% in 2016.

Businesses risk being thrown into legal chaos post-Brexit if deal doesn’t ascertain how cross-border disputes will be settled, House of Lords warns: Businesses risk legal headaches if the government does not consider how cross-border disputes will work post-Brexit, a report warns.

Melrose Executives set to reap the rewards of increasing shareholder value: The top brass at engineering turnaround specialist Melrose Industries are in line for one of largest paydays of any FTSE 100 company, according to reports.

Taxman levies inheritance tax on £5.8 billion of shares: Half of all inherited shares were subject to inheritance tax (IHT) according the latest figures, prompting calls for people to manage their personal finances more efficiently.

Uber President Jeff Jones quits after six months in role: Uber President Jeff Jones has quit his role after little more than six months in the job, the car hailing giant has confirmed.

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 08:22:00 +0000
In the Papers - Sports Direct, Volkswagen, Lufthansa, Atlantis Resources Newspaper Summary

The Times

Sports Direct’s ‘fake news’ row escalates: Sports Direct’s “fake news” row with Pirc deepened after it emerged the sportswear retailer had objected to the corporate governance advisory body’s report on Executive pay before it was published.

Volkswagen emissions Chief’s bid for bail fails: A Volkswagen Executive, who appeared in a U.S. court in an orange prison jumpsuit and handcuffs, lost his attempt to win bail before his trial next year over the emissions scandal.

Optimistic Japan holds on to the zero option: The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy unchanged hours after a rise in U.S. interest rates, maintaining its cautiously optimistic view on growth.

Recovery plan makes net gains for Balfour: Balfour Beatty, the contractor and support services provider hauled back from the brink after two years of losses by Leo Quinn, the Chief Executive, returned to profit in 2016.

Batteries included as power providers look to renewables: Britain’s energy system is poised for a rapid expansion of batteries, with 4 gigawatts likely to be operating by 2033, official forecasts show.

Jewellery giant to buy energy firm: The Hong Kong owner of the world’s largest jewellery company has broadened its investment approach with a deal to buy Alinta Energy, the Australian firm, for about A$4 billion.

FCA aims to stop bad apples rolling: Bankers who skirt bonus deferral rules by moving job have been singled out by the country’s top financial regulator, who warned that he would put a stop to the industry practice known as “rolling bad apples”.

Grandee’s transfer delayed by challenge to sale of green bank: Lord Smith of Kelvin, the Scottish business grandee, is being lined up to chair the British Business Bank but his appointment has been delayed by a dispute over another government-owned body.

Spending growth to ease as Brexit bites: PWC, the accountants, said that consumer spending growth would ease from 3% in 2016 to about 2% this year and 1.7% in 2018 after powering the economy and helping to defy forecasts of a marked slowdown after last June’s EU referendum.

The Independent

Employees aged 25-34 most unhappy with work-life balance: People in their late twenties and early thirties are more unhappy about their work-life balance than any other age group, with almost half saying that there is sometimes an expectation from their employer that they work outside normal hours, according to a YouGov poll.

Regulator urged to investigate official data leaks by TSC: The chair of the Treasury Select Committee has urged the Financial Conduct Authority to investigate the possibility of insider trading based on official data leaks.

Peta to buy Canada Goose shares to stop firm using coyote fur: Up-market coat retailer Canada Goose is set to go public on Thursday in a $240 million (£195.5 million) float, but animal rights activists are determined to spoil the party.

Cautious Federal Reserve knocks dollar and supports bond prices: The dollar fell sharply while U.S. government bonds enjoyed their biggest rally in around nine months after the Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised interest rates for only the third time in a decade, but signalled that it would proceed cautiously going forward.

Environmental policies are ‘driving down consumer energy bills’: The average consumer has saved £115 a year on their energy bills since the Government committed to legally binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new analysis by the Government’s climate change advisers.

Billionaire is betting on both sides of French presidential election: David Tepper is betting he can make money on the upcoming French election, no matter the outcome. The billionaire hedge fund manager said last week that he’s snapping up European equities because they’re cheap as the market overplays the risk that nationalist Marine Le Pen will win. When it comes to French bonds, he’s taking the opposite position, believing investors are underestimating the chance of a Le Pen victory, according to people familiar with the matter.

Poland aims to be big winner from battle for U.K. banking jobs: As Britain prepares to leave the EU, the country hoping to win the most jobs from London’s financial centre is not Germany or France, but Poland.

The Daily Telegraph

Canary Wharf Group looks to sell £600 million stake in Walkie Talkie skyscraper: Canary Wharf Group is mulling a sale of its stake in one of the City of London’s most recognisable buildings, according to reports.

Bob Diamond and Qataris swoop on Panmure Gordon: Bob Diamond, the former Barclays Chief Executive, has joined forces with a Qatari investment bank to swoop on Panmure Gordon, one of Britain’s oldest stockbrokers.

Lloyds takeover of MBNA faces competition investigation: Regulators are to investigate Lloyds Banking Group’s £1.9 billion acquisition of credit card provider MBNA from Bank of America amid concerns the deal could hurt competition in the industry.

China state TV deflates Nike’s ‘air’ sole claims: U.S. sports giant Nike has become the latest foreign brand to be named and shamed in an annual consumer investigation show in China, its second biggest market.

The Questor Column:

Buy this top manager’s ‘high conviction’ trust 
on a discount of 17%: This column has a marked preference for fund managers of the opposite stamp – those who hold stocks that, on the basis of thorough research, they wholeheartedly believe in. Their funds are often known as “high conviction”. The trust in question is Henderson Opportunities. Of three listed portfolios run by James Henderson, it is the most “high conviction”, according to analysts at Numis, the stockbroker. (This is not to disparage the other trusts that Mr. Henderson manages: indeed, Questor tipped one of them, Lowland, in October last year, since when it has gained 12.1%, comfortably outperforming the FTSE 100.). The list of biggest holdings includes one or two familiar names such as HSBC and Rio Tinto along with a host of smaller businesses such 4D Pharma, an Aim-listed medicines firm, RWS, the Aim-listed patent translation group tipped by Questor in December, e2v Technologies, the electronics firm, and Blue Prism, the robotics group whose shares have enjoyed an extraordinary run since listing on Aim a year ago: they started life at 78p and closed at 477½p. Despite the manager’s pedigree and recent performance, the trust’s shares currently trade at a 17% discount, in line with its average level over the past year. In any event, Questor believes that, with such a strong manager, the discount should narrow over time. Mr. Henderson owns 80,950 shares in the trust. The ongoing charge is 0.94% a year, although there is a performance fee. Questor says ‘Buy’.

The Guardian

U.K. government woos world’s housebuilders: The housing Minister, Gavin Barwell, has told the world’s housebuilders that if they cannot find enough land on which to build new homes they can “come and see me” and he will try to help.

Gig economy companies trying to have their cake and eat it, say workers: Companies operating in the gig economy are “having their cake and eating it” by treating workers like staff while avoiding the tax and regulations on employing people on full-time contracts, according to a study.

Philip Hammond defends scrapping national insurance rise for the self-employed: Philip Hammond ditched plans to increase national insurance contributions for the self-employed, in a humiliating U-turn just a week after the measure formed the centrepiece of his first budget.

U.K. climate targets ‘will raise household energy bills by £100 in a decade’: The cost of supporting new windfarms and nuclear power stations to meet the U.K.’s carbon targets will add nearly £100 to the average household energy bill by the end of the next decade, according to a government adviser.

Rupert Murdoch’s Sky bid to be investigated by U.K. regulator: Rupert Murdoch’s £11.7 billion takeover bid for Sky is to be investigated by the media regulator to see if it gives him too much control of news output in the U.K. and whether the Murdoch family are “fit and proper” owners following the phone-hacking scandal.

Daily Mail

Mortgage rates set to rise this year as U.S. rate hikes push up borrowing costs for British lenders: Mortgage rates are likely to edge upwards over later in 2017 and into next year - even if the Bank of England keeps Britain’s base rate on hold, brokers have warned.

Billionaire petrochemicals giant bids for BP’s North Sea oil pipeline... 100’s of jobs at risk: A billionaire chemicals tycoon is planning to buy one of Britain’s most important oil pipelines – putting the future of hundreds of jobs in doubt.

House of Fraser planning to open up champagne bars and yoga classes to entice female shoppers: Struggling department store House of Fraser is to launch champagne bars, yoga studios and wellness studios in a bid to boost sales.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill is in pole position to buy troubled retailer Jaeger from private equity firm: Billionaire Philip Day, who owns Edinburgh Woollen Mill, has emerged as the front runner to acquire struggling high street chain Jaeger.

Aussie jail contract gives lift to services giant shares as contract could be worth £1.6 billion over 20 years: Service company Serco got a boost as it was named the preferred bidder for a £1.6 billion contract to run a jail in Australia.

Daily Express

FTSE 100 reaches record high - index is now 17% higher than before Brexit vote: Britain’s top stock index hit a fresh record high on Thursday as the Queen signed off the Brexit bill and the U.K. moved closer to its formal exit from the European Union (EU).

Sainsbury’s sales fall 0.5% amid ‘competitive’ trading and pound pressures: Sainsbury’s said trading remains “very competitive” and warned over ongoing price pressures from the weak pound as it saw supermarket sales slip back into reverse.

Toyota to invest £240 million in British plant: Toyota has signalled a vote of confidence in Brexit Britain with a £240 million investment into its plant in Derby.

Corportate takeovers set to shake and stir Britain’s economy: Britain’s “open for business” credentials are set to be tested this year as overseas predators use their burgeoning war chests to target cross-border takeover deals, a report predicts.

Defeat for Geert Wilders boosts euro exchange rates: With Geert Wilders failing to win significant support in the Dutch election, the euro was able to advance against the pound and U.S. dollar on Thursday.

AUD holds gains amid jump in unemployment: Although the Australian dollar strengthened against currencies like the U.S. dollar in the wake of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision, concerning Australian employment figures saw AUD exchange rates edge away from their best levels.

The Scottish Herald

Scottish firms confident despite Brexit concerns: Nearly 70% of small and medium-sized businesses in Scotland plan to expand organically over the next few years, in spite of “deep uncertainty” over Brexit, a survey shows.

Bowleven payout hopes played down after upheaval: Bowleven shareholders may have to wait some time for material payouts following the successful campaign by a rebel investor for a boardroom purge, analysts have warned.

Food shoppers set for a rising tide of inflation: Sainsbury Chief Executive Mike Coupe has warned the full impact of inflationary price pressures remains unknown, but that the industry is facing a “rising tide”.

Atlantis Resources planning move to launch tidal power system in France: Tidal power group Atlantis Resources has revealed plans to develop the first tidal array sites in French waters, just ten days after being granted full accreditation by Ofgem for its Meygen project in the Pentland Firth.

Space firm takes giant leap into a new era: It may not be boldly going where no company has gone before, but Bright Ascension, the Scottish space technology firm, has perhaps taken the biggest leap in its five and a half year history.

Scottish Sea Farms gets the nod for £35 million Argyll facility: Scottish Sea Farms (SSF) has hailed the green light for its £35 million smolt hatchery in Barcaldine, Argyll, as “transformational” for the company.

Pub firm backs Tax Equality Day: Tim Martin, the outspoken Boss of JD Wetherspoon, has called on pub and restaurant operators to support Tax Equality Day on September 20.

Glasgow ‘hungry to support local independent restaurant scene’: The strength of the Glasgow dining scene has been underlined by figures showing the number of independent restaurants leapt by more than 8% in the city in the last three years.

Inverness golf course hotel put on the market: A prominent hotel among golfers visiting Inverness has been put on the market for more than £4 million. The 79-bedroom Fairways Travelodge is let to the chain on a long-term lease up to February 2030, with the landlord having the option to extend.

Lords call for delay to tax changes: Plans to force small businesses and self-employed people to make quarterly online tax returns that were delayed for a year by Philip Hammond in his Budget speech should be pushed back to 2020 according to a House of Lords committee.

The Scotsman

Central banks go separate ways on interest rates: As the BoE holds rates after the latest hike from the U.S. Fed, questions remain over the next move from the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street.

Iconic Dundee hotel goes on the market for £2.75 million: One of Scotland’s most celebrated hotels – which has welcomed guests including Sir Winston Churchill and Frank Sinatra – has been put on the market with a £2.75 million price tag.

Rare Japanese whisky collection goes under the hammer: The world’s largest known collection of rare and collectable Karuizawa whisky from Japan will go under the hammer in an online auction held by Perth-based Whisky Auctioneer.

Head-hunting veterans launch new venture to find top talent: Two of Scotland’s top head-hunting professionals have joined forces to create a new specialist service.

Apps start-up Beezer heads to Berlin after pitch triumph: Beezer, an Edinburgh-based firm that lets users develop their own mobile apps, has won a place at a European technology showcase after impressing the judges at an event in London.

City A.M.

The Office Group is expanding to Hammersmith: Co-working office provider The Office Group is expanding its footprint in the capital, taking out a 20-year lease on a building in Hammersmith.

Buy-to-let bonds could be hit by falling rents in London and the south east, Moody’s warns: Falling rents in London and the south east could hurt buy-to-let bonds, ratings agency Moody’s has said.

Vodafone share price rises on reports it has reignited merger talks with Virgin Media owner Liberty Global: Vodafone’s share price rose over 1.5% following reports it had rebooted talks with Liberty Global to thrash out a deal that will shake up the British and German operations of the two telecoms giants.

Lufthansa profit rises after cost-cutting despite a tumultuous year of strike troubles: Despite suffering costly long-running strike troubles, Lufthansa unveiled a net profit of €1.78 billion last year, coasting into 2017 thanks to “effective cost reductions”.

Government should do more to boost flagging company investment business group says: An influential business group has called for government to do more to tackle falling capital spending as fears are rising about a slowdown in long-term business investment.

Theresa May vows to protect Britain’s “precious” union through Brexit talks: Prime Minister Theresa May will vow to protect the U.K.’s “precious” union as she hits back at plans for a second independence referendum in Scotland.

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 08:17:00 +0000
In the Papers - Renault, Toshiba, Tesco, M&S Newspaper Summary

The Times

Doubts surface over sale of royal cruise ship: Questions have arisen over the sale of the 72-metre vessel, one of the world’s smallest cruise ships, to investors led by Roger Allard, a travel industry veteran and the former Chairman and majority shareholder of All Leisure, shortly before the group’s collapse.

Property group in talks to walk from City landmark: Canary Wharf Group is in discussions to sell the 50% stake that it manages and owns in the Walkie Talkie, one of the City of London’s newer landmarks, for about £600 million, according to CoStar News.

Habgood approved Hogg denial letter: The Chairman of the court of the Bank of England approved the letter from Charlotte Hogg that contained the final “serious error of judgment”, which convinced MPs she was unsuitable to be deputy Governor.

Playtech creator nets £113 million in stake sale: Teddy Sagi has cashed in £113 million of shares in Playtech after receiving an approach to buy some of his remaining 21.6% stake in the gambling technology company.

‘Cheap’ green policies will cost households £200 year by 2030: Energy bill payers should be “surprised” by the low cost of policies to tackle global warming, the government’s official climate adviser has said as it forecast that they would cost households £200 a year by 2030.

Energy minnows back call for price cap to protect customers: Three independent energy suppliers with more than a million customers between them have backed calls to cap the difference between companies’ most expensive and cheapest deals.

Oil pumps up as market starts to move back into balance: Oil prices rose higher after the International Energy Agency said an Opec deal to cut supply should succeed in creating a crude deficit in the first half of the year.

Brexit leads builders to quit London: Foreign construction workers at Battersea Power Station are leaving the country because of the Brexit vote, the Chief Executive of the development company behind the site has said.

Recruiter expands to avoid Brexit impact: Robert Walters said that pre-tax profits had risen 26% to £28.1 million, a record high for the company, as fee income from its regional businesses had risen last year, helping to push the group to an unparalleled performance.

The Independent

Controversial weedkiller ‘does not cause cancer’, experts conclude: The weedkiller glyphosate – the main ingredient of Roundup – does not cause cancer, a European Union expert committee has controversially concluded.

Renault’s entire management team ‘implicated in emissions test fraud’: Renault’s entire senior management team is implicated in an investigation into emissions test cheating, news agency Agence France-Presse has reported.

Ikea drivers ‘forced to live in lorries’ by wages of under £3 an hour: Lorry drivers working for companies delivering goods for Ikea are being paid less than £3 an hour, with some saying they are forced to live in their vehicles, an investigation has revealed.

Tesco and Lindt recall chicken meals and Easter eggs: Tesco is urgently recalling a batch of chicken meals and Lindt is recalling two batches of Easter eggs, because the products contain allergens that are not mentioned on the label.

U.S. cities shop for $10 billion of electric vehicles in defiance of Trump: Thirty U.S. cities have asked the auto industry about the possibility of buying 114,000 electric vehicles – including police cars, rubbish trucks and street sweepers – for about $10 billion (about £8.2 billion) to help cut carbon emissions from the transport sector.

Toshiba shares tumble putting future of new U.K. nuclear plant in doubt: Toshiba’s shares crashed 8.1% on Wednesday after it announced it would consider selling its troubled Westinghouse unit, putting the future of its planned U.K. nuclear plant in doubt.

M&S launches cafes for people to talk about their mental health: Marks & Spencer is launching a string of cafés designed to provide a space for people to escape the bustle of daily life, share stories about their mental health and be reminded that it’s “ok not to be ok”.

Wage growth weakens in January: Wage growth weakened again in January, making a near term interest rate hike from the Bank of England less likely.

IoD slams Rolls-Royce CEO’s £960,000 bonus: Rolls-Royce’s decision to award Warren East, its CEO, a bonus of £916,000 even after the aero-engine maker’s full-year earnings plunged was ill advised, according to the Institute of Directors, which represents U.K. business leaders.

Pound sterling remains near eight-week lows against U.S. dollar: The pound remained close to an eight-week low against a slew of other currencies on Wednesday, pressured by lasting uncertainty over when Theresa May will trigger Article 50, and the prospect of a new Scottish independence referendum.

The Daily Telegraph

Philip Hammond’s national insurance U-turn leaves £2 billion hole in public finances: Philip Hammond’s U-turn to scrap a planned hike in taxes on the self-employed will leave a £2 billion hole in the public finances over the next five years.

Nearly three-quarters of restaurants and pubs eyeing price rises, says industry monitor: Pubs and restaurants are facing the spectre of rising costs from the business rates review as well as the forthcoming rise in the national living wage. Meanwhile competition within the sector is becoming even more fierce.

Indian tycoon launches £2 billion grab on Anglo American shares: Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal has stunned the City by unveiling an audacious plan to buy £2 billion worth of shares in Anglo American.

Government to set up new anti-money laundering watchdog: The Government is to set up a new watchdog to close loopholes used by criminals as part of a wider clampdown on money laundering and terrorist financing.

No end in sight for strike at BHP Billiton copper mine in Chile: A bitter strike at the world’s largest copper mine looks set to drag on with the two sides further away from agreement than ever.

BNP Paribas in talks to buy estate agency Strutt and Parker: BNP Paribas is in talks to snap up estate agency Strutt and Parker, which specialises in high-end country houses.

London’s Olympic Park scores double win with prospective tenants: Two major British companies are on the cusp of signing a double deal to relocate their headquarters to a new office development in Stratford, becoming the latest firms to move into the Olympic Park.

The Questor Column:

Ignore Trump’s drug price bluster: this distributor will keep delivering for investors: This week’s tip is an American company called Amerisource Bergen. As a distributor of drugs rather than a manufacturer, it will be among the less affected stocks if U.S. drug prices are forced lower. However, the political uncertainly around the whole industry is among the reasons for the undemanding valuation of shares in what remains a fast-growing and profitable business. Mr. McQueen favours “quality” companies, which in City terminology means those that make reliably high returns on capital and plenty of free cash flow, rather than just attractive accounting profits. He said Amerisource had low susceptibility to the economic cycle and made returns on capital of 17%. This year he said he expected the business to generate 7% of its market value in free cash. A final cause for optimism is that Mr. Trump’s plan to cut U.S. corporation tax rates would hand more money to shareholders. American firms pay 32.5% and Mr. Trump has talked about rates of 15%-20%. Questor says ‘Buy’.

WPP: Mr. McQueen has just two British holdings at present, one of which is WPP, the advertising group. He said that in some ways WPP was a similar story to Amerisource – the shares are trading at their 10-year average levels of 13.5 times earnings, despite 11% annual earnings growth over the same period. “This valuation makes it 20% cheaper than Omnicom, its giant U.S. rival, although the two groups have achieved similar growth in dollar terms,” Mr. McQueen said. “It will deliver 6.5% of its market value in cash this year and even if it simply carries on as it has it should produce pretty nice returns.” Questor says ‘Buy’.

The Guardian

U.S. Federal Reserve raises interest rates to 1% in bid to hold off inflation: The U.S. Federal Reserve has sought to head off rising inflation with a third interest rate rise since the 2008 financial crash and the second in three months, taking the base rate from 0.75% to 1%.

U.K. unemployment falls to joint lowest rate since 1975 but wages stall: Workers suffered a fall in real pay for the first time in more than two years in January as inflation outpaced wage growth, underlining the fresh squeeze in living standards facing U.K. households.

Public sector workers first to face cut in real pay, says thinktank: Public sector workers have become the first group to suffer a cut in real wages since the recovery of 2014 as forecasters predicted that the rest of the working population would follow suit later this year.

Zara Founder to receive £1.1 billion payout after record sales: The multibillionaire behind the Zara retail chain has banked another £1 billion after the fashion group reported record sales and profits.

Philip Hammond defends scrapping national insurance rise for the self-employed: Philip Hammond ditched plans to increase national insurance contributions for the self-employed, in a humiliating U-turn just a week after the measure formed the centrepiece of his first budget.

TV company behind Question Time could sell for up to £300 million: Tinopolis, the company behind TV shows including Question Time and Crufts and producer of BT’s Premier League and Champion’s League coverage, is up for sale with a price tag of up to £300 million.

Southern reaches new agreement with train drivers’ union Aslef: A fresh deal aimed at resolving the long-running row between Southern and the biggest train drivers’ union has been agreed, the two sides said on Wednesday.

Daily Mail

Sports Direct rages against ‘fake news’ about its pay policies: Research firm’s report was ‘incorrect’: Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct issued a statement castigating what it said is ‘fake news’ about the company’s Boss-to-average-employee pay ratio.

Oil and mining stocks push London shares higher as the Federal Reserve prepares to hike interest rates: London shares have entered a lull as the U.S. Federal Reserve prepares to raise interest rates this evening followed by the Bank of England decision.

BMW workers stage pension protest as it’s revealed some could lose up to £160k in retirement income: Workers at car giant BMW have staged protests as part of a campaign against plans to close their final salary pension scheme.

Bank of England will not be pulling the interest rate trigger this month - but the threat of inflation will soon demand a hike: Bank of England Governor Mark Carney may be thinking his job is becoming a poisoned chalice as the Bank of England gets set to announce its latest rates decision.

Daily Express

Pound rises against euro amid Dutch elections and drop in U.K. unemployment: The pound was up against the euro and dollar as the Netherlands headed to the polls and strong employment data was released in Britain.

Over-55s urged to wise up on pension advice: The over-55s are taking a massive financial risk by failing to take independent financial advice at retirement.

Fears Greek and Italian lenders could collapse Eurozone if money-printing is cut: Italian and Greek lenders could topple Europe’s financial system if the European Central Bank (ECB) pulls its mammoth money-printing programme, top monetary policymakers fear.

MDF recycling solution is a world first for British firm: Entrepreneur Craig Bartlett has the answer, having developed the world’s first-ever technology to offer continuous recycling of the wood composite material prized for its affordable adaptability.

Prudential make record profits due to rapid Asia growth: Demand for health and protection products across Asia’s fast-growing and increasingly affluent middle-class helped Prudential make a record annual operating profit of £4.26 billion, up 7% on the previous year.

The Scottish Herald

Glasgow builds on sporting credentials with successful bid for event: Glasgow has bid successfully to stage the annual congress of the European College of Sport Science in 2021 - an event expected to attract about 3,000 delegates and provide a near-£5 million boost to the city’s economy.

Growth in construction workforce forecast in spite of uncertainty: Scottish construction employment had risen to 181,000 by the end of 2016, its highest level since December 2013, official figures show.

Royal Bank settles action in U.S. over NovaStar loans: Royal Bank of Scotland, Deutsche Bank and Wells Fargo & Co have agreed a $165 million (£135 million) class-action settlement in the U.S. over under-writing for NovaStar Mortgage Inc, the now bankrupt subprime lender.

Growth in construction workforce forecast in spite of uncertainty: Scottish construction employment had risen to 181,000 by the end of 2016, its highest level since December 2013, official figures show.

Japanese bank plans Frankfurt move: Japanese investment bank Daiwa is understood to be finalising plans to set up a new European base in Frankfurt as part of its Brexit strategy, a move that will see a number of London staff relocated to Germany.

Aberdeen oil firm suffers setback in far north: North Sea-focused Faroe Petroleum has suffered a reverse after making a foray into frontier exploration territory in the Barents Sea north of Norway.

Argyll gold mine sees value increase by 49% after study: Mining group Scotgold has reaffirmed its commitment to the Cononish gold and silver project in Argyll after a new feasibility study increased the mine’s value, and lowered peak funding forecasts.

Hotel firm gets straight to the Point in Glasgow: The owners of a new budget hotel brand which chose Glasgow for its inaugural opening has revealed it is homing in on sites in Edinburgh for its next launch in Scotland.

The Scotsman

Bowleven Directors ousted after bitter investor battle: Kevin Hart, the Chief Executive of Edinburgh-based oil and gas explorer Bowleven, has been ousted after a bitter battle with a rebel investor.

Taxpayer stake in Bank of Scotland owner now below 3%: The taxpayer’s stake in Lloyds Banking Group has been cut to below 3% as the U.K. government continues to sell down its shareholding.

Scotgold cheers ‘significant’ boost to mine plans: Scotgold Resources, the firm developing Scotland’s first commercial gold mine, has hailed a “significant” boost to its plans on the back of lower running costs and higher prices for the precious metal.

FarrPoint limbers up for Glasgow sport extravaganza: Telecoms and IT outfit FarrPoint has been appointed by Glasgow City Council to advise on the internet connectivity and telecoms networks for the forthcoming Glasgow 2018 European Championships.

1100 jobs at risk as Jones Bootmaker calls in administrators: More than 1,100 jobs are at risk at high street chain Jones Bootmaker as its owner scrambles to secure a deal to save it from administration.

City A.M.

Kurt Geiger and Endless eye up struggling shoe brand Jones: As Jones Bootmaker sits on the brink of administration, upmarket shoe retailer Kurt Geiger and Endless, the turnaround firm that owns Bathstore, are reportedly among suitors poised to swoop in to the 150-year-old firm’s rescue.

Now the legal eagles are urging the government to seek a bespoke Brexit agreement for the City, while warning a “no deal” situation would have serious consequences: Legal eagles have become the latest in a string of experts calling on the government to secure a bespoke deal for the financial sector in the Brexit negotiations.

Polymetal on a spending spree as it ramps up capital expenditure: FTSE 250 metal mining company Polymetal has boosted its revenues by 10% but it has also ramped up spending at the same time, the company has said in its preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2016

Profits soar at landscape gardening specialist Marshalls: Landscaping group Marshalls’ share price jumped up by as much as 6% in early trading as the builders’ merchants and garden centre supplier reported bumper profits in its 2016 full-year results.

AT&T wins European Commission approval for $85 billion Time Warner deal but faces battle in the U.S.: U.S. telecoms giant AT&T has won European Commission approval for its $85 billion (£70 billion) takeover deal for Time Warner.

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 08:34:00 +0000
In the Papers - Volkswagen, Unilever, M&S, French Connection Newspaper Summary

The Times

Isles of Scilly become testbed for green energy: The Isles of Scilly are to be used as a test hub for smart energy technology in an £10.8 million project backed by the EU and Hitachi.

Saudis promise OPEC deal still stands despite rise in output: Saudi Arabia was battling to restore confidence in an oil production deal as prices slumped to a three-month low amid signs that the OPEC agreement may be starting to unravel.

Drop in home loans as fewer move up the housing chain: There were fewer and smaller loans to movers in January as the lull in housebuying activity became entrenched.

Yum agrees £300 million chicken takeaway: The American Restaurant Group behind the Pizza Hut and Taco Bell brands has agreed the estimated £300 million sale of most of its company-owned KFC stores in Britain as it shifts the emphasis to franchising.

Copper miner collects price benefits: Steadily growing demand from China and a dearth of new mines mean that higher copper prices are here to stay, Antofagasta claimed as it raised its dividend and posted improved profits.

China still has room for growth: A raft of upbeat data backs the optimists’ take on China’s economy: positive numbers spell stable growth despite concerns about sustainability.

Ashley goes shopping for Debenhams: Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct raised its bet on Debenhams again as it took its interest in the department store retailer to more than 11%.

Toshiba sell-off weighs on Cumbria nuclear reactor: Doubts have increased over a proposed £15 billion nuclear plant at Moorside in Cumbria after Toshiba said it could offload Westinghouse, the troubled U.S. nuclear division that is due to make the reactors for the project.

Volkswagen Chief fuels speculation over Fiat tie-up: Volkswagen left the door ajar to a potential link-up with Fiat Chrysler after announcing a 10% drop in profits at the VW brand after the diesel emissions cheating scandal.

The Independent

Brexit to put 200,000 U.K. construction jobs at risk: Almost 200,000 construction jobs could be slashed if Britain loses access to the European single market, jeopardising half a billion pounds worth of infrastructure projects and dealing a sharp blow to major U.K. cities’ global competitiveness, according to a study.

Canadian and Kuwaiti investors buy 26% stake in Thames Water: A consortium of Canadian and Kuwaiti investors will buy a 26% stake in Thames Water from funds managed by investment bank, Macquarie.

Basket of goods to measure inflation now includes gin and bike helmets: British shoppers seem to be discovering a taste for gin, lactose-free drinks and bike helmets.

U.K. companies hold back on recruitment as Brexit uncertainty grows: Hiring in the U.K. private sector has dropped to its lowest level in three years due to uncertainties around Brexit, according to one of the world’s largest recruitment firms

Rex Tillerson used fake name to discuss climate change in secret: New York says Secretary of State Rex Tillerson used an email alias to discuss climate change while he was Exxon Mobil’s Chief Executive: Wayne Tracker.

Petrol price war sparked as Asda, Morrisons and Tesco cut fuel costs: Supermarket chains Asda, Morrisons and Tesco have announced that they are cutting the prices they charge for petrol and diesel from Tuesday, in a move likely to spark a price war between major retailers.

Asda offers 135,000 staff pay rise in exchange for ‘flexible’ contract: Asda has offered a pay rise to its 135,000 employees if they sign a new “flexible “contract which will introduce a requirement to be available to work during bank holidays and not to be paid for breaks.

Crude oil price slumps to new three-month low after OPEC supply warning: OPEC said on Tuesday oil inventories had continued to rise despite a global deal to cut supply and raised its forecast of production in 2017 from outside the group, suggesting complications in the effort to clear a glut.

Amazon axes employment agency Transline Group that was at heart of Sports Direct minimum wage scandal: Amazon has axed Transline Group, the employment agency at the heart of the Sports Direct scandal.

Former Donald Trump advisers help companies survive U.S. President’s Twitter feed: Corey Lewandowski, Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager, and Barry Bennett, a former senior adviser, opened a consulting firm designed to help and advice the companies mentioned on Mr. Trump Twitter feed.

The Daily Telegraph

Goodlord secures £7.2 million to make renting a house as easy as online shopping: A technology company that wants to make renting a house as easy as shopping online or ordering a takeaway has secured £7.2 million funding to help provide accommodation for the ever-increasing number of renters.

IMF Chief signals upgrade for U.K. as global economy picks up speed: Christine Lagarde has signalled that the International Monetary Fund will upgrade its U.K. growth forecasts next month, as she said the global economy was gathering momentum.

Three Mobile hack affected 76,000 more customers than thought: Three Mobile has said that 76,373 more customers were affected in the data breach revealed by the Telegraph last year.

Prudential’s Asia bet helps offset U.K. annuities hit: Prudential’s bet on Asia’s growing middle class has paid off for the U.K. insurer as double-digit growth in the region helped offset an underwhelming year back home.

The Gym weighs ‘plus’ card for members as profits bounce back: Customers of The Gym could be offered beefed-up benefits as part of plans to roll out new membership options at the fitness chain, which has returned to profit.

The Questor Column:

Keep your seat at the table as Restaurant Group shows signs of recovery: After a bit of a gristly start, our nibble at Restaurant Group in October has finally started to provide some sustenance. Last week’s full-year results offered signs that the turnaround programme embarked on by the new Boss, Andy McCue, is starting to pay off: the shares leapt by 13% on the day. The headline numbers looked fairly unappealing as the FTSE 250 firm showed an operating loss of £37 million. That was due to a £117 million charge to cover asset impairments and site closures, although even the underlying number showed a 9% drop to £79 million as like-for-like sales fell by 3.7%. Net debt fell to just £28 million, interest cover is excellent and free cash flow covered the dividend nicely, enabling Mr. McCue to leave the payment unchanged at 17.4p, enough for a yield north of 6%. Questor says ‘Hold’.

Update: Aggreko: The market is not always right (or we would never be able to make any money) but its views must always be respected and the combination of the lowly valuation and the ugly chart should have warned us to approach power supplier Aggreko with a greater degree of caution. The stock, which we tipped in January, took a hammering in the wake of last week’s full-year results to leave us with a book loss on our position. An unchanged dividend of 27.12p equates to a 3% yield and demonstrates Chief Executive Chris Weston’s faith in his moves to transform Aggreko’s growth prospects. Net debt of £690 million is no great burden for the firm, as interest cover was nearly nine times last year and gearing is less than 50%, so the balance sheet buys Mr. Weston plenty of time. We will remain plugged into Aggreko for now as the problems seem more cyclical than structural. Questor says ‘Hold’.

The Guardian

Jobs at risk as Jones Bootmaker teeters on brink of administration: Hundreds of high street jobs are at risk at Jones Bootmaker as the retailer teeters on the brink of administration.

New Chief of drug firm GSK to earn 25% less than her predecessor: GlaxoSmithKline’s new Chief Executive, Emma Walmsley, will be paid 25% less than her predecessor, Sir Andrew Witty.

Unilever: U.K. government should help companies targeted by foreign bids: The Boss of Unilever has urged the government to provide more help for Britain’s largest companies when they are targeted by foreign takeovers.

Ebook sales continue to fall as younger generations drive appetite for print: Readers committed to physical books can give a sigh of relief, as new figures reveal that ebook sales are falling while sales of paper books are growing – and the shift is being driven by younger generations.

M&S launches mental health drop-ins as part of Ruby Wax project: Marks & Spencer is to host mental health drop-ins in its store cafes as part of an initiative designed to soothe stressed shoppers.

Channel 4 Chief Executive David Abraham to stand down: David Abraham is to stand down as Chief Executive of Channel 4 after seven years. The broadcaster accidentally revealed Abraham’s resignation when it prematurely tweeted a statement about his departure. The tweet was hastily deleted. However, Abraham’s exit has been the subject of much speculation since late last year.

Daily Mail

Building materials supplier SIG surges 7% as new Boss steps in after plunging to a loss last year: A change of leadership breathed life into struggling SIG. It’s been a difficult few months for the building materials supplier, which plunged to a loss last year.

Secret U.S.-U.K. trade talks for banking giants: Plan to ensure transatlantic partnership thrives after Brexit: Bank Chiefs are secretly discussing how to strengthen trade ties between the U.S. and U.K. after Brexit. A group of financiers led by Barclays Chairman John McFarlane have been examining how the transatlantic partnership can thrive when Britain quits the European Union.

Get food from Harvey Nicks in your Ocado delivery: Food delivery site wants to add the designer brand: Ocado is planning to sell upmarket groceries from Harvey Nichols. The online food delivery site wants to add the designer brand to extend its premium offerings.

Euro Disney investors shrug off takeover: Claims U.S. firm has crippled theme park with grossly inflated fees: Small investors in Euro Disney have accused its Bosses of working with Walt Disney to force out minority shareholders. Activist hedge fund CIAM is leading a group which claims the U.S. company has crippled the theme park with grossly inflated license and royalty fees.

Prudential forced to set aside £175 million for annuity mis-selling: Prudential has been forced to set aside £175 million to repay customers who were mis-sold annuities in a scandal sweeping the pensions industry.

Challenger bank OakNorth lends £19 million for a six-story apartment block in Kilburn: Challenger bank OakNorth has lent £19 million to developer Paul Godfrey for a six-story apartment block in Kilburn, north-west London.

Daily Express

Britons pay almost £2 billion in extra inheritance tax over next five years: Britons will pay almost £2 billion in extra inheritance tax over the next five years, according to figures buried in last week’s Budget.

Ex-leader to form coalition of anti-EU groups to bring back the Lira: Former prime minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi is trying to bring back the lira by forming a coalition between anti-Brussels parties.

Savers in ‘last chance’ to use extra relief allowance before April 5: Retirement savers have until April 5 to add up to £50,000 extra to their pension without being stung with a nasty tax bill, experts have warned.

Troubled French Connection to close another six stores as losses widen to £5.3 million: Struggling retailer French Connection continues to fall out of fashion, posting another loss and announcing plans to close six stores as it battles tough high street conditions and comes under heavy fire from investors.

What will happen to the pound when Article 50 is triggered?: The pound has fallen after the Brexit bill passed through parliament - but could strengthen once Article 50 is finally triggered, according to experts.

The Scottish Herald

Technology will be key to legal firms’ future success: Keeping up with advances in technology is the number one strategic priority for Scottish law firm leaders, who also feel that consolidation, Brexit, changing client demands and generational change pose a threat to their businesses.

Retail sales drop as consumers retreat: Scottish retail sales value in February was down sharply on a year earlier, with demand for clothing, footwear and household appliances particularly weak amid signs that higher inflation is forcing consumers to reduce spending.

Result of call for boardroomcull at Bowleven awaited: Shareholders in Bowleven are waiting for the results of votes on proposals for a boardroom clearout at the oil and gas firm following a low key general meeting.

Tourism alliance issues warning on risk to sector from rising costs: The cost of staying in business for companies in the Scottish tourism industry has spiralled to unprecedented levels, with political upheaval ramping up the pressure even further on the sector.

R&D hub move from California to West Lothian: The development of a range of instruments for the petrochemical industry is moving from San Francisco to Livingston.

Shepherd hires rating veteran: Shepherd Chartered Surveyors has appointed a new head of rating just weeks before the 2017 revaluation of Scottish business rates takes effect.

Strathclyde extends deal with GSK: The University of Strathclyde has extended its partnership with drug giant GKA in an agreement worth more than £2.5 million.

FarrPoint secures deal to support sports event: Farrpoint, the Edinburgh-based telecoms and information technology company, has secured a contract to provide services to a major sporting event taking place in Glasgow next summer.

STV Chief takes Chairman role at technology company: STV Chief Executive Rob Woodward has been appointed Chairman of Blancco Technology Group, where he has been a non-Executive Director since 2013. Blancco is an alternative investment market-listed provider of mobile device diagnostics and secure data erasure solutions.

Airbnb highlights its economic benefits: Airbnb has published figures showing that its community of users generated £361 million of economic activity in Scotland last year.

Wood boosted by BP Mexico deals: Wood Group, the oil services giant which on Monday tabled a £2.2 billion bid for rival Amec Foster Wheeler, has won two contracts on BP’s Mad Dog 2 project in the Gulf of Mexico.

Ithaca investors opposes offer: A Fund Manager at Cavendish Asset Management who manages more than 13 million shares in Ithaca Energy has voiced his opposition to the board’s recommendation that shareholders accept a 119p per share cash takeover bid from Israeli energy firm Delek Group. Paul Mumford said the offer fails to take into account Ithaca’s long-term potential.

The Scotsman

Pound hits eight-week low as investors fret: The pound tumbled to eight-week lows as investors started to fret over the prospect of a second Scottish referendum and the pending trigger of Article 50.

Charlotte Hogg resigns as BoE deputy Governor: The Bank of England’s newly-appointed deputy Governor has resigned after coming under fire for breaking the Bank’s code of conduct by failing to declare that her brother worked for Barclays.

More M&A deals in the pipeline for oil services firms: Plans for two of the biggest names in the sector to join forces reflects the need to cut more costs but is also a sign of improving confidence, writes Perry Gourley.

Business reaction to Nicola Sturgeon speech: Business leaders have been reacting to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement that she will seek the power to hold a second independence referendum between autumn 2018 and spring 2019.

Kirk Murdoch, doyen of Scots law sector, passes away: Pinsent Masons has announced “with great sadness” that Kirk Murdoch, Chairman of the law firm in Scotland and Northern Ireland, has passed away “following a brave battle with illness”.

Code will not change all farms’ phone mast payments: Farmers and landowners with telecoms masts and other equipment on their land were told that they shouldn’t be misled into accepting lower rents for providing land for these facilities when the new Electronic Communication Code comes into force later this year.

City A.M.

Tony Pidgley on Berkeley Group’s demotion from FTSE 100, giving up his six-figure salary and solving London’s housing crisis: Berkeley Homes bowed out of the FTSE 100 following the Brexit vote last year but Founder and Chairman Tony Pidgley CBE isn’t perturbed.

Cheltenham Festival sets new alcohol restrictions after last year’s debauchery: After last year’s booze-fuelled escapades at Cheltenham Festival tarnished the lavish event, the racecourse has instated new rules in an attempt to limit how much customers drink.

Article 50, schmarticle 50: U.K. deal activity is booming, with a flurry of deals so far in 2017: The imminent triggering of Article 50 appears to be having no negative effect on U.K. mergers and acquisitions (M&A), with several major deals announced in recent weeks.

LV= mulls merger or disposals as its profit takes a hit from capital rules: One of the largest financial services mutuals in the U.K. has held secret talks over a potential merger with Royal London.

Chris Hohn’s activist fund attacks Safran’s “enormously destructive” €8.5 billion Zodiac takeover: Chris Hohn’s activist hedge fund has had another bite at French aircraft-engine maker Safran over a planned €8.5 billion (£7.4 billion) takeover.

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 08:23:00 +0000
In the Papers - Walt Disney, Tesla, Asda, Aspinal of London Newspaper Summary

The Times

Iceland’s economy comes in from the cold: Iceland returns to financial normality in the latest stage of its improbable comeback from the economic abyss. On Sunday, the finance ministry said it would lift the capital controls put in place eight years ago in an attempt to stop the country running out of money.

Business Chiefs rue new Scottish independence poll: Business groups in Scotland have reacted with dismay to the prospect of a second independence referendum.

Clarksons sails into clear waters: The world’s largest shipbroker has played down the threat of protectionism and rejected the suggestion that globalisation has already hit its high-water mark.

Low interest rates depress productivity, Bank deputies warn: Low interest rates are partly to blame for Britain’s chronic productivity problems, according to two former Bank of England deputy Governors.

Scotland most pessimistic region for job prospects: Hiring intentions in Scotland have slumped to their lowest level for five years, making it the most economically pessimistic region of the U.K.

Japan seeks $100 billion prize of Saudi float: Japan has launched a diplomatic offensive at the highest level in an attempt to lure Saudi Aramco to Tokyo for its $100 billion initial public offering.

Walt Disney takes another bite out of European operator: A disgruntled investor in Euro Disney has written to individual board members of the Disneyland Paris operator accusing the company of working with the Walt Disney Company to force out minority shareholders.

The Independent

This is what will happen to the pound once Article 50 is triggered: All eyes will be on sterling this week as speculation mounts that Prime Minister Theresa May is poised to trigger Article 50, formally starting the two-year countdown to Britain’s divorce from the EU.

Falling oil price deals fresh blow to Scotland ahead of new referendum: The price of oil neared a fresh three-month low on Monday, raising questions around Scotland’s ability to finance itself alone as it looks to be moving towards another independence referendum.

Former Tesla Executive to build €4 billion battery factory to take on Musk: NorthVolt, the Swedish company founded by a former Tesla Executive, wants to cut the cost of storing power in half with a €4 billion (£3.5 billion) lithium-ion battery factory.

Lush threatens to ditch U.K. expansion plans over lack of Brexit clarity: British cosmetics firm Lush has threatened to expand overseas instead of in the U.K. after the Brexit vote sent “shockwaves” through its business.

Energy company SSE is going to increase bills by £73 a year: Energy supplier SSE has announced that it is increasing standard domestic electricity prices from 28 April, but will hold gas prices at their current levels.

Bovis rejects Galliford Try takeover bid but deal remains possible: British homebuilder Bovis has rejected a bid approach from rival Galliford Try but remains in talks about a possible deal, the company said on Sunday, adding it had also rejected a proposal from another suitor, Redrow.

U.K. house prices rise at fastest for a year as London market rebounds: U.K. house prices rose at their fastest pace in a year last month as high-value London property showed signs of a rebound.

Asda offers 135,000 staff pay rise in exchange for ‘flexible’ contracts: Asda has offered a pay rise to its 135,000 employees if they sign a new “flexible “contract introduces a requirement to be available to work during bank holidays and not to be paid for breaks.

Traders may be exploiting leaked official U.K. economic data to make money, study suggests: Traders may be using leaked official data to make money ahead of the release of U.K. economic statistics, a new analysis suggests.

The Daily Telegraph

Export boost to guide U.K. through Brexit uncertainty: Stronger exports and the “great British consumer” will help the U.K. to weather Brexit uncertainty this year, according to Morgan Stanley, which almost doubled its 2017 growth forecast amid a series of upgrades by business groups and City forecasters.

U.K. tax burden set to keep rising over the next decade to its highest in 40 years by 2025: The tax burden on British households and businesses is on course to climb to a 40 year high by the end of the next parliament as slower growth and an ageing population forces policymakers to choose between more austerity or higher taxes.

Turkish exile snaps up smartphone maker Vertu for £50 million: The scion of an exiled and secretive Turkish business dynasty has bought the British smartphone maker Vertu, which targets the wealthy buyers with handsets costing up to £40,000.

Npower’s turnaround flounders as costs rise and customers flee: Troubled big six supplier Npower lost 77,000 customers last year, providing fresh evidence of its struggle to get back on track after years of disappointing customer service and steadily rising costs.

Aspinal of London attracts outside investment and new Chief Executive from Loewe: Handbag brand Aspinal of London, which counts the Duchess of Cambridge as a fan, has hired a new Chief Executive after attracting outside investment to boost its expansion plans.

Chi-Med on track to launch first Chinese cancer drug to market: Hutchison China MediTech’s (Chi-Med) Chief Executive said 2017 would be a “very important year” for the pharmaceuticals company, paving the way for it to launch the first China-made oncology drug onto the market.

HSBC unveils AIA Boss as its next Chairman: HSBC has unveiled Mark Tucker as its next Chairman, ending a year-long hunt for a replacement for Douglas Flint and marking the first stage of a shake-up at the top of Europe’s biggest bank.

The Guardian

Employment agency at centre of Sports Direct scandal axed by Amazon: Transline Group, one of the employment agencies at the centre of the Sports Direct scandal, has been axed from supplying temporary warehousing staff to Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer.

Bank of England deputy Charlotte Hogg to face MPs’ verdict: Charlotte Hogg faces a crucial 24 hours for her future as MPs prepare to publish a report into whether she is suitable to hold the post of deputy Governor of the Bank of England. Hogg has been braced for criticism since her admission to MPs on the Treasury select committee that she had she failed to disclose potential conflicts of interest.

Budget help for pubs only a ‘stay of execution’, says MP: The government’s pledge to protect England’s pubs by giving them a £1,000 business rates discount has been described as a “stay of execution” rather than long-term support by a Labour MP, as new industry estimates suggested thousands of businesses would get no help at all.

U.K. average annual rents fall for first time in six years: Rents in Britain have recorded their first annual drop for six years, according to the U.K.’s biggest estate and lettings agency.

Deal to allow individual Britons EU rights must go both ways, Theresa May told: Theresa May has been told she will have to guarantee a reciprocal deal for eastern Europeans if she wants Britons to have the chance to individually apply for EU rights such as freedom of movement after the U.K. leaves the bloc.

Daily Mail

Investors in science firm Allied Minds get jittery after Chief exec Chris Silva walks away: Shares in life science firm Allied Minds tumbled as its co-Founder resigned with immediate effect. Chris Silva has stepped down as Chief Executive at the business, where he has been at the helm since 2006.

Cloud video-editing platform Forbidden Technologies searches for a new Boss: Forbidden Technologies, a cloud video-editing platform, is searching for a Boss after its Chief Executive left last month. Aziz Musa resigned last month for ‘personal reasons’, and a replacement has yet to be found.

Lloyds jobs fears as bank plans to store 20 million customer details in an offshore computer network: Bailed-out bank Lloyds is plotting to transfer 20 million customers’ details to an offshore computer network, a union has warned. The lender has been attacked for plans to outsource more than 1,900 jobs to IBM in a £1.3 billion deal.

U.K.’s original tech star Misys to merge with Canadian rival D+H Corp in a £3.9 billion deal: Misys, which is owned by Vista Partners, a U.S. private equity firm, will be merged with D+H Corp in a £3.9 billion deal.

Scots oil giant Amec Foster Wheeler soars 12% as takeover bid by Wood Group is announced: Traders have cheered a £2.2 billion takeover of troubled Amec Foster Wheeler – sending shares soaring 12%.

Daily Express

Millions will have to move homes to fund life in old age: Millions of homeowners will have to sell up and move to fund their retirement, according to new report.

Petrol price war sparked as supermarket slashes fuel costs amid tumbling oil prices: Drivers are set to benefit from cheaper fuel costs as oil prices  hit their lowest level in three months.

Pound rises against euro as Theresa May gears up to trigger Article 50 and start Brexit: The pound has jumped against the euro amid expectations Theresa May is set to trigger Article 50 this week, kicking off Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU).

U.K. still seen as ‘safe haven’ for foreign cash as investments set to remain post Brexit: Chinese companies invested in Britain have seen returns soar in recent years according to new figures helping to ease concerns money flows could dry up after Brexit.

Sterling gains on U.S. dollar despite approaching U.S. rate hike: Last week the pound dropped against the U.S. dollar as the odds of the Federal Reserve increasing interest rates at Wednesday’s policy meeting surged beyond 80%.

Tetley’s new Indulgence teas target the flab-fighting capuccino crowd: Leading tea brand Tetley is launching Indulgence, a new range of richly-flavoured black teas, in a bid to woo younger coffee connoisseurs more concerned these days about the calories in their cappuccinos and lattes.

The Scottish Herald

‘Vacuum’ flagged by fund Chief: Murray International Trust manager Bruce Stout has highlighted the company’s low exposure to U.K. equities, against “an opaque economic and political backdrop”, and flagged a” vacuum” following the Brexit vote.

Aberdeen enjoys rise in passengers: Aberdeen International Airport achieved a 4.6% year-on-year rebound in international passenger numbers last month, on a like-for-like basis.

Bowleven Directors facing defeat in boardroom battle: The activist investor which has been campaigning to clear out the boardroom at oil and gas firm Bowleven is expected to declare victory.

WJM says merger will lead to stronger position: LAW firm Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie is merging with the smaller BMK Wilson. All five partners and 16 employees from BMK Wilson’s Glasgow and Dunblane offices will be joining WJM’s Glasgow office, representing an 18% increase in head count for the larger firm.

Keith Cochrane handed £770,000 to walk from Weir: Former Weir Group Chief Executive Keith Cochrane is to receive compensation of more than £770,000 following his departure, writes Kevin Scott.

The Scotsman

Wood tight-lipped on job losses under £2.2 billion Amec deal: Oil and gas services giant Wood Group has agreed to buy Amec Foster Wheeler in a “transformational” all-share deal that values the rival engineer at more than £2.2 billion.

Manufacturers aid economic growth but worries linger: Scottish manufacturers ramped up production at the fastest rate in more than three years in February as private sector output hit a 19-month high.

Vodafone rings up 2,100 jobs in customer service drive: Mobile phone giant Vodafone announced the creation of 2,100 customer service jobs – including almost 300 in Glasgow and the west of Scotland.

CodeBase technology hub strikes up alliance with PwC: Professional services giant PwC has struck an alliance with CodeBase to help accelerate the technology incubator’s growth.

Bovis soars as rival bidders tussle over builder: Shares in Bovis Homes soared as the troubled housebuilder remained locked in a takeover tussle that could transform it into a £2.4 billion business.

Vet chain boost for East Lothian retail park site: Veterinary care group Vets4Pets has continued with its growth spurt after agreeing a deal for a new site in East Lothian.

City A.M.

Britain’s growth prospects upgraded by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC): The U.K. economy has received another forecast upgrade as the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) becomes the latest to predict growth will be faster than previously expected this year.

Employers to scale back hiring to three-year lows, as Brexit uncertainty surfaces among the capital’s firm: Hiring in London is forecast to slump to a three-year low, as employers in the capital scale back their staffing intentions for the next three months.

E.On appoints Michael Lewis as U.K. Chief Executive following the retirement of Tony Cocker: Michael Lewis will take the helm of E.On U.K. following current Chief Executive Tony Cocker’s retirement.

Quintessentially Group’s estates arm is expanding to New York City: London-based global property group Quintessentially Estates is expanding its international referral network to New York City in a collaboration with an estate brokerage in the Big Apple.

U.K. motor industry shifts down a gear as inflationary sentiments creep in: Britons are expected to put the brakes on their spending for new cars in 2017 as inflation bites, new data by consumer research company GfK finds.

Glencore is reportedly making a move on Mexico’s fuel-stations business: Glencore will move into Mexico’s fuel-stations business with a 15-year supply deal and a $200 million (£164 million) investment in a joint venture, according to reports.

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 08:26:00 +0000
In the Papers - HM Revenue & Customs, Premier Oil, Costa’s coffee, HSBC Newspaper Summary

The Times

Premier Oil ruffles feathers with talk of Falklands’ field tax break: Premier Oil is asking the Falkland Islands for a tax break to help to develop its Sea Lion field and deliver the area’s first oil. The company is struggling to make the project commercially viable because of low crude prices.

MPs to mull Hogg’s fate as doubts rise: MPs will this week discuss whether the Bank of England’s new Deputy Governor should remain in her post. Charlotte Hogg is under growing pressure to consider her position after failing to disclose a potential conflict of interest.

Food lobby Chiefs fear border threat to Irish trade: The food and drink industry has called on the government to protect tariff-free trade with the Republic of Ireland. In an attempt to ensure a healthy future for Britain’s largest manufacturing sector, it wants to highlight the risks faced if Brexit results in a “hard border” between Ireland and the U.K.

Vodafone rings changes with 1,300 new jobs: Vodafone has announced plans to recruit about 1,300 staff across northern England, the Midlands and Scotland as part of a £2 billion U.K. investment programme.

Capital controls end as Iceland recovers from 2008 collapse: Iceland will lift capital controls on businesses, pension funds and households tomorrow. The controls were put in place after the collapse of the country’s largest banks in 2008.

Business guilty of failing to turn research into wealth, MPs say: Britain is failing to turn world-class research into commercial success because there is too little focus on encouraging businesses to invest, MPs have warned.

Essex wakes up to the smell of Costa’s coffee: Europe’s largest coffee roastery will open in Essex today, in an attempt to slake Britain’s growing thirst for lattes, americanos and flat whites.

Jet set’s luxury taxi is no flight of fancy: A private jet company that has been dubbed the Uber of the skies has reported a 28% increase in passenger numbers last year, with its growth driven by ultra-rich corporate clients who have given up owning their own jets.

Powa pay struggle ends in vain for former staff: Former employees of Powa Technologies have been left out of pocket after the administrator confirmed that it had failed to claw back wages and holiday pay.

Big screen experience set to become (virtual) reality: The company behind Imax cinemas is to pilot Europe’s first virtual reality entertainment centre in Britain. Imax Corporation said that it would install 12 VR “pods” in the lobby of the Odeon multiplex in the Trafford Centre in Greater Manchester, where players can put on a VR headset and watch short films and play games.

Hostels are safe as houses for fund spending €450 million: One of Europe’s leading hostel chains has been sold in a €450 million deal. Generator Hostels has been acquired by Queensgate Investments, a private equity property fund, almost a decade after it was first bought by Patron Capital. The deal is expected to close in May.

It’s not just froth, craft breweries say as launches rise by 55%: The number of brewery launches leapt by 55% in Britain last year as the craft beer boom continues. A record 520 sites started operating in 2016 — up from 336 the previous year.

Overseas bosses take more seats in FTSE 100: Britain boasts more foreign Chief Executives than any other country. The number of non-U.K. nationals leading companies on the FTSE 100 rose from 21 in 2001 to 40 at the end of last year, research from Odgers Berndtson, the recruitment firm, found.

The Independent

Theresa May sowing seeds of her own downfall with Brexit approach, Nick Clegg warns: Theresa May treated Michael Heseltine like a “two-bit backbencher” and is sowing the seeds of her own downfall in the way she deals with her party, ex-Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has warned.

John McCain tells Donald Trump to prove Obama wiretap claim or else retract it: A senior Republican senator has called on Donald Trump to either provide evidence that Barack Obama wiretapped his offices or else retract the claim.

The Daily Telegraph

National Grid’s ‘unnecessary’ power reserve cost £180 million - and wasn’t used: National Grid has been forced to defend payouts of £180 million to a string of reserve power plants which were never called on over the three years of the scheme.

LK Bennett to open its first store in Russia this week: LK Bennett will officially open its first shop in Russia this week after its private equity backers injected £2 million to support the retailer’s international expansion plans.

Turkish exile snaps up smartphone maker Vertu for £50 million: The scion of an exiled and secretive Turkish business dynasty has bought the British smartphone maker Vertu, which targets the wealthy buyers with handsets costing up to £40,000.

Liberty Media owner on track for more motorsport acquisitions: Liberty Media, the Nasdaq-listed investment company which owns Formula One, has revealed that it is considering buying a complementary motor sport to boost its returns.

Bovis in merger battle after receiving offers from Galliford Try and Redrow: Bovis Homes was at the centre of £3 billion bidding battle tonight after spurning competing merger offers from rival housebuilders Galliford Try and Redrow.

HSBC unveils AIA Boss as its next Chairman: HSBC has unveiled Mark Tucker as its next Chairman, ending a year-long hunt for a replacement for Douglas Flint and marking the first stage of a shake-up at the top of Europe's biggest bank.

U.K. tax burden set to keep rising over the next decade to its highest in 40 years by 2025: The tax burden on British households and businesses is on course to climb to a 40 year high by the end of the next parliament as slower growth and an ageing population forces policymakers to choose between more austerity or higher taxes.

U.K. looks to supercharge EU trade deals post-Brexit: Britain is looking for ways to take on the EU’s free trade deals with countries around the world after Brexit - then use its new independence to cut taxes and regulatory barriers to trade, boosting the power of the deals.

The Guardian

No-deal Brexit 'would put U.K. in worst trading position of rich nations': If Britain leaves the European Union without a replacement trade deal its commercial links with the bloc will overnight become less favourable than any other major industrialised nation, a cross-party campaign has warned as Theresa May prepares to trigger article 50.

Britons like vodka and Nike and won't consider AirBnB, survey reveals: Britain is a nation of vodka drinkers who wear Nike, prefer to gamble at Ladbrokes and don’t realise Brexit will make life more expensive, according to a consumer survey by HSBC.

Green Investment Bank sell-off racks up at least £1 million in fees: The troubled £2 billion privatisation of the Green Investment Bank has already cost at least £1 million of taxpayer money in consultancy fees, official documents have revealed.

Ivy restaurant spin-off accused of hogging service charge: A chain of restaurants spun out of the prestigious London celebrity haunt the Ivy has been accused of failing to give waiters and kitchen staff their fair share of the money diners pay in service charges.

Gamblers 'lost more than £10,000' on fixed-odds betting terminals: Seven gamblers lost more than £10,000 in a day while using controversial fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) during a 10-month period, it has emerged.

Rolls-Royce calls its first staff AGM: Rolls-Royce, the engine maker hit by a £671 million settlement of bribery and corruption charges, is to hold its first annual meeting for staff with the aim of improving communication with its global workforce of almost 50,000.

Daily Mail

Bookies on a lucky streak as they brace for record £300 million bets at Cheltenham Festival: Punters will splash out a record £300 million on bets at this year’s Cheltenham Festival as bookies pray for a reversal of last year’s crushing losses.

Daily Express

Consumer spending boost as Brits splash out on Valentine's Day romance: Consumer spending picked up in February as Valentine’s Day and the half-term school break encouraged people out to restaurants, bars, hotels and cinemas, a report has found.

Balfour Beatty considers piece of U.S-Mexico border wall: Balfour Beatty is set to face tough questions over whether it plans to try and win work constructing President Donald Trump’s controversial wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Chancellor's rates relief won’t stop the small business bailiffs: For nearly 100,000 businesses across the country, the Chancellor’s attempts to help ease the enormous burden on stifling business rates could have come too late, according to new figures.

The Scottish Herald

Growth improves for manufacturers: The Scottish manufacturing sector grew last month at its fastest pace for more than three years but it faced mounting inflationary pressures, a key survey shows.

PwC forms alliance with CodeBase technology incubator: Codebase the technology incubator is increasing the capacity at its Edinburgh base with support from PwC.

Shop deals boost sales at artisan vinegar producer: A farm-based food producer in Fife has lifted its turnover by more than £200,000 after securing listings with Selfridges and Dobbies and clinching a deal with a specialist distributor.

Firms urged to prepare for new gender pay gap law: A new law that will require businesses with 250 or more employees to publish their gender pay gap statistics by next April could lead to some becoming uncompetitive in the labour market.

Large businesses increasingly turning to asset financing: Asset-based financing has grown 13% in the last year to a record high of £22.2 billion, with Brexit insecurity and borrowing against acquisition target invoices cited as reasons for the rise.

Vet group moves into retail Park: Veterinary group Vets4Pets is to open a new practice in East Lothian after agreeing to long-term lease at Olive Bank Retail Park, Musselburgh.

The Scotsman

Threat of hard Brexit looms as final EU debate looms: MPs demanding the right to reject a hard Brexit have warned that the U.K. could crash out of the European Union without a deal in six months.

Scottish Labour still opposed to indyref2 despite Corbyn comments: Scottish Labour has reaffirmed its opposition to a second independence referendum, but stopped short of calling for Westminster to vote to block one.

Fox to visit China in quest for post-Brexit trade deal: U.K. efforts to secure a trade deal with the world’s second-biggest economy are set to begin in earnest within weeks with a visit to China by Liam Fox, the international Trade Secretary.

City A.M.

London IPO market set for £30 billion boost, with Logicor, O2, Misys, TI Fluid Systems, BGL Group and Kuwait Energy weighing up flotations: London is set to benefit from up to £30 billion of flotations in the coming months, with Logicor, O2, and Misys among a number of high-profile companies weighing up initial public offerings (IPOs) in the capital.

Ministers put regional infrastructure plans in the spotlight ahead of "largest ever" Qatari business summit: Ministers are hoping to secure a cash injection for the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine projects when the U.K. plays host to the biggest investment and business forum ever held with Qatar later this month.

U.K. house prices grew at their fastest pace for 12 months in February yet annual rate of growth fell: House prices grew at their fastest pace for 12 months in February, with average prices increasing 0.6%. The average U.K. house price hit £297,832 due to strong performance in the east of England, new peak prices in Merseyside and Birmingham, and a return of growth in high value London property, according to Your Moves’ latest house price index.

Boris Johnson warns Russia is "up to all sorts of dirty tricks" and could undermine the U.K.'s democratic process: Boris Johnson has warned Russia is "up to all sorts of dirty tricks" following an intelligence report that told political parties to protect themselves against potential cyber attacks.

German minister: London Stock Exchange "derailed" Deutsche Boerse deal and shifted blame on to Brussels: An influential German minister has accused the London Stock Exchange of having “derailed” its Deutsche Boerse merger and attempted to “pass the buck to Brussels”.

Former L’Occitane Boss and CVC Capital Partners plot bid for The Body Shop: Former L’Occitane Boss Emmanuel Osti is plotting a bid for The Body Shop. Osti is working with CVC Capital Partners, which agreed to sell control of Formula One to John Malone’s Liberty Media last year, for the takeover.

Sweden bids to prise financial services power from U.K. after Brexit as minister visits Citigroup and fintech firms in London: Sweden is the latest European country making a push to win financial services power after Brexit, having sent a minister to London to woo fintech firms and a major Wall Street bank.

Tanzania's gold ban stalls merger talks between Acacia Mining and Endeavour: Tanzania's ban on gold and copper exports has put talks of a £3 billion merger between Acacia Mining and Canada's Endeavour on the back burner.

French Connection expected to announce ninth year of losses amid turnaround plan: French Connection is set to record a ninth year of losses in its annual results this week. However, the group is expected to point out that it is only two-thirds of the way through its programme of closing loss-making stores, which is part of a wider turnaround plan.

Google's DeepMind is in talks with National Grid to apply artificial intelligence to energy use: The Google-owned star British artificial intelligence company DeepMind is in talks with the National Grid about a potential partnership, with the possibility of using the technology to make the supply of energy across the U.K. more efficient.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) wins tax tribunal disputing stamp duty land tax scheme used by housebuilder Crest Nicholson: Crest Nicholson has been told to pay £1.3 million it unsuccessfully tried to keep under a stamp duty land tax (SDLT) avoidance scheme after a tribunal found in the taxman's favour.

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 08:23:00 +0000
In the Papers - Cineworld, Tesco, Pret A Manger, Aviva Newspaper Summary

The Times

Hostile bid for Akzo Nobel puts U.K. jobs under threat: Thousands of British jobs are at risk in a hostile €21 billion multinational takeover that could hit Dulux paint and other plants in the old ICI empire.

Aramco keeps suitors guessing over its choice of listing venue: London and New York are the frontrunners as the main international listing venues for Saudi Aramco’s planned flotation, which could value the oil group at $2 trillion.

HS2 delay feared after rival bidder fights award of work to U.S. firm: Crucial High Speed Two design and planning could be delayed for months after it was confirmed that the recent appointment of an American consultancy to a key project management role has come under legal challenge.

Countrywide cuts dividend as housing sales decline: The owner of Britain’s largest network of residential estate agents has been forced to cut its dividend, close branches and issue new shares after profits fell by more than half in what it described as an unprecedented year.

Ineos makes a fresh dash for shale gas: The petrochemicals group run by the billionaire Jim Ratcliffe has expanded its British shale gas empire by buying all Engie’s drilling rights.

Cineworld’s figures are no fairytale: Cineworld posted a blockbuster 11.6% rise in revenues last year to £797.8 million, as more than 100 million customers watched films on its screens. The cinema chain — which boasts 118 cinemas in the U.K. — faced a muted market reaction to a 1.5% fall in pre-tax profits to £98.2 million, however.

Doris creates stormy month on high street: Storm Doris did not just cause chaos on the roads and railways; she sent a chill wind blowing up Britain’s high streets.

Brexit risks new age of division, says Mars Boss: Fiona Dawson, global President of Mars Foods, will say that failure to negotiate a successful Brexit deal will damage not just the long-term prosperity of Europe but also the wider world. She will call on politicians to prioritise “common economic interests” and recognise that the imposition of trade barriers would “ultimately hurt everyone and undermine, rather than strengthen, European unity”.

The Independent

Britain’s lost decade of growth will never come back says IFS: Britain has now experienced a “decade without growth” according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the latest official projections in the Budget suggest this lost income will never be recovered.

Osborne tax change helped 100 wealthy people save £1 million each says OBR: George Osborne’s decision to announce a tax change in July 2015 that would not take effect for another nine months enabled 100 wealthy individuals to save an average of £1 million each, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility.

Tesco to pay back staff almost £10 million after massive payroll blunder: Tesco will pay back almost £10 million to current and former workers after a system error led to them being paid less than the national living wage.

Offshore wind power set to be cheaper than nuclear, closing in on coal: Offshore windfarms are set to become a cheaper source of electricity than the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant and are also on track to undercut coal-fired power stations.

Pret A Manger is facing a Brexit staffing crisis: The Director of human resources of high-street chain Pret a Manger has told a parliamentary committee that the company may struggle to attract staff once the U.K. leaves the EU, as just one in 50 of the applicants for jobs at the firm is British.

A pack of cigarettes will soon cost at least £8.82: British smokers have been hit by Chancellor Philip Hammond’s budget with the cost of a pack of cigarettes rising to a least £8.81.

Insurance giant AIG turns to Luxembourg to ensure no Brexit disruption: American International Group, the global provider of commercial property insurance, said it plans to open an insurer in Luxembourg to write business in the European Economic Area and Switzerland once the U.K. exits the EU.

World’s largest sovereign wealth fund to blacklist firms that pollute too much: The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund has warned it could reduce investment in companies guilty of heavy pollution or corruption.

The Daily Telegraph

U.S. shale surge overwhelms oil market as OPEC splits deepen: Oil prices have plunged to the lowest level this year as U.S. shale producers boost output at an astonishing pace and crude inventories keep rising, triggering a wave of selling by hedge funds with record speculative positions.

Blue Inc appeals to creditors as it begins CVA process less than three years after pulling £600 million float: Fashion retailer Blue Inc has asked landlords and lenders to throw it a lifeline by reducing its rent bill and cutting its debts as part of a rescue package designed to continue its survival less than three years after it was due to float with a £600 million price-tag.

Dulux maker AkzoNobel to spin off specialty chemicals arm after rejecting £18 billion takeover bid: AkzoNobel, the owner of Dulux and Polyfilla, is set to spin off its sprawling specialty chemicals arm after rejecting a €20.9 billion (£18.1 billion) takeover offer from a rival firm.

Aviva Boss upbeat as insurer raises dividend: Shares in Aviva have soared after the group’s Boss promised to give cash back to shareholders following its 2016 results, batting away the impact of a new injury compensation rule that has clobbered insurers.

Rolls-Royce claws back pay from employees linked to bribery scandal: Engineering giant Rolls-Royce has halted share and incentive payments to workers linked to a major bribery and corruption investigation.

IFS: Business rates relief is ‘small beer’: Government measures to ease the burden of business rates are “small beer” and will do nothing to prevent future bill shocks, according to a leading think-tank.

John Lewis Partnership cuts staff bonus to lowest level since 1954: The John Lewis Partnership has slashed its staff bonus to the lowest level for more than 63 years, despite posting a 21% jump in pre-tax profits, amidst “increasingly uncertain markets”.

The Guardian

No pay rise for 15 years, IFS warns U.K. workers: Workers in Britain are on course to suffer an unprecedented 15 years of lost earnings growth and have been warned to prepare for a third successive parliament of austerity by a leading thinktank.

Sir Martin Sorrell’s £42 million payout takes earnings to £210 million in five years: The scale of pay deals on offer in FTSE 100 boardrooms has been illustrated by the latest payout to Sir Martin Sorrell, who was awarded more than £40 million in 2016 taking the total payout to the Chief Executive of marketing and advertising company WPP in the past five years to more than £200 million.

Shell sells oil sands assets as Boss warns on clean energy challenge: Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to sell most of its carbon-heavy Canadian oil sands assets for $8.5 billion (£7 billion) as the Chief Executive warned that the industry risked losing public support without progress towards cleaner energy.

Co-op Bank warns of more branch closures as it reports £477 million loss: Co-operative Bank has reported its fifth consecutive year of losses and warned of more branch closures and job losses as its struggles to restore its fortunes following its tie-up with Britannia Building Society.

Sports Direct’s move to put worker on board branded ‘PR exercise’: Sports Direct’s decision to allow a worker representative to attend its board meetings is not enough to solve the retailer’s deep corporate governance failings, unions and business leaders have warned.

Daily Mail

Sports Direct workers set to attend board meetings after firm is slammed for ‘Victorian’ factory conditions: Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct is to appoint a worker to attend board meetings. Candidates will stand in an election and the winning representative will be invited to attend and speak at all scheduled board meetings.

Co-op Bank Bosses struggle to find buyer after being hit by £500 million losses: The Co-op Bank lost nearly £500 million as doubts continue to swirl about its future. Bosses put the beleaguered lender up for sale last month amid frenzied speculation it was in dire need of extra cash.

Domino’s set to create 3,200 new jobs in the U.K. after selling a bumper 89 million pizzas: Domino’s Pizza Group hopes to create around 3,200 new jobs in the U.K. with around 80 new stores and a new supply centre.

British American Tobacco’s £40 billion merger with Reynolds American gets the green light: British American Tobacco’s £40 billion merger with Reynolds American has been approved by the U.S. antitrust body.

Cineworld set to open 40 new state-of-the-art multiplexes after snagging 100 million ticket sales: Cineworld plans to open 40 new multiplexes in a move which will create 1,000 jobs over four years. The global movie giant has already opened four new sites in the U.K. and Ireland this year.

Aviva promises cash to shareholders - despite a £380 million hit from compensation changes: The jubilant Boss of insurer Aviva has promised to shower shareholders with money after a bumper year - despite a £380 million hit from compensation changes.

Daily Express

Oil price slump signals doom for markets: A dramatic fall in oil prices has sent waves of fear through markets amid warning signals a large stock crash is looming.

Pound to euro exchange rate: Draghi sends sterling plunging with upbeat Eurozone words: The pound has been plunged further against the euro after the head of the European Central Bank (ECB) talked up the Eurozone’s economic recovery and insisted a break-up of the union was unrealistic.

U.S. employment shock keeps U.S.D strong: The U.K.’s ‘boring’ Spring Budget failed to help the pound gain on a buoyant U.S. dollar and with Fed rate hike bets remaining sky high, it looks like the GBP/U.S.D exchange rate could be in for further losses.

‘The Euro is irrevocable’ Euro Bank Chief fires warning at Le Pen over Frexit vote promise: The head of the European Central Bank (ECB) declared the euro is “irrevocable” and “here to stay” in a tactical intervention ahead of the French election, amid fears the vote outcome could derail the union.

Markets demand Draghi gives Euro Bank plan for Le Pen victory: The euro is under fresh pressure as markets anxiously await an update on how the European Central Bank (ECB) would react if Marine Le Pen wins the French Presidential elections in May.

The Scottish Herald

Valuation of bumper Shetland field cut again: Premier Oil has slashed the valuation of the giant Solan field West of Shetland by another $652 million (£535 million) after facing renewed complications on what is a key asset for the firm.

Brexit clouds over Budget as recession fears resurface: The U.K. could fall into recession after Brexit if negotiators do not effectively agree on industry trade deals with EU partners, according to a leading academic.

Surge in pay for Shell Boss amid crude price plunge: Royal Dutch Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden saw the value of his pay package increase by more than 50% last year although the company’s underlying profits fell around 40%.

Miller Homes targets dramatic increase in sales in Scotland: Miller Homes Chief Executive Chris Endsor has said the housing giant expects to grow annual sales volumes in Scotland by at least a third by 2020 and he doesn’t want another independence referendum in the country.

Payfont starts system trials: Payfont, the cyber security start-up which has attracted private investment from Martin Gilbert and Land Securities Chairwoman Dame Alison Carnwath, has started trials of its online identity protection and data privacy solutions.

Farmers urged to seek out support for superfast connections: NFU Scotland is urging those farmers and crofters suffering from dismal broadband speeds to investigate their eligibility for free superfast satellite broadband upgrade under the Digital Scotland programme.

CS Wind on verge of job saving deal: Renewable energy firm Burcote Wind has restated its commitment to Machrihanish-based wind tower manufacturer, CS Wind, potentially safeguarding up to 60 jobs.

BP sells Hull industrial Park: The px group the Teesside based infrastructure solutions business, has agreed to acquire from BP the Saltend Industrial Park near Hull. The park provides energy, infrastructure, operations and maintenance services to leading global companies including Air Products, Engie, INEOS, and BP itself. Around 50 BP workers will transfer to px employment.

The Scotsman

Amazon’s Dunfermline centre ‘poised for £54 million sale’: Amazon’s one million square foot distribution centre in Dunfermline is set to change hands in a commercial property investment deal worth about £54 million, it has been reported.

Scots brewers eye £130,000 boost from Aldi festival: Aldi’s latest Scottish beer festival kicks off, with the retailer expecting the in-store promotional event to generate more than £130,000 of sales for the brewers involved.

David Cumming to leave Standard Life Investments: Standard Life Investments (SLI) has announced that head of equities David Cumming has decided to leave the firm to “pursue other interests”.

Morrisons turnaround continues with surge in profits: Morrisons has reported a surge in full-year profits as the supermarket cements its turnaround and reaps the rewards of investment into cutting prices.

First Milk signs new long-term Nestlé supply deal: The country’s largest dairy co-operative, Glasgow-based First Milk, has signed a new long-term contract to supply confectionary and beverage giant Nestlé.

City A.M.

Brexit secretary David Davis says most sectors won’t need transition periods, because the government is aiming to get the best possible deal: The Brexit secretary has insisted most sectors of the U.K. economy will not require transitional arrangements after the U.K. leaves the EU, as the proposed deal with Brussels should erase the need for them.

Barclays just handed its exec team £13.6 million worth of shares in the bank, and there’s the chance they could snap up £9.2 million more: Barclays handed 10 of its most senior staff members shares worth £13.6 million in the bank, while also giving them the chance to snap up several million pounds more in years to come.

Liam Fox extols the virtues of free trade at an inaugural Commonwealth trade summit: International trade secretary Liam Fox has met with more than 20 different Commonwealth counterparts at the first meeting of its kind at Lancaster House.

JP Morgan’s Jamie Dimon says Brexit job moves all about serving clients, as London faces declustering following U.K. departure from EU: The Boss of JP Morgan has said that any Brexit-related job moves will focus simply on serving clients. Jamie Dimon, whose bank heavily backed the campaign for Britain to Remain in the EU, said London’s world-renowned cluster of financial and professional services firms could be fractured by Brexit.

Leading lobby group, the CBI, seeks to extend President’s stay to help see its members through Brexit: An influential pressure group is looking to extend its President’s term beyond the usual two years so he can help guide its members through Brexit.

Mario Draghi says Brexit has had no economic impact as the European Central Bank (ECB) holds interest rates steady: European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi said Brexit has so far not had a significant economic impact.

Fri, 10 Mar 2017 08:19:00 +0000
In the Papers - Iceland, John Lewis, Barclays, RBS Newspaper Summary

The Times

Spending falls in first signs of slowdown: Household spending is showing signs of tailing off in what a leading credit rating agency has warned may be an early sign that the economy has already begun to slow.

Fraud inquiry hovers over plantation scheme: The Serious Fraud Office has opened a criminal investigation into an alleged fraudulent scheme that promoted investments in Costa Rican tree plantations in Central America.

Vulnerable ‘priced out of market by rent rises’: Soaring rental costs and caps to housing benefits are pushing the most vulnerable tenants out of the private rental market, estate agents and chartered surveyors have warned.

Bowie’s farewell casts a shadow over undertaker: Direct cremations, popularised by David Bowie, are among emerging alternative funeral arrangements that have forced Britain’s largest operator to cut its earnings forecast.

Ofcom ‘must look at digital adverts’: Ministers have been urged to set up an investigation into Google, Facebook and the digital advertising supply chain to try to combat fake news.

Internet on BA flights is cleared for take-off: The days of peace on planes from phones and emails are almost over after Inmarsat won a contract with IAG, the owner of British Airways, to provide in-flight internet access to more than 300 aircraft.

Hinkley fundraising takes the spark out of EDF share price: EDF shares fell to record lows of less than €8 after the French utility launched a bid to raise €4 billion in capital to help fund the Hinkley Point nuclear plant.

The Independent

Government sending ‘mixed signals’ to business says BCC: The Director general of the British Chambers of Commerce has criticised the government for sending “mixed signals” in Wednesday’s Spring Budget and has criticised measures to alleviate the pressures of business rates as far too weak.

Stock markets and sterling react to U.K. Budget statement: London’s FTSE 100 inched marginally higher while the pound continued to trade close to a seven-week low against the dollar on Wednesday, showing only a muted reaction to Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Budget statement, in which he raised economic forecasts but warned that there was “no room for complacency”.

G4S profits surge 14% as outsourcing giant recovers from scandals: Shares in outsourcing giant G4S jumped as much as 9% after it reported surging full-year profits following an overhaul parked by a series of high profile scandals.

The number of female CEOs at the world’s biggest companies is falling: The number of women running the 500 most powerful companies in the U.S. fell by more than 12% last year, despite global efforts to promote gender parity in the work place and fresh evidence that companies with high proportions of senior female leaders tend to deliver stronger financial results.

First signs of U.K. economy losing momentum post-Brexit vote says S&P: First signs that the U.K. economy is slowing as a result of Brexit are starting to trickle through, according to Standard & Poor’s.

Liam Fox’s ‘Empire 2.0’ meeting is backed by corporate interests and will ‘fleece’ Africa, say campaigners: Campaigners have accused the Government of using post-Brexit trade deal negotiations to deepen corporate interests in African countries at the expense of ordinary people across the continent.

Iceland becomes first country in the world to make firms prove equal pay: On International Women’s Day, Iceland became the first country in the world to force companies to prove they pay all employees the same regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality or nationality,

The Daily Telegraph

Pubs giveaway not enough to ease the pain of business rates: Industry leaders accused the Government of ignoring calls to reform the archaic business rates system and likened the outlined £435 million cut to a “drop in the ocean” compared with the £25 billion burden.

Wandisco shares fall despite cutting losses: Shares in the cloud computing company Wandisco slumped on Wednesday as it reported another year of losses despite some evidence that it had recovered from a tumultuous year.

High Court approves Premier League crackdown on Kodi streaming piracy: Football fans who watch live matches for free via popular Kodi set-top boxes face a crackdown after the High Court approved a Premier League effort to shut down unlicensed streams online.

Admiral latest victim of ‘eccentric’ personal injury change as it takes £105 million profit hit: The Chief Executive of Admiral has admitted that his first year in the job hardly got off to a “flying start”, as the U.K. insurer became the latest victim of an injury compensation rule change he called “an eccentric Government decision”. 

Chiquito owner Restaurant Group looks to new menus and airports to boost sales: A radical menu overhaul at Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito alongside a beefed-up presence in U.K. airports will be key strands of new Restaurant Group Chief Executive Andy McCue’s plan to revitalise the business.

L&G sees benefits from an ageing population: An ageing population is giving Legal & General an extra shot of confidence for the future, with the insurer’s retirement arm boasting a 27% boost in profits for 2016.

Foxtons’ profits more than halve as London’s slumping property market hits home: Profits at London-based estate agency Foxtons have more than halved as it said it expected the capital’s sluggish property market to remain “challenging” in 2017.

The Questor Column:

Follow these two top ‘contrarian’ fund managers and buy Sainsbury’s: It’s not surprising that just three U.K. equity funds currently feature J Sainsbury among their top 10 holdings, judging by a quick search of the Morningstar database. Mr. Mundy said Sainsbury’s valuation had “begun to look somewhat anomalous versus that of its peers”: if you looked at “enterprise value” (in effect, how it would be valued by the stock market if it had no debts), Sainsbury was currently valued at about 25% of its sales whereas Morrison and Tesco were valued at more than 40% of their revenues. Another high-profile manager to hold the shares is Julie Dean, formerly of Schroders and now at Sanditon Asset Management. We rated Sainsbury’s a sell at 251.1p in June last year, seeing the shares as expensive at the same earnings multiple of 11 at a time when profits were falling. We feel that these managers may have caught the bottom of the group’s fortunes and suggest that you follow them into the stock. Questor says ‘Buy’.

The Guardian

Philip Hammond breaks manifesto pledge with budget tax grab: Philip Hammond sparked a political row on Wednesday with a tax grab on self-employed workers that breached a Conservative manifesto pledge not to raise national insurance rates.

Prospect of £1.7 billion fine looms large over PM’s talks with EU leaders: The prospect of a £1.7 billion fine imposed on the U.K. by the EU’s fraud watchdog is expected to loom large in Theresa May’s meetings with European leaders at a summit on Thursday.

U.K. economy will grow 2% this year but slow next, OBR predicts: The U.K. economy will confound forecasts for a Brexit-related slowdown through 2017, but will then quickly run out of steam as rising prices hit consumer spending, the Office for Budget Responsibility has predicted.

John Lewis broke advertising rules by pulling Apple Watch deal: John Lewis has been reprimanded by the advertising watchdog for running a Black Friday promotion offering the Apple Watch on sale, only to pull it from its website until the next day when it was marked up to full price.

Pret a Manger: just one in 50 job applicants is British, says HR Boss: Just one in 50 applicants for jobs at Pret a Manger is British, its Director of human resources told a parliamentary committee.

Daily Mail

Funeral provider Dignity dives 16.9% as it warns lower death rate and increasing competition could see business slow: On a day when there was little or no FTSE reaction to the Chancellor’s Budget, it was Dignity which was among the biggest tumblers, as it claimed there could be significantly fewer deaths this year.

Barclay’s new investment banking Chief urges more risk-taking: Barclays’ new head of investment banking, ex-JP Morgan Aussie Tim Throsby, 50, who arrived in post in January, has been busy reinvigorating his new unit, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox said it ‘welcomed’ a Government review into Sky deal: Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox said it ‘welcomed’ a Government review into its £11.7billion deal to buy the 39% of Sky it does not already own.

High-flying celebrities turn London into the private jet capital of Europe: More private jets fly in and out of London and its regional airports than any other European destination, underlining its attraction to the super-rich.

Saudis take £6 billion stake in U.K. tech giant ARM just six months after it was bought by Japanese firm SoftBank: Saudi investors are taking a 25% stake in British chip designer ARM just six months after it was bought by Japanese firm Softbank.

Daily Express

Blow for pensioners as tax-free dividend allowance slashed: Philip Hammond dealt a blow to investors and pensioners relying on dividend income by revealing that the tax-free allowance would be more than halved.

Entrepreneurs and sole traders set to be biggest losers: Entrepreneurs and sole traders could end up the hardest hit in the Spring Budget, business groups said, reacting to the hikes in national insurance charges and reductions to the dividend allowance announced by the Chancellor.

Sugary drinks will be taxed at 24p per litre to slash childhood obesity: The most sugary drinks will be taxed at 24p per litre in a bid to slash childhood obesity. A two-tier levy of 18p on drinks with 5g of sugar per 100ml, and the higher rate on those with more than 8g per 100ml, will be introduced from April 2018, the Chancellor confirmed.

Red tape reforms ease costs for small co-operatives: Key audit demands that cost smaller co-operatives thousands of pounds are to be lifted, the Chancellor announced in his Spring Budget.

Pound tumbles to 7-week lows against euro and dollar amid 2017 Budget: The pound has tumbled further against the euro and dollar, after the Philip Hammond’s U.K. 2017 Budget continued to put pressure on Britain’s exchange rate.

The Scottish Herald

Cairn eyes more North Sea deals: Cairn Energy Chief Executive Simon Thomson has said the oil and gas firm is on the hunt for new opportunities in the North Sea after raising $75 million (£61 million) from selling an interest in a giant field off Shetland.

Storm brewing over National Insurance for tea entrepreneur: Tea trade entrepreneur Erica Moore found ‘s Budget was a bitter pill to swallow after hoping the Chancellor would provide meaningful help for small firms.

Tax advisers face cash penalties in evasion crackdown: Chancellor Philip Hammond has vowed to further tighten the screw on businesses that evade, avoid or engage in non-compliance of tax – and penalise professional advisers who help them to do so.

‘The worry we have in this industy is the quantum of tax we pay, including levies’: Hotelier Stephen Leckie, Chief Executive of Crieff Hydro, is all for businesses paying their fair share of tax. But he warned the multiplicity of taxes faced by hospitality businesses risks the health of one of Scotland’s most important industries.

Wood move to diversify sees it win U.S. work: Aberdeen oil services company Wood Group has highlighted its continuing diversification into other sectors by announcing the start of a second construction services contract for a facial tissue and paper towel production site in Ohio.

Skypark refurbishment complete: Office complex Skypark has completed work on the contemporary office refurbishment of Skypark 5 located in the Glasgow’s Finnieston area.

Eighth year of growth for owner of Taggarts car group: The owner of Taggarts and the former Lomond Audi business has grown underlying pre-tax profit by 7% to £77.1 million as revenue grew 17% to £4.3 billion, in an eighth successive year of growth.

Events firm acquires capital rival: Dundee events firm Red Pepper has acquired Edinburgh-based agency Origin Events.

The Scotsman

Cairn eyes end to India tax row as ‘busy year’ looms: Oil and gas explorer Cairn Energy is “very confident” that an arbitration panel will rule in its favour over a $1 billion (£823 million) tax dispute with the Indian authorities.

Menzies profit soars after ‘transformational’ year: Logistics group John Menzies said its annual profits jumped by almost a third in a year that saw its aviation arm boost its presence in North America with a bumper takeover deal.

Dundee property firm moves into student accommodation: A privately-owned property and investment firm that already has hundreds of rental properties on its books in Scotland has entered the student accommodation market.

EU trade deal ‘vital’ to avoid damaging agriculture: A cross-party group of MPs has warned the U.K. government of the damage that could be done to agriculture by going down the route of World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules if it fails to get the Brexit trade deals it desires.

Concern over staff shortages as jobs market rebounds: Scotland’s labour market is on the rebound with permanent staff placements rising for the first time in five months, a key survey indicated.

East Lothian gin distiller cheers plans for new site: NB Distillery, the North Berwick-based venture launched in 2014 by husband and wife Steve and Viv Muir, is to build a new distillery in East Lothian.

City A.M.

U.S. cereal maker Post Holdings wants to have its Weetabix and readies £1.5 billion bid, as the race to buy the breakfast brand narrows to just two bidders: An American firm is lining up a £1.5 billion bid for Weetabix, as it prepares to go head-to-head with another company interested in snapping up the breakfast cereal brand.

RBS’ Chief exec Ross McEwan just got awarded shares worth £1.2 million in the loss-making bank: Royal Bank of Scotland’s Chief Executive was awarded £1.2 million worth of shares this afternoon, as benefits from the loss-making lender’s long-term incentive plans (LTIPs) were paid out.

European company results are beating analysts’ expectations: Fourth quarter revenues of nearly 61% of companies in the Stoxx 600 that have reported to date have exceeded analysts’ estimates, according to research from Thomson Reuters.

Former Chancellor George Osborne to make £650,000 a year for a four-day-a-month role at BlackRock: Former Chancellor George Osborne will be paid £650,000 a year to advise BlackRock four days a month, it has been revealed.

Real wages predicted to rise after growth revised upwards this year by OBR: Real wages are set to grow steadily for the next five years, the government’s Budget watchdog said, as it upgraded growth predictions for this year.

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 08:41:00 +0000
In the Papers - WhatsApp, AstraZeneca, Nestlé, Ford Newspaper Summary

The Times

Insurers still hope to avoid painful rise in damages: Plans to change the way lump-sum payments to personal injury victims are calculated could still be amended to make the cost less onerous for insurers, according to Direct Line.

MPs examine Vauxhall pension deal: The Commons work and pensions committee is to investigate the sale of Vauxhall to PSA Peugeot Citroën.

Bentley’s nod to the past as it unveils electric sports car: The German-owned British carmaker showed its latest concept model, the EXP12 Speed6e. Two years ago, Bentley showed the EXP10 Speed6, a conventionally powered lidded two-seater at the Geneva Motor Show, a car that was immediately dubbed “The Aston Killer”, so close was it to the offerings of rival Aston Martin.

Worldpay rings up profits despite battling U.S. gremlins: The company that processes two in every five card transactions in the U.K. has been hit by delays in the migration of some of its biggest customers to a new IT platform.

Don’t bet on a cash return, warns Paddy Power Betfair: Paddy Power Betfair admitted that it was unlikely to return cash to investors this year and promptly lost almost 6% of its value.

President hails Exxon’s $20 billion boost for U.S.: ExxonMobil has said that it could invest a total of $20 billion in the U.S. Gulf Coast and create more than 45,000 jobs over a decade through its planned refining, chemicals and liquefied natural gas projects.

John Laing tries to join Trump bump club: John Laing, the British development group, has said that for the U.S. to benefit from the expected “Trump bump” infrastructure windfall, it must warm to public-private partnerships.

Aramco pays Shell $2.2 billion to end joint venture: Saudi Aramco is to pay $2.2 billion to Royal Dutch Shell as the companies end their U.S. refining and marketing joint venture, with Aramco taking on the majority of the assets.

Vaping firm faces going up in smoke: FRP Advisory has been appointed as administrator to Must Have, an e-cigarette and vaping business that trades as VIP, and will attempt to sell the chain.

House prices grow at slowest in four years as inflation begins to bite: House prices rose at the slowest pace in nearly four years last month, according to Britain’s biggest mortgage lender, in a sign the market is beginning to cool.

The Independent

Donald Trump sends Pharma stocks plummeting with new tweet: President Donald Trump’s latest pledge to drive down to drug prices has sent pharmaceutical stocks falling again after just one tweet.

Japan just made it a lot easier to move there permanently: The Japanese Ministry of Justice has reportedly made it easier for foreigners to become permanent residents in Japan as the government seeks to attract new talent, keep highly skilled overseas workers and boost productivity.

Shop prices are up, sales are down and the housing market is slowing: U.K. retailers offered further evidence on Tuesday that they may be in for a tough year, while new data also showed the housing market is facing a slowdown.

Most cars sold in Norway are now either electric or hybrid: Norway said that electric or hybrid cars represented half of new registrations in the country so far in 2017, as Norway continues its trend towards becoming one of the most ecologically progressive countries in the world.

You could soon buy Prada and Versace through WhatsApp: Online luxury retailer Yoox Net-a-Porter said it is developing technology to allow customers to buy products directly through WhatsApp as the e-commerce market for Prada and Versace goods becomes more competitive.

White House plagiarised an entire paragraph from Exxon’s press release: A statement from the White House congratulating oil giant ExxonMobil on the expansion of its operations in the Gulf of Mexico appeared to lift an entire paragraph from the company’s press release.

Banking jobs denied to young people due to having ‘wrong accents’: Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are being denied jobs in finance because they have the “wrong” accent and do not wear the correct clothes, a new study has found.

The Daily Telegraph

Treasury to offer North Sea a helping hand in late-life: The Chancellor is planning to step in to help the aging North Sea oil and gas sector by investigating ways the tax system could help to extend the life of projects.

Barratt venture with Morgan Stanley review contracts amid corruption probe: A joint venture between house builder Barratt Developments and Wall Street giant Morgan Stanley to develop a £275 million residential project on the banks of the Thames is examining contracts it has awarded, as part of a wider investigation into potential corruption in London at the British company.

BP plans seven ‘massive’ projects this year but signals caution over market recovery: BP is bringing on seven “massive” projects this year in the biggest expansion the company’s history but has brought down costs in a wrenching adjustment and is not banking on a recovery in oil prices this decade.

AstraZeneca Chief enjoys leap in pay packet as bonuses pay off: AstraZeneca’s Chief Executive, Pascal Soriot, enjoyed a 68% surge in his annual pay packet last year as a number of long-term incentive plans and other rewards paid off.

Ashtead in top gear as Brexit fears subside: Mr. Drabble, who has led FTSE 100 equipment hire company Ashtead for a decade, said he had feared the worst post-Brexit, but that most of his worries had been unfounded.

Switch is ‘fastest-selling console in Nintendo’s history’: The Nintendo Switch has become the fastest-selling games console in the Japanese company’s history, according to sales figures for Europe and North and South America.

Car Bosses ramp up the rhetoric on free trade as Ford, BMW and Jaguar Land Rover warn of Brexit fears: Senior figures in the car industry have reaffirmed the importance of maintaining tariff-free trade after Brexit. Speaking at the Geneva Motor Show, Bosses at three of the world’s leading car companies warned of the potential impact on the U.K. of losing free trade with the EU, warning that tariffs could jeopardise British workers.

Personal injury rule change wipes £217million off Direct Line profits: Insurance company Direct Line has seen its pre-tax profits hammered by a Government move to change the way accident victims are compensated. 

The Questor Column:

This 7.2% yield is not all that it seems – beware the Game Digital value trap: Video games specialist Game Digital already has one unhappy experience as a public company under its belt and events since its return to the market in 2014 suggest that its second stint may not be much happier for investors. Last year’s figures were ugly, as sales and profits fell and the dividend was cut, the share price chart is uglier still and January’s trading update offered little encouragement. The firm still looks dependent on video console launch cycles and the emergence of the next smash hit game. Admittedly, management is trying to develop other revenue streams, through digital content and in-store gaming experiences, even as it cuts costs. However, the fiercely competitive nature of the market, the war between online and traditional retailers and the tempting but uncovered 7.2% yield all suggest that the stock could be a value trap.  Questor says ‘Sell’.

Carillion: Anthony Bolton, the highly successful former fund manager at Fidelity, always said his biggest mistakes came with stocks whose balance sheet was weak (or less robust than it appeared). Bearing this in mind, investors should be wary of Carillion, the support services firm. According to the full-year results for 2016, released last week, net debt is £219 million (although the figure averaged £587million over the year) and the pension deficit has swelled to £663m. Interest payments of £60 million and pension contributions of £47million compare with last year’s group operating profit (before joint ventures) of £146 million, while slim operating margins of 2.8% leave little room for anything to go wrong. Management is sensibly targeting debt reduction. But governments are tightening up on spending, pricing is getting tougher and Carillion has admitted that forward visibility (from its order book) has declined. A prospective yield of 8.9% is eye-catching, but earnings cover is only 1.8 times and the lowly p/e multiple of six times expected earnings is the market’s polite way to say that it does not entirely trust either the earnings or dividend forecast. Questor says ‘Sell’.

The Guardian

Nestlé to remove 10% of sugar from all snacks in U.K. and Ireland by 2018: Nestlé, one of the world’s biggest chocolate manufacturers, will take 10% of the sugar out of its confectionery in the U.K. and Ireland by 2018.

Solar power growth leaps by 50% worldwide thanks to U.S. and China: The amount of solar power added worldwide soared by some 50% last year because of a sun rush in the U.S. and China, new figures show.

Vauxhall’s Luton and Ellesmere Port factories will face battle after 2021: Vauxhall’s factories in Ellesmere Port and Luton will have to battle with Peugeot, Citroën, and Opel plants across Europe to win the right to produce vehicles beyond 2021.

Food inflation doubles in a month as U.K. shoppers start to feel the pinch: Supermarket inflation doubled last month as shoppers had to pay more for staples such as butter and tea, underlining expectations that household budgets will come under extra pressure in 2017.

Bank of England deputy Governor gets warning over conflict of interest: The Governor of the Bank of England has censured his new deputy Governor after she admitted breaking Bank rules by failing to declare that her brother worked for Barclays.

Daily Mail

Private warnings for 14 bank Bosses: Watchdog issues secret rebukes to avoid full probe into bad behaviour: The Financial Conduct Authority has given 39 senior City Executives a quiet ticking-off in the past five years rather than publicly investigating them, figures released in a freedom of information request have revealed.

Mobile giants go to war over 5G: Rivals see sale of super-fast signal as a key opportunity to topple BT and Vodafone: Telecom giants have clashed ahead of the multi-billion-pound auction of the latest super-fast mobile networks. Some firms have called for BT and Vodafone bids for the next generation of phone signals, known as 5G, to be capped.

Deutsche’s Yorkshire-born Boss appoints his Chief financial officer as his deputy: Deutsche Bank’s Yorkshire-born Boss John Cryan, who insists he’s ‘not going anywhere’ as the troubled bank’s shares continue to slide, has appointed his Chief financial officer, Marcus Schenck, as his deputy.

Shares in PureCircle jump 7.5%: Sugar-free drink maker was banned from U.S. over slave labour fears: Shares in PureCircle jumped 7.5% after a U.S. ban on imports was lifted. Authorities had seized shipments after allegations surfaced about slave labour in the sugar-free sweetener manufacturer’s supply chain.

Daily Express

Hopeful Britons counting on 2017 property boom: Hopeful Britons are counting on a property boom with more than half believing their house will continue to rise in value this year.

Philip Hammond urged to change inheritance tax rules: PHILIP Hammond has been urged to change inheritance tax rules when he gives his 2017 Budget and raise annual thresholds that have been at the same level for more than 30 years.

‘Investigate price fixing’ Gina Miller launches fresh campaign to treat customers fairly: Anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller has demanded the financial regulator investigates a part of the investment industry for price collusion.

German economy crisis: Car demand plunges as factory orders hit lowest level since 2009: Falling demand for German cars has pushed the country’s manufacturing sector to record its worst month since 2009, raising fears for economic powerhouse of the Eurozone.

U.K. wages and job postings surge despite fears over divorce from EU: Britain’s labour market is experiencing an increase in wages and job postings despite uncertainty over Brexit.

Euro plunges as Marine Le Pen given big boost ahead of French elections: The euro has tumbled against the dollar after Marine Le Pen was given a fresh boost in the looming French Presidential elections.

The Scottish Herald

Free range milk attracts organic rebuke: Supermarket giant ASDA’s launch of a ‘free-range’ milk brand has attracted a sharp rebuke from the organic farming sector, which has pointed out that its legally-enforced standards have been keeping dairy cows outside on pasture for the last 20 years.

Gender-specific support planned: Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES) has launched a training programme to improve gender-specific support among business advisors.

Oil services firm hails contract win: Aberdeen-based oil services group Proserv has won a multi-million-dollar contract to supply Premier Oil with subsea equipment for use off Indonesia. Proserv will supply a control system for the Bison, Iguana and Gajah Puteri development project in the Natuna Sea.

Lloyds finance division will lose out on PressureFab’s £400,000 debt: Pressurefab, the Dundee-based offshore container manufacturer which last year became a high-profile victim of the oil and gas downturn, went into administration owing more than £400,000 to the invoice finance arm of Lloyds Banking Group.

Lord Carloway gets four-day U.K. Supreme Court position: Scotland’s most senior judge and the legal system he oversees will arguably be the biggest beneficiaries when the U.K. Supreme Court decamps from London to Edinburgh for four days in June.

Business optimism stuck in negative territory: Scottish businesses are less confident about the economic prospects facing them over the coming year, compared with the preceding 12 months, a survey shows.

Shortages of staff fuel rise in pay as EU in focus: Permanent staff placements in Scotland by recruitment agencies rose in February, following four consecutive months of decline, but the pace of increase was modest, a survey shows.

Apprentices continue a tradition dating back to Roman times at distillery site in Girvan: Family-owned Scotch whisky distiller William Grant & Sons has underlined its commitment to continuing traditional skills by pledging to appoint two new apprentice coopers at Girvan, noting that this trade dated back to Roman times.

Cairn Energy to step up exploration off Senegal: Cairn Energy is stepping up exploration activity off Senegal after its latest well underlined the potential of a find made off the West African country.

‘Haunted’ inn added to Manorview portfolio: Manorview Group has added another property to its burgeoning portfolio of directly managed hotels.

The Scotsman

Fergus Ewing ‘will fight for Scotland’s farmers’: The Scottish Government will fight for the best deal for Scottish farmers in the face of Brexit, rural secretary Fergus Ewing promised as he attended ‘s Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting in Brussels.

Aggreko warns on profits over Argentina contracts: Aggreko, the Glasgow-based temporary power specialist, issued a profit alert due to the repricing of legacy contracts in Argentina.

More than 800 jobs lost with Budgens store closures: More than 800 jobs have been lost after the owner of 34 Budgens stores, including two in Scotland, collapsed into administration.

Craneware hikes dividend after 23% jump in profits: Edinburgh-based software developer Craneware has unveiled a 16% increase in its dividend as it posted a surge in half-year profits.

American burger chain Five Guys coming to Edinburgh city centre: A popular American burger chain is opening a branch in Edinburgh City Centre.

City A.M.

Employers see skills shortages ahead as demand for talent rises according to the REC’s jobs report: Demand for staff in Britain has reached its highest point in 18 months as concerns over skills shortage rise for employers, a new survey of recruiters shows.

A forecast for a bounce in the U.K.’s GDP has put a spring in Philip Hammond’s step ahead of his first Budget: Chancellor Philip Hammond will give an upbeat assessment on the future of the British economy in his debut Budget, as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) becomes the latest body to upgrade its U.K. growth forecasts.

Biggest U.S. trade deficit since 2012 fans the flames of Donald Trump’s economic nationalism: The gap between America’s imports and exports with the rest of the world grew to its widest since March 2012, adding fuel to the fire of President Donald Trump’s economic nationalism.

Big upward revision for U.K. growth this year from the OECD: The U.K. economy will grow much faster this year than previously expected, according to an influential economics organisation, as it revised up forecasts it slashed after the Brexit vote.

Ford’s Essex-based financing unit gears up for possible shift to Germany to swerve Brexit fallout: Ford is mapping a possible move to Germany for part of its sizeable financing division, as the car manufacturer plots a route to avoid Brexit fallout.

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 08:30:00 +0000
In the Papers - Weight Watchers, Asda, KPMG, Nintendo Newspaper Summary

The Times

Vauxhall pensions to be cut by the French: Vauxhall workers are likely to take a significant cut to their pensions before any decision about the long-term future of their jobs after the sale of the U.K.-based automotive group to PSA Peugeot Citroen.

I’d welcome lawsuit, London Whale says: The former JP Morgan Chase trader who became known as the “London Whale” may face legal action by U.S. authorities, dragging the saga of the bank’s multibillion-dollar losses back into the spotlight.

Phone-hacking scandal could jeopardise Fox bid for Sky: The culture secretary gave the clearest indication yet that she would take account of failures of corporate governance at News Corporation during the phone hacking scandal when considering the £11.7 billion bid by 21st Century Fox to take full control of Sky.

Rejoin the free trade club on Europe’s fringe, MPs urge May: A cross-party committee of MPs has urged the government to consider rejoining the European Free Trade Association to smooth the exit from the European Union.

EU banks face big bill for staying in the City post-Brexit: Europe’s largest financial groups face a big increase in the cost of running and regulating their investment banking businesses from London post-Brexit.

Crispmaker crunches numbers on expansion: Seabrook Crisps has appointed Houlihan Lokey to help it expand abroad. The Yorkshire company wants the boutique adviser to assess ways to accelerate its sales, including through strategic international acquisitions.

Boards neglect customers, say Directors: One in five Directors believes that their company’s board has “little idea” of what their customers think or want, a study into the changing face of British boardrooms has revealed.

Fresh idea from Weight Watchers: The weight loss company, which is facing stiff competition from slimming apps, websites and fitness trackers, is partnering with Bearfaced Groceries, a Manchester-based delivery start-up, to provide food boxes containing recipe cards and pre-measured fresh ingredients.

Oil glut may run dry in three years: A global glut of oil could turn into a shortage within three years unless billions of dollars’ worth of new investments are made in the industry, the International Energy Agency said.

Freeze on ore exports chips away at miner: Acacia Mining suffered another shares sell-off as brokers cut forecasts because of the surprise ban on gold and copper ore exports by the Tanzanian President last week.

The Independent

China’s banking system overtakes Eurozone to become world’s biggest: China’s banking system is now the biggest in the world, new analysis has shown. The country’s banks have more assets than those of the Eurozone for the first time, the Financial Times found.

Asda fined £300,000 for dead mice, rotting food and flies at depot: Asda has been fined £300,000 after inspectors found dead mice and flies at a depot that distributes food to online shoppers in London and Essex.

EU experts accused of conflict of interest on cancer-linked herbicide: Greenpeace has accused members of a European Union expert committee of having conflicts of interest over whether a controversial weedkiller linked to cancer and harmful effects on bees should be banned.

Wall Street investors make $3 trillion since Trump’s election victory: Wall Street investors have cashed in big on U.S. President Donald Trump’s election victory.

Scotland’s wind powers 4 million homes, but industry warns of job cuts: The wind in Scotland was used to generate enough energy to power nearly four million homes in February, according to new figures. There are only about 2.5 million homes in Scotland, so the extra electricity would have been used in other parts of the U.K.

Nintendo shares jump 4.1% after Switch console launch success: Nintendo shares rose on Friday to their highest in a month after a smooth debut of Switch, a hybrid console that aims to bring together the worlds of mobile and home gaming.

Post-Brexit pound slump drives online export boom for U.K. companies: Online payment firm PayPal, revealed that small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the U.K. saw international PayPal sales more than treble due to the post-Brexit slump in the value of the pound which makes products cheaper for overseas buyers.

The Daily Telegraph

Business rates ‘winners’ still losing due to inadequate Government scheme: The Government has incurred the wrath of the so-called “winners” of the business rates revaluation as their new bills reveal they are being denied reductions to compensate companies elsewhere in the country.

‘Hard’ Brexit would be good news for Vauxhall: A “hard” Brexit would be good news for Vauxhall’s supply chain, the carmaker’s new owner has said as he sealed the long awaited £2 billion purchase from ¬General Motors.

KPMG’s U.K. Boss Simon Collins loses out in race to become global Chairman of accounting giant: The U.K. Boss of KPMG has lost out in his bid to become global Chairman of the accountancy giant. Simon Collins, who threw his hat in the ring for the firm’s top job in December last year, has dropped out of the race in recent weeks.

North Sea ‘urgently needs fresh capital’ before 2020 cliff edge: The North Sea oil industry is in dire need of fresh capital investment to drive activity in the embattled basin beyond 2020.

BGL Chief relaxed on float after year’s record start: Matthew Donaldson, Chief Executive of BGL Group, said the Peterborough-based price comparison and insurance distribution specialist is in the “unusual and luxurious” position of not having to rush ahead with a float, but that he plans to be ready for a listing by the second half of this year,

Apple loses battle to avoid U.K. import taxes on watch straps: Apple could be forced to pay millions of pounds in extra taxes in the U.K. after losing a legal battle over whether its smartwatch straps are an accessory that should be taxed individually or part of the device.

Smith & Nephew slashes Chief’s pay following investor revolt: The Boss of Smith & Nephew (S&N) has had his pay slashed by more than a third and the artificial hip maker has overhauled its remuneration policy following a backlash from shareholders last year.

The Guardian

Vauxhall’s Luton and Ellesmere Port factories will face battle after 2021: Vauxhall’s factories in Ellesmere Port and Luton will have to battle with Peugeot, Citroën, and Opel plants across Europe to win the right to produce vehicles beyond 2021.

Switch hitch: Ofgem to look into improper exit-fee allegations: Ofgem is looking into allegations that energy suppliers have wrongly threatened to impose exit fees on householders switching away from them.

NHS trust may use Uber taxis to transfer non-emergency patients: Uber taxis could soon be used to transfer non-emergency patients with illnesses ranging from cancer to dementia back and forth from NHS hospitals in a deal that could play a part in “cracking down” on bedblocking, according to the social care company behind it.

Topshop owner to double contributions to plug pension deficit: Sir Philip Green has agreed a deal to pump as much as £50 million a year into the pension fund behind his fashion business, Arcadia, to plug a growing deficit, just days after reaching a settlement over the BHS pension scandal.

Oil price will soar without investment in capacity, says watchdog: The world will be hit by sharp increase in oil prices in the next decade without a major investment in new fields, one of the world’s leading energy authorities has warned.

Daily Mail

Investors told to say no to buyout of challenger Shawbrook Bank because offer underestimates its potential growth: Less than two years after listing Shawbrook Bank on the stock market, the private equity firm which took it to flotation is trying to buy it back. Pollen Street Capital has put in an offer for the challenger bank with buyout specialist BC Partners. The duo offered 330p a share for the business, which specialises in lending to small companies, valuing it at £825 million.

Jobs cull fear in £11 billion Standard Life Aberdeen mega-merger with Bosses expecting to save £200 million a year: The Boss of Aberdeen Asset Management has warned that hundreds of jobs could be lost following its £3.8 billion takeover by rival Standard Life.

Fat Face’s global ambition: Fashion retailer’s Boss pins hopes on new relationship with Amazon: Fat Face’s Boss has unveiled ambitions to extend his reach further overseas – after a successful expansion into the U.S.

Abolish air passenger tax to help Britain grow, says IAG Boss Willie Walsh: When Philip Hammond was Transport Secretary, he was well aware of aviation’s value to the British economy. Now he is Chancellor, he has the opportunity to unshackle the biggest restraint on the industry by abolishing Air Passenger Duty (APD) in ‘s Budget.

Kitchen gadget kings at Ultimate Products pocket £50 million from stock market float: Bosses of the firm which makes dozens of leading kitchen appliances have banked more than £50 million form a stock market float. Ultimate Products listed in London in a £105.2 million flotation.

Daily Express

Euro plunges as Marine Le Pen given big boost ahead of French elections: The euro has tumbled against the dollar after Marine Le Pen was given a fresh boost in the looming French Presidential elections.

Price of beer and wine could be hiked by Philip Hammond: The price of booze could be about to jump as Philip Hammond reveals his first Budget on Wednesday.

Germany to snatch U.K. business as Minister says Britain ‘naive’ to expect good Brexit deal: Britain would be “naive” to expect generous Brexit trade deals when it quits the European Union (EU), the German Minister responsible for its financial centre said, adding Frankfurt would grab business from London.

Pound falls to 7-week low against dollar as U.S. gets set to raise interest rates: The pound has fallen to a seven-week low against the dollar and six-week low against the euro, amid growing expectations U.S. fed fund rates will soon be hiked.

Deutsche Bank meltdown: Shares plunge as bank tries to raise £6.9 billion in call for cash: Deutsche Bank shares have dived by six% after it announced a shock share sale aimed at raising €8 billion (£6.9 billion) of cash in a desperate bid to shore up the German giant.

The Scottish Herald

Stobo profits on the rise as investment continues: Health spa Stobo Castle has revealed a seven% lift in pre-tax profits to £768,000 after a year of upgrades at the luxury Borders resort.

Surveyor takes chair at law firm: Fiona Morton, former managing partner of property consultancy and chartered surveyor Ryden, has been appointed to chair independent Scottish law firm Gillespie Macandrew on a non-Executive basis. She succeeds Murray Shaw, who is retiring. The law firm noted it had sought out “broad commercial experience from beyond legal services”.

Retailers remain under pressure: The U.K. retail sector continued to face challenging conditions in February, with sales value up by only 0.4% on the same month of last year, a survey shows.

Trust share buyback approved: Scottish Investment Trust shareholders have approved the proposal for the investment company to buy back the 11.88% stake in its shares held by Aviva. The £842 million trust said last month the insurance and investment giant had agreed to sell back the 11.4 million shares it held in the company at a 10.75% discount to the net asset value per share.

MeyGen gets full Ofcom approval: Atlantis Resources, the tidal power group, has reached another milestone after its MeyGen project in the Pentland Firth was given full accreditation by energy watchdog Ofgem.

Devro profits hit as strategic development plan launches: Devro, the collagen casing group, has seen reported profits more than half because of investment committed to counter under-utilisation of available global capacity.

Global logistics is a family affair for Mika: When their most valuable or precious possessions need transported from one side of the world to the other, people understandably get a bit nervous. Which is exactly the reason Mika Logistics put so much effort into providing the most reliable service possible at their end of the process.

The Scotsman

Bowleven hails ‘milestone’ Cameroon project stake sale: Oil and gas explorer Bowleven has struck a deal to sell an 80% stake in an onshore project in central Africa.

CodeBase picks Stirling for first hub outside Edinburgh: CodeBase is to open its first centre outside Edinburgh this month in an expansion that the U.K.’s biggest tech incubator claims could galvanise Scotland’s digital scene.

John Lewis recalls women’s tops over fire risk: A range of women’s wear is the subject of a product recall notice following reports of a potential flammability risk.

New kid on housing block attracting serious money: With many people not able or willing to get on the housing ladder, the private rented sector in Scotland is attracting major investment, writes Perry Gourley.

Peugeot plays down job loss fears after buying Vauxhall sites: French car giant PSA Group has sought to play down fears of plant closures after confirming it is to buy the European operations of General Motors, including Vauxhall in the U.K., for £1.9 billion.

Standard Life and AAM pledge to keep a Scottish headquarters: Scottish financial giants Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management will continue to keep their joint HQ in Scotland after a merger, it was pledged, as the firms confirmed they have agreed terms on a £11billion deal.

City A.M.

Entrepreneurs and tech leaders urge Chancellor to give startups business rate exemption in Spring Budget: Entrepreneurs and tech leaders are urging the Chancellor Philip Hammond to exempt newly created companies from business rates, adding their voice to a growing chorus of anger at the burden of an imminent rise in costs, and calls for reform.

Retail sales fell in February as non-food retail sales decline for first time since 2011 according to early indicator: Retail sales fell in February as non-food purchases recorded their first quarterly decline in more than five years, a survey ahead of official data shows.

Redirect £76 billion from former EU budget to fuel inclusive growth says RSA commission: The government should reroute billions of pounds that currently goes to the EU budget to support inclusive growth after Brexit, according to a commission set up by businesses, local government and non-profit groups.

A new breed of Boris bikes could soon be available at your local uni, as Santander launches crowdfunding competition: Uni students could soon be zipping around campus on their own versions of Boris bikes, as Santander is launching a competition to help institutions set up their own schemes.

German Minister confident of winning euro clearing power from “offshore” London after Brexit: A German economics Minister has spoken confidently of winning euro clearing power from London after Brexit.

Over half of bankers think the Senior Managers’ Regime was a good idea: Bankers have given their blessing to a recently introduced set of rules designed to increase personal accountability, the next tranche of which is due to take effect.

Tue, 07 Mar 2017 09:12:00 +0000
In the Papers - David Lloyd, Volvo, John Lewis, Gymbox Newspaper Summary

The Times

1,000 jobs at risk in £11 billion fund merger: As many as 1,000 jobs could be at risk as Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management pursue their £11 billion all-share mega-merger, prompting the Scottish government and local MPs to demand urgent clarity from both sides.

Regulator under fire for ‘failing to act on Mitie accounting issues’: A former top City fund manager with a reputation for unearthing accounting problems at listed companies has criticised the regulator for failing to intervene in the bookkeeping practices at Mitie.

Deutsche Bank taps market again to raise €8 billion: Germany’s largest lender has announced plans to raise €8 billion through a share sale and selling part of its asset management business.

Legal challenge to ‘unfair’ PPI deadline: Two financial watchdogs face the threat of a legal challenge over their handling of payment protection insurance amid claims that thousands of people are missing out on redress after the scandal.

Atlantis has tilt at underwater windmills: Developers of the world’s largest tidal stream energy plant have set out ambitious plans to slash its power generation costs by more than half in an attempt to secure subsidies for the project to continue.

Sterling supports export boost for manufacturers: Manufacturing has made a much stronger than expected start to the year as a falling pound has led to a “sharp rebound” in exports.

Yoga raves and pole dancing prove a perfect fit for Gymbox: A fast-growing gym chain known for its unusual fitness classes enjoyed a near-fivefold increase in its profits last year.

Britain ‘leads way throughout Europe for life sciences’: The pharmaceuticals manufacturing industry is more productive than its counterparts in any other leading European economy, according a report.

Crime-spotting software specialist set to expand: A supplier of police investigation and anti-fraud software is increasing staff numbers as it steps up its export efforts. Altia Solutions is also rebranding a few months after completing the acquisition of ABM Intelligence, which specialises in secure software for highly sensitive matters such as confidential informants, undercover personnel and witness protection.

The Independent

Hundreds of flights cancelled as week of aviation discontent begins: The travel plans of tens of thousands of airline passengers at the start of the working week have been wrecked as industrial action intensifies across Europe.

Ending free movement will not reduce immigration, peers warn: Ending the free movement of people from EU countries after Brexit may not result in lower overall migration, a committee of peers has warned.

Hammond: Britain will ‘fight back’ if no deal with the EU is reached: Britain will “fight back” and not “slink off like a wounded animal” if finishes its negotiations with the EU without striking the deal it wants; the Chancellor Philip Hammond has said.

The Daily Telegraph

Permian shale boom in Texas is devastating for OPEC: The OPEC oil cartel is waking up to an unpleasant surprise. Shale output from the Permian Basin in Texas is expanding faster than the world thought humanly possible.

ITV’s court victory over online broadcasts sets up showdown with Virgin Media: ITV has scored a court victory over services that retransmit its broadcasts without permission, setting the scene for a battle this summer with its biggest shareholder, Liberty Global, the owner of Virgin Media.

Bank backed by Cambridge University tops £500 million of small business loans: A bank backed by a Cambridge college loaned out more than half a billion pounds to small firms, less than five years after it launched.

Market awaits Restaurant Group recipe for return to previous profits after share slump: The new Boss of former stock market darling the Restaurant Group will this week be pushed to outline how he plans to restore the company to previous levels of profitability.

Sales and currency movements help lessen G4S’s debt pile: Security firm G4S is expected to show further signs of tentatively returning to health this week, as the sale of parts of the business and foreign exchange rates improve its debt position.

Post-Brexit special treatment for select industries will fail, warns IoD Boss: The new head of the Institute of Directors (IoD) has warned the Government that policies giving special treatment to industries such as car manufacturing as part of its Brexit negotiations are doomed to fail.

The Guardian

Ending free movement from EU is no ‘quick fix’ for low wages, Lords say: Ending free movement from Europe post-Brexit may not deliver a meaningful cut in net migration or provide a “quick fix” for low wages, a House of Lords report has warned.

Chancellor’s budget to build up Brexit reserves, not tackle NHS crisis: Philip Hammond is expected to use Wednesday’s budget to announce that tax revenues will be used to build up a reserve to deal with uncertainties arising from Brexit, rather than increase spending on the health service.

John Lewis and Waitrose owner set to reduce staff bonus: The owner of John Lewis and Waitrose is poised to cut the annual bonus it pays staff to the lowest level since the 1950s due to the pressure on retailers.

The oil deal, the disgraced former Minister, and $800 million paid via a U.K. bank: Britain’s commitment to tackling high-end money laundering through the City of London is under serious scrutiny after it emerged that regulators appear to have waved through an $800 million bank transfer to a convicted criminal as the proceeds from one of the most corrupt deals in the history of the oil industry.

Daily Mail

Supermarket chain Morrisons to reveal an increase in annual profit growth: Supermarket Morrisons is expected to reveal its first profit growth in six years when it publishes results this week. Investors are expecting the group to report pre-tax profit ahead of expectations between £330 million and £340 million.

Green doubles pension payout to £50 million: New move to plug deficit at Arcadia follows billionaire’s BHS settlement: Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group has struck a deal to pay tens of millions of pounds into its pension fund to help plug a near £200 million deficit.

Crackdown on world banks sees global fines reach £260 billion since financial crisis: The world’s banks have paid more than £260 billion in fines since the financial crisis for a host of wrongdoing, a report has revealed.

Keeping track... John Lewis launch £4 million smartphone app to assist customers: John Lewis is to equip 8,000 sales staff with smartphones so customers no longer have to wait while stock rooms are checked.

Daily Express

British taxpayers could be forced to continue EU payments post-Brexit, Hammond admits: British taxpayers could be forced to continue to pay into Brussels coffers after Brexit, the Chancellor has sensationally claimed.

U.K. to ‘improve trade links with African Commonwealth nations’ after Brexit: Britain will try to boost trade relations with African Commonwealth nations in a move dubbed “empire 2.0” by Whitehall officials.

Stamp duty and pension changes predicted in Philip Hammond’s speech: Chancellor Philip Hammond will present his first Spring Budget on March 8 and lay out his financial plans for the country, as the U.K. gears up for Brexit.

Buy-to-let landlords face huge tax increase from new law: A time bomb has been placed under the once thriving buy-to-let market and is primed to explode in exactly one month.

The Scottish Herald

Industry calls for bond to raise project finance: The Scottish Government has been urged to use its new fiscal powers to issue a bond to boost the pot available for much-needed investment in infrastructure.

Glasgow law firm hails its latest sports contract: Harper Macleod has strengthened its association with the world of sport after being named legal adviser to the Glasgow 2018 European Championships.

Fife rally car firm hails breakthrough deal: The Fife firm behind an electric rally car for junior drivers is looking forward to scaling up its output after being backed by a major motor finance specialist.

Lost Distillery whiskies head east: The Lost Distillery Company has signed a distribution deal that will see its range of revived whisky brands reach Hong Kong and Macau.

EY’s Tricia Nelson on the gender pay gap challenges facing Scottish businesses: Tricia Nelson isn’t someone who falters in the face of a challenge. On the day, we’re due to meet bad weather has seen her flight from London back to Glasgow cancelled. Lesser mortals would have happily holed up in an airport bar, but only a few hours later we’re sitting in her offices overlooking George Square, Nelson having pulled out the stops to avoid standing me up.

The Scotsman

Wind turbines ‘provided two thirds of Scots energy needs’: Wind turbines generated enough energy to cover two-thirds of Scotland’s total electricity consumption last month, according to figures.

‘Bank of mum and dad’ pay out a third more to children: Parents lent almost a third more money to their children in 2016 compared with the previous year, according to a survey.

ScotRail’s vintage services run out of steam: ScotRail’s attempt to run steam trains is in danger of fizzling out because of heavy losses, just two years after they were triumphantly launched by new operator Abellio.

City A.M.

BAE says Executive pay plans “in line with best practice” as it faces shareholder revolt: BAE Systems has defended its Executive pay proposals as “in line with best practice” as it faces off against less-than-impressed investors.

Volvo reverses away from Lotus car brand deal: The Chinese parent company of Volvo, Geely, has reportedly done a swift three-point turn out of a deal to buy Malaysian auto maker, Proton, which owns British iconic car brand, Lotus.

Gym group David Lloyd is for sale: David Lloyd owners are preparing to sell the gym chain for £1.3 billion, according to The Telegraph.

China sets lowest growth target in more than 20 years: China has reduced its growth target for 2017 to its lowest level for more than 20 years, as the country seeks to manage the decline in its potential for catch-up growth and a new relationship with the U.S.

The BCC is demanding action over mounting business rate concerns: Almost 40% of U.K. firms are more concerned about business rates than three months ago, according to new research.

JP Morgan Cazenove holds off challenge of Numis Securities as most popular City stockbroker: Stockbroker Numis has closed the gap between it and JP Morgan Cazenove as the most popular broker for FTSE-listed companies.

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 08:19:00 +0000
In the Papers - Anheuser-Busch InBev, Snapchat, Asda, ITV Newspaper Summary

The Times

Bonuses cut at Schroders after fall in fund inflows: Staff at Schroders have been forced to take modest cuts in their bonuses this year after a disappointing final quarter wiped the shine off forecast-beating profits at Britain’s biggest pure fund management house.

Apprentice beats master at magic of share picking: He is billed as the greatest British stockpicker of his generation. His departure from Invesco Perpetual in 2013 was seen as a serious blow to the firm that had nurtured him. How could the great Neil Woodford ever be replaced, his fans groaned as they pulled out billions of pounds of investments.

Regulator has ‘caved in’ by setting 2019 PPI deadline: The main City regulator has been accused of caving into the banks after agreeing to set a deadline for complaints about mis-sold payment protection insurance.

Results put Convatec in good health: Maiden results from Convatec, London’s biggest flotation last year, suggested that the medical devices company was in rude health and sent its shares to new highs.

Criticism ‘has eroded trust in BT brand’: BT has pledged to improve its customer service after fierce criticism of the company over allegations of rip-off charges and poor quality broadband services.

Pressure builds on Travis Perkins as homeowners sit on their hands: People not moving, people not spending on doing up their homes and the rising price of goods at the builder’s merchant have added up to another slide in the shares for Travis Perkins, the former FTSE 100 business.

Apprentice plan just a tax on business, say employers: Employers have grave concerns over the government’s apprenticeship levy, which comes into force at the start of next month, according to a survey by EEF, the manufacturers’ trade body.

AB InBev feels draught from Brazil: Profits at the world’s largest brewer slipped for the first time since Anheuser-Busch InBev’s creation more than a decade ago as sales of beer in recession-hit Brazil fell.

The Independent

Carlos Slim could run for Mexican President after Trump cost him $16 billion: On June 15, 2015, the day before Donald Trump launched his Presidential bid, Carlos Slim’s personal fortune stood at just under $67 billion.

Gustav Klimt painting sells for £48 million at Sotheby’s: Any headwinds that sectors of the U.K. economy might be weathering at the moment don’t seem to be percolating through to the world of high-end fine art.

Banks have paid $321 billion fines since financial crisis with more to come: Banks globally have paid $321 billion (£262 billion) in fines since 2008 for an abundance of regulatory failings from money laundering to market manipulation and terrorist financing, according to data from Boston Consulting Group.

Fears Quorn mince contains ‘small pieces of metal’: Quorn has recalled thousands of its vegetarian mince from supermarket shelves over fears it may contain pieces of metal.

Construction grows in February but inflation still strong: U.K. construction output remained robust in February but input cost pressures on the industry remained severe according to the latest survey snapshot of the sector.

Pound sterling to stay at record lows even after Article 50 is triggered: Economists have warned the battered pound is set to continue trading at record lows even once Prime Minister Theresa May’s government triggers official proceeding to exit the EU.

Brexit: U.K. homeowners and buyers still confident house prices will continue to rise: Brexit has not dented British homeowners’ and buyers’ confidence in the housing market despite fears that the decision to leave the EU would cause prices to collapse.

The Daily Telegraph

Glencore paid $100 million to Dan Gertler in Congo deals: Glencore paid at least $100 million (£81 million) to controversial Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler over the course of four years, it has emerged, in the latest revelations surrounding its activities in the Congo.

Spire Healthcare on track after hospital group suffers turbulent year: Spire Healthcare’s focus this year will be on addressing the problems at one of its main hospitals, which has held back the company’s growth, its Boss has said.

AB InBev to squeeze even more drops out of SABMiller deal: Beer goliath Anheuser-Busch InBev will squeeze an extra $350 million (£285 million) in cost savings from its £79 billion takeover of rival SABMiller.

Rio Tinto defers bonus to former Boss in wake of Guinea bribery investigation: Mining group Rio Tinto has withheld bonus payments to its former Boss while it conducts an investigation into allegations of bribery in Guinea.

Rethink ‘disastrous’ business rates, says Boss of Alton Towers owner Merlin: The Government must rethink “disastrous” rises in business rates before next week’s Budget, the Boss of Alton Towers owner Merlin Entertainments has said.

Eurozone inflation rises above target for first time in four years: Eurozone inflation hit 2% in February, amid a jump in food and energy costs that pushed the headline rate above the European Central Bank’s target for the first time in more than four years.

The Questor Column:

An easy way for British investors to buy Amazon shares – at a 21% discount: The Manchester & London trust is far smaller than Scottish Mortgage (it has a market value of about £66 million, against the latter’s £4.7 billion) but shares its liking for American technology giants. Both have stakes in Amazon, for example: M&L has 7.6% of its money in the online retailer, which is its second-largest holding; for Scottish Mortgage the figure is 9.9% and Amazon is the No 1 holding. Facebook and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, also feature in the top 10 holdings of both trusts. Overall Scottish Mortgage has 18.8% of its assets in China, whereas M&L’s exposure is minimal at 1%. One quirk is that the manager owns more than 60% of the trust’s shares, which Winterflood said represented “a strong alignment of interest” with other investors. Questor says ‘Buy’.

Update: Alliance Trust: Shareholders in the venerable trust have approved proposals to outsource portfolio management and repurchase the stake held by Alliance’s largest shareholder, Elliott Advisors. However, Questor maintains its sell rating on the shares, believing that investors would be better off with the proven approach of Witan, another global trust. Questor says ‘Sell, Buy Witan’.

The Guardian

Snapchat shares soar 44% to value loss-making company at $28 billion: Snap Inc, the company behind disappearing messaging app Snapchat, has gone public with stocks soaring 44% on their first day of trading and valuing the company at $28 billion.

Brexit without trade deal would open Pandora’s box, says CBI Chief: Plunging out of the European Union in two years without a new trade deal would open up a Pandora’s box for Britain’s businesses, Paul Drechsler, the President of CBI, has warned.

Home ownership in England at a 30-year low, official figures show: Home ownership in England has fallen to its lowest level for 30 years, while the number of people privately renting is now higher than in the early 1960s, according to official figures.

IFS: Growth in U.K. living standards worst in 60 years: Britain is in the midst of the weakest growth in living standards in at least 60 years, with low income families faring the worst, a leading thinktank has warned.

Asda imposes harsher terms on suppliers after pound’s Brexit slide: Asda, Britain’s third largest supermarket chain and owner of the George brand, is imposing harsher payment terms on its clothing suppliers as it attempts to turn the business around.

Shale gas firm Cuadrilla brands anti-fracking activists ‘irresponsible’: The Chief Executive of Cuadrilla, a leading fracking company, has complained at what he calls intimidation and harassment by “irresponsible” activists protesting at a shale gas site the firm is constructing in Lancashire.

Daily Mail

Price comparison website Gocompare sees profits soar by almost a third: Price comparison website Gocompare has bolstered profits by close to a third and said it could enjoy an uplift from changes to the insurance industry.

Visitors finally return to Merlin’s theme parks following the tragic Alton Towers accident in 2015: AltonTowers owner Merlin Entertainments said visitors were returning to the crisis-hit attraction, but would not reach pre-accident levels until 2018.

Jimmy Choo’s jewel encrusted shoes and luxury trainers have sales on the quick march: Jewel-encrusted shoes and luxury trainers drove sales at British shoemaker Jimmy Choo. It saw revenue jump 14.5% in the year to December 31, also helped by strong sales of men’s shoes and a boost from Brexit-hit pound.

Ailing aviation pioneer Cobham pleads to shareholders for £500 million help in desperate bid to end losses: Struggling engineering giant Cobham is turning to long-suffering shareholders to end spiralling losses. The air-to-air refuelling pioneer announced a rights issue of £500million as it revealed a 30% slide in profits.

Try on while your delivery man waits: Online fashion giant Yoox Net-A-Porter considers U.K. ‘butler service’: Wealthy U.K. shoppers could soon try on designer clothes while the delivery man waits. Online fashion giant Yoox Net-a-Porter offers the ‘butler service’ to rich fashionistas in China, and is considering launching in the U.K.

Daily Express

Winners and losers of Bank of England’s money-printing programme: Savers have been among the biggest losers of the Bank of England’s money policies over the past eight years, while riskier investors have reaped huge rewards, analysis has revealed.

Rotolight makes light work for photographers, filmmakers and broadcasters: New equipment that lightens the load for photographers, filmmakers and broadcasters has given its U.K. manufacturer a starring role on shoots from blockbuster movies like Star Trek and Skyfall to wedding videos.

Budget 2017: Stamp duty and pension changes predicted in Philip Hammond’s speech: Chancellor Philip Hammond will present his first Spring Budget on March 8 and lay out his financial plans for the country, as the U.K. gears up for Brexit.

Pensions boosted by record stock markets but savers cautioned: Pension savers are set to see the value of retirement funds jump after stock markets hit fresh record highs this week.

Dollar soars against pound as U.S. forecast to hike interest rates in March: The dollar has soared against the pound, amid a boost from Donald Trump and expectations U.S. interest rates will again be hiked this month.

ITV Boss vows to go on attack to boost worldwide audience: ITV Boss Adam Crozier has vowed to pursue more content deals to boost its worldwide audience and lessen its reliance on advertising revenue.

The Scottish Herald

Engineering sector flags export surge: Engineering companies in Scotland have achieved a surge in order intake in the latest quarter, with export business boosted by sterling’s weakness following the Brexit vote, a key industry survey shows.

IndigoVision raises propect it may hire more engineers: Indigovision Chief Executive Marcus Kneen has said the video security firm expects to expand its engineering workforce in Scotland this year as it feels the benefit of action take to address tough market conditions.

Scottish organic farmers benefit from high prices: The Scottish Organic Producers Association (SOPA) is encouraging those who are considering making the switch to organic to do the sums, as all organic commodities currently have premiums.

Glasgow law firm in merger deal with city peer: Venerable Glasgow law firm Mitchells Roberton has merged with city solicitors Adie Hunter.

Nairn’s opens £6.5 million gluten-free factory: Biscuit manufacturer Nairn’s Oatcakes has started production at a £6.5 million gluten-free manufacturing operation.

Timber firm grows pre-tax profit: Scottish Woodlands, the forest management to timber sales firm, has lifted pre-tax profits by 36% to £1.2 million ahead of expectation.

Record fees for law firm Gillespie Macandrew: Law firm Gillespie Macandrew has reported an unaudited record £11.36 million in feeing for the year to 28 February 2017, one year after breaking through the £10 million barrier.

Fourth dividend for Alliance: Alliance Trust has declared a fourth interim dividend, of 3.274p, for the year ended December 31. It means the total dividends paid or declared for the year by the Dundee trust will be 16.4% over the ordinary dividend paid in 2015. Shareholders this week voted in favour of a switch to a multi-manager approach to running the £3.3 billion portfolio.

Border Biscuits set for television: Derek Griffiths, a former star of children’s television favourite Play School has been recruited by Border Biscuits to voice its new television advert, which follows an animated family of ‘Border Biscuitiers’. The advert is the second phase of national advertising for the brand, which also saw new packaging and enhancements at its Lanark factory.

The Scotsman

Scotch whisky trade body appoints first female Chief: The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has appointed the first woman to hold the post of Chief Executive in its 105-year history.

Lufthansa doubles growth on Scottish routes: The Lufthansa airline group doubled its growth in Scotland to 4% last year compared to 2015, the German carrier announced

Battery technology firm Dukosi receives £2 million boost: Dukosi, an Edinburgh-based specialist in battery management systems for electric vehicles and energy storage, has secured £2 million in funding to develop its technology.

Nova tidal energy project receives European backing: A European consortium, led by Edinburgh-based tidal energy firm Nova Innovation, has secured €4.4 million (£3.8 million) in funding to help towards commercialising technology designed to significantly cut the costs of generating energy from the sea.

Plexus ‘encouraged’ after landing new well customer: Plexus Holdings, the Aberdeen-based oil and gas technology firm, has secured a new customer in the form of Nexen Petroleum.

Brexit could be hurdle to Scots FinTech firms’ expansion: Brexit could negatively impact Scotland’s growing FinTech sector unless EU passporting rights are continued, an industry report has warned.

City A.M.

British private sector growth picks up as the U.K. consumer’s strong form continues: Private sector growth picked up in February as services geared towards consumers continued to impress, according to a survey of British companies.

Theresa May’s industrial strategy has come under fire from an influential committee of MPs: Prime Minister Theresa May’s flagship industrial strategy runs the risk of failure without more long-term planning, an influential committee of MPs has warned.

International firms continue bringing overseas talent to the U.K. despite Brexit doubts: Global companies have continued to move highly-skilled overseas workers to the U.K. despite uncertainty following the Brexit vote, according to law firm Pinsent Masons.

Football Pools sale: Sportech agrees £83 million deal with Opcapita: The iconic Football Pools has been sold to the turnaround firm that counts former retailers such Comet and MFI as previous investments in a deal worth £83 million.

Hastings takes £20 million discount rate hit but pleases shareholders with preserved dividend: Insurer Hastings said it wouldn’t be taking the knife to its dividend, despite this week’s cut to the discount rate that has hit many in the sector.

French energy giant Engie’s shares rise on a positive outlook to its turnaround plan: France’s Engie booked a multi-million euro writedown due to low power prices and high nuclear costs, but investors remain confident in the firm’s overhaul strategy.

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 08:33:00 +0000
In the Papers - Nissan, Cadbury, JP Morgan, Virgin Money Newspaper Summary

The Times

Brexiteer Terry Smith quits noise of City for convenient Mauritius: One of the City’s best-known fund managers and most pugnacious operators has moved to Mauritius as he seeks to escape the “noise” of the U.K.’s fevered investment community.

Insurers urge Chancellor to reverse ‘crazy’ payout reform: Philip Hammond held an emergency meeting with the heads of Britain’s biggest insurers in an attempt to stop what they described as a “crazy” decision to raise personal injury payouts, lifting the cost of car insurance for young drivers by more than £100.

Brussels denies scuppering exchange deal: The European Commission took the extraordinary step of hitting back at claims by the London Stock Exchange that a last-minute intervention by competition officials in Brussels had scuppered its £24 billion merger with Deutsche Börse.

Ground rent ‘scandal’ shakes Taylor Wimpey: One of Britain’s biggest housebuilders is reviewing a series of leasehold contracts it made up to ten years ago that MPs have described as “the PPI of the housebuilding industry”.

Franchise isn’t looking super any more as Go-Ahead profits slump: Months of passenger disruption on Southern Railways have driven profits down at Go-Ahead Group, ultimate parent company of the stricken GTR train franchise.

Peso’s fall is golden for miner Fresnillo: The plunge in the value of the Mexican peso has helped Fresnillo to report a sixfold jump in profits for the year.

Falling pound pushes up food bills: Food prices rose by 0.4% last month as the fall in the pound and higher import costs started to reach grocery tills.

Bills rise for SSE customers: About 100,000 SSE customers with prepayment meters will see their energy bills rise from April.

Oil price at $35? That won’t be a problem, says BP: BP will be able to break even at crude prices of $35 to $40 a barrel by 2021, the company said as it set out plans to return to growth.

Meggitt ready to play its Trump card: President Trump’s call for more spending on America’s military echoed across the Atlantic to Meggitt. Shares in the engineering group jumped by 13% after it delivered forecast-beating full-year profits and then set new medium-term performance targets.

Boss ready to vacate place at St James’s: The Boss of one of Britain’s biggest wealth managers is to step down after 11 years in the job to make way for another long-serving Executive.

Dollar rate adds more bang for buck at GKN: A weaker sterling has bolstered the fortunes of GKN, which reported a one-fifth rise in pre-tax profits to £292 million.

The Independent

Denmark cuts food waste by 25% in 5 years with the help of one woman: A woman has been credited by the Danish Government for single-handedly helping the country reduce its food waste by 25% in just five years.

Nissan may ‘adjust’ its business in the U.K. despite earlier assurances: Nissan said it may “adjust” its business in the U.K., depending on how Brexit turns out, potentially jeopardising 7,000 jobs at its Sunderland plant.

Uber Executive Amit Singhal resigns over sexual harassment allegations: The cloud of sexual harassment allegations engulfing Uber worsened after its newly-hired engineering Chief was forced to resign a week after it emerged he had failed to disclose a harassment claim from his previous job at Google.

No government bond bubble says new Bank of England Deputy Governor: Charlotte Hogg, the Bank of England’s new deputy Governor for Markets and Banking, has quashed suggestions of a “bubble” in the U.K. government debt market as a result of the Bank’s money printing.

Millions of U.K. eggs lose free-range status after bird flu measures: Millions of British eggs on supermarket shelves are set to temporarily lose their free range status as farmers were forced to coop their bird up in barns to prevent the spread of bird flu.

JPMorgan software does in seconds what took lawyers 360,000 hours: At JPMorgan, a learning machine is parsing financial deals that once kept legal teams busy for thousands of hours.

Proportion of U.K. women starting their own business falls sharply: The U.K. is trailing its international counterparts when it comes to growth of the entrepreneurial sector, with women particularly lagging.

Asda will be selling ‘free-range’ milk: Asda is set to become the first major U.K. retailer to sell free-range dairy milk, in response to growing demand for organic products.

Samsung Chief to be charged for bribery, perjury as scandal deepens: South Korea’s special prosecutor’s office said on Tuesday it would charge Samsung Group Chief Jay Y Lee and four other Executives with bribery and embezzlement amid a political scandal that has rocked the country.

Landline-only BT customers to see monthly bills cut: More than two million people, who buy only a landline telephone service from BT will see their monthly bills cut by a least £5, regulator Ofcom said on Tuesday.

Brexit: U.K. economy ‘sleepwalking into a disaster’ without regional immigration policy: The U.K. economy is “sleepwalking into a disaster” unless the country adopts a nuanced regional immigration policy to fill the skills gap left by lower immigration after Brexit, a Parliamentary Committee was told on Tuesday.

Cadbury launches two new chocolate bars amid rising commodity prices and a slump in pound sterling: U.K. confectionary giant Cadbury has launched two new chocolate bars, hoping to lure those with a sweet tooth and perhaps help combat some of the challenges it faces from rising commodity prices and a post-Brexit slump in the value of the pound.

The Daily Telegraph

Mobile phone roaming charges won’t go up after Brexit: Britons are unlikely to face steep charges for using their mobiles on the continent after Brexit, the head of Europe’s biggest mobile operator has said.

Mark Carney’s incoming deputy under fire for family links to Barclays Bank: Top Bank of England official Charlotte Hogg has come under pressure from MPs due to her family links to Barclays - a bank she will soon start regulating in her new job as deputy Governor for markets and banking.

Greggs warns of inflation impact as ‘tougher conditions’ lie in wait: Healthy options now make up more than 10% of sales at Greggs, the high street baker has said as it reported a jump in profits in 2016.

Dalata Hotels in clover as Dublin hotels boom: Pre-tax profit leapt by more than half at Irish-focused Dalata Hotels thanks to its Dublin sites outperforming the broader market.

Shares in Burberry surge after Belgian billionaire Albert Frère discloses stake: Shares in British trench coat maker Burberry surged after Belgian billionaire Albert Frère disclosed a 3% stake in the company.

Supplier switch helps put stopper in cost rises at Revolution Bars: Switching suppliers has helped cocktail-focused Revolution Bars mitigate the rising cost pressures that are hitting the broader consumer sector.

Interserve suspends dividend after slumping to £94 million loss: Interserve has suspended its dividend after swinging to a loss of £94 million, as the outsourcer attempted to claw back money lost as a result of energy contracts.

GKN Boss warns of dangers of forcing companies to plug pension deficits too quickly: The Boss of one of Britain’s biggest and oldest engineers has warned that companies being rushed to plug funding holes in their pension schemes could damage the country’s economy.

Donald Trump’s protectionism on trade would be ‘awful’ for the economy, BHP warns: Donald Trump’s threat to retreat to protectionism in the U.S. could be “pretty bloody awful” for the global economy, the Boss of one of the world’s biggest miners has warned.

Laird seeks to get debt under control with rights issue as losses balloon: Laird has launched a £185 million rights issue as the newly installed Boss of the electronics business battles to get its debt under control.

Virgin Money profits as bet on credit card surge pays off: Virgin Money has benefited from a huge pick-up in British households using credit cards to fund a spending spree, pushing up demand for the bank’s low-cost cards and helping it sieze ground from its bigger rivals.

The Questor Column:

the market has missed the turnaround story at this under-the-radar stock: Patient investors with an appetite for risk may be intrigued by the turnaround story that appears to be gathering momentum at Alumasc. The first-half numbers published in January suggest the story could be a slow burner. Sales rose by 17% but pre-tax profits rose by just 2%, hampered by the rising cost of materials, notably steel, caused by the pound’s post-referendum fall. But a 6% increase in the interim dividend suggests that management is optimistic, and a recent £5 million contract takes the order book to a record £33 million. If a combination of price rises, cost control and rising sales can take margins higher, the stock could look cheap on less than 10 times earnings with a yield of nearly 4%. The balance sheet has net cash, but there is a £33 million pension deficit that needs to be watched carefully. The market has yet to fully buy into the repositioning of the business and this could present an opportunity in a below-the-radar stock. Questor says ‘Buy’.

Update: Interserve: Just before Christmas this column turned Scrooge and put up two stocks to avoid. Pearson lived down to our expectations with a nasty profits warning and the promise of a dividend cut in January hammering the stock, and last week Interserve confirmed our worst fears as well, justifying our bearish view at 301p. The shares fell by nearly a third to levels last seen in 2010 after the firm warned that it would need to book an extra £90 million in provisions relating to a problematic waste-to-energy contract in Scotland with Viridor. Outflows of cash relating to the contracts are expected to take net debt from around £270 million at the end of 2016 to an average of £450 million in 2017, with a pension deficit on top. There is still no rush to get involved with this one, even after the crunching falls, as further clarity on cash flow is needed. Questor says ‘Avoid’.

The Guardian

Philip Green agrees to pay £363 million into BHS pension fund: Sir Philip Green has agreed to hand over £363 million in cash to rescue the BHS pension scheme, and settle one of the biggest City rows of recent decades.

Dyson shrugs off Brexit fears with massive U.K. expansion plan: Dyson, the technology company, is to undergo a dramatic expansion in the U.K. by opening a new 210 hectare (517 acre) campus as part of a £2.5 billion investment that will support its development of new battery technologies and robotics.

Brexit means taxpayers need to support supply chain, says Nissan: Nissan has called on the government to provide investment to help rebuild the U.K.’s car parts business so it can replace components that come from overseas after the country leaves the EU.

U.K. nuclear power stations ‘could be forced to close’ after Brexit: Nuclear power stations would be forced to shut down if a new measure are not in place when Britain quits a European atomic power treaty in 2019, an expert has warned.

Uber v TfL: court hears written English test will cost 33,000 drivers their jobs: A plan to force London minicab drivers to pass written English tests would put nearly a third of them out of business, the ride-hailing app Uber has argued.

Rupert Murdoch’s Sky bid could soon face U.K. investigation: Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox is expected to formally notify the European competition regulator of its £11.7 billion takeover offer for Sky later this week, after which the U.K. culture secretary will have to decide whether to launch an investigation into the extent of Murdoch’s control of U.K. media.

U.S. tourism experiences a ‘Trump slump’: Interest in travel to the U.S. has “fallen off a cliff” since Donald Trump’s election, according to travel companies who have reported a significant drop in flight searches and bookings since his inauguration and controversial travel ban.

Daily Mail

EasyJet and Dixons set to fall out of the FTSE 100 to be replaced by Rentokil Initial and DS Smith: Rentokil Initial and packaging firm DS Smith look likely to emerge as the victors of the latest reshuffle of the FTSE – but EasyJet and Dixons Carphone are among the losers.

Now Unilever Bosses get their bonus trimmed as Marmite maker launches a cost-cutting review: Unilever has unveiled a shake-up of Executive pay as the Marmite maker launches a cost-cutting review.

Triple boost for Brexit Britain: Dyson to build tech hub in the U.K., Chinese bid £1 billion for City skyscraper and 1,400 new Expedia jobs: Billions of pounds of investment deals were struck in the U.K.  as three major firms gave the nation a boost.

Net-a-Porter Founder Natalie Massenet defects to rival online fashion retailer Farfetch: Natalie Massenet stepped down as Executive Chairman of the upmarket online shopping website following its merger with Yoox Group in 2015. But she announced that she would be serving as non-Executive Co-Chairman of Farfetch, a global online luxury fashion platform.

Branson-backed challenger Virgin Money eyes up assets of struggling Co-op bank: Virgin Money, the challenger bank backed by Sir Richard Branson, is eyeing up assets of the struggling Co-op Bank.

De Beers reports a 25% fall in diamond sales: Miner Anglo-American’s De Beers’ group reported a 25% fall in diamond sales during the second sales cycle of the year.

Legal battle to block sell-off of the green bank to Australian asset-stripper dubbed the vampire kangaroo: Sustainable Development Capital, a firm which lost out in a bidding war to buy the Green Investment Bank, is asking for a judicial review over the expected decision to sell to scandal-hit Australian bank Macquarie.

Daily Express

Taylor Wimpey sales jump 18%: Taylor Wimpey has started the year on a strong footing as would-be buyers encouraged by cheap mortgage deals, low interest rates and the Government’s Help to Buy scheme snap up homes at an increasing rate.

Savers warned: Pension tax relief could be sliced in March Budget: Savers have been urged to invest into pensions ahead of next week’s Budget, amid fears the Chancellor could slash tax relief.

Battling traders spell out the deadly cost of business rates hike: Small firms facing colossal hikes in their rates together with business groups are predicting a bleak future for the independence and individuality of England’s high streets unless radical action is taken to reduce the burden.

Pound forecast to bounceback against dollar as Brexit fears fade: The pound has been forecast to surge in the coming months, as Brexit fears begin to fade and investors look for value.

Markets on edge fearing Donald Trump speech to Congress could spark mass sell offs: Financial markets are nervously awaiting Donald Trump’s speech to U.S. Congress this evening, amid fears the President could trigger mass stock sell-offs.

Moneypenny app aims to be the missing link for travelling traders: A new app designed to capture the phone calls sole traders and small firms miss when they are on the road has just been launched by reception service Moneypenny.

British defence stocks soar as Donald Trump plans $54billion increase in U.S. military spend: U.K. defence shares soared this morning amid the news that Donald Trump wants to ramp up military spending.

The Scottish Herald

Shake up approved at Alliance Trust: Shareholders in Alliance Trust have given overwhelming backing to a plan to shift management of its assets to specialists based outside Scotland after a 129 year association with Dundee.

McGlynn backs city council team heading for Cannes: Entrepreneur John McGlynn has backed the decision by Glasgow City Council to once again take a delegation to MIPIM, the world’s biggest property and real estate market in a bid to attract investment in the city.

Campbell Dallas unveils £1 million Perth office move as profits at accountant rise: Accountancy firm Campbell Dallas has unveiled a £1 million investment to switch to bigger premises in Perth, while revealing a 20% rise in profits in its last financial year.

Raft of deals makes Blackadders a “destination firm”: Blackadders managing partner Johnston Clark knew the firm’s expansion strategy had been a success when he started receiving calls from lawyers looking for a position at the firm.

Scottish law firm hails Northern Irish move: Law firm Aberdein Considine has hailed its ability to offer legal services across the U.K. for the first time, after sealing a long-term collaboration agreement with Northern Irish litigation and debt recovery specialist Wilson Nesbitt.

Hardies lands college contract: The property and construction wing of Fife-based chartered surveyor Hardies has secured a £1 million commission to provide services to Glasgow Kelvin College.

Borders hotel set for expansion: Prestige Hotel Management has submitted a detailed planning application for 26 lodges on the grounds of its three-star Barony Castle Hotel in Eddleston, near Peebles.

Marketing firm in airport deal: SpaceandPeople, the AIM-listed temporary promotional space group, saw shares lift by 8.5% to 19p after it was awarded the exclusive rights to promote brands and manage promotional space across Primesight’s airport portfolio in the U.K., which includes London Gatwick, London Stansted, Manchester and London Luton. No financial details were provided.

The Scotsman

Exova profits rise despite tough oil and gas market: Materials testing specialist Exova reported a rise in annual profits but said conditions in the oil and gas sector have continued to weaken.

Aberdeen Angus society parts company with Chief: The Aberdeen Angus cattle society has announced that its Chief Executive, Johnny Mackey, has stepped down.

Finance jobs outside London face post-Brexit risks: Nearly two-thirds of Britain’s financial services roles are currently based outside of London, laying bare the risks to thousands of regional jobs after Brexit.

FarrPoint plugs into Holyrood broadband rollout plan: FarrPoint, the Edinburgh-based telecoms and information technology group, is to advise the Scottish Government on planning and rollout of its Digital Infrastructure Action Plan.

Pork producer Robertson’s invests £3 million in Irvine site: Pork and bacon producer John Robertson & Sons has expanded its processing capacity with a £3 million investment in its second facility in Ayrshire.

City A.M.

The government’s tapping up Lloyds, Barclays and Google for digital skills: The government is turning to private business, including Lloyds, Barclays and Google, to help the U.K. become skilled for the modern age with ambitious new plans.

Brexit secretary David Davis says U.K. must prepare for chance of no deal with the EU: Brexit secretary David Davis has told cabinet Ministers to prepare for the possibility of the U.K. not reaching a deal with the EU after leaving the EU.

Johnson Service Group says laundering success is good news for Britain: Johnson Service Group, the U.K.’s largest rental workwear and laundry firm, revealed bumper annual results.

India’s economy defies banknote chaos to grow by 7%: The Indian economy defied economists’ expectations at the end of the year by avoiding a big slowdown after demonetisation.

Fraud squad lawyer tells court two ex-Barclays traders accused of Libor rigging treated honesty as if it were expendable: A lawyer acting for the fraud squad told a court that two ex-Barclays traders accused of Libor rigging treated honesty as if it were expendable.

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 09:13:00 +0000
In the Papers - London Stock Exchange, Virgin Active, Netflix, BMW Newspaper Summary

The Times

Mitie set to put worker on its board: One of Britain’s largest employers of low-paid workers is planning to take up Theresa May’s challenge to leading companies by appointing an employee representative to its board.

French blamed for scuppering London Stock Exchange merger: A proposed merger between the London Stock Exchange and Germany’s Deutsche Börse is all but dead amid allegations of French political and regulatory interference.

Soften Brexit by keeping EU rules, say businesses: Businesses are calling for European Union regulations to remain in place to minimise the cost and disruption of Brexit, according to a report by the British Chambers of Commerce.

Hammond gets £29 billion to play with in budget: Philip Hammond will have an extra £29 billion to play with in next week’s budget, a think tank says, as better growth and stronger tax receipts hand the government its first windfall since 2014.

Dow equals 30-year record run: The Dow Jones industrial average equalled a 30-year record run last night when it closed at a new high for the twelfth consecutive session.

Sun shines on Sotheby’s bottom line: Shares in the British auction house, which is listed in New York, rose 15.7% to $46.39 by the close of trading on Wall Street after the company reported fourth-quarter results that beat expectations.

U.S. seeks way to level sanctions on China: The United States would sidestep World Trade Organisation rules and level sanctions directly against China and other nations under proposals being considered by the White House.

Consumers holding off on big buys: Consumers are increasingly worried about their personal finances as food and fuel prices rise, according to a survey.

Ethnic pay gap remains hidden: Businesses will not be forced to publish details of the pay gap between employees of different ethnicities, after Ministers rejected the recommendation of an independent review.

Slashing bank regulation ‘will lead to worse crisis than 2008’: A group of former top bank regulators has warned the U.S. and European authorities that rolling back the reforms of the past eight years could sow the seeds for a worse financial crisis than 2008.

Virgin Active brings back its former Chief: Virgin Active has reappointed Matthew Bucknall, the health club chain’s co-Founder, as Chief Executive following the “mutually agreed” departure of Paul Woolf after three and a half years in the role.

Chinese set to pay £1 billion for Cheesegrater: British Land and Oxford Properties are close to selling their stakes in one of the City of London’s most distinctive modern buildings to a Chinese bidder in what would be one of the U.K.’s largest ever land deals.

The Independent

U.K. firms call for Brexit to be delayed if a trade deal isn’t struck: U.K. business leaders are demanding that the timing of Brexit be pushed back if the Government proves unable to strike a comprehensive trade deal within the two-year negotiating period leading up to the split.

Super rich foreign buyers are bargain-hunting for London’s homes: The pound’s post-Brexit vote slump against the dollar has considerably sweetened the appeal of London’s residential property market for millionaires from India, Turkey and the Middle East, according to new research.

Britons stand to lose £1.1 billion of loose change hoarded in piggybanks: British customers stand to lose up to £1.1 billion worth of loose change hoarded in piggybanks, jars and drawers when the current £1 coin goes out of circulation later this year, Mastercard has warned.

British workers have one of the worst pay deals in the world: U.K. workers saw their wages fall by an average of 1% a year in the period following the financial crisis, putting the country almost at the very bottom of a national ranking of wage growth compiled by the Trades Union Congress.

May’s post-Brexit plan for economy ‘would not come close’ to working: Theresa May’s plan to cut corporation tax to keep the U.K. competitive after it leaves the EU would be “no silver bullet for a hard Brexit”, a leaked note from a top City economist has suggested.

U.K. ‘more valuable for growth despite Brexit concerns’: Investors view the U.K. as a more valuable place for growth despite widespread concerns over Britain’s future outside the European Union, according to a report.

The Daily Telegraph

Jones the Bootmaker owners hoist ‘for sale’ sign over retailer: Jones Bootmaker, one of the oldest brands on the British high street, has been put up for sale by its owners in a move that raises questions over the future of its 170 shops and thousands of employees

Japanese giants itching to pull the plug on French debt: Japanese investors are increasingly alarmed by political risk in Europe and may be forced to liquidate large holdings of French public debt if the situation deteriorates further.

Red tape fears over plan to boost careers of minority groups: Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith led a government review which found that Britain’s gross domestic product takes a 1.3% hit a year - equivalent to £24 billion - because people from black and minority ethnic (BME) groups are being held back in their careers as a result of their skin colour.

Bunzl tops FTSE 100 with ‘strong’ performance boosted by weak pound: Outsourcer and logistics group Bunzl topped the FTSE 100 leaderboard after posting a market-beating rise in annual profits.

The Guardian

BMW considers making electric Mini outside U.K. due to Brexit worries: The new electric Mini could be made in Germany rather than the U.K. because of the uncertainty caused by Brexit.

U.K. falls in love again with Fairtrade bananas and coffee: Sales of Fairtrade goods have risen for the first time since 2013 as the increasing popularity of bananas and coffee sold under the ethical label offset falling sales of cocoa and sugar.

NHS faces £1 billion annual bill after ‘reckless’ change to injury payouts: A “reckless” government-ordered change to the way awards are calculated for car crash injuries or botched medical operations will add up to £75 car insurance premiums, and land the NHS with an additional annual £1 billion bill, the insurance industry has warned.

City watchdog sounds alarm bells over hard Brexit: A hard Brexit poses risks to the integrity of financial markets and could make it harder to protect consumers from wrongdoing by banks, the head of the City regulator has warned MPs.

Spring budget 2017: drop in government borrowing predicted: Solid economic growth and strong tax receipts since the Brexit vote have put Philip Hammond on course to announce a drop in government borrowing when he presents his spring budget next week, a leading thinktank has predicted.

Waterstones Chief defends decision to open unbranded stores: The managing Director of book retailer Waterstones has defended the company’s decision to open three unbranded stores, saying it will be good for “customers, town centres and... staff.”

Daily Mail

Mining company strikes jackpot finding more than a million ounces of gold in Kenya: Acacia Mining believes it has found more than a million ounces of gold in western Kenya. The company announced an ‘inferred mineral resource’ – when mineral content is estimated from geological evidence but not yet fully verified – at its project in the Liranda Corridor. It plans to drill this year.

1.6k Tesco managers get demoted with up to £5k pay chop as supermarket seeks to revive flagging fortunes: Tesco is demoting 1,600 managers at its convenience stores and cutting their pay. The supermarket is scrapping the deputy manager role at its Express outlets across the U.K.

Housebuilder Persimmon set to return £2.8 billion to shareholders as it sees profits leap 23%: Persimmon vowed to return more money to shareholders after profits jumped 23%. The housebuilder said it will hand investors a total of 925p a share, or more than £2.8 billion, in the ten years to 2021.

B&M budget store Bosses pay themselves millions through tax havens, Daily Mail investigation reveals: Bosses of Britain’s fastest-growing discount chain have funnelled more than £150 million through tax havens in Luxembourg and the Cayman Islands, the Mail can reveal.

Even bakeries get burned by hackers, top insurer warns ‘ill-equipped’ small businesses: Bakers are not immune from the hacking epidemic spreading across Europe, a top insurer has warned. Hiscox Boss Bronek Masojada said small businesses faced just as much risk as large ones from cyber crime - but many did not have the resources to combat it.

Ian King, 60, outgoing CEO of BAE Systems cashes in £794k of shares: The outgoing Chief Executive of BAE Systems has cashed in more than 130,000 shares. Ian King, who retires in June, sold 130,026 shares at 611p each on Thursday, making £794,458.86.

Daily Express

Nicola Sturgeon sends pound plunging amid SNP demand for fresh independence referendum: The pound has fallen against the euro and dollar amid growing concerns Nicola Sturgeon is set to spark a fresh political crisis by calling a second Scottish independence referendum.

EU ‘scuppers’ London Stock Exchange merger with rival Deutsche Borse: The London Stock Exchange’s £21billion merger with German rival Deutsche Borse is at risk of collapsing after falling foul of European regulators.

Stock market facing avalanche of selling as Donald Trump boom to end, Dr. Doom warns: Markets are at risk of huge crash that could be triggered by an avalanche of selling, a prominent investor dubbed Dr. Doom has warned. Marc Faber said U.S. stock indices are vulnerable after surging to record highs following the election of Donald Trump.

‘There’s no bubble’ Warren Buffett has put billions into stock markets since Trump: Legendary investor Warren Buffett has bet billions on the U.S. stock markets since the election of Donald Trump and said they are not in bubble territory.

Donald Trump boosts markets ahead of U.S. Congress speech with defence spending promise: Markets are gearing up for Donald Trump’s address to the U.S. Congress on February 28, where the new President is expected to deliver news on infrastructure and defence spending, as well as tax cuts.

The Scottish Herald

FarrPoint to advise on 2021 superfast broadband target: The Scottish Government has appointed telecoms and information technology firm Farrpoint to provide advice on the planning and rollout of Scotland’s digital infrastructure action plan.

Firm plans to double headcount as it grows overseas: The Founder of Copylab, the Glasgow-based investment writing and communications agency, has highlighted ambitions to double the size of its workforce to about 120 over the next three years.

Mackie’s sets £4 million chocolate target: Mackie’s, the Aberdeenshire ice cream to renewable energy group, has targeted an eight-fold increase in chocolate sales to £4 million by 2020, as the cost of ingredients weighed on profits in its latest financial year.

‘Volatile’ markets forecast as clarity awaited: The Chairman of Standard Life U.K. Smaller Companies Trust has highlighted its belief that stock markets will remain “volatile and challenging” until there is more clarity on what Brexit negotiations will mean for the economy and businesses.

Household spending squeeze signals fall in consumer confidence: Consumer confidence eased back in February after a Brexit-fuelled jump in food and fuel prices put the squeeze on household spending.

BCC publishes Brexit blueprint: The British Chambers of Commerce has published a business blueprint for the U.K. government ahead of the upcoming Brexit negotiations.

New head of law firm says it can double revenues while keeping its focus on Scotland: The man set to take charge at Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP has said the law firm can thrive as an independent focused on Scotland and is capable of doubling turnover in the next three years.

The Scotsman

Law firm Bond Dickinson expanding into Edinburgh: Bond Dickinson is to bolster its presence in the Scottish legal scene with the opening of an office in Edinburgh.

Office designer Space Solutions merges with architect: Workplace design specialist Space Solutions is expanding across the Central Belt in a tie-up with architectural and interiors consultancy has design.

Ex-Kingfisher Boss to lead Barclays’ retail bank arm: Former Kingfisher Boss Sir Ian Cheshire is to become Chairman of Barclays’ ring-fenced U.K. retail banking business.

Robot arm grabs limelight in oil technology showcase: An event set to take place in Aberdeen this week focusing on innovation in the oil and gas sector is to feature technology that could take offshore inspection to “a new level”.

Primark owner cautions over margins amid weak pound: Associated British Foods (ABF) is pencilling in a robust rise in half-year profits, but warned margins at its Primark retail chain would take a knock from the weak pound.

City A.M.

The British Chambers of Commerce is demanding more Brexit certainty from the government: British businesses have demanded the government give more Brexit certainty in a blueprint published. The British Chambers of Commerce has stated that EU member states will remain a key partner for U.K. firms, adding it is “imperative” that a new deal facilitates trade.

Mixed data for the U.S. economy as investors hold their breath for landmark Donald Trump speech: Important indicators in the U.S. economy showed a mixed picture as investors await a landmark speech by President Donald Trump.

Blockchain for banks is a “long way off” says influential central banker: Blockchain fintech has a “long way to go” to satisfy financial regulators, according to an influential board member of the European Central Bank (ECB).

Arqiva cashes in on previous investments while eyeing up new technology for future growth: Telecoms infrastructure firm Arqiva has raked in the cash over the last six months, growing its business by 10%.

Convenience store chain McColl’s scores sixth year of sales growth: McColl’s Retail Group said that its full-year revenue increased 1.9% to £950.4 million, up from £932.2 million in 2015.

Slater and Gordon reports a half-year loss, and points the finger at poor reputation in the U.K.: Australian-listed law firm Slater and Gordon revealed a loss in its half-year results, pinning at least some of the blame on its reputation in the U.K.

Tue, 28 Feb 2017 08:25:00 +0000
In the Papers - BP, Lidl, London Stock Exchange, Unilever Newspaper Summary

The Times

Former Director of failed lender lands job as chairman of Barclays U.K.: Sir Ian Cheshire, the former Chief Executive of B&Q’s owner Kingfisher, is poised to become chairman of the U.K. division of Barclays Bank, the part of the lender being ring-fenced to protect taxpayers from any future banking crisis.

Chocolate producer is full of beans: Divine Chocolate, the Fairtrade Chocolate producer, has increased net profits by more than 38 % to £443,000 in its latest year, which is good news for a cooperative of more than 85,000 cocoa farmers in Ghana. They are entitled to a 44 % share of the profit in the form of a dividend.

Alarm over new plans for pensions: Government plans for an overhaul of company retirement schemes risk putting a hole in the nation’s pensions lifeboat.

Adviser to Tesco-Booker takeover working for watchdog: The consultancy helping to make the competition case for Tesco’s merger with Booker has provoked concerns over a potential conflict of interest after winning a contract with the regulator.

BP faces questions on growth prospects: BP is under pressure to show how it will boost production and cashflow at a strategy update, three weeks after saying that it needed higher oil prices to balance its books.

Foreign investors hit the shops on Oxford St: Data from Savills shows that Oxford Street properties are increasingly being bought by non-U.K. landlords, with buyers investing in the once run-down east end of the central London street.

City lines up against Alliance plan to buy back Elliott stake: Several City institutions are believed to have voted against proposals put to ’s annual meeting of Alliance Trust in Edinburgh aimed at allowing Elliott Management, the activist investor, to exit the share register.

20,000 jobs ‘at risk’ if stakes are cut on gaming machines: The imposition of a maximum stake of £2 on lucrative gaming machines in high-street betting shops would wipe out thousands of jobs and cost the Treasury £1 billion in tax, according to research for bookmakers.

App to identify best graduates makes its debut: One of the nation’s biggest graduate recruiters is using mobile gaming to help speed up the search for the brightest student talent.

Low-paid are unaware of their rights: A poll carried out among low-paid workers by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy shows widespread ignorance of their financial rights.

Investors ‘may fall victim to crocodiles’: Small investors in the Chinese stock market are being preyed on by “crocodiles” and “thieves”, according to Liu Shiyu, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC).

The Independent

Warren Buffett avoids politics in his annual letter to shareholders: Billionaire investor Warren Buffett always draws a big audience with his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders but this year’s edition doesn’t break much new ground.

U.K. ‘more valuable for growth despite Brexit concerns’: Investors view the U.K. as a more valuable place for growth despite widespread concerns over Britain’s future outside the European Union, according to a report.

No debt relief for Greece, says German deputy finance Minister Jens Spahn: Greece must not be granted a “bail-in” that would involve creditors taking a loss on their loans, Germany’s deputy finance Minister has said, reiterating his government’s opposition to debt relief for Athens. “There must not be a bail-in,” Jens Spahn told German broadcaster Deutschlandfunk.

The Daily Telegraph

U.K. rises to become third most important country for company growth prospects, PwC says: The U.K. has risen a place in investors’ eyes to equal Germany as the third most important country for company growth prospects in a sign that Brexit has not weighed on the country’s international business standing.

More technology visas granted after fears of worker shortage: The Government will grant more visas to technology workers in a major boost to the industry’s attempts to secure access to overseas talent after the Brexit vote.

Anglo American Boss: I’d rather take a pay cut and keep shareholders happy: Mark Cutifani, Boss of Anglo American, has said he is happy to take a pay cut as part of an overhaul to the mining group’s remuneration policy.

Lidl boost for U.K. produce in Europe: Discount supermarket Lidl might be known for bringing bargain bratwurst to the U.K., but the German chain is enjoying its own Brexit boost after exporting £300 million worth of British goods across Europe.

Tensions rising for Go-Ahead as unions set to discuss more Southern action: Tensions will be rising ahead of Go-Ahead’s interim results (February 28) as the RMT union, whose industrial action has blighted Southern rail services, meets on the same day to discuss the potential for further future action.

O2 lines up robots to handle customer enquiries: O2 is seeking to cut costs in its customer service operation by encouraging people to talk to a new artificially intelligent robot rather than contact its call centres.

The Guardian

U.K. workers’ wages fell 1% a year between 2008 and 2015, TUC says: Workers in the U.K. saw their wages fall by 1% a year in the period following the financial crisis, putting the country in 103rd place in a global ranking of pay growth compiled by the TUC.

Chris Grayling tells Japan: some of our trains are superior to yours: Transport secretary Chris Grayling is lobbying Japan, the country that pioneered modern high-speed trains, to buy rolling stock from Derby as part of the government’s post-Brexit trade push.

Warren Buffett, ‘Oracle of Omaha’, criticises Wall Street and praises immigrants: The billionaire Warren Buffett, whose stock picks have turned Berkshire Hathaway into one of the most successful conglomerates in the world, criticised Wall Street on Saturday, saying investors should “stick with low-cost index funds”.

Hi-tech financial firms flee U.K. amid doubts over Brexit: An exodus of “fintech” companies from Britain has begun, the Chief Executive of a leading firm has said, dashing the government’s hopes of building the U.K. into a world leader for the industry.

Daily Mail

Unilever launches £2.5 billion shake-up for top brands - and Bertolli and Flora could be culled: Consumer goods giant Unilever is on the brink of unveiling a cull of top products including Flora margarine and Bertolli spreads.

Whole Foods Market’s clampdown on U.K. store thefts help lift profits for the second year running: A clampdown on store thefts helped the British arm of Whole Foods Market make a profit for its second consecutive year.

Daily Express

Housing duo expected to positive annual figures despite Brexit blip: Britain’s property market will be in sharp focus this week as two of the biggest housebuilders post annual figures after a solid year for the sector, despite a Brexit vote blip.

Lloyds to focus on ‘bread and butter’ banking: Lloyds is an increasingly bread & butter bank – focused on high street, SMEs and consumer banking.

Raw deal for savers continues as low interest rates expected to last until 2019: Interest rates will stay at record lows for at least two more years, according to Council of Mortgage Lenders chairman Peter Hill.

The Scottish Herald

Monks chair is top supporter of trusts: Serial investment trust chairman James Ferguson is a far bigger supporter of the vehicles he represents than most of his counterparts in the Scottish investment trust sector, ploughing nearly £9 million of his own cash into four different portfolios.

Services sector prices to rise at fastest pace in around a decade: Rising costs are expected to fuel the fastest increase in prices charged by U.K. services firms for around a decade, writes Ian McConnell.

Firm plans to double headcount as it grows overseas: The Founder of Copylab, the Glasgow-based investment writing and communications agency, has highlighted ambitions to double the size of its workforce to about 120 over the next three years.

North Pole vision brings out entrepreneur in gardener: As gardeners look forward to the approach of spring following Storm Doris we hear from a man who has grown a successful business from modest beginnings out of his love of plants and the great outdoors.

Edinburgh next as £5 million workspace opens doors: The Firm behind Glasgow’s latest flexible co-working space has revealed that up to £5 million was spent on the venture, with an Edinburgh facility also being planned.

Tech firm makes app to help with business resilience: Stirling technology firm Dogfi:sh Mobile has secured an investment from Barclays worth tens of thousands of pounds which it will use to develop a community-based app for businesses.

The Scotsman

Currie & Brown lands museum contract at Stirling Castle: The Glasgow office of a global asset management and construction consultant has been chosen to project manage a multimillion-pound redevelopment of a historic attraction in Stirling Castle.

Housebuilders bounce back as sales surge: Britain’s housebuilding sector will provide solid evidence this week that it has bounced back from the economic malaise that led to scores of construction firms going bust, despite the industry facing fresh headwinds.

Consumers switching of energy suppliers reaches six year high: Switching of energy suppliers has surged to a six-year high as householders increasingly shop around for better deals on gas and electricity.

New campaign to thwart Royal High School hotel bid: Leading heritage bodies are joining forces on a major new campaign against a plan to turn one of the Scottish most celebrated landmarks into a luxury hotel – warning it “threatens to ruin Edinburgh’s cityscape forever”.

City A.M.

Alarm bells sound for U.K. business as rising costs and inflation threaten to squeeze margins: Business groups have renewed calls for government to support companies in the upcoming Budget as firms face a toxic mix of rising inflation, spiralling operating costs and squeezed margins.

Interest rate rise could push 18,000 more into bankruptcy: A hike in interest rates will push thousands more Britons into bankruptcy, according to calculations from the government’s Insolvency Service.

Chancellor slams EU for tit-for-tat spat with U.S., over requirements for holding companies for non-EU banks: The Chancellor has revealed he is less than impressed with the European Commission for proposing a holding company rule for banks which could hurt non-EU lenders, as the EU retaliates against similar measures in the U.S.

Trump’s economic adviser targets tax reforms ahead of major speech: U.S. President Donald Trump’s first Budget will focus on tax reforms instead of cutting back popular entitlement programmes, according to his main economic adviser.

London Stock Exchange expects the EU to block its £21billion mega-merger with Deutsche Boerse: The London Stock Exchange’s controversial £21billion merger with Deutsche Boerse was thrown into chaos late on Sunday night, after it emerged that regulators in Brussels are likely to block the deal.

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 08:22:00 +0000
In the Papers - Wizz Air, Argos, Laura Ashley, Microsoft Newspaper Summary

The Times

French bond trading doubles over election fears: The volume of French bonds being traded has doubled this month to levels not seen since the Eurozone crisis because of uncertainty about the outcome of the Presidential election in late April.

Defeated bidders on HS2 contract may go to court: The decision by HS2 Ltd to hand lucrative contracts to CH2M, the American consulting engineer, could end up in court because losing bidders for the latest parcel of work may launch a judicial review.

Gas storage site may be out of action: Britain has taken a step closer to relying on imported gas after Centrica said that the country’s only sizeable storage facility may be out of action next year.

New twist on menu at Simpson’s: One of London’s oldest and grandest dining rooms is to close for refurbishment, putting the future of its 27 staff in doubt.

Private firms should have code of conduct too, says IoD: The Institute of Directors is calling for a new corporate governance code for private companies after recent scandals, including the collapse of BHS.

Free trade ‘will lift growth’: Britain could record a 4% bounce in GDP if it stripped away tariffs on imports after leaving the European Union, according to pro-Brexit economists.

Uber hopes to charm its drivers out of revolt: Uber has launched a charm offensive aimed at its estimated 40,000 drivers in Britain in an attempt to head off protests and legal challenges over their employment status.

Eurozone can’t relax yet, ECB insists: Interest rate setters in the Eurozone concluded that it was too early to think about easing back on stimulus measures, according to the minutes of the European Central Bank’s monetary policy meeting last month.

Dividend hope caps solid year for Coca-Cola bottler: Shares of Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company fizzed more than 4% higher after the soft drinks maker reported strong 2016 results and hinted at the possibility of a special dividend.

Canada Goose set for $300 million float: Famous for its £1,000 Parkas with coyote fur-lined hoods, Canada Goose is to go public with a dual listing in the U.S. and Canada that will provide an exit for Bain Capital, its owner.

Cult drama helps Virgin lure viewers: Virgin Media has reversed losses of television subscribers, swinging from a net decline in 2015 to a net gain last year as it upped its game against Sky with a new set-top box and network upgrade.

The Independent

Deutsche Bank has examined Trump’s accounts for Russia links: Deutsche Bank, the troubled German lender that loaned hundreds of millions of dollars to Donald Trump, has performed a detailed investigation into the U.S. President’s personal accounts in a bid determine whether he had any connections with Russia, according to the Guardian.

Chief Executives to earn 400 times the average worker by 2037: A major re-think of corporate governance is needed to improve transparency across U.K. Executives’ pay ahead of Britain’s departure from the EU, according to a new report.

Snapchat slashes valuation by billions ahead of stock market flotation: The owner of Snapchat has set the valuation on its initial public offering at between between $16.2 billion and $18.5 billion (£13 billion - £14.8 billion), significantly below expectations of between $20 billion and $25 billion, the BBC has reported.

Pressure group turns to crowdfunding to stop companies funding hate: A pressure group whose aim it is to encourage corporations to stop advertising on media outlets that they say encourage hate speech and extremism has launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise awareness and spread support.

EU worried it will be flooded by ‘British champagne’ after Brexit: The European Union is reportedly worried that “British champagne” and “British Parma ham” could flood the continent after the U.K. leaves the EU.

RBS accused of fraud and ‘systematic’ forgery by former employee: A former RBS employee has said the bank “systematically” forged documents in order to cover up its own misconduct.

Austria’s defence ministry to sue Airbus: The Austrian defence ministry has said that it will sue the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus over alleged corruption and bribery.

Global stocks hit all-time high thanks to Donald Trump’s promises and strong economic data: Global stocks scaled new all-time highs on Thursday, spurred by a double whammy of robust economic data and lingering confidence in the Trump administration’s promises to cut taxes and roll back regulation.

The Daily Telegraph

Banks caution against ‘significant’ overhaul of pay rules: The U.K.’s biggest banks have warned the Government against launching a “significant” overhaul of the rules governing Executive pay, the Daily Telegraph has learned.

Philip Hammond is an ‘economic illiterate’ on trade, says former Thatcher adviser: Chancellor Philip Hammond is an “economic illiterate” and does not understand the benefits of free trade, according to veteran economist and former Treasury Advisor Professor Patrick Minford.

Nestlé’s new Boss sets out recipe for growth as sales disappoint: Nestlé will ditch poorly performing businesses that cannot be fixed and spend millions more on restructuring the company, its new Chief Executive said, as the food giant reported lacklustre full-year results.

Shire’s shares rally as pharma giant beats expectations: Shares in Shire jumped 6% after the pharmaceuticals giant reported full-year results that beat City forecasts.

The Questor Column:

This 22% discount can’t last – and the new manager is motivated to deliver: The actual fate that could await the team that runs the Montanaro U.K. Smaller Companies trust is that shareholders could vote to wind it up, putting them out of a job. If it fails to narrow before the poll, shareholders could be encouraged vote for a wind-up, which would take place at much closer to net asset value, effectively eliminating the discount and handing them an instant profit. If, on the other hand, the discount does narrow between now and the vote, they are in line for a windfall from the rising share price. Irrespective of such tactical motives for buying the shares, there are good reasons to expect an improvement in performance. Opportunistic investors could not be certain that the vote would be for liquidation, which would remove some of the buying pressure and limit the narrowing of the discount. Mr Montanaro has an excellent long-term track record, making returns of 111.7% over the past decade, compared with 81.3% for his peers, according to FE Trustnet, the investment analyst. Questor says ‘Buy’.

The Guardian

Argos to pay £2.4 million to 37,000 workers paid less than minimum wage: Argos is being forced to pay £2.4 million in wages to more than 37,000 current and former shopworkers, and has been fined nearly £1.5 million after a HMRC investigation.

Business rates rise is biggest issue for small firms in London: Nearly three-quarters of small companies in London say business rates are the most important issue they face, piling further pressure on the government over the controversial tax.

Vauxhall’s future in U.K. is secure, says business secretary: The U.K. business secretary has said he has been reassured about the future of General Motors’ Vauxhall production operations in Britain, following a meeting with the U.S. carmaker’s Chairman.

Choi-gate: Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong formally arrested for corruption: The Samsung heir, Lee Jae-yong, has been formally arrested as part of a probe into the “Choi-gate” corruption and influence-peddling scandal that led to the impeachment of Park Geun-Hye as South Korea’s President.

Giggs and Neville skyscrapers ‘threaten Manchester’s heritage’: A plan by former footballers Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville to build two bronze skyscrapers in Manchester city centre is a “planning disaster of a magnitude not seen in decades,” heritage bodies have warned as they urged Ministers to intervene.

Daily Mail

Insurance Bosses at Beazley cash in £5 million after share price surges 10% since start of the year: Board members at insurer Beazley cashed in almost £4.9million of shares after a recent surge in the stock. Five Executives at the firm sold share options, offloading more than 1.2 million shares in the business, in total.

We were wrong on Brexit, admit top economists as they more than triple their growth forecasts for the U.K.: Leading economists have more than tripled their growth forecasts for the U.K. this year in a stunning admission they were wildly wrong about the impact of Brexit.

Power company Drax dives after dividend is cut as it reinvents itself for a low carbon future: Power company Drax is planning to review its dividend policy as it reinvents itself for a future without coal.

Fears for the City as Deutsche Boerse Boss claims German takeover of LSE will create 300 jobs in Frankfurt: A German takeover of the London Stock Exchange will create 300 jobs in Frankfurt – fuelling fears it will take the City’s business. Deutsche Boerse wants to buy LSE for £21billion, which critics say is against the U.K.’s interest.

Budget airline Wizz Air chooses Luton for its first U.K. hub amid booming demand for trips: Budget airline Wizz Air is opening its first U.K. base, in Luton, stressing its commitment to Britain. The low-cost carrier, founded in Hungary, is opening the hub amid booming demand for trips here.

Laura Ashley shares drop 10% as it warns on profits after poor Christmas: Laura Ashley suffered a 29% drop in pre-tax profits in the final six months of 2016, amid falling sales and rising costs.

Daily Express

Cobham shares hit 11-year low as aerospace group fires fifth profit warning in 15 months: Cobham shares plunged to their lowest for more than 11 years as the aerospace and defence technology group fired off its fifth profit warning in 15 months.

‘We need a post-Brexit visa’ Unskilled migrants cost U.K. taxpayers £3,500 each, say experts: Unskilled migrants to Britain drain thousands of pounds more from the country than they contribute, according to a group of economists backing the end of uncontrolled immigration after Brexit.

Trump trade could end in Dow Jones and FTSE stock market crash: Record high stock markets have raised fears the bubble could BURST with a devastating crash looming on the horizon.

Heineken’s £403 million takeover of Punch Taverns under scrutiny by competition watchdog: Heineken’s £403 million takeover of pub chain Punch Taverns is being put under the microscope by Britain’s competition watchdog amid concerns over the deal.

The Scottish Herald

Ian McConnell: Chancellor should take a leaf out of TUC book as pay squeeze looms: Hard-pressed U.K. households might feel, entirely justifiably, that they are due a break from the exhausting economic headwinds of recent years. Sadly, however, two sets of key economic statistics this week highlight the likelihood that things are set to get even worse.

Berkshire Hathaway-owned metals firm shuts plant in Livingston after loss: Caledonian Alloys, the aerospace metals recycler owned by U.S. billionaire Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, fell into the red ahead of the closure of its plant in Livingston in December.

Property deals in cities are all set to total £68 million: The Cuprum building in Glasgow is on the verge of being sold for £28 million to a fund controlled by Credit Suisse in what would be the biggest property deal in the city since the Brexit vote.

Activist investor ups Johnston Press stake: Crystal Amber has increased its stake in Johnston Press, the publishing group which owns The Scotsman and Yorkshire Post newspapers, to 21.36%.

North Sea star joins Wood: Wood Group has appointed North Sea veteran Alan Johnstone to lead the European arm of the division that maintains and modifies oil and gas facilities such as production platforms.

Beattie Communications grows sales and profits: Beattie Communications Group increased profits by around 6% in its 30th anniversary year helped by winning new clients.

Call for tariff-free deal with the EU: The Director of the Scottish Retail Consortium has stressed the importance of getting a fair deal for consumers in the Brexit negotiations.

The Scotsman

Deal struck for rental flats development in Leith: Nearly 140 build-to-rent flats have been given the go-ahead in Leith after property firm Rettie & Co concluded legals on behalf of Forth Ports.

Cala poised to build another year of record profits: Upmarket housebuilder Cala Group said it was on course deliver another year of record earnings as it hailed a “very strong” performance for the first half.

North Berwick gin makes it a treble at Brit Awards: East Lothian spirits firm NB Gin is preparing for a return appearance at the Brit Awards with special limited edition bottles.

Comms agency Beattie buoyed by record annual results: Beattie, the public relations and ¬communications group, has predicted a “flourishing” year ahead after unveiling record annual results.

Microsoft hikes prices by up to 15% after Brexit vote: Microsoft has raised prices on a raft of products including laptops and tablets by as much as 15% in direct response to the collapse in the pound following the Brexit vote.

City A.M.

Sales of bad debt top €100 billion in 2016 as Europe’s banks try to put crisis behind them: European loan sales broke through the €100 billion (£85 billion) mark in 2016 as struggling banks look to offload big books of bad debt.

Asset manager Fidelity urges Ministers to get tough on Executive pay committees: Fidelity International wants Ministers to back a proposal for boardroom pay committee chairs to be forced out if a large minority of shareholders do not back remuneration plans.

ECB continues to look through rising inflation as big risks loom on the horizon: The European Central Bank (ECB) remains committed to “looking through” rises in headline inflation as Europe faces a balance of risks “tilted to the downside”, according to the minutes from its latest monetary policy meeting.

Italian parliament signs off on €20 billion bank bailout fund, as country’s lenders creak under billions of euros of non-performing loans: Italy’s parliament has given the thumbs up to the law which will create a €20 billion (£17 billion) bailout fund for the country’s troubled banks.

The City of London’s policy chair is taking up the Chairman role at the firm which runs the U.K.’s cash machine network: The firm responsible for running the U.K.’s 70,000-strong cash machine network has appointed the City of London’s policy chair as its new Chairman.

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 08:41:00 +0000
In the Papers - Nationwide, Goldman Sachs, Stagecoach, Danone Newspaper Summary

The Times

Nationwide snubs fair banking survey again: Nationwide has refused to take part in an independent assessment of which financial products are good for customers for the second year running.

Brexit ‘must not mean upheaval in nuclear power’: The government must start urgently to lay out how it plans to leave the European body overseeing nuclear co-operation to avoid scuppering the new nuclear programme, engineers have said.

Eurozone’s trade surplus at record high: The Eurozone’s trade surplus rose to a record high in 2016 with exports rising towards the end of the year when the euro fell against the dollar.

Soaring U.S. prices lift odds of a rate rise: Inflation soared to a five-year high in the United States last month, far more than economists expected, boosting the chance that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next month.

EU approves landmark trade deal with Canada: Almost all tariffs on trade with Canada are set to be scrapped after MEPs voted through the European Union’s most ambitious trade agreement.

Defence contractor on target to make £100 million: Shares in QinetiQ touched record levels as the defence contractor and military technology research company said that it was on track to make profits of about £106 million this financial year.

Buyers submit final bids for B&B book: Bidders including Paragon and Prudential as well as U.S. investors have submitted final bids for £12.5 billion of Bradford & Bingley mortgages being sold by the government.

Anglo ditches mine to complete revamp: Anglo American is to sell its Union platinum mine in South Africa in a move that finally completes its withdrawal from older, less profitable operations in the Rustenburg region.

Vet supplier sees healthy year ahead: Animalcare, the veterinary medicine supplier, has reported a 12% rise in half-year revenue to £8 million.

Atomico delivers confidence vote: A London-based investment company set up by the Founder of Skype has raised one of Europe’s largest venture capital funds to invest in the continent’s most promising technology start-ups.

The Independent

Goldman shares hit ten-year high as Trump fills team with bankers: Goldman Sachs has had a phenomenal run since Donald Trump’s November election victory.

Global stocks hit a more than 20-month high: Stocks around the world rose to a more than 20-month high on Wednesday, according to Reuters, and the dollar climbed too, a day after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen signalled that the central bank could raise interest rates as early as March.

Investors unite against Trump’s climate change denial: The world’s biggest investors are joining forces to unite against Donald Trump in the fight against climate change.

Amazon’s business rate to be cut: Online retail giant Amazon will see its business levy slashed at most of its warehouses across the U.K. in the next financial, as nearly half a million other businesses across the country will be slapped with an increase in rates.

City of London business rates projected to increase by £1.4 billion: A projected increase in business rates faced by those occupying offices within London’s Square Mile could hamper the City’s bid to remain a banking hotspot after Brexit.

George Soros buys new stake in Goldman Sachs: Soros Fund Management, the firm that invests the personal fortune of billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros, took a handful of new positions in financial stocks during the fourth quarter as the sector was buoyed by Donald Trump’s Presidential victory.

Greece ‘may ditch euro in favour of the dollar’: The man tipped to be Donald Trump’s ambassador to the European Union has said that Greece is contemplating leaving the euro in favour of the U.S. dollar.

U.K. start-ups are thinking of relocating to Europe as EU departure looms: One in five U.K. start-ups is considering establishing a European outpost in the wake of last year’s Brexit vote, and some have already decided to move their headquarters out of the U.K.

The Daily Telegraph

Toshiba seeks stay of execution from banks as financial woes deepen: The embattled Toshiba group has asked its banks to extend a stay of execution for a second time this year after multi-billion pound writedowns put the group in danger of violating its loan agreements.

Amazon on the brink of launching own U.K. fashion label: Amazon is close to launching its own fashion label in the U.K. as part of the online giant’s efforts to corner the $3 trillion global fashion market.

Amazon Prime revenues hit £5.2 billion as online giant publishes details for the first time: Amazon’s revenues from its Prime subscription service have grown steadily in the past three years, but still lag behind the company’s retail and web services, recent figures reveal.

‘Give Vauxhall same support as Nissan’, demands union as car workers’ jobs come under threat: Car workers at Vauxhall’s plants must be given the same support the Government promised to Nissan to keep it in the U.K., according to unions.

The Questor Column:

The market fears the worst for pubs – so buy shares in well-run Greene King: Greene King, the brewer and pubs group, we may now be right at the point of maximum pessimism. Crucially, all the negative sentiment concerns the economic backdrop, not the company itself. Investors have sold the shares and driven the price to earnings ratio down into single figures because of a series of problems facing the pubs and restaurant sector. But, says Chris Hutchinson, who recently bought Greene King for the Unicorn Outstanding British Companies fund, all these negative factors are already reflected in the shares’ low valuation, while the stock’s fundamentals are more positive. He said debts of about £2 billion were manageable, while the dividend was covered twice by profits. Cash generation was also excellent, with a free cashflow yield of 6.7% and a return on capital of 10% well above the firm’s cost of capital of about 6%. Questor says ‘Buy’.

Update: RWS: In December we tipped RWS, describing the patent translation firm as unique. Our tip, at 301p, has already produced returns of 17.2% and the company announced its latest acquisition, the $82.5 million (£66.2 million) purchase of Luz, an American rival. We based our tip on RWS’s inclusion in the strongly performing SDL U.K. Buffettology fund, run by Keith Ashworth-Lord. He told Questor: “Luz looks like an excellent fit with CTi, which RWS acquired in 2015.  Though I always worry about large acquisitions, RWS very successfully integrated CTi and this is a shrewd management that is not prone to making errors.  Questor says ‘Hold, buy on weakness’.

The Guardian

Debenhams tops government’s shame list for underpaying staff: The government has named and shamed a record 350 firms for underpaying their staff, with the list of offenders topped by Debenhams after nearly 12,000 of the department store’s workers were short-changed.

U.K. employment growth driven by foreign nationals, figures show: The vast majority of employment growth was driven by non-U.K. nationals in the final three months of 2016 compared with a year earlier, the latest official figures on the labour market revealed.

Lingerie brand Agent Provocateur could be heading for administration: Lingerie brand Agent Provocateur could be headed for administration after the appointment of restructuring firm AlixPartners to lead a sale process.

Tata Steel workers agree to pension cuts to save 8,000 jobs: Tata Steel U.K. workers have voted in favour of proposals to turn around the struggling business, potentially saving 8,000 jobs but also leading to cuts to their pension benefits.

Daily Mail

As Dutch brewer closes in on 1,900 British pubs... Landlord fury over Heineken takeover: Brewing giant Heineken was rocked by a backlash from pub landlords as the company toasted a near-10% rise in profits. The Dutch firm is poised to buy 1,900 pubs from Punch Taverns in a £1.8 billion deal – sparking fears it will stock the bars with its own beer.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett makes huge bet on Apple while dumping almost all of his stock in Asda owner Walmart: Billionaire investor Warren Buffett has made a huge bet on Apple while dumping almost all of his stock in Asda owner Walmart. The 86-year-old nearly quadrupled his stake in Apple late last year, raising his company’s holding from 15.2 million shares to 57.4 million.

Activia yogurt maker Danone warns of ‘steep rise’ in milk prices - as shoppers face being hit at the till: Activia yogurt maker Danone warned of a ‘steep rise’ in milk prices – as shoppers face being hit at the till.

New Australian owner of DIY chain Homebase suffers £28 million loss in U.K.: The new Australian owner of DIY chain Homebase suffered a £28 million loss in the U.K. Retail giant Wesfarmers, which snapped up Homebase in a £340 million deal last year, said the half-year loss came as it counted the cost of a restructure and launched its ‘Always Low Prices’ pledge.

Daily Express

U.S. and U.K. share prices hit record highs as weak pound benefits business: Share prices hit record highs on both sides of the Atlantic on prospects for robust U.S. economic growth and U.K. companies continuing to benefit from a weaker pound.

Italian banks on brink of running dry: Rome forced to bend EU rules in emergency bailout: Italy is plotting another multibillion rescue of its beleaguered banking system, as two struggling lenders come dangerously close to running out of money.

EU hints at end for Greece as commissioner says nation needs ‘light at end of tunnel’: Debt-ravaged Greece must see an end to its suffering, a top Brussels bureaucrat has admitted, after the Eurozone has already pumped in billions of pounds in bailout funds.

Pound to dollar: Sterling falls as U.S. Fed rate rise looms amid inflation jump: The pound fell further against the dollar on Wednesday, after U.S. inflation increased at a faster than expected rate in January.

The Scottish Herald

Scottish trade deficit is forecast to widen: Scotland’s trade deficit in the third quarter of 2016 was up by £111 million on the same period a year earlier, at £3.001 billion, the latest national accounts show.

Bowleven ramps up defence against call for Director cull: Shares in Bowleven have surged by more than 5% after it ramped up its defence against the activist investor which has called for a boardroom purge at the Edinburgh-based oil and gas company.

Profits slide at Hargreaves as coal division winds down: Hargreaves Services, which owns the rump of Scotland’s coal mining industry, has reported a 72% fall interim profits.

Ellis Whitham opens Glasgow office with £1 million investment in city: Business support firm Ellis Whittam has invested £1 million opening an office in Glasgow, creating 35 jobs.

RBS offers fast lending: Royal Bank of Scotland is set to launch a digital platform that it said would allow small and medium sized businesses to quickly obtain unsecured loans of up to £150,000.

The Scotsman

Whisky helps exports to Japan hit record £100 million mark: Scottish food and drink exports to Japan have hit record levels, with the thirst for whisky helping the value reach almost £100 million.

Ex-Grand Theft Auto supremo leads Krotos funding deal: Leslie Benzies, one of the key figures in Scotland’s video game industry, has backed a six-figure funding round by an Edinburgh-based audio technology specialist.

Stagecoach sells stake in New York tour bus venture: Transport operator Stagecoach has offloaded its stake in a U.S. joint venture that operates sightseeing bus services in New York City.

CKD flags brisk residential property trade in Galloway: Property consultancy CKD Galbraith has reported a solid start to 2017 in Dumfries and Galloway, with both residential sales and buyer activity on the rise.

Scotland says konnichiwa to growing business and cultural links with Japan: They might be more than 5,600 miles apart, but the links between Scotland and Japan date back 150 years to a time when Scots engineers helped the Pacific nation kickstart its own industrial revolution.

City A.M.

Firms are wising up on the need to reform Executive pay: To mere mortals, Executive pay can sometimes seem out of this world. Vast payouts under controversial long-term incentive plans (LTIPs) were one reason why shareholder protests over Executive pay reached a five-year high in 2016. BP, Reckitt Benckiser, and Anglo American were among the other big companies to experience a backlash from investors.

Big five banks run up £100 billion bill in bad loans and legal costs over the last five years: The U.K.’s big five banks, which report full-year results next week, have run up a bill of nearly £100 billion over the last five years for a toxic mix of fines and bad loans according to a new analysis.

Under-fire Deutsche Boerse Boss set for grilling on insider trading probe and London location of stock exchange headquarters: Deutsche Boerse Chief Executive Carsten Kengeter is set to endure some tough questioning as he appears before investors, analysts and the media.

Tripadvisor’s shares fall after it misses revenue estimates: Shares in TripAdvisor have fallen in after-hours trading after a disappointing set of results from the company.

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 08:44:00 +0000
In the Papers - Jaguar Land Rover, Glencore, Fenwick, Google Newspaper Summary

The Times

Fed Chief risks Trump’s wrath with attack on spending plans: The head of America’s central bank put herself on a collision course with President Trump by issuing a thinly veiled warning that his economic plans posed a danger to the nation’s unsustainable debt burden.

Scandal-hit Rolls posts record £4.6 billion loss: Six weeks in and Rolls-Royce’s year is not getting any better. After a £671 million out-of-court settlement over bribery and corruption cases on a global scale, Britain’s engineering champion has announced record losses and cut the dividend by nearly a third.

First-time buyers create house price surge: Claims that house price growth was easing because of a post-Brexit slowdown were thrown into doubt after official figures revealed an acceleration at the end of last year.

Sales of Jaguar Land Rover’s key cars stall: Sales of three key Jaguar Land Rover vehicles have slowed markedly as the Indian-owned British manufacturer reported a sharp reverse in profits.

Glencore pays ‘infamous’ tycoon $160 million in Congo deal: Glencore has paid $160 million in royalties to a company controlled by a businessman accused of corruption by U.S. investigators, an analysis suggests.

Co-op Chief takes reins at Fenwick: Richard Pennycook, the outgoing Chief Executive of the Co-operative Group, has been named as the incoming Chairman of Fenwick, the upmarket department store business.

Hedge fund debt row may force West Bromwich to sell its assets: West Bromwich Building Society has warned that it may have to sell assets or get out of some of its businesses after a row with a hedge fund over its capital levels.

Would-be buyers circle Co-op looking to pick the bank apart: Advisers to the Co-operative Bank are preparing sales documents to send to prospective buyers, some of whom have registered their interest in parts of the Manchester-based lender.

Resurgent Acacia doubles dividend: Acacia Mining set out its stall to be a pan-African gold producer as it more than doubled its full-year dividend and returned to profit.

The Independent

Taylor review on self-employment cannot recommend tax changes: The independent review headed by Matthew Taylor into the rights of self-employed and gig-economy workers has terms of reference from the Government that prevent it from recommending that the Treasury close loopholes in the tax system.

The pound could fall another 16% as Brexit unfolds, says Deustche Bank: Sterling has endured a veritable tumble since the U.K. voted to quit the EU in June. But and it is nowhere near done yet, according to Deutsche Bank.

More people are looking for love after Donald Trump’s win: U.S. President Donald Trump’s election victory led to more people longing for love, according to the Chief Executive of online dating site eHarmony.

Surge in insecure work costs U.K. £4 billion in lost taxes: An explosion in the number of people in insecure employment is costing the Government £4 billion a year, according to a new report published on Tuesday.

18 major car firms urge Trump to cut fuel efficiency target: Eighteen major car companies have written to Donald Trump urging him to overturn a fuel efficiency target set by the Obama administration.

Google is losing employees because it paid them too much money: For the past year, Google’s car project has been a talent sieve, thanks to leadership changes, strategy doubts, new startup dreams and rivals luring self-driving technology experts. Another force pushing people out? Money. A lot of it.

High street urges Chancellor Philip Hammond to end ‘unfair tax system that gives advantage to online retailers’: Business leaders are calling on Chancellor Philip Hammond to tackle anomalies in the tax system that see high street shops pay higher rates on small premises than online giants do for vast warehouses.

The Daily Telegraph

Trump rally pushes Goldman Sachs to record high as Buffett shares smash through $250,000 mark: Goldman Sachs shares closed at a record high last night as expectations of higher interest rates and optimism about Donald Trump’s pledge to reverse costly regulation lifted bank stocks.

Greek economy suffers surprise contraction at the end of 2016 as Eurogroup Chief insists no ‘acute crisis’: The Greek economy suffered an unexpected contraction in the final three months of last year, highlighting the challenges facing the country as it faces further reform demands to unlock bail-out cash.

Ethical policy obstacle to Co-op Bank sale: Co-operative Bank’s core ethical mandate is expected to pose a major obstacle to a sale of the troubled lender to a rival firm, according to City sources.

Dealer Pendragon sets sights on doubling share of used car market: Car dealer Pendragon aims to more than double its share of the used vehicle market over the next five years - but the news got a frosty reception from the market, sending the shares into reverse.

Pensions firm Xafinity goes public in attempt to shake up the industry: Pensions consultancy Xafinity has announced its intention to float on the London Stock Exchange as it bids to “disrupt the pensions world”.

Tidjane Thiam to cut thousands more jobs at Credit Suisse: Tidjane Thiam, the Chief Executive of Credit Suisse, is preparing to swing the axe at the bank once again and cut thousands more jobs after Switzerland’s second-biggest lender slumped to a worse-than-expected £1.9 billion quarterly loss.

The Questor Column:

Debt makes this recruitment firm high-risk - but it could be about to turn a corner: A failed acquisition push, thin profit margins and a less-than-pristine balance sheet explain an ugly five-year share price chart at the recruitment and consulting specialist Parity. But a big management shake-up, a potential disposal and the first signs of improved trading could signal better times ahead for the Aim-listed firm. Net debts of £6.5 million and a pension deficit of £1.6 million sit with shareholders’ equity of just £5.9 million, so the balance sheet needs some work and interest cover was skinny in 2015, thanks to the pension costs as much as repayments on the debt. However, the Chairman, Lord Freedman, the Chief Executive, Alan Rommel, and the finance Director, Mike Aspinall, have started to tackle Parity’s problems since their arrival in 2015. Given the risks, however, a 20% stop-loss could be useful here. Questor says ‘Speculative Buy’.

Update: CLS Holdings: All eyes are on the full-year results from the property developer and manager CLS Holdings on March 8 after an announcement that it will tart to return cash to shareholders via dividends rather than twice-yearly share buybacks. The first payment will cover the second half of 2016. The total buybacks paid in 2015 came to £19.1 million and the first-half figure was increased by 10%. The same rate of increase in the second half would make for a total return of £21 million. That would be the base for 2017’s dividend and represents a starting yield of 3%, a further attraction for a stock that trades on a hefty discount to its net asset value of £22.82 per share. Commercial property could well suffer some lumps and bumps but CLS is well placed to weather them and income hunters can let the future dividend reliably compound. Questor says ‘Buy’.

The Guardian

Senators grill Janet Yellen on Republican plans to neuter Dodd-Frank Act: Dueling senators turned the Federal Reserve chairwoman’s first testimony before Congress since the election of Donald Trump into a row over Republican plans to defang Dodd-Frank, the financial regulation brought in after the Great Recession.

Blow to City as London offices face £1.4 billion rise in business rates bill: A sharp rise in business rates for offices in the City of London is threatening to undermine the Square Mile’s drive to remain a key financial centre in Europe after Brexit.

Wine lovers face triple whammy Brexit price rise, says U.K. trade body: Champagne drinkers in Britain face higher prices in the next year as the impact of the Brexit vote on the pound takes its toll, the drinks industry has warned.

Viagogo accused of sitting on refunds after overcharging for tickets: Dozens of people who bought tickets for gigs by artists including Ed Sheeran through Viagogo claim the website is withholding thousands of pounds in refunds, after a “glitch” saw them overcharged.

Greece defies creditors over more cuts as economy shrinks unexpectedly: The standoff between Greece and its creditors has escalated, with the embattled Athens government vowing it will not give in to demands for further cuts as data showed the country’s economy unexpectedly contracting.

Daily Mail

Mitchells & Butlers tumbles 2.2% as pub and restaurant shares lose their fizz on inflation fears: Mitchells & Butlers tumbled as Canaccord Genuity cut its ‘Buy’ rating on the stock. The stockbroker has moved the restaurant and pub chain to a ‘Hold’ amid fears it looks vulnerable to increasing competition and rising costs in the sector.

Next Chairman John Barton leaves in shake-up following dismal Christmas sales: Fashion retailer Next will usher in a new Chairman this summer after long-standing Boss John Barton announced his retirement.

Fed Chief favours an early rate rise warning a delay could be disastrous for the economy: The head of the powerful Federal Reserve said waiting too long to raise interest rates in the United States could be disastrous for the economy.

U.K.’s nuclear power plans thrown into disarray as crisis at Toshiba deepens: Britain’s nuclear power plans were thrown into chaos last night as problems escalated at Japanese company Toshiba. The corporate giant owns a 60% stake in the planned NuGen power plant in Cumbria that is supposed to eventually supply up to 6million homes as a key part of the Government’s energy strategy.

British families shrug off pound’s slide and hit the slopes with winter holiday revenues up 21% on 2016: British families have been undeterred by the fall in the pound since the Brexit vote and are booking ski trips as well as holidays to hotspots. Holidaymakers have lifted first-quarter U.K. bookings at travel giant TUI significantly.

HSBC appoints first Chief exec of its new U.K. ring-fenced bank: Banking giant HSBC has appointed the first Chief Executive of its new U.K. ring-fenced bank. Ian Stuart, 53, head of commercial banking for HSBC in the U.K. and Europe, will switch to lead the bank’s British retail and wealth management division.

Daily Express

Pound falls against euro and dollar as inflation falls below expectations: The pound fell against the dollar and the euro after lower than expected inflation reading dampened hopes of an interest rate hike.

Eurozone economy grows just 0.4% in Q4 - worse than U.K. after Brexit vote: Europe’s economy missed expectations to grow by just 0.4% - worse than initially thought - in the final months of last year, figures showed.

Dollar hits three-week high as U.S. set to raise interest rates again: The dollar jumped to its highest level in three weeks after the chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve said interest rates are likely to rise sooner rather than later.

Inflation jumps to two-year high of 1.8% amid higher petrol prices: The cost of living in Britain jumped to its highest level in more than two years in January, official data showed.

Germany growth slows: Merkel facing dire economy news as EU uncertainty over Trump grows: Germany’s economy grew at a disappointingly slow pace in the final three months last year - and at a far lower rate than Britain - data showed.

Toshiba Chairman resigns as company shares dive after delaying financial results: Toshiba Chairman Shigenori Shiga has resigned after the company delayed the release of financial results expected to include billions of dollars in losses tied to its ailing U.S. nuclear power unit.

The Scottish Herald

Retail sales tumble as grocery reverses: The value of Scottish retail sales in January was down sharply on a year earlier, as consumers reined in spending after a modest loosening of the purse strings in December, the latest industry figures reveal.

Firms face ‘danger’ of having to pass on cost rises: Scottish Chambers of Commerce has highlighted the “danger” for businesses that they will be forced to pass on higher costs to customers at a difficult time, after official figures showed a further rise in U.K. consumer price inflation.

Entrepreneur wins following in care home sector for labels developed for sons’ sports kit: An entrepreneur who started producing labels for children’s clothing to keep track of her sons’ rugby kit is eyeing rapid growth after generating strong interest in the care home and luxury yachting markets.

Dumfriesshire firm has made a quick impact on the road building sector: A young Scottish firm which has developed a way of making roads out of plastic has set out to raise £590,000 development funding from investors on the Seedrs crowdfunding platform.

Gillespie Macandrew creates head of family job: Edinburgh firm Gillespie Macandrew has appointed Jennifer Maciver to the newly created role of head of family law.

Cairn Energy closing in on bumper deal in North Sea: Cairn Energy is reported to be a frontrunner to buy a portfolio of North Sea assets that could be worth as much as $2 billion (£1.6 billion).

Superfast data deal signed: The Fortis datacentre in North Lanarkshire, the largest in Scotland, will be capable of sending data to Glasgow and Edinburgh in less than one millisecond after connecting to a gigabit capable pure fibre network in a deal with Commsworld. The datacentre, just off the M8, harnesses Scotland’s cool climate to deliver high levels of power efficiency and is powered entirely by renewable energy sources.

The Scotsman

Peugeot owner PSA in talks to buy Vauxhall from GM: The owner of Peugeot said it could buy Vauxhall and Opel from General Motors (GM) in a deal that would transform Europe’s car market.

CalMac hits new heights as Boss remains at helm: Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) has carried more than five million passengers in a year for the first time in two decades following the introduction of cheaper fares.

Office market in rude health despite lack of supply: Demand for office space in the Central Belt remains high, while the Aberdeen market shows some signs of recovery, a new industry snapshot indicates.

Life sciences firm Collagen Solutions to raise £12 million: Biomaterials business Collagen Solutions is expected to reach profitability in 2019 after revealing plans to raise up to £12 million.

City A.M.

Anthem hits back at Cigna’s $15 billion lawsuit: Health insurer Anthem has hit back at Cigna after it said it was terminating a merger between the two companies and wants $15 billion (£12 billion) in fees and damages.

Trian takes $3.5 billion stake in P&G: Trian Fund Management has disclosed that it bought a $3.5 billion stake in Procter & Gamble, maker of Gillette razors and Crest toothpaste.

Now German businesses are calling for post-Brexit partnership with U.K.: Firms in Germany want to maintain strong ties with the U.K. once it departs the EU, the managing Director of one of the country’s major industry groups has said.

Workers at this City stalwart have been banned from drinking during the day: Looks like it’s going to be dry January all year long for the boozers at Lloyd’s of London. City workers at the historic institution have been banned from drinking during the day because alcohol has caused so may disciplinary cases, according to the Evening Standard.

Parkdean and NewDay deals helped European private equity stage late comeback in 2016: European private equity activity began to recover in the last quarter of 2016 after a difficult first nine months to the year, according to a report published.

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 08:51:00 +0000
In the Papers - Ocado, Dyson, Samsung, Waitrose Newspaper Summary

The Times

Ocado may run out of cash to complete overseas licensing deal: Ocado could be out of spare cash to execute an international licensing deal, according to an analyst who adds that short-term payouts to the online food retailer’s management may be unwarranted.

Oil and U.S. push rouble to new high: The rouble has hit its highest level against the dollar for almost two years, driven by optimism about oil prices and encouraging signals on U.S. foreign policy.

EU commissioner heads to Greece for urgent debt talks: The European commissioner for economic and financial affairs will fly to Athens on Wednesday to help find a breakthrough in stalled bailout negotiations threatening to knock Greece out of the euro.

Samsung Boss faces fresh bribery quiz: The head of Samsung has been questioned for a second time and four Executives face arrest as South Korean prosecutors continue their investigation into a multi-layered corruption scandal.

Board overhauls could bring cheaper gas and electricity: One of Britain’s most influential investors has demanded an overhaul of the way the country’s largest infrastructure businesses are run, saying that reform could lead to lower prices.

Stanhope deal helps council build more: A London council has signed a 15-year contract with a property developer to build housing in what is thought to be one of the first deals of its kind.

Crude price falls as Saudi cuts fail to bite: Oil prices fell by 1.9% to $55.65 a barrel in New York last night as Saudi Arabia’s claims of steeper than expected production cuts failed to offset evidence of rising U.S. shale output.

Spanish brands lock horns over rights to bulls: Osborne Group, the sherry maker, has clashed with Jordi Nogués, maker of the BadToro merchandising including T-shirts, over the right to use the word toro, or bull.

Fevertree gingers up its drink range: With Fevertree tonic established as a key player in the revival of the gin market, the adventurous duo have been on their travels once again — this time to source ingredients for a new range of ginger ales aimed at doing for dark spirits, like whisky and rum, what the tonic has done for gin.

Food giant is flavour of the month: The Canadian owner of the Burger King hamburger chain beat quarterly profit expectations, sending shares to a record high (James Dean writes).

Botox maker irons out the wrinkles with $2.5 billion deal: Allergan, the maker of Botox, is to pay $2.5 billion for an American company that claims to be able to reduce the appearance of body fat by “freezing” the growth of fat cells.

Dyson heads overseas for engineers: Dyson has opened a research and development operation in Singapore that will result in hundreds of engineering jobs being created in Asia.

The Independent

U.K. faces dramatic cyber-security skills ‘cliff edge’: A global survey of almost 20,000 security professionals across banks, governments and multinationals concludes that Britain is facing a cyber-security skills “cliff edge” and that companies are “chronically” underprepared for attacks.

Inflation forecast to hit 1.9%: U.K. consumer price inflation is expected to jump to 1.9% on Tuesday, its highest level since June 2014, as the slump in the pound since last June’s Brexit referendum continues to feed through to the high street.

Waitrose is rebranding British meals range which uses New Zealand lamb: Waitrose has rebranded its lamb ready meals after coming under fire from both customers and the farming sector for using misleading labels.

Johnson & Johnson ditches plastic cotton buds over marine pollution: Multinational corporation Johnson & Johnson is to stop selling plastic cotton buds – one of the most common item of litter found on Britain’s beaches – in half the countries of the world after a campaign to cut marine pollution.

Brexit is already hurting Britain’s recruitment: Brexit is already preventing U.K. businesses from accessing top talent from across Europe, according to new research.

Top U.K. companies consider pay scheme shake-up: One in 10 top U.K. companies are considering scrapping so-called long-term incentive plans, which have unleashed sweeping waves of criticism for awarding top Executives huge pay checks.

Amazon aDMits it may have to pay fine for violating Iran sanctions: Amazon on Friday disclosed Iranian business ties that may have violated U.S. sanctions, warning that it may be penalised after a regulatory review of the activities.

More than a quarter of employers suspect ‘EU staff will quit in 2017’: Sectors of the U.K. economy which are heavily reliant on EU nationals are starting to experience skills and labour shortages, with research suggesting that the squeeze could be down to fewer EU workers seeking jobs in Britain in the wake of last year’s Brexit vote.

Brexit could force young people to retire even later due to low immigration: People under 40 will have to work for an extra year-and-a-half before being able to claim the state pension if the Government drastically cuts immigration after Brexit, new research predicts.

Lidl’s U.K. Prosecco sales surged 79% despite growing trend of Dry January: The trend of Dry January seemingly failed to smother Briton’s love affair with prosecco. Sales of the Italian sparkling wine at discount supermarket Lidl surged a whopping 79% in January compared to the same month last year, despite many people choosing to skip booze for the month in a traditional January detox.

Britain must be made worse-off after leaving EU, says Austrian Chancellor: The European Union must ensure Britain is made worse-off when it leaves the trading bloc and any other result would be a “capitulation”, the Austrian Chancellor said in a press conference on Monday.

The Daily Telegraph

Greek finance minister attacks IMF for ‘wasting time’ on bail-out deal: Greece’s finance minister has lashed out at the International Monetary Fund for “wasting time” with internal disagreements as he attacked the Fund for delaying a decision on the embattled nation’s third rescue package.

BAE Systems poised to promote Charles Woodburn as Chief Executive: BAE Systems is poised to confirm Charles Woodburn as its new Chief Executive in a widely anticipated move that marks a generational shift at the defence giant.

Firestone Diamonds smashes expectations with first sale: Fledgling diamond miner Firestone has promised more riches are in store after beating expectations for its first ever sale of gemstones from Lesotho.

Dr Copper rallies as strikes and disruption grip the market: The price of copper has lurched higher after supply disruptions on two continents sent the red metal soaring, boosting mining stocks in London and prompting analysts to warn prolonged stoppages could tilt prices further.

Trading software group Fidessa enjoys profit bounce from fall in sterling: Profits have soared at Fidessa after the trading software group reaped the rewards of the fall in sterling following the vote to leave the European Union.

Engineering firm owned by one of the U.K.’s richest men posts £8.75 million dividend: The engineering company owned by one of the U.K.’s richest men paid a £8.75 million dividend in its most recent results, as it continues its push in the Far East.

Business rates rise threatens London’s restaurants: London’s pubs and restaurants are at risk of sliding off the menu as they struggle with a looming £336.5 million jump in business rates bills.

The Guardian

£1.74 an hour: Jinn couriers complain over low earnings: Some takeaway delivery couriers say they are being paid as little as £1.74 an hour, far below the national minimum wage.

European commission upgrades growth forecast for U.K. economy: The Eurozone will enjoy stronger economy growth than previously thought this year and next but face risks from uncertainty surrounding Donald Trump’s presidency and the U.K.’s negotiations to leave the European Union, according to forecasts by the European commission.

Markets hit new highs over Trump’s change of tone on Japan and China: Signs of a “more emollient tone” from Donald Trump towards Japan and China, along with news that the European commission had raised its growth forecasts for the Eurozone and U.K. economies, combined to send global stock markets to new peaks on Monday.

Diamond rings sparkle for the internet dating generation: Where once a trip to the jewellers was a rite of passage for those wishing to tie the knot, thousands of people, mostly men, are now prepared to buy an engagement ring online.

Unite workers at BMW threaten action over plans to shut U.K. pension scheme: More than 7,000 BMW workers are threatening industrial action over the German carmaker’s plans to shut the final salary pension scheme.

Daily Mail

RBS shares rise 2.5% as investors hope for another 15,000 job cuts with bank on track for a loss of more than £2 billion this year: While suggestions that RBS could cut 15,000 jobs was bad for staff, investors cheered the likely cost-saving measures. Reports surfaced this weekend that the bank could be about to slash more jobs as it tries to return to profitability.

Misery for Prada as strong U.K. sales can’t stop pain of slowing demand in the U.S. and Europe: Luxury fashion brand Prada will hope its latest collection is a hit with shoppers after experiencing slowing demand in the U.S. and Europe. The Italian-owned company – known for its handbags, fragrances and glasses – reported a 9% fall in sales to £2.7 billion in the year to January 31.

Banque de France warns over Marine Le Pen’s plans to take France out of EU: Marine Le Pen’s plans to take France out of the Eurozone would cost more than £25 billion a year in extra debt interest payments, according to the Banque de France.

Troubled lingerie chain set to be sold: Profits and sales plunge at Agent Provocateur: The private equity owners of Agent Provocateur are close to securing a buyer for the troubled lingerie chain. Advisers to 3i, which took control of the firm in 2007, are understood to have drawn up a shortlist of three suitors.

Bosses of Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan £335 million richer after Trump’s election win: Two of the world’s top bankers have made £335 million as shares surged in value following Donald Trump’s election.

Toshiba expected to confirm it is withdrawing from all new nuclear projects outside Japan: Japanese giant Toshiba is expected to confirm it is withdrawing from new nuclear projects outside Japan, dealing a big blow to plans for a new power station in the U.K.

Daily Express

The Co-op bank puts itself up for sale with interest rates blamed: The Co-op Bank has put itself up for sale as it struggles to rebuild its financial strength, four years after being rescued from the brink of collapse by a group of hedge funds.

New mortgage helps buyers meet Stamp Duty costs: Barclays said its homebuyer cashback mortgage is designed to help first-time buyers or home movers recover the cost of stamp duty on their new property purchases.

New look Cool Chile expands product line with Barclays backing: The £50,000 investment from Barclays is being used to roll new sauces including a chipotle mayonnaise and Ranchero, a Mexican tomato and coriander staple for brunch dishes, along with a complex smokey-flavoured pepper Chile Pasilla de Oaxaca, rarely seen outside its home region in the south of the country.

Brexit and Trump will hurt Eurozone economy, admits Brussels amid slow growth forecast: The Eurozone economy will be heavily hit by Brexit, as well as the uncertainty arising from elections in Germany and France this year, the European Commission (EC) has admitted.

S&P stock index hits $20 trillion in value amid Trump’s tax plans: America’s top share index the S&P 500 is now worth a record $20 trillion (£16 trillion) in so-called market capitalisation, as company stocks continue to gain from Donald Trump’s expected tax and economy plans.

The Scottish Herald

Scotland is not sending out the right message on business taxation: The Scottish Government and the Scottish Green Party have concluded a Budget deal this year, which comes at the expense of increasing the Scottish tax burden still further. It may be early days for the Scottish Parliament’s extended range of tax responsibilities but so far our politicians seem to be thinking a little two-dimensionally when it comes to their new powers.

P2P lenders to fund gin-filled decorations: Edinburgh’s Summerhall Distillery is looking to raise £350,000 via peer-to-peer platform LendingCrowd to ensure it can make enough gin-filled Christmas baubles to meet the expected 2017 demand.

Raise the basic tax rate to save our services: Impending cuts to public services could have been avoided if the Scottish Government applied a blanket one pence increase in the basic rate of tax rather than tinkering with the higher rate in its recent Budget, a tax expert has claimed.

Photography agency develops new image that reflects position as provider of digital services: Its photographers have captured the likes of Mike Tyson, Usain Bolt and Lionel Messi in their pomp, and covered national tragedies like the Dunblane shooting and the Lockerbie bombing.

Glasgow airport sees record traffic in January: A sharp increase in international traffic helped Glasgow Airport to its busiest ever start to a year, with 597,594 passengers travelling through the terminal in January, an 8.4% increase on 2016.

DM Hall opens energy division: Surveyor DM Hall is opening an energy department, which will be responsible for all non-domestic energy issues. The department, branded DM Hall Energy and headed by Mark O’Neill, will also provide a consultancy service to SMEs, landlords and property occupiers. It will be hosted in DM Hall’s Glasgow office and supported by Dunfermline.

Remote area broadband firm aims to double size: Internet services will reach more remote parts of Scotland after provider Internet Anywhere secured £150,000 in funding to expand its satellite connectivity services – which its founder believes will help double turnover this year.

Shortage of office space comes to fore in market: Supply of office space in Edinburgh is at a “critically low level” according to property consultant CBRE, which said the capital was “crying out for new stock”.

The Scotsman

Ineos motors on with plan to build heir to Defender 4x4: Energy giant Ineos has unveiled plans to build a new 4x4 off road car in an investment running into hundreds of millions of pounds.

Innis & Gunn in stout tie-up with Irish distiller: Scottish brewer Innis & Gunn has launched a limited edition stout in a tie-up with Irish distiller Teeling Whiskey.

Pickering’s eyes £350,000 deal to expand gin baubles: Edinburgh-based craft gin brand Pickering’s is looking to raise £350,000 in debt financing to expand its facilities and ramp up production of its Christmas spirit-filled glass baubles.

Scotch whisky goes again to the excise duty well: The Scotch Whisky Association asks the Chancellor to cut duties by 2% as it repeats plea to level the playing field with overseas tax jurisdictions, writes Martin Flanagan.

Private sector output speeds up at start of 2017: Scottish private sector output strengthened in January, with new business levels expanding at the fastest pace for 20 months, figures from the Bank of Scotland’s latest purchasing managers’ index (PMI) shows.

City A.M.

Steven Mnuchin confirmed as U.S. treasury secretary: Donald Trump’s pick for U.S. treasury secretary has been approved by the Senate Finance Committee in a vote that divided strictly along party lines.

Finnish foreign minister vows to fight for “a good deal” between the U.K. and Europe after Davis talks: Finland’s foreign minister has vowed to push for “a good deal” between the U.K. and the EU after talks with Brexit secretary David Davis.

Lloyds Banking Group eyes Berlin for new EU base post-Brexit: Lloyds Banking Group is closing in on Berlin as its new EU hub post-Brexit.

Greek bailout delay could result in re-rerun of 2015, says governor: Bank of Greece governor Yannis Stournaras has warned that the country must secure an immediate release of further bailout funds from its creditors or risk recession.

EasyJet and Founders Factory announce Flio and LuckyTrip as the first travel startups for their accelerator programme: EasyJet has announced the first startups chosen to be part of its Travel Tech accelerator programme with London-based startup accelerator and incubator Founders Factory.

Swedish oil firm Lundin Petroleum is spinning off its non-Norwegian assets in a new company: Sweden’s Lundin Petroleum has announced plans to spin off its assets from outside Norway into an independently listed oil and gas firm.

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 08:30:00 +0000
In the Papers - Barclays, The Co-operative Bank, Tui Newspaper Summary

The Times

Don’t invest in Britain, European firms urged: Continental companies should avoid investing in Britain because of uncertainty surrounding withdrawal from the EU, Europe’s largest management consultancy has warned.

Barclays to freeze Boss’s pay over fear of backlash: Barclays has proposed freezing its Chief Executive’s maximum pay package for three years as it seeks to avoid the pay disputes engulfing other companies.

Made in Britain label threatened by trade deals, exporters fear: The CBI is calling on the government to ensure that exporters can take full advantage of free trade deals after Brexit by maintaining their “Made in Britain” label.

Britain ‘must square EU circle’ before U.S. deal: President Obama’s Chief trade negotiator has cast doubt on Britain’s prospects of securing a quick deal with the United States, saying that the U.K. needs to redefine its relationship with the European Union before transatlantic talks can move to a “meaningful” stage.

Fears of Toshiba exit give Tories a nuclear headache: Ministers are under pressure to secure the future of the proposed Moorside nuclear plant in Cumbria as the industry braces for the potential withdrawal of Toshiba, the main developer.

Co-op Bank may lose its name if stakes are low: The Co-operative Bank could lose its name if its parent group’s stake falls so low that consumers are being misled.

Retailers demand leading role in May’s industrial revolution: The Bosses of leading retailers will meet the business secretary next week to try to persuade the government to include the sector in its new industrial strategy.

French energy giant challenges the big six with cut-price deal: Britain’s big six energy suppliers are facing a threat to their dominance after Engie, the French conglomerate, announced its arrival by undercutting their prices.

Saudi Arabia goes beyond call of duty in delivering Opec promise: Opec is expected to confirm that Saudi Arabia has slashed output by more than required and delivered record levels of compliance with the cartel’s promised cuts.

Supreme revival at Universal: Universal Music Group is reviving Polygram Entertainment as part of a push into music documentaries. Its first project will be The Story of Motown, a documentary in collaboration with Berry Gordy, the producer and Founder of the music label behind acts including The Supremes.

Germans feel €3 billion effect of BT troubles: The fallout from BT’s profit warning appears to be spreading with analysts predicting that Deutsche Telekom is set to book a €3 billion writedown on its shareholding.

Miner battles Dechert over ‘unrealistic’ £16 million legal bill: Miriam González, the international lawyer and wife of the former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, is at the heart of a dispute over a £16 million legal bill incurred during a fraud investigation into a mining company.

Apprentices are here for the trendier beers: Greene King, which was founded in 1799, has set up a brewing venture at its plant in Bury St Edmunds called the Craft Academy, where apprentices will spend 18 months learning about brewing, design, marketing and sales.

Small businesses back in play after U-turn on public sector deals: The government has backtracked on a “clumsy and bureaucratic” rule that could have prevented small businesses applying for public sector contracts.

The Independent

Ivanka Trump brand sales plummeted at Nordstrom in weeks before election: So after the president made an excitable intervention over a clothing chain’s decision to drop his daughter’s clothing line, he may have been surprised to learn the items were not selling well at all.

Pensioner household incomes higher than those of working age, study finds: Pensioner household incomes have overtaken those of working age equivalents for the first time, a new study found.

U.K. could be shut out of super-accurate EU GPS system it helped to build: Brexit could leave the U.K. out of new EU-wide global positioning system (GPS) that went live in December after more than 15 years in development, with much of the cutting-edge work having been carried out by British companies.

The Daily Telegraph

EU urges Greeks and creditors to hammer out a deal quickly: Greece should agree a new deal with its creditors as quickly as possible to avoid another crisis rocking the Eurozone, the continent’s financial leaders have urged.

RBS plays down claim it will cut 15,000 jobs: Royal Bank of Scotland is preparing to cut more costs and chop more workers, but played down reports it will cut 15,000 staff in the next round of shrinking.

Olive oil crisis looms as poor harvests set to cut yields: The olive oil shortage is coming, says Walter Zanre, Boss of Filippo Berio U.K., the nation’s best-selling olive oil brand, and it will be much worse than anyone realises.

Bumper sales and profits for specialist drug-maker Shire: Shire, the pharmaceuticals giant, is expected to report a doubling in profit and sales when it announces full-year results on Thursday, thanks in no small part to its £26 billion acquisition of Baxalta.

Mattress retailer SIMBA Sleep raises £9 million from raft of new City investors including husband of Heineken heir: SIMBA Sleep, the online mattress retailer, has raised £9 million from a raft of new investors including fund manager Henderson, broker Numis and Citi banker Michel de Carvalho, whose wife Charlene is the sole heir to the Heineken family fortune.

Laird mulls selling its precision metals arm: Electronics component maker Laird is mulling a sale of one of its major divisions as the struggling company battles to turn itself around.

The Guardian

U.K. offshore wind ‘will lower energy bills’ more than nuclear: Offshore windfarms could provide cheaper power than Britain’s new wave of nuclear power stations, a leading figure in the wind industry has claimed.

Weak pound and rising inflation push clothing spend to five-year low: Britons slashed their spending on new clothes and shied away from the high street in January as they juggled Christmas debts and rising living costs.

Fraud case and falling share price take shine off Lloyds’s farewell to taxpayer: When Lloyds Banking Group last week finally accepted responsibility for compensating the small business customers who were victims of a £245 million fraud involving HBOS Reading, it was again forced to face up to the nasty surprises that lurk inside the once fast- growing bank it took over during the 2008 crisis.

Osborne’s bleak Brexit forecast ‘has undermined the Treasury’: George Osborne’s “project fear” forecasts about the economic risks of leaving the European Union have undermined public confidence in the Treasury and left it ill-equipped to influence Brexit, according to a damning new report from former Whitehall Chief Lord Kerslake.

Daily Mail

Surge in internet crowdfunding sees City floats lose their appeal: Now small firms turn to web for investors: A plunge in small firms joining the City’s junior stock market could be down to thriving public investment through crowdfunding websites, analysts claim. Just one business joined the AIM market in January – cement maker SigmaRoc, which raised £46.5 million. Nine companies left.

Banking software group Misys understood to be mulling return to Stock Exchange in boost to London’s flotation markets: Banking software group Misys is understood to be mulling a return to the London Stock Exchange, in a boost to London’s flotation markets.

Troubled engineering giant Rolls-Royce expected to announce record £4 billion pre-tax loss: Troubled engineering giant Rolls-Royce is expected to announce a record £4 billion pre-tax loss.

‘I’m waiting for the next crisis to deliver my absolute returns’, says manager of Brooks MacDonald Defensive Capital: Funds that strive to generate positive returns for investors through thick and thin remain popular. The latest figures from the Investment Association show that last year, targeted ‘absolute return’ funds were by far the favourite sector.

Daily Express

U.S. competition overshadows GSK progress: Results for GlaxoSmithKline in 2016 were ahead of what the market was expecting, with sales up 6% and core operating profits up 14%.

Retailers feel the heat as consumers tighten belts and sales drop: Consumers are reining in their spending at the start of 2017 as the January sales failed to stop outlay on clothing falling at the fastest pace in nearly five years, according to an index.

Island Pools System Commercia roll out and Cool Chile expands its product range: British start-up Island Pools System is looking for new investment of £150,000 to take its revolutionary cleaning technology for swimming pools and spas to market, writes Maisha Frost.

Thomson owner Tui to update market on trading as City looks for indications that strong bookings trend continues: Thomson owner Tui will update the market on first-quarter trading this week as the City looks for indications that a strong trend in bookings last year has continued into 2017.

The Scottish Herald

Services weak but manufacturing up: Growth of the Scottish private sector economy accelerated slightly in January as manufacturing performed well but services stagnated, while inflationary pressures continued to mount following sterling’s Brexit vote-induced tumble, a survey shows.

First fintech accelerator to launch at Spark hub: A centre of excellence dedicated to financial services technology will open in Edinburgh in May.

Glasgow shades pioneer dazzles Richard Branson: As controversy rages about banks’ treatment of small firms, we hear from a business which found the decision to take an innovative approach to raising start up funding paid off.

Valentine launch for business inspired by love: An entrepreneur from Edinburgh is to launch her home furnishings business on Valentine’s Day after becoming one of the first Scots to receive funding from the Virgin StartUp fund.

PwC dealmaker leaves firm: David Leslie, one of Scotland’s best known dealmakers, has left PwC. The accountancy giant said Mr Leslie left the business on 1 January. It is understood he wanted to take on fresh challenges after spending more than 15 years as a partner at PwC and its forerunner Price Waterhouse.

Mid-sized firms driving job growth: Almost 80,000 jobs have been created in Scotland over the last five years by mid-sized firms.

Strong fourth quarter for U.K. plc: Quoted companies posted a 5.6% rise in operating profits to £10.5 billion between October and December, the latest Profit Watch U.K. report from The Share Centre found. However pre-tax profits dropped by 2.6% to £8 billion, as profit falls at Imperial Brands, Shaftesbury and easyJet weighed on the overall total.

The Scotsman

Warning of higher fish prices due to dispute: The price of a fish supper could rise in the coming weeks as a strike by Icelandic fishermen threatens the U.K.’s supply of fresh cod and haddock.

Wealthy ‘shunning Scotland’ due to high property tax: Property experts have warned that the Scottish property tax is discouraging highly paid Executives from moving to Scotland.

City A.M.

The FCO is leading a delegation of British life sciences firms to China this week: A Foreign Office minister is leading a delegation of British healthcare and life sciences firms to China this week in a bid to boost trade.

Swiss voters reject tax reform plan: Voters in Switzerland have chosen to block the government’s attempts to reform its corporate tax regime.

Bank of England officials are talking Brexit with City Bosses: Bank of England officials have been meeting with various senior City figures, with wishlists for Brexit high on the list of talking points.

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 08:34:00 +0000
In the Papers - British Airways, Nissan, Twitter, L’Oréal Newspaper Summary

The Times

Hunt on for new ratesetter as Carney urges more diversity: The Bank of England is about to lose the policymaker most likely to vote for an interest rate rise. Kristin Forbes, one of the Bank’s nine ratesetters, will step down at the end of June, leaving a big question mark over the shape of future policy.

Berlin braces for Trump fury at record €253 billion trade surplus: President Trump’s team are likely to renew their criticisms of Germany’s economic model after Berlin posted a record trade surplus for last year.

Trinity Mirror buyback row escalates: MPs are demanding that trustees of pension funds operated by Trinity Mirror explain why they have allowed the company to use £10 million to buy back its own shares when its pension finances are in such a poor state.

Boots exit gives private equity firm healthy glow: A lucrative exit from Walgreens Boots Alliance helped KKR nearly quintuple its profit in the last quarter of 2016. The New York private equity firm reported economic net income of $339 million, up from $71 million a year ago.

Christie’s sales hurt by world uncertainty: Christie’s marked its 250th year in 2016 but a sharp fall in sales has cast a shadow over the anniversary. The auction house founded in 1766 by James Christie on Pall Mall sold £4 billion of works last year, a 16% drop on 2015.

Maker of artificial joints keeps faith in limping China market: Problems in emerging markets and disruption from a global restructuring left Europe’s biggest artificial hip and knee maker nursing a fall in annual profit. Smith & Nephew posted a trading profit of just over $1 billion for the year to the end of December, down 7% on the previous year and slightly below the City’s consensus forecast.

BA sets course for return to big regional airports: British Airways will fly from two of Britain’s biggest airports for the first time in a decade under plans to combat the rise of budget airlines. BA will establish new routes from Birmingham and Bristol in the summer, targeting European holiday destinations using a fleet of short-haul Embraer 190 jet aircraft, which carry about 100 passengers.

Nissan refuses to raise profit target despite weakened yen: Nissan’s profits last year were weaker than expected and it has not raised its profit target as Japanese carmakers brace for the impact of President Trump’s promise to put America first.

Digital results deliver boost to News Corp: The number of digital subscribers to The Wall Street Journal surpassed print subscribers for the first time in the last three months of 2016, News Corp, the newspaper’s owner, said last night.

U.S. engineer wins new HS2 contract: The American consulting engineer CH2 million has hit the jackpot with another key contract advising on the delivery of HS2.

The Independent

Yanis Varoufakis slams creditors of going after the ‘little people’: Former Greek finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has said that everyday life in Greece is unsustainable and that the country’s European creditors are going after the “little people” rather than “corrupt oligarchs”.

Tata Steel U.K. concludes sale of specialty division to Liberty House: Tata Steel U.K. has concluded the £100 million sale of its Specialty Steels business to Sanjeev Gupta’s Liberty House in a deal that should guarantee some 1,700 jobs in northern England.

Vegetable shortage forces U.K. supermarkets to set sights on U.S.: Squeezed by the lingering vegetable crisis caused by poor harvests in Southern Europe, many U.K. retailers are now looking across the pond to stock up their supplies of lettuces and other greens.

A map of all the EU coal plants that must close by 2030: Every coal plant in the European Union should be closed by 2030 and every single one in the world should shut by 2050 in order to meet commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a new report.

Renewables make up nearly 90% of new power capacity in EU: Renewable energy made up nearly 90% of all new electricity generation in the European Union last year, as wind energy overtook coal to become the second largest form of power capacity.

15 million U.K. homes pay £100 a year too much for broadband: An estimated 15 million households are overpaying for their broadband by around £100 a year by languishing on expired contracts, a survey suggests.

Gulf Royal pays £21 million for underground London car park: Those who have ever dared to try, will know that parking in central London can prove an impossible feat, so one Middle Eastern royal with a fleet of dozens of vehicles, has come up with a nifty solution: Just buy a whole car park.

CEOs are bracing for at least one crisis in the next three years: Most top company Executives are bracing for a crisis in the next three years and say that it’s no longer a question of if, but a question of when they will be hit.

Universal basic income ‘useless’, says Finland’s biggest union: Finland’s basic income experiment is unworkable, uneconomical and ultimately useless. Plus, it will only encourage some people to work less. That’s not the view of a hard core Thatcherite, but of the country’s biggest trade union.

The Daily Telegraph

Twitter misses out on ‘Trump bump’ as shares plummet and losses widen: Twitter’s position as Donald Trump’s platform of choice has failed to reverse its decline, with the company reporting its first fall in advertising revenue.

Banks tell France to tear up labour code if it wants Brexit business: Two of the biggest global banks have told French politicians in brutally clear language that Paris has almost no chance of capturing serious business from the City of London without radical reform of the country’s labour code.

Smith & Nephew could benefit from U.S. tax reform, finance Executive says, as sales miss expectations: Orthopaedics giant Smith & Nephew could benefit from pledges by Donald Trump to reform the U.S. tax system, its financial controller has said.

Tate & Lyle warns Trump’s plans to scrap Nafta could hit business as it raises profit expectations: Tate & Lyle’s Chief Executive has warned that a new trade barrier backed by the U.S. President between the U.S. and Mexico would damage its profits.

BHP Billiton backs BP’s return to Gulf of Mexico with £1.75 billion investment: BHP Billiton has backed BP’s first new project in the Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in 2010 after promising to invest $2.2 billion (£1.75 billion) in the venture.

DFS warns sterling slump is hurting margins: Sofa giant DFS has warned that the weaker pound has already taken its toll on profit margins despite higher sales.

Bank of England hits Japanese firms with record £27 million fine: Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group has been hit with a record fine of almost £27 million from the Bank of England for failing to be open with the regulator about an enforcement action its businesses faced in the U.S.

The Questor Column:

A dividend-focused global trust to buy, and a widely held rival that remains a sell: It’s hard to dislike an investment that has paid an increasing income every year for half a century, especially when it is available at an appreciable discount to the value of its underlying assets. The 50-year record of rising dividends has recently been achieved at Bankers investment trust, which dates back to 1888. The portfolio trades at a discount of about 8% to its underlying asset value. Among the trust’s other advantages are quarterly dividend payments, a low annual charge and a history of outperformance. The payment in 2013 was 14.13p, rising to 14.8p in 2014, 15.8p in 2015 and 17p last year. This year the board has signalled a likely rise of about 6% to 18p and Mr Holder said that, given the long record of increases, the board would “do anything not to cut” the dividend. We would happily recommend it even if it were trading at par relative to the value of its assets, so the current discount offers a pleasing opportunity. Questor says ‘Buy’.

Update: Alliance Trust: Many of Alliance’s 30,000 small shareholders will shortly receive – or will already have received – their voting documents relating to the trust’s proposed buyout of a major shareholder, Elliott International, an “activist” investor since 2010. If shareholders vote the deal through (and there is no suggestion they will not or should not) Elliott’s slab of stock, valued at around £620 million, will be bought by the trust. The remaining company will shrink as a result. The important bit is that Elliott is being offered the buyout at a discount of 4.75% to asset value. Alliance may indeed finally transform itself for the better. But we’ve been promised that many times before, only to be let down. The Elliott episode has delivered Alliance a great – and arguably highly beneficial – kick in the backside. But the need remains for it to prove itself. Questor says ‘Sell’.

The Guardian

Bank of England appoints Charlotte Hogg as Deputy Governor: The Bank of England has appointed Charlotte Hogg as its second most powerful Executive, in a role that hands the former financier the task of keeping a check on Britain’s financial sector.

No big pay rises for Britons despite inflation, says Bank of England: Hopes of bumper pay rises as the economy shrugs off the effects of the Brexit vote appear to be dashed by a Bank of England survey that predicts a decline in wages growth this year.

Demand for gold hits four-year high after Brexit and Trump votes: The Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump drove global demand for gold to a four-year high in 2016, as pension funds and other institutional investors piled into the precious metal while higher prices put consumers off jewellery purchases.

U.K. rents expected to rise faster than house prices in next five years: U.K. rents are expected to rise faster than house prices over the next five years, bringing further misery to Britain’s growing army of renters, according to a survey.

Greece hopeful of imminent EU debt deal despite German warning: The Greek government has Expressed hope of an imminent deal with its EU creditors, despite a warning from the German finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, that the country could cut its debts only by leaving the single currency.

Trump envoy says Greece is now more likely to leave the euro: Donald Trump’s administration has put itself on a fresh collision course with the European Union after the President’s candidate to be ambassador in Brussels said Greece should leave the euro and predicted the single currency would not survive more than 18 months in its present form.

L’Oréal confirms it is considering selling The Body Shop as profits fall: L’Oréal has confirmed it is exploring a potential sale of The Body Shop as the ethical beauty retailer revealed sliding sales and profits.

Daily Mail

Trump threat can’t dent foreign fund firm shares with Ashmore posting a strong update: Emerging market investors don’t seem to have been put off despite the advent of Donald Trump’s presidency. Investment firm Ashmore, which specialises in these regions, surprised shareholders with a strong update for the six months to December 31.

Goldman Sachs moves hedge fund from London to New York following manager’s retirement: Goldman Sachs is moving a hedge fund’s staff out of London in a shake-up following a manager’s retirement.

A fat profit for Skinny Tan owner after ditching Australia and moving to Britain: Ditching Australia for Britain boosted sales for the owner of Skinny Tan. InnovaDerma, which specialises in ‘at-home’ treatments for self-tanning, hair care and skin rejuvenation, toasted record sales and profits in the first half of the year thanks to soaring demand for the self-tan product.

Dorset firm pioneering safe nuclear technology teams up with leading U.S. company NuScale Power: Moves to revolutionise the nuclear power industry are moving forward with successful testing of a safety system. Dorset-based Ultra Electronics is making a system to protect the small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) being developed by leading U.S. company NuScale Power.

Cheese-maker Dairy Crest debts rise after cost of milk goes up: The maker of Cathedral City cheese and Country Life and Clover spreads has said it expects net debt to be ‘somewhat’ higher than the previous year due to rising milk and cream prices.

British tomato ketchup bottle maker RPC in £510 million takeover of U.S. rival Letica: The British plastic packaging giant that makes Heinz tomato ketchup bottles has bought an American rival for £509 million.

Daily Express

Thomas Cook suffers £100 million investor revolt: About £100million was wiped from the value of Thomas Cook as it flew into a shareholder revolt over boardroom pay and gave a cautious outlook on trading prospects.

Eurozone crumbles: Germany orders Greece to leave euro if it wants debts cut: Hardline German Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has warned the only way Greece’s loans can be written off is through the country leaving the Eurozone, as the debt crisis once again blows up.

EU leader arrives in Britain to offer olive branch to U.K. for good Brexit deal: Top Brussels bureaucrat Valdis Dombrovskis has launched a charm offensive in London ahead of Britain’s negotiations to leave the European Union (EU).

Donald Trump promises ‘phenomenal’ tax policy and boosts stocks: Donald Trump has promised to reveal exciting new tax policies, sparking a surge in U.S. and global stock markets.

Thomas Cook hikes cost of Med holidays as Brexit fails to dent demand: Travel giant Thomas Cook has hiked the price of summer package holidays, as Britons flock to Spain amid terror threats in Turkey and Egypt.

The Scottish Herald

Scotland’s most entrepreneurial place revealed: Ullapool is Scotland’s most entrepreneurial place, with 17.9% of its working-age population self-employed, research by the Federation of Small Businesses reveals.

Whisky bodies sign pact to work together: The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) and Scottish Craft Distillers Association (SCDA) have signed a memorandum of understanding that will see the groups work together to support the Scotch whisky industry and its supply chain.

First Tech profits back on the rise: First Tech, the investment business set up by oil and gas tycoon Ian Suttie, has turned a pre-tax profit of £1.1 million, up from £84,000.

Scotch still on the rocks for Chivas firm in China: Drinks giant Pernod Ricard has admitted its Scotch whisky business is “still suffering” in China, despite the growth of Cognac sales stabilising its overall position in the lucrative market.

Return at Saints buoyed by weakness of pound: Scottish American Investment Company (Saints) said Brexit uncertainty would have a cost, but it was too early to be sure of the “full economic consequences” of leaving the European Union, as it posted a near-30% return.

Property deals signal interest in Glasgow: Mott MacDonald has agreed a deal to move in to the landmark St Vincent Plaza office scheme in Glasgow in what has been billed the largest letting in Scotland since the EU referendum.

The Scotsman

Farm-based hydro plants face ‘ruinous’ rates rises: Growing concern is being voiced about the substantial rise in rateable valuations faced by farmers and landowners who have installed small and mid-scale renewable projects, especially hydroelectric schemes.

Distiller Inver House eyes expansion with £45 million deal: Inver House Distillers, the whisky firm behind single malts including Old Pulteney and Speyburn, has struck a £45 million financing deal with Bank of Scotland.

First for Scotland as Chinese game firm launches studio: Scotland’s computer games sector has witnessed its first investment by a Chinese firm in a move that has created an initial 21 development jobs.

15 jobs saved as buyer found for Sabre Safety: Administrators have found a buyer for oil and gas safety services specialist Sabre Safety, securing 15 jobs at the Fife-based company.

Scots dating app Soda aims to be a social success story: A Scottish tech entrepreneur aims to stand out in the crowded dating app market by encouraging people to make “real connections” by meeting each other socially instead of through electronic messaging.

City A.M.

Treasury Committee chair tells City watchdog to spill the beans on RBS’ GRG: The chair of the influential Treasury Committee is calling on the City watchdog to reveal more details from its review into Royal Bank of Scotland’s Global Restructuring Group (GRG).

Stress tests could be watered down in Dodd-Frank shake up: The days of U.S. stress tests for banks in their current guise could be numbered as Donald Trump and his team dismantle the Dodd-Frank rules.

Optimism growing over “make or break” steel pensions vote ahead of next week’s result: Optimism is increasing over a “make or break” vote for the future of British steel, with a result expected to be announced as soon as Wednesday.

Enterprise Inns becomes Ei as managed pub strategy pays off: Enterprise Inns becomes Ei as managed pub strategy pays off. Announcing a name change to Ei Group, the pub owner said its expansion strategy for the managed pubs arm of the business is also progressing as expected, with 250 sites on-track to be wholly run and operated by the group by the end of September 2016.

Commerzbank profits tumble for 2016 as restructuring costs stack up: Commerzbank announced that 2016 had taken a nasty chunk out of its bottom line, as restructuring costs and low interest rates took their toll.

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 08:39:00 +0000
In the Papers - Goldman Sachs, Sports Direct, Disney Newspaper Summary

The Times

Timico bets on £50 million equity deal: The man who spent £2.5 million to put his company’s name on what is now the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup has sold up.

Saudis shop small for $2 trillion flotation: Saudi Aramco has ignored the charms of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse, which were said to have been vying for the role, and picked Moelis & Co for what is likely to be the world’s biggest flotation.

Glaxo’s next Boss braced for ‘copycats’ threat: Copycat competition to Glaxosmithkline’s blockbuster respiratory drug could start to deliver a heavy blow to profits within weeks of the company’s incoming Chief Executive taking charge.

Bank urges Trump to keep crisis rules: One of the Bank of England’s top policymakers has warned that President Trump could put the world at risk of another financial crisis if he presses ahead with plans to dismantle reforms made over the past eight years.

Easy switching is not worth the hassle but worth the wait: A pioneering savings platform intended to help savers switch painlessly between deposit accounts in pursuit of the highest interest rate has been delayed, Hargreaves Lansdown revealed.

Goldman hedges its bets with New York move: Goldman Sachs is to move its $3.5 billion hedge fund business to New York, a move that sparked speculation last night that it was part of a bigger Brexit strategy.

Capital & Regional Chief takes the chair: Capital & Regional said that Hugh Scott-Barrett, the former banker who has run the shopping centre owner for nearly nine years, would become its Chairman in June after the retirement of John Clare.

Dunelm warns of price rises in pipeline: One of Britain’s biggest homewares retailers has suffered a big fall in profits and warned that shoppers face higher prices in the wake of Brexit.

Atkins aims to build on Trump’s infrastructure plans: Atkins, the consulting engineer that has been in merger talks with its American rival CH2M, is banking on Donald Trump delivering an infrastructure boom.

The Independent

May ‘trying to kill off solar’ before it becomes cheapest electricity: The Government has been accused of trying to kill off Britain’s solar energy industry just as it is about to become one of the cheapest suppliers of electricity – with no need for any kind of state subsidy.

Fifth of U.K. firms are under-investing because of credit constraints: A fifth of firms are under-investing because they do not feel that they can get the bank credit they need to expand, according to new research by the Bank of England.

Donald Trump’s trade war could be great news for the U.K.’s tech firms: Asian investors will turn their back on America and channel billions of pounds worth of investment into Britain’s tech sector following the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, an advisory firm said.

Sports Direct falls victim to cyber-attack but fails to tell workers: Scandal-hit retailer Sports Direct failed to tell its approximately 30,000 employees about a major data breach that took place last autumn and that saw staff’s personal information being accessed by hackers.

Brexit: Spike in number of U.K. bankers looking for Irish jobs: The number of financial sector professionals in Britain and continental Europe looking for jobs in Ireland rocketed in the months after the U.K. voted to leave the European Union, a study shows.

Trump is unsure if strong or weak U.S. dollar is best for the economy: A report alleging that Donald Trump called his national security adviser in the middle of the night for guidance on whether a strong or a weak dollar is good for the economy has sparked criticism and ridicule across social media.

U.K. companies are recruiting fewer women to boardrooms: Of the new recruits to U.K. boards in 2016, 29% were women, down from 32.1% in 2014 and 31.6% in 2012, according to a report which is published every two years by recruitment firm Egon Zehnder.

Weak pay growth forecast for 2017 by Bank of England agents’ survey: The network of regional agents working for the Bank of England have reported that employers plan to scale down pay awards this year, despite the expected jump in inflation due to the plunging pound.

Goldman Sachs claims Trump trade war would hurt U.S. and Chinese growth: Goldman Sachs analysts are looking at how a trade war between the U.S. and China would hurt growth in the world’s biggest economies, and the outlook isn’t pretty.

Disney is worried about a trade war between China and America: The Chief Executive of Disney has warned that a trade war between the U.S. and China would be damaging for business.

Lack of supply continues to support house prices according to latest RICS survey: The housing market continued to lack momentum in January but house prices are still expected to rise this year due to a weak supply of homes for sale, according to the latest survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Brexit four times worse for U.K. economy than previously thought, say MIT economists: Britain’s departure from the European Union could cause output losses of as much as 9.5%, according to new research.

The Daily Telegraph

Volvo’s record results help it gear up for flotation: Volvo has motored closer to a long-awaited flotation after the Swedish car maker delivered a strong set of annual results. Global sales of its upmarket vehicles rose 6.2% to a record 534,000, driving revenues 10% higher to SEK 180 billion (£16.2 billion) and operating profit up 66% to £990 million.

Drax locks in £340 million takeover to corner the business energy market: Drax has won the approval of shareholders to move ahead with plans to buy business energy supplier Opus Energy in a £340 million bid to corner the business energy market.

Severn Trent shakes off rebellion against Dee Water takeover: A bitter shareholder rebellion against Severn Trent’s planned takeover of Dee Water has been quashed by a High Court ruling in favour of the £84 million tie-up.  

Rival branch closures boost Handelsbanken U.K.: Swedish bank Handelsbanken plans to continue opening branches in the U.K. even as its bigger British rivals continue to retrench from the high street.

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou set to grill easyJet board over sale of 10 aircraft: The Directors of budget airline easyJet are set to be grilled by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the carrier’s biggest shareholder, over a complex sale and leaseback deal for 10 aircraft at the end of last year.

The Questor Column:

Oil firms have achieved drastic cost savings – but buy Chevron, not BP: The fact that BP seems finally to have put the Gulf of Mexico disaster behind it is welcome news for shareholders. But one figure in the oil giant’s results, released, gives cause for concern. The company said the oil price needed to be $60 a barrel in order for it to break even, compared with $50-$55 previously. It is of course possible that the price will continue to rise, following earlier improvements resulting from the decision of OPEC, the producers’ cartel, to cut production. However, we have misgivings about betting on such an outcome. In short, falls in the oil price have driven explorers to make drastic cost savings. For example, the amount they pay to hire a rig has fallen from about $650,000 a day to nearer $250,000 a day. The Henderson International Income trust cannot own shares in BP as it invests exclusively in overseas firms, but Mr. Lofthouse, who has outperformed his peer group over the past 10 years, according to FE Trustnet, the investment analyst, said he was “happy to hold” BP in other portfolios such as the Henderson Global Equity Income fund. Accordingly, Questor rates BP only a hold, which is still an improvement from the sell rating we gave it a year ago. Questor says ‘Hold’.

The Guardian

Trump envoy says Greece is now more likely to leave the euro: Donald Trump’s administration has put itself on a fresh collision course with the European Union after the President’s candidate to be ambassador in Brussels said Greece should leave the euro and predicted the single currency would not survive more than 18 months in its present form.

Candy brothers accused of blackmail and extortion in high court: The billionaire Candy brothers have faced accusations in the high court of blackmail, extortion and intimidation, as former business partners and once close advisers prepared to give evidence against them in a £132 million claim for damages.

McLaren to create 200 jobs in Sheffield with new £50 million plant: McLaren Automotive is to open a £50 million manufacturing plant in Sheffield that will create more than 200 jobs.

Hundreds of Waitrose jobs may go as retailer plans six store closures: Waitrose is planning to close six stores and remove a level of management in its supermarkets, putting 600 jobs at risk.

U.K. rents expected to rise faster than house prices in next five years: U.K. rents are expected to rise faster than house prices over the next five years, bringing further misery to Britain’s growing army of renters, according to a survey.

No big pay rises for Britons despite inflation, says Bank of England: Hopes of bumper pay rises as the economy shrugs off the effects of the Brexit vote appear to be dashed by a Bank of England survey that predicts a decline in wages growth this year.

Daily Mail

Spinal Tap re-form to slap film studio with a £320 million lawsuit over profits from the hit mockumentary: The stars of cult movie This Is Spinal Tap have staged a comeback to sue a film studio for £320million.

Printer St Ives crashes 14% as deal to supply books for Harper Collins ends: Shares at St Ives crashed 14% after the marketing group revealed its deal to supply books for Harper Collins would not be renewed.

Hargreaves Lansdown raises dividend by 10% after 2016 shares frenzy helped boost profits by 21%: Online broker Hargreaves Lansdown has posted a healthy half year profit, helped by a share dealing frenzy in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Housebuilder Redrow defies Brexit blues as it posts record results with pre-tax profits up by 35%: Defying Brexit blues, housebuilder Redrow has posted another set of record results, with pre-tax profits up by 35% to £140 million.

Daily Express

Rio digs itself out of the mire: Rio Tinto is returning a bumper $3.6 billion (£2.9 billion) to shareholders after digging itself out of a commodity prices slump to post a 12% rise in annual profit.

Eurozone blasts back at IMF’s furious criticism of Greek bailout: The Eurogroup President has hit out at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as relations continue to sour over Greece’s bailout programme, sparking concerns of a fresh debt crisis.

Brexit and Donald Trump will hit Berlin’s economy, warns German business group: Germany’s capital Berlin is set to see a significant slowdown in economic growth, thanks to Britain’s exit from the European Union and the election of Donald Trump, according to a national business group.

Single currency sinks amid Frexit and Greek debt crisis fears: The pound has jumped against the euro amid mounting fears over a toxic cocktail of political risks that threaten the future of the European Union (EU).

L’Oreal to sell The Body Shop for £852 million 10 years after buying it: L’Oreal is mulling €1 billion (£852 million) sale of The Body Shop more than 10 years after snapping up the ethical skincare brand, according to reports.

The Scottish Herald

Pay awards set to fall in spite of jump in inflation: Companies expect to cut the size of pay increases this year, in spite of surging U.K. inflation, a survey by the Bank of England has revealed.

Green energy firms to lobby for rate relief: Businesses operating in the renewables space are calling on the Government to give them transitional relief to deal with the new business rates regime after some were hit with increases in their rateable values of as much as 650%.

Revenue hits new heights for Allied Vehicles: Allied Vehicles, the Glasgow-based car and taxi modification specialist, has posted a 37% increase in operating profit, to £37.5 million as its turnover climbed 12.7% to a record £120 million.

Brexit brings visitor boost to Edinburgh’s Scotch Whisky Experience: The Scotch Whisky Experience, the five-star tourist attraction in the Royal Mile, Edinburgh, has been boosted by the downturn in sterling sparked by the Brexit vote.

Verdant buys Scottish caravan park: Caravan park operator Verdant Leisure has bought a complex in the Scottish Borders in what looks likely to have been a seven figure deal and underlined its appetite for more acquisitions.

Rettie grows profits amid difficult market conditions: Upmarket estate agency Rettie & Co has noted difficult market conditions after increasing annual profits by 180% helped by a reduction in costs.

Airport first for whisky: Loch Lomond Group, the whisky distillers, has launched into the global travel retail market for the first time after a deal with Glasgow Airport.

The Scotsman

Outdoor oven innovator smashes crowdfunding target: A Lothians designer is poised to launch an outdoor oven that can cook pizza in less than two minutes after smashing his fundraising target.

War of words heats up over oil explorer Bowleven: Bowleven, the Edinburgh-based oil and gas explorer, has reiterated its opposition to a hostile takeover bid from Monaco-based Crown Ocean Capital (COC).

Inverness to gain new hotel after £4.4 million Maven deal: Maven Capital Partners’ property arm has acquired an office building in the centre of Inverness in a multi-million-pound deal that will see the site converted into a budget hotel.

Compressors maker Vert powers up after funding boost: Vert Rotors, the specialist gas compressors maker, has taken delivery of new machinery to help it create devices for satellites and medical equipment.

Construction output to fall as major projects finish: Output in Scotland’s construction sector is expected to dip slightly in the next five years as key infrastructure projects are completed, according to data published.

City A.M.

Why Monte dei Paschi shares might get kicked from the blue-chip index: Monte dei Paschi di Siena’s management board need to decide whether it is going to reinstate its shares in the near future, or risk being kicked from Milan’s blue-chip index.

Weak pound delivers earnings boost for GSK: GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has reported core profits of £7.8 billion on full year revenues of £27.9 billion in 2016, a rise of 6% and 14% respectively year-on-year.

Top EU envoy Valdis Dombrovskis jets into town for talks with Chancellor and City Chiefs: One of the EU’s top Commissioners jets into London this morning for a whirlwind pre-Brexit tour of the capital, telling City A.M. that a future deal on financial services must “work for all”.

HS2 faces questions over the hiring of its new Chief Executive and concerns of a “revolving door” to a contractor: High Speed 2 Bosses face questions over the appointment of their Chief Executive just days before MPs sign off on the first stage of the project.

Boeing pens letter to MPs to hit back at Airbus claims it would relish Brexit fallout: Boeing has hit back at warnings raised by Airbus over the potential negative impact of Brexit to its business, and its American rival being keen to take advantage.

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 08:32:00 +0000
In the Papers - Uber, British Gas, Shell, Co-op Newspaper Summary

The Times

Developers told to build houses or lose the land: Developers that do not build homes quickly enough could have their land seized by local authorities, in plans being proposed by the government.

Shopkeepers happy to ring changes with Tesco merger: Charles Wilson’s charm offensive to win support for Booker’s proposed £3.7 billion merger with Tesco made a positive start, with one independent shopkeeper calling him a “goose that lays the golden eggs”.

Chancellor could block exchanges’ mega-merger: The government could demand that the Bank of England blocks the London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Börse’s merger, under powers granted to the Treasury when the central bank was nationalised 71 years ago.

Brexit drives General Motors into red: The American owner of Vauxhall has blamed the Brexit vote for pushing its European division into the red last year.

Time for long, hard look at sales: A failure to keep entirely on top of trends hit the retailer hard in the third quarter, with its U.K. sales falling sharply. Like-for-like figures were down by 4.7%, pushing its comparable sales performance down by 7.3%.

May’s Brexit plan ‘is the second worst option for U.K.’: The government’s strategy of leaving the single market and cutting immigration is the second worst economic plan possible for Britain’s future after Brexit, Oxford Economics has warned.

Lloyds’ climbdown in fraud scandal: Lloyds will review cases in which customers became victims of the fraud perpetrated by its Reading branch, raising the prospect that it will offer compensation.

Liver bird in the hand is worth £48 million: The Grade I listed Royal Liver Building, famously flanked by a Liver bird on each tower, was sold to Corestate Capital Holding for £48 million. The property is located on the city’s Unesco-protected waterfront, which also features a monument to the Beatles, right.

Factory fall dashes German growth hopes: Germany suffered a surprise collapse in its manufacturing and construction output in December, plunging the broader industrial production sector into its sharpest monthly fall in almost eight years and dashing hopes of strong growth at the end of last year.

Green’s stepson takes £700,000 dividend: The stepson of Sir Philip Green, the retail billionaire whose family took millions of pounds out of the high-street chain BHS in dividends, received a dividend of nearly £700,000 from his property investment company last year. Brett Palos was paid a dividend of £686,000 by Prime London Residential Ltd for the year to the end of April 2016, up from £588,000 the previous year, according to the latest accounts filed at Companies House.

Game, set and match to David Lloyd: David Lloyd Leisure is bulking up its U.K. operations with the acquisition of 16 tennis-based health and fitness clubs from Virgin Active for an estimated £90 million.

The Independent

Bank of England policymaker Kristin Forbes on verge of voting for rate rise: Kristin Forbes, an external member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, has given a strong signal that she is on the verge of voting to increase interest rates for the British economy.

Coal power station blamed for thousands of deaths to get £10 million subsidy: A coal-fired power plant which produced twice the legal amount of toxic gas for seven years has been awarded a £10 million state subsidy to produce electricity for a single year.

Lloyds apologises for distress caused by corrupt bankers in loan scam: Lloyds Banking Group, owner of HBOS, said it will review the cases of hundreds of its customers who were scammed in a £245 million fraud, involving two former employees.

Uber and Deliveroo eat up baby boomers: Baby boomers have become a driving force behind the fledgling gig economy, with more people from that age group applying to work at companies like Uber, Deliveroo and Just Eat than any other demographic.

Millions of lampposts across U.K. could be fitted with wind turbines: Millions of lampposts could be fitted with wind turbines connected directly into the National Grid.

British Gas ‘plans to’ hit 11 million customers with 9% price increase: The U.K.’s biggest energy provider British Gas is reportedly preparing to hit millions of households with a price increase that could add almost £100 a year to their annual bills.

Four million households to save on energy bills after crackdown: Ofgem has set a temporary price cap to protect over four million households who prepay for their energy.

Vegetable rationing and lettuce shortage spurs rise in sale of seeds: A shortage of certain vegetables in U.K. supermarkets has spurred a rise in the sale of seeds.

High street sees ‘most disappointing’ quarter since 2009: The high street saw its “most disappointing” quarter since the 2009 financial crisis in the final three months of 2016, and January sales have also lagged behind expectations, new research shows.

Tax to rise to 30-year high as austerity extends ‘well into the 2020s’: Public services, including health, are set to experience a severe and prolonged squeeze in the coming years, despite the Chancellor’s loosening of the Government’s fiscal rules, and that austerity will stretch “well into the 2020s”, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

U.S. dollar rises on hints Fed will hike interest rates in March: The U.S. dollar continued to recover on Tuesday from a recent bout of selling, supported by comments from a U.S. Federal Reserve official suggesting that the bank has not ruled out an interest rate hike as soon as next month.

The most expensive homes in Britain just got cheaper because of Brexit: Home values in the Hyde Park area fell 14% in the 12 months through January, the biggest drop in central London’s neighbourhoods, as sellers cut their asking prices in the wake of the Brexit vote.

The Daily Telegraph

Shell submits plans to dismantle North Sea stalwart: Royal Dutch Shell is to call time on four decades of history as it prepares to publish multi-billion pound plans to dismantle the colossal oil rigs in the Brent oilfield in what will be viewed as a major milestone for the industry.

Co-op Chairman refuses to rule out injecting more capital into troubled Co-op Bank as Chief Executive steps down: The Chairman of the Co-operative Group has refused to rule out putting more money into the ailing Co-op Bank amid heightened concerns over its capital position.

Jobs boom in construction depends on success of huge infrastructure projects: Britain’s construction industry is on course to add 35,000 jobs a year for the next five years - but much of this expansion is dependent on massive troubled infrastructure projects.

Tata steel returns to profit in U.K. and Europe: Tata’s European steel business - which includes its sprawling Port Talbot site - is back in profit. A combination of operational improvements, currency movements, lower energy costs and stronger steel prices helped the Indian-owned company’s European arm deliver £74 million of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation in the third quarter.

Six traders plead not guilty to Euribor rigging: Six City traders, including a former Deutsche Bank star, have pleaded not guilty to rigging a key financial benchmark in the latest case into the manipulation of global interest rates.

GW Pharmaceuticals to develop oncology portfolio after cannabis medication shows promising results: GW Pharmaceuticals is hoping to develop a treatment for cancer after announcing promising results from an early stage study looking at how its cannabis-based molecules can help patients with the disease.

The Questor Column:

With Dunstone back in the saddle, TalkTalk shares could start to gallop again: Her departure from the Chief Executive’s position at TalkTalk could just be the catalyst that finally gets the shares to raise a gallop. The broadband and telecoms market remains brutally competitive, a fact reaffirmed by a 3% year-on-year drop in average revenue per user. This all explains why the shares have done poorly, especially as the dividend is no longer covered by earnings and a cut is distinctly possible – a yield of 8.9% really does fall into the “too-good-to-be-true” category. Yet a cut is already expected, using stockbrokers’ research as a guide, and the yield should still be decent even after any reduction. Throw in the appointment as Executive Chairman of Sir Charles Dunstone, a 30% shareholder and Founder of the business from his Carphone Warehouse days, and things could really get interesting. We rated the shares only a hold when we covered them in November at 200p, but following the share price fall and in light of the positive developments we now upgrade our stance to buy. Questor says ‘Buy’.

Update: Severn Trent: A solid third-quarter update from Severn Trent, the water utility, should reaffirm the market’s faith in its ability to possibly grow its plump dividend. Its Chief Executive, Liv Garfield, last week noted that the company had outperformed key performance targets laid down by the regulator. As a result, the company will bank more in its so-called “outcome delivery incentive” rewards than expected and such strong gains in operational efficiency will support profits, cashflow and the 81.7p forecast dividend for the year to March. This equates to a yield of 3.6% and the shareholder return could start to grow nicely as profits advance and the company increases its payout ratio (the percentage of profits paid as dividends) towards peer group levels. Questor says ‘Buy’.

The Guardian

Brexit will cost U.K. 30,000 finance jobs, says Brussels thinktank: The U.K. could lose 30,000 finance sector jobs as a result of Brexit, but EU rivals need to act to avoid importing banking risk to the continent, according to an influential thinktank with close ties to the European commission.

Housing market is ‘broken’, government admits in white paper: England’s housing market is broken, the government has admitted, with home ownership a “distant dream” for young families, as it unveiled a white paper promising a fresh wave of home building.

‘U.K. could be fastest-growing G7 economy if it gets trade deals right’: The U.K. could shake off the near-term impact of Brexit to become the fastest-growing economy in the G7 group of rich countries between now and 2050, according to a report that paints a bright outlook for the country’s prospects outside the EU.

Church of England: we’ll vote to block excessive boardroom pay deals: The Church of England, a major institutional investor, has put U.K. company Bosses on notice that exorbitant pay deals will not be tolerated.

U.K. tax burden will soar to highest level for 30 years, warns IFS: The government is on course to impose steep cuts in public spending and increase taxes by the end of the decade to their highest level in 30 years to combat the U.K.’s persistent budget deficit.

Daily Mail

Housebuilder Bellway buys up land as Government announces overhaul of U.K. housing industry: On the day, the Government announced an overhaul of Britain’s broken housing industry and promised more affordable properties, it was no surprise to see the housebuilders boosted.

Now even Germany wants to scupper LSE deal: Deutsche Boss probed over £3.8 million share deal: An insider trading probe into the foreign takeover of the London Stock Exchange may have been triggered by a dirty tricks campaign orchestrated by German critics of the deal.

FTSE 250 soars to record high and pound bounces back as BoE hints interest rate could rise: The FTSE 250 hit a record high last night and the pound bounced back against the dollar after a senior Bank of England official said interest rates may need to rise in the coming months.

Heineken ‘will force’ pubs to sell its beers after it closes deal to buy Punch Taverns: Heineken will try to fill bars with its own beer when it snaps up Britain’s second biggest pub chain for £1.8billion.

Daily Express

Wind of change for Co-op as CEO Richard Pennycook steps down: Co-op Boss Richard Pennycook, who led its fightback from the brink of collapse in 2013, is to step down as the mutual’s Chief Executive.

Desperate France turns on Germany in battle for London’s banking jobs post-Brexit: French officials have turned on Germany amid a desperate battle to lure finance jobs out of London and into the Eurozone after Brexit.

Greece will crumble under debts - IMF anger at Eurozone austerity targets: Troubled Greece will buckle under the weight of its huge debts, which are highly unsustainable over the longer term, according to damning analysis of the Eurozone’s bailout by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

BP hope for turnaround in 2017 after second consecutive year in the red: Oil giant BP has remained in the red for a second year in a row, but said it hoped 2017 would be its turnaround year amid a bounce back in crude prices.

The Scottish Herald

BP Boss is bullish on the North Sea: BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley has said the North Sea remains a heartland for the oil and gas giant which is set to conduct a big exploration programme that could result in it creating jobs.

Six solicitors struck off by tribunal in last financial year: The number of solicitors struck off for professional misconduct fell in the last year despite the Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal noting that the cases it hears are becoming increasingly more complicated.

Construction output expected to decline: Overall Scottish construction sector output is forecast to contract at an average annual rate of 0.4% over the five years to 2021.

Scottish labour market weakens further: Scottish labour market conditions continued to deteriorate in January, with a further significant decline in permanent staff placements by recruitment agencies, a survey shows.

Wells off Shetland highlight potential of oil find: Shetland-focused Hurricane Energy has said the results of recent drilling have increased confidence that the company has made a bumper find in an area that has received little attention from oil and gas companies.

New president for farmers union: Dumfriesshire farmer Andrew McCornick has been elected as the new president of NFU Scotland, triumphing in a three-way contest that unseated sitting president Allan Bowie and his fellow vice president Rob Livesey during the union’s AGM in Glasgow this week.

Wealth management business spends £3.3 million on stake in Edinburgh fund manager Amati: Edinburgh fund house Amati Global Investors has entered into a deal that could see it be completely taken over by wealth management and employee benefits business Mattioli Woods.

Government urged to set up pay ratio legislation: Mandatory limits on pay ratios is the only way to control Executive pay, according to industry body the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT).

Diageo and Unite strike deal on pension changes: Diageo has reached a deal with trade union Unite over changes to its pension scheme after a dispute that almost led to industrial action before Christmas.

Maven deal in Inverness: Maven Capital has acquired an Inverness city centre office building for £4.4 million which the investor plans to turn into a Travelodge hotel.

The Scotsman

Aldi usurps Co-op to become U.K.’s fifth-biggest grocer: Britain’s supermarket pecking order has been shaken up after Aldi usurped the Co-operative to become the nation’s fifth-largest grocer.

Scottish golf clothing brand scores hole in £1 million: Royal & Awesome, the golf clothing brand, has cracked the £1 million turnover mark as it prepares to celebrate its fifth anniversary.

Warning over rates bills shock for renewable power: Investors in renewable energy projects face a financial shock this spring when a business rates revaluation comes into force, a Scottish property consultancy has warned.

FirstGroup on track despite tough bus and rail trading: Transport giant FirstGroup said a Brexit boost from the weak pound was helping keep it on track for the full year, but warned that trading remains tough in its bus and rail arm.

City A.M.

London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Boerse confident European regulators will wave through £21 billion mega merger: The London Stock Exchange (LSE) moved one step closer to its £21 billion mega-merger with German exchange Deutsche Boerse, formally submitting concessions to competition regulators in Brussels.

Plus500 confident it can deal with FCA crackdown and commits to London: Spreadbetting firm Plus500 saw its shares jump 3% as the company indicated it was well placed to deal with regulatory pressures presented by the City watchdog.

More than 90% of European goods could clear customs within seconds after Brexit: Customs clearance for European goods in the aftermath of Brexit could still take just seconds if the U.K. secures tariff-free trade with the continent, one of the U.K.’s most senior customs officials has said.

FTSE 250 media company behind Cannes Lions festival buys $69 million U.S. firm: Ascential, the FTSE 250-listed media company formerly known as Emap, has agreed to buy U.S. advisory and business services group MediaLink.

Chief Executive of Deutsche Bank Israel arrested over allegations of VAT misreporting: The Chief Executive of Deutsche Bank Israel was arrested on suspicion of VAT violations.

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 08:23:00 +0000
In the Papers - Ithaca Energy, London Stock Exchange, Rolls-Royce, Ryanair Newspaper Summary

The Times

Draghi leaps to defence of the euro: The Eurozone’s Chief central banker has attacked Donald Trump’s plans to relax rules on banks and rejected claims by the president’s advisers that it has improperly manipulated the single currency.

U.S. election lifts ratings and revenue at 21st Century Fox: A ratings boost for Fox News during the U.S. presidential campaign helped 21st Century Fox to report improved quarterly results last night.

Scotland’s last fossil fuel power station threatened with closure: Scotland could be left without a fossil fuel power station after SSE confirmed that it was reviewing the future of its Peterhead gas plant, putting 120 jobs at risk.

It’s almost a knockout in fight for Punch inns: Heineken and Patron Capital moved tantalisingly close to sealing a proposed £1.8 billion takeover of Punch Taverns after confirming that they had grabbed a 28.5% stake in the pubs company.

Rolls-Royce faces fresh bribery case: Rolls-Royce is facing a new multimillion-pound bribery and corruption investigation, barely a fortnight after it agreed to a £671 million out-of-court settlement with fraudbusters on three continents over corruption.

Boss has £15 million payday riding on Reckitt deal: The Chief Executive of Reckitt Benckiser could earn more than £15 million from an incentive scheme if a proposed acquisition of Mead Johnson goes through and boosts its earnings.

Tata completes Mistry’s fall from power: Tata Sons has stripped Cyrus Mistry of his role on the board of the group’s holding company, completing his removal from the leadership of India’s largest industrial group.

Shoppers use mobiles to hit January’s sales: More Britons used their mobile phones and laptops for shopping last month as online sales of non-food products rose by 8%.

Booker tries to sell Tesco deal to shopkeepers: The Boss of Booker Group will host meetings with independent shopkeepers to try to boost support for its £3.7 billion merger with Tesco.

Heading south, but in a good way: British high street restaurant brands including Café Rouge, Bella Italia and Las Iguanas are to open across South Africa under a franchise deal.

The Independent

Brexit may not affect U.K. economy’s long term future: Brexit will prove to be little more than a bump in the road for the U.K. economy in the long run and the country will successfully defend its spot as one of the world’s fastest growing developed economies in decades to come, according to predictions published in a new study.

Lettuce shortage: Cheap salad days over as prices rise: Not only are lettuces becoming an increasingly rare commodity in supermarkets, but prices for the leafy vegetables seem to be rising too.

Half of U.K. small businesses to increase prices because of weak pound: More than half of the U.K.’s small and medium-sized businesses say that they will have to raise prices over the next year because of the weakened pound.

U.S. dollar starts the week sluggishly after lacklustre wage data: The U.S. dollar edged lower at the start of the week, after disappointing wage data on Friday indicated that the U.S. Federal Reserve is likely to be in no hurry to raise interest rates.

Apple to Zynga file legal brief against Donald Trump immigration order: Ninety-seven companies, from Apple to Zynga, filed an impassioned legal brief condemning President Donald Trump’s Executive order on immigration, stepping up the industry’s growing opposition to the policy.

Ryanair says its flights will get even cheaper this year: Passengers on Europe’s biggest budget airline have been told to expect cheaper fares for the rest of the year and the first three months of 2018 — but warned of a possible crackdown on cabin baggage.

Toyota and Suzuki agree to begin formal talks on partnership: Toyota and Suzuki on Monday said they have agreed to begin formal talks aimed at forging a partnership in shared procurement, green vehicles, IT and safety technologies.

Top business leaders say U.K. infrastructure is lagging behind: Top U.K. business leaders are scared that British infrastructure is lagging behind the rest of the world.

Luxembourg opens criminal case over VW emissions scandal: Luxembourg has started criminal proceedings in response to the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal, saying on Monday that regulators had been cheated by car manufacturers.

Goldman Sachs downgrade their Trump excitement after chaotic first two weeks: Just a few weeks ago, Wall Street analysts were busy boosting their economic forecasts on the expectation that President Trump would implement sweeping corporate tax reform, a rollback of regulations, and new fiscal stimulus.

The Daily Telegraph

ECB’s Mario Draghi warns on liquidity shock as tapering nears: The European Central Bank is bracing for a painful ‘taper tantrum’ as it reins in emergency stimulus and slows the pace of bond purchases next month, all too aware that market liquidity could dry up suddenly.

Hong Kong’s Li dynasty trade U.K. assets as Three buys Relish wireless broadband for £250 million: Two arms of one of Asia’s richest families have agreed the £250 million sale of U.K. Broadband, the operator behind the Relish wireless brand, to the mobile operator Three.

Volkswagen facing first lawsuit from major German customer: Volkswagen is facing the first major legal action over the dieselgate emissions rigging scandal in its native Germany. Deutsche See, Germany’s biggest fish and seafood distributor, announced on Sunday it is suing VW for €11.9 million (£10.3 million) damages.

London Stock Exchange could sell French clearing arm as part of Deutsche Boerse merger: The London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Boerse have offered to sell the LSE’s French clearing operations in a bid to calm competition regulators’ concerns over the two exchanges merging.

Bechtel embroiled in bribery claims as Saudi family feud goes to court: A bitter family feud over the inheritance of a fortune once valued at $6 billion has seen engineering giant Bechtel accused of being involved in bribery.

Candy brothers set to face court over £132 million loss claim: Property moguls Nick and Christian Candy are set to appear in court in a £132 million claim brought by a former friend and business partner.

Germany not ‘exploiting’ euro, says S&P: Germany has not exploited the weak euro for its own benefit, according to Standard & Poor’s.

The Guardian

Guarantee minimum wage for gig economy workers, says Frank Field: Theresa May should guarantee the minimum wage for self-employed workers for companies such as Uber and Hermes and prevent them from losing work with no notice, the Labour MP Frank Field has said.

‘The U.K. is a tax haven’ – Bermuda attacks plan to end financial secrecy: The government of Bermuda has hit back at British efforts to end offshore financial secrecy, claiming the U.K. itself is a “tax haven”.

Directors of new homes warranty firm criticised for lack of independence: Two of the Directors of the organisation that sets the standards for new U.K. homes and provides warranties for buyers cannot be classed as independent because of their links to leading housebuilders, it has emerged.

New homes warranty firm pays millions to leading homebuilders: The organisation that provides warranties for most of the new homes in Britain is paying millions of pounds to the leading housebuilders every year, raising questions about its independence and credibility amid a wave of complaints about the quality of new-build properties.

Older people to get help to downsize and free up family homes: Theresa May’s government will use its flagship housing strategy to make it easier for older people to move into smaller homes, which could free up larger properties for families.

Railways could use eye scans to charge passengers, say industry plans: Rail passengers could be charged for journeys by fingerprint or iris scans, according to the industry’s plan for coping with growing demand.

Cut beer duty to beat price hikes after Brexit vote, says Camra: The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) is stepping up its push to keep the price of a pint down for millions of U.K. pub-goers, calling on the Treasury to reduce beer duty by 1p a pint in next month’s budget.

Daily Mail

Footsie sheds early gains on risk-off day for global markets; Randgold soars; pound at $1.24: The FTSE 100 closed down 16.15 points at 7172.15 as investors got the jitters over political risks in Europe and the U.S.

MPs call for Lloyds Bank to compensate businesses affected by HBOS crooks: The entrepreneurs whose livelihoods were destroyed by fraud at HBOS should be compensated by the lender’s current owners, MPs said.

Redrow Boss John Tutte tells of £500 million Brexit vote shares shock: As Britain woke to the Brexit result, shares in the country’s housebuilders crashed. Among those contemplating the slumping prices was John Tutte, Chief Executive of Redrow.

Daily Express

We are not currency manipulators’ ECB’s Draghi hits out at Trump’s ‘worrisome’ policies: The head of the European Central Bank (ECB) has blasted Donald Trump’s policies and passionately defended the Eurozone against criticism from the new administration.

Germany takes on ECB: Embarrassed Schaeuble blames Draghi for low Euro after U.S. anger: Germany’s finance Minister has launched a scathing attack on the European Central Bank (ECB), as relations between the two sides hit boiling point.

Britain’s economy to top the G7 nations until 2050: Britain will have the fastest growing economy out of the G7 nations until 2050, a new report says.

‘An economic bodybuilder who’s taken too many steroids’ ECB’s Draghi blasted in Brussels: The president of the European Central Bank (ECB) has been savaged over his monetary policies in the European Parliament. The Eurozone’s Chief Central Banker defended the recent extension of the so-called Quantitative Easing.

Brexit panic is over - Pound to soar as ‘tables have turned’ against dollar: The British pound has been tipped for a major comeback against the dollar, as market fears surrounding Brexit continue to fade.

The Scottish Herald

Royal Bank swings axe on Scots mortgage jobs: State-backed Royal Bank of Scotland has swung the axe again by slashing its number of mortgage advisers north of the Border.

Captains of industry reveal damage done to U.K. businesses since Brexit vote: Nearly six in ten captains of U.K. industry have revealed the electorate’s decision to leave the European Union has already had a negative impact on their business.

Dissident investor raises stake in Bowleven: The rebel investor calling for a boardroom purge at Bowleven has increased its interest in the oil and gas company’s shares to around 15% ahead of a shareholder vote on its proposals for change.

Growth in retail sales grinds to halt amid caution: Year-on-year growth of U.K. retail sales value almost ground to a halt in January, amid signs of consumer caution, a survey shows.

Prediction of ‘year of change’ on pay pack: A leading asset manager has said that 2017 could be a “year of change” in Executive pay, with both investors and politicians turning their attention to boardroom remuneration.

Anderson gears up for steel work: Sam Anderson (Newhouse) has taken delivery of 11 of the 20 vehicles it will use to fulfil its work as the exclusive transport provider for Liberty House Group’s steel interests in Scotland.

Ardgowan Distillery appoints whisky veteran to create new dram: The man credited with turning The Macallan into one of the leading single malt Scotch whiskies, has been appointed chairman of The Ardgowan Distillery Company, writes Kevin Scott.

PhyisoWizard wins funding: A start-up company that aims to replicate physiotherapist assessments has won £250,000 in funding from Archangels, supported by BioCity. PhysioWizard was developed by Kirsten Lord and her team of specialist clinicians. The self-assessment online platform helps manage patients with muscle and joint problems.

Sigma adds to rental portfolio: Sigma Capital Group, the property development firm focused on the rental market, has added three further sites to its portfolio south of the Border.

The Scotsman

North Sea explorer Ithaca agrees to £517 million takeover: Ithaca Energy has agreed to a takeover bid from an Israeli group that values the North Sea oil and gas firm at C$841 million (£517 million).

January car sales motor to highest level for 12 years: New car sales reached a 12-year high in January, according to the latest industry figures.

Investors ‘ready for a fight’ over Executive pay: Highly-paid Bosses should brace for more investor rebellions over pay as shareholders gear up for a scrap, a fund manager has warned.

Voice of practical farmer no longer heard on JHI board: Unless there is a late change of circumstance, an unwanted record will be set in a couple of months when the new board of Directors of the James Hutton Institute (JHI) convenes.

PR agency relaunches in capital after revamp: A communications agency is relaunching with a new name, move to Edinburgh and debut of a digital division, saying this is “part of a strategic overhaul of the business”.

City A.M.

Former trade Minister Lord Green appointed President of the Institute of Export & International Trade: Former trade Minister Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint has been appointed President of the Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT).

Theresa May issues MPs with a fresh warning against “obstructing” Brexit: Prime Minister Theresa May has issued MPs with a fresh warning against any attempts to frustrate or “obstruct” Brexit.

Singapore Exchange in talks with Saudi Aramco to beat London and others to secondary listing spot: The Singapore Exchange is said to be in talks with Saudi Aramco as it bids to co-host what is expected to be the world’s largest ever stock market listing.

Unicredit shares down more than five% as Italy’s biggest bank kicks off Italy’s largest ever rights issue: Unicredit shares are currently trading down more than five% after Italy’s biggest bank kicked off its bumper €13 billion (£11.2 billion) rights issue this morning.

Paris appeals to London for win-win Brexit solution, as it prepares for tens of thousands of workers to move: An army of French lobbyists and politicians swept into London in an attempt to lure finance Executives to Paris. However, the delegation admitted they cannot steal London’s financial crown, and instead want to forge a mutually successful relationship between the two cities post-Brexit.

Netherlands flag carrier KLM returns to London City Airport after nearly eight years: The national flag carrier of the Netherlands has returned to London City Airport after an eight-year absence. KLM’s inaugural Amsterdam service arrived at 7:20am this morning with the return leg departing at 7:50am.

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 08:20:00 +0000
In the Papers - Sports Direct, Carlsberg, Barclays, Tesco Newspaper Summary

The Times

Investors take game to Sports Direct: Furious institutional investors in Sports Direct are considering calling for tighter listing rules to prevent dominant shareholders flouting boardroom standards.

Employ old hands to fix skills gap: Employers should raise the number of older working people by one million within five years to combat age bias and a widening skills gap, a government advisor has said.

‘£200 million boost’ for pharma and aerospace: A hard Brexit could boost the pharmaceutical and aerospace sectors by more than £200 million, according to a study that reveals a surprise silver lining to leaving the single market.

65,000 Britons working in U.S. face crackdown on visas: Tens of thousands of British citizens employed in the United States are at risk from a crackdown on skilled foreign workers under proposals being considered by President Trump, The Times has learnt.

Reefs, not removal, could be the future for rigs, says Shell: Royal Dutch Shell’s Chief financial officer has criticised rules requiring old oil and gas platforms to be removed from the North Sea, claiming that they will result in taxpayers “spending money unnecessarily”.

Migrant loss threatens a staffing crisis: Companies should start preparing for a workforce crisis because of a collapse in migration after Brexit, a consultancy has warned.

Another oil price slump looms, warns energy industry Boss: Oil prices could drop sharply this summer as America’s shale drillers increase output to take advantage of the recent market recovery, the Head of the International Energy Agency has warned.

Carlsberg has its eyes on a glass half-full: Carlsberg is set to report its third year in a row of falling profits amid tough trading across Europe, although the worst should be behind it — probably.

German app banks on British move: A German company behind a banking app targeted at millennials is considering moving to Britain, despite fears of a Brexit-fuelled exodus to continental Europe.

EDF ‘too poor to clean up its own mess’: The French state group building Britain’s new nuclear plant does not have enough cash to dismantle its domestic reactors, according to an official study. A French parliamentary committee said that EDF would need a public bailout to meet the cost of closing ageing power stations.

The Independent

‘If trade stops, war starts’ Alibaba Founder who visited Trump warns: The CEO of China’s biggest online retailer has warned that “if trade stops, war starts”.

CBI urges Government to promote growth among U.K. businesses: Britain’s largest business group is urging the Government to ramp up efforts to promote growth among businesses, at a time of economic uncertainty and rising inflation.

U.K. rail franchising system ‘not fit for purpose’, say MPs: Britain’s rail franchising system is failing passengers, MPs have warned. In a scathing report, the Commons Transport Select Committee said private operators are restricted in how much they can improve services and efficiency.

Labour’s John McDonnell promises cap on energy prices: A Labour government will legislate to limit future price hikes by the energy companies after one of the so-called Big Six announced it was putting up charges by almost 10%, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has said.

The Daily Telegraph

Sterling may become ‘Swiss franc on steroids’: Bank of America has advised clients to prepare for a major rebound in sterling as markets become inured to each breathless twist in the Brexit saga, and focus instead on the underlying resilience of the U.K. economy.

Infrastructure worries top priority for company Bosses: Pressure is growing on the Government to ramp up investment in infrastructure after a host of top Bosses warned their biggest worry was that Britain is falling behind other developed nations.

Barclays sparks job cuts fears with bank office overhaul: Barclays is revamping its back office operations in a wide-ranging restructuring that has spurred speculation the bank is preparing to cut jobs.

Booker woos shopkeepers over Tesco merger: Booker Bosses will launch a charm offensive this week in an attempt to convince Britain’s shopkeepers of the merits of its shock £3.7 billion Tesco merger, amid rising concerns that the deal will strangle competition in the convenience store market.

Vauxhall Chiefs face grilling over Zafira fires ahead of car-maker’s results: Vauxhall Executives will be put on the spot by MPs on Monday and told explain the company’s response to a fault in their cars which causes them to burst into flames.

Deutsche Bank takes out full-page newspaper adverts to apologise for legal woes: Deutsche Bank has taken the unusual step of apologising to the German public for the damage caused by its ongoing legal problems, which last week helped to push the bank to its second consecutive annual loss.

Bunnings axes zero-hour contracts for Homebase staff: Bunnings, the Australian DIY retail chain which bought Homebase for £340 million last year, has scrapped zero hour contracts for hundreds of its British shopworkers.

The Guardian

Rolls-Royce faces civil service inquiry over U.K. state funding: Civil servants are carrying out an internal inquiry to establish whether the engineering giant Rolls-Royce fraudulently obtained financial support worth hundreds of millions of pounds from the government.

New homes warranty firm pays millions to leading homebuilders: The organisation that provides warranties for most of the new homes in Britain is paying millions of pounds to the leading housebuilders every year, raising questions about its independence and credibility amid a wave of complaints about the quality of new-build properties.

PM to reaffirm green belt pledge despite plans to ramp up housebuilding: Theresa May will this week reaffirm a Conservative commitment to protecting the green belt, despite unveiling a government strategy that aims to ramp up the pace of housebuilding to ensure 1 million new homes are built by 2020.

Theresa May to offer more security for renters: A major shift in Tory housing policy in favour of people who rent will be announced by Ministers this week as Theresa May’s government admits that home ownership is now out of reach for millions of families.

Southern rail deal with union fragile as drivers plan to vote against: The deal reached by Southern and Aslef to bring an end to strikes on the troubled rail service may yet unravel, with a significant number of drivers believed to be planning to vote against the agreement.

British Airways cabin crew begin six days of strikes: Low-paid cabin crew at British Airways have begun six days of industrial action, as the airline takes an increasingly hard line on strikes by employees.

Daily Mail

Precious little Christmas cheer at Topshop for billionaire owner Sir Philip Green after sales reportedly plunged by almost 11% over festive period: There was precious little Christmas cheer at Topshop for billionaire owner Sir Philip Green after sales reportedly plunged by almost 11% over the festive period.

Sacking of acting U.S. attorney general Sally Yates could further delay RBS’s efforts to agree fine for its sales of toxic mortgage debt: The sacking of acting U.S. attorney general Sally Yates could further delay Royal Bank of Scotland’s efforts to agree a fine for its sales of toxic mortgage debt.

Battle for Britain’s poshest tonic fizzing up as Fentimans prepares to take on Fever-Tree with range of upmarket mixers: The battle for Britain’s poshest tonic is fizzing up as Fentimans prepares to take on Fever-Tree with a range of upmarket mixers.

Aldi poised to overtake Co-op this week to become Britain’s fifth largest grocer as sales double in four years: Aldi is poised to overtake the Co-op this week to become Britain’s fifth largest grocer. It is a big step for the German discount retailer, putting it next in size to the so-called ‘Big Four’ supermarkets.

Amazon searching for shops in London as it considers opening checkout-free grocery chain this year: Amazon is searching for shops in London as it considers opening a checkout-free grocery chain this year.

Daily Express

Vodafone jolted by rival Indian mobile firm: Vodafone reported a stark rise in competition in the Indian mobile market in its third quarter trading update. While a recovery in its European businesses and continued strength in Africa are positives, the group was forced to admit that full-year profits are likely to come in at the bottom end of expectations.

Dooming stock markets are a warning sign for those with long memories: Stock markets are trading near record highs and people are bullish, which is why those of us who remember the dotcom crash are getting nervous.

Small businesses see future in U.K. not Europe after Brexit: Bullish small businesses are banking on the U.K. for growth rather than Europe, according to lender Hitachi Capital.

Holiday home provider HomeAway prepare for staycation Britain post Brexit: Holiday rental firm HomeAway is preparing for a jump in U.K. business this year as Brits trade international trips for staycations following the pound’s collapse.

The Scottish Herald

Tech start-up wins Uruguay rugby deal: A Glasgow-based start-up behind technology which can capture and analyse rugby players’ performance statistics has landed its first deal with a major international union, as it bids to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for the next phase of its development.

Weak pound hits profit margins as costs surge: Nearly one-third of businesses in Scotland have seen their profit margins on domestic sales hit by rising costs amid sterling weakness in the wake of the Brexit vote, a survey reveals.

Harper Macleod joins city advisory scheme: Law firm Harper Macleod has been appointed to a new business support framework developed by Glasgow City Council.

Oven firm shatters its investment target on Indiegogo: A Scottish company behind what is believed to be the world’s first portable wood-fired oven has smashed its crowdfunding target with weeks to go until the campaign closes.

Glasgow plant hire firm takes successful turn into supplying equipment for traffic control: As survey findings suggest growth may be slowing in the U.K.’s construction sector, we hear from a supplier to the trade who says governments need to increase spending on big infrastructure projects to support the market.

Savills gets duo from JLL: Property consultant Savills is to offer a dedicated hotels team in Scotland for the first time after hiring Keith McBain and Steven Fyfe who join as a Director and associate respectively.

Thomas Cook to give trading update after difficult year for tourism: Thomas Cook will update the market on its first quarter trading figures next week as the travel sector looks to recover from a year that saw European terror attacks and political instability in Turkey dent bookings.

U.K. lags in overseas investment: Investment from overseas into the U.K. is lagging behind the global average, according to new figures published.

Scottish Ballet picks travel firm: Scottish Ballet has reappointed corporate travel specialists Colpitts World Travel to manage all its transport arrangements for its forthcoming American tours later this year.

The Scotsman

Major jobs boost as IT group teams up with energy firm: A Lanarkshire-based IT and technology firm has announced that it has struck a partnership set to create hundreds of jobs with an energy firm that uses lampposts to harness wind energy.

Slide in profits at top private companies: There was a drop in profits and staff numbers among the top Scottish private firms last year, but the beleaguered energy sector showed welcome evidence of recovery, according to data published.

Celtic Connections attracts 100,000 audience for 10th year in a row: Well over 100,000 people have flocked to shows at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections music festival - for the tenth year in a row.

Growth continues at law firm with addition to real estate arm: Law firm Gilson Gray said it has strengthened its real estate team in Glasgow by hiring partner Donna Kelly-Gilmour from Brodies. It described her as a “seasoned” commercial property practitioner, and Murray Stewart, Gilson Gray’s Head of real estate, said: “Her appointment bolsters our platform in the west of Scotland and will help drive our continued expansion in the real estate sector.” The firm also stressed that it has nearly tripled in scale since its launch in May 2014.

City A.M.

Ancient woodlands will be offered boosted planning protection under Sajid Javid’s housing plans: Ministers will bring in new protections for England’s woodlands as part of the housing white paper. The Woodland Trust had raised concerns that more than 700 ancient woods are threatened by development ranging from housing to quarries and infrastructure.

Industry groups call on Chancellor Philip Hammond to cut businesses some slack in the Spring Budget next month: Businesses large and small are calling on Chancellor Philip Hammond to ease the mounting burden on firms in next month’s Budget. Business rates, the apprenticeship levy, the national living wage and pensions auto-enrolment are some of the rising costs highlighted by two influential business groups.

Payday lender Wonga set to offload European unit BillPay for £60 million this week: Payday lender Wonga is set to announce the sale of a large chunk of its European operations later this week. The group will offload BillPay, one of its most valuable units, to Swedish e-commerce firm Klarna for around £60 million, Sky News first reported.

Dodd-Frank reform could force U.K. to loosen financial services regulations: The U.K. and Europe could come under pressure to loosen financial services regulations, analysts have said, after the President of the United States last week set in motion his plans to scale back rules across the pond.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is looking for new space in the City despite Brexit uncertainty: Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) has started its search for new office space despite the uncertainty of the City of London’s future following the Brexit vote.

Trumping Brexit: Business optimism soars as manufacturing confidence hits 20-month high: The shock Brexit vote and the outcome of the U.S. presidential elections have failed to dent business optimism in the U.K., according to a report by BDO.

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 09:45:00 +0000
In the Papers - Mercedes, Compass Group, Facebook, American Airlines Newspaper Summary

The Times

Consumers face credit crackdown: The Bank of England is considering a crackdown on ballooning levels of consumer borrowing as households reduce savings to record lows to maintain their spending habit.

Immigration ban will cripple us, Silicon Valley Chiefs warn Trump: Silicon Valley’s largest companies are to warn Donald Trump that his immigration crackdown will cripple the U.S. technology industry.

Builders hit by slowdown in orders: Construction activity slowed last month as builders were confronted by a fall in new work and rising costs linked to a weaker pound, a survey has revealed.

City law firm asks partners to chip in £50 million as cash holdings fall: Partners at one of the City’’s largest law firms are being forced to inject £50 million into the practice as its cash holdings tumbled by more than 67%.

Profits hit the skids at Swatch: Swatch Group signalled good times ahead and “healthy growth in 2017” even as it reported a massive drop in profits for 2016 and trimmed its dividend (Alexandra Frean writes).

Mercedes overtakes BMW in sales race: Mercedes-Benz has overtaken BMW as the world’s best-selling luxury car brand after record sales in the past 12 months (Graeme Paton writes).

Compass revenues remain on course: Compass Group reported “below-par” organic revenue growth in the first quarter but the FTSE 100-listed caterer insisted it remained on target to hit its full-year guidance.

Aramco set to list on several exchanges at the same time: Saudi Aramco’s $2 trillion float is likely to see it listing simultaneously on more than one stock exchange, Saudia Arabia’s energy minister said.

Sunny side up for On The Beach: On the Beach Group, an online travel agent that sells beach holidays to destinations including the Algarve, reported a 20% increase in revenues in the four months to the end of January.

Vodafone cuts earnings forecast as Indian rival turns up the heat: Vodafone warned of a slowdown in the flow of orders from its international business division as it trimmed expectations for profit growth this year.

The Independent

Central banks’ ‘fifteen minutes of fame’ is nearly over, says Carney: The Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, has welcomed the prospect of central bankers moving out of the economic limelight as governments around the world spend more and rely less on monetary policy to deliver healthy growth.

Facebook needs to find an answer to the fake news question: Apparently, Facebook’s results were “overshadowed” by the loss of a court case that saw the company ordered to pay $500 million (£394 million) to a video game developer over the technology used to launch a virtual reality headset.

Diversity at EY soars after introduction of ‘blind CV’ policy: EY’s decision to remove all academic and education details and ban CVs from its trainee application process has proved successful in diversifying the company’s workforce.

Government admits there will be no cherry-picking on EU customs union: Theresa May’s government has already given up on efforts to maintain selective access to the European Union’s customs union after Brexit, and understands that there will be no ‘cherry-picking’, one of her ministers has said.

American Airlines opens office in Cuba despite Trump uncertainty: American Airlines has formally opened an office in Havana, Cuba despite uncertainty over what the Donald Trump presidency will mean for relations between the two countries.

Nurofen maker in £13 billion takeover talks with Mead Johnson: Reckitt Benckiser is in talks to buy baby formula maker Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. for about $16.7 billion (£13 billion). It’s the latest push by the U.K. consumer giant, whose brands include Nurofen and Durex, to build on its faster growing consumer-health business and bolster its presence in Asian markets.

George Soros foundation takes on Irish bankers after home foreclosures tripled over last five years: The billionaire investor’s Open Society Foundations is opening a new front in the fight against evictions as the legacy of one of the worst real-estate market crashes in history continues to haunt Ireland. About one in 10 Irish mortgages is in arrears, or €4.5 billion euros ($4.9 billion) of missed payments, and foreclosures tripled over the last five years.

Queen’s bank Coutts fined by Swiss financial regulators over money laundering: Switzerland’s financial regulator fined Coutts & Co for violating money-laundering rules and illegally profiting from transactions associated with 1Malaysia Development Bhd, prompting Swiss prosecutors to review the decision to see if the bank should face a criminal investigation.

The Daily Telegraph

Rolls-Royce to connect the Midlands and North after winning rail deal: Rolls-Royce engines will power a fleet of new trains connecting cities in the Midlands and the North.

Amazon quadruples profits but sales miss Wall Street hopes: Amazon quadrupled its profits last year as the continued dominance of its online shopping operation and huge growth at its cloud computing division saw the company put years of meagre margins behind it.

Snapchat unveils New York stock market filing: Snap Inc, the parent company of the photo messaging app Snapchat, has revealed plans to go public in what is expected to be the biggest U.S. technology listings in recent years.

Brexit will create opportunities for U.K., AstraZeneca Chief says: Leaving the European Union will create opportunities for the U.K. life sciences sector, the Chief Executive of AstraZeneca has said.

HomeServe seeks digital future with Checkatrade investment: The boiler repair and insurance provider HomeServe is poised to unveil an investment in Checkatrade, the builder and plumber reviews website, as it seeks online growth.

Biotech entrepreneur Sir Christopher Evans backs U.K. life sciences float Arix: Arix Bioscience, a company backed by British biotech entrepreneur Sir Christopher Evans, is hoping to raise £100 million when it floats on the London Stock Exchange later this month.

The Questor Column:

At a 21% discount, shares in this unique lender offer 5% returns - possibly more: ‘s investment trust, P2P Global Investments, raised cash from investors in 2014 in order to invest as an institution across peer-to-peer platforms globally. Shareholders in the trust, which has assets of £847 million, benefit from lending to a hugely diverse borrower base: the portfolio comprises 114,000 loans to consumers and businesses in the U.S., Europe, Australia and Asia. Rates fall between 5% and 15% according to a number of factors including credit risk, which is another variable. The trust’s long term aim at its May 2014 flotation was to generate a growing stream of dividends at between 6% and 8% of the initial share price, plus capital growth. This “premium” peaked in December 2014 at 18%. After that, though, the fund fell from favour. Questor says ‘Speculative Buy’.

The Guardian

Record rise in import costs dents growth in U.K. manufacturing: A record rise in the cost of imports in January has taken the shine off a strong performance by the manufacturing sector, which has rebounded since the Brexit vote to record its sixth consecutive months of expanding output.

Southern rail and union agree deal to end strikes over driver-only trains: A deal has been agreed between Southern rail and the Aslef union to end their dispute over driver-only operated (DOO) trains, the TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, has announced.

HBOS manager and other City financiers jailed over £245 million loans scam: A group of bankers who ran an “utterly corrupt scheme” that left hundreds of small business owners “cheated, defeated and penniless” have been sentenced to almost 50 years in jail.

Supermarkets ration lettuces after poor weather hits growers: Shoppers afflicted by the “courgette crisis” are facing further privation, as supermarket chains Morrisons and Tesco imposed restrictions on the number of lettuces that can be bought by each customer.

Greenwich Peninsula redevelopment to be crowned with £1 billion glass landmark: A £1 billion building topped with a crown-shaped cluster of glass towers, inspired by the 19th-century designs of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, is planned as part of a major redevelopment of the area around London’s O2 Arena.

Sports Direct buys French Connection stake as battle looms: Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has taken control of an 11% stake in French Connection, setting up a potential power struggle over the future of the ailing fashion chain.

Daily Mail

Ferrari to launch more special editions in bid to boost profits by 8% this year: Ferrari will launch more special editions, such as its £1.8 million LaFerrari Aperta, in a bid to boost profits by 8% this year.

Shell’s earnings slump following landmark £47 billion purchase of rival BG Group: Shell’s earnings have slumped following its landmark £47 billion purchase of rival BG Group.

Boss of Ralph Lauren making a sudden departure after a row with its 77-year-old Founder: The Boss of Ralph Lauren is making a sudden departure after a row with its 77-year-old Founder.

Struggling Co-op Bank set to report heavy losses in March as it battles to secure its future: The struggling Co-op Bank is set to report heavy losses in March as it battles to secure its future.

Flood of cheap generic alternatives for branded cholesterol medicine causes sales to slump for drug giant AstraZeneca: A flood of cheap generic alternatives for branded cholesterol medicine caused sales to slump for drug giant AstraZeneca.

Daily Express

Pound falls as Bank of England plays down interest rate rise: The pound fell against both the euro and the dollar after the Bank of England crushed expectations that interest rates could rise faster than previously thought.

World’s most powerful company increases investment in U.K.: Lego is to increase its office presence in London by more than half, in a huge vote of confidence as Britain leaves the European Union (EU).

Bank of England upgrades U.K. economic growth forecast amid interest rates hold: The Bank of England held interest rates at 0.25% and upgraded its growth forecasts for 2017, as Governor Mark Carney gave an updated outlook for Britain’s economy.

Deutsche Bank posts £1.2 billion loss and blames ‘negative news’ over fine: Troubled Deutsche Bank posted a worse than expected net loss of €1.4 billion (£1.2 billion) for 2016, after it struggled to cope with a toxic cocktail of legal costs and low interest rates.

The Scottish Herald

Shell pledges to invest billions in North Sea: Royal Dutch Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden has said the company expects to invest billions in the North Sea and declared the decision to sell around half its portfolio spelled good news for the area.

First Milk members set for double payment next week: First Milk, the farmer-owned cooperative headquartered in Glasgow, has brought its member payment terms back into line, completing the turnaround work in the business over the last two years.

Tesco Bank bids to reassure customers with rate pledge: Tesco Bank has cited the impact on customers from the current economic uncertainty as it pledged to maintain its three% interest rate on its current account for a further two years.

Midlothian Capital Partners buys into holiday park firm: Midlothian Capital Partners has bought the Parks Leisure holiday park firm with a consortium of investors.

Black Isle brewer secures first U.K.-wide distribution deal with Majestic Wine: Highlands-based Black Isle Brewing Co has landed a significant distribution boost after striking its first U.K.-wide retail deal.

The Scotsman

Rising inflation and slowing wages to hit households: Households are set for a cost of living crisis in the months ahead as wage growth slows and rising inflation hits spending power, the Bank of England warned.

Expansion in pipeline for Borders drugs firm: The pharmaceutical company formerly known as ProStrakan is to expand its Scottish headquarters after unveiling healthy full-year revenues.

Law firm Gibson Kerr bolsters property team with merger: Edinburgh law firm Gibson Kerr has unveiled its second tie-up in just three months as it bolsters its residential and commercial property services in the capital.

Aggreko hosts Argentine delegation: Temporary power specialist Aggreko has hosted a delegation from the Argentine parliament at its global manufacturing and technology facility in Dumbarton.

404 Ink prove print publishers need not fear the internet: It’s fair to say the rise and rise of the internet has not always been kind to publishers. But despite reports of plummeting magazine circulations and a decline in the adult fiction market, the literary world is not afraid to embrace the digital age.

Growth pays off as turnover rises at Bruce Stevenson: Insurance brokerage Bruce Stevenson has reported a double-digit hike in turnover during a “fruitful year” for the Edinburgh-based firm. Turnover grew by 14% to £5.9 million on the back of an 18% increase in gross written premiums to £29.2 million.

City A.M.

German prosecutors searched office and home of Deutsche Boerse Chief in insider trading probe: Prosecutors in Germany have searched the home and office of Deutsche Boerse’s Chief Executive as part of its probe into alleged insider trading, it emerged.

Government makes savings on latest board appointment for Premium Bond operator: The government has appointed the new Chief Executive of National Savings & Investments (NS&I), the firm that looks after over £135 billion of Treasury-backed savings.

Air travel soared last year as more than 700 new routes were established globally: Air travel across the world soared last year, as new figures showed international passenger traffic rose 6.7% in 2016.

FL Partners buys one of the U.K.’s largest construction recruiters as builders stay upbeat about hiring: Dublin-based investment group FL Partners has acquired Potensis Recruitment, one of the largest recruiters to the U.K. housebuilding and construction industries.

GVC shares jump after final quarter bonanza and debt savings: Shares in online gambling firm GVC leapt nearly 6% after the firm revealed a jackpot fourth quarter that beat market expectations.

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 08:23:00 +0000
In the Papers - Google , Nike, Boohoo, Anheuser-Busch InBev Newspaper Summary

The Times

Openreach stalemate as BT pensions fears increase: Worries over the size of BT’s pension deficit have become a sticking point in talks over the future of Openreach, the broadband business at the centre of a dispute over competition in the industry.

Tesco deal sparks merger speculation: A merger between J Sainsbury and Wm Morrison could be triggered by the proposed £3.9 billion tie-up between Tesco and Booker, Bank of America Merrill Lynch has suggested.

Walgreens gets $2 billion discount: Walgreens Boots Alliance is to pay at least $2 billion less to buy Rite Aid after the companies amended the terms of their merger under pressure from American competition officials.

Deutsche Bahn Chief quits over contract: The Chief Executive of Deutsche Bahn caught the government in Berlin by surprise  by quitting Germany’s state-owned rail operator.

Game Set and Matchesfashion for online leader: The world’s second-largest online luxury fashion retailer has had a stellar Christmas, selling one upmarket item of clothing every seven seconds and carrying out a £94,000 sales transaction with one customer.

Oil tanker giant in $475 million bid for rival: The world’s largest oil tanker shipping company has offered to buy its rival DHT in a deal that values its target at $475 million.

Apprentice levy ‘could sacrifice quantity for quantity’: A government tax aimed at helping to create three million apprenticeships risks repeating the mistakes of the past, being poor value for money and causing particular damage to the public sector, a think tank has warned.

AB InBev puts fizz into banks’ flat year: Anheuser-Busch InBev has emerged as the biggest source of advisory fees in Europe. Data from Dealogic for Financial News shows that European companies paid banks about $16.1 billion for advice on mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity capital markets and loans during the year, down from $18 billion in 2015 and the lowest total since 2012.

The Independent

Google sets up £4 million fund to help those affected by Trump’s refugee ban: Google has set up a $4 million (£3.2 million) crisis fund to help employees and other people affected by President Donald Trump’s new immigration policy.

Wall Street has spoken out again Donald Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’: The Chief Executive of Goldman Sachs has become one of the first Wall Street Executives to speak out against President Donald Trump’s immigration ban, saying that the policy has the potential to disrupt business at the bellwether bank.

Nike CEO slams Donald Trump’s immigration ban: The Chief Executive of Nike has joined a string of top Executives in slamming Donald Trump’s immigration ban, and has called the policy a threat to values that are at the multinational sports retailer’s core.

Boohoo staff can get fired ‘for smiling’: Employers working for online fashion retailer risk getting fired for smiling or checking their mobile phones, an investigation by Channel 4 has found.

Greece has three weeks to make austerity deal or faces explosive debts: Greece must agree an austerity deal with creditors within the next three weeks or it faces being plunged back into another major debt crisis, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned in a leaked report, adding that the country will need further substantial relief from EU nations.

EU most important export market for all but one of U.K.’s cities: The European Union is the most important market for all but one of the U.K.’s cities, new research has found, underlining the country’s dependence on the trading bloc and the risks to jobs and growth posed by a damaging Brexit deal.

London’s black cabs may start operating in cities across Europe: Always thought that you were more likely to hop on a bicycle in Amsterdam than hail one of London’s iconic black cabs? That may be about to change.

Vodafone is in talks to create India’s biggest telecommunications firm: Shares in Vodafone rose around 3% on Monday after the company confirmed that it is considering merging its Indian business with the country’s Idea Cellular phone company— a deal that if completed would create India’s biggest telecommunications group.

Business growth and consumer confidence solid, but inflation rising: Growth in Britain’s private sector and confidence among consumers remained solid at the turn of the year, according to surveys published on Monday, although both indicators warned about rising inflation in coming months.

Goldman Sachs Boss warns Theresa May to protect City or lose out to Paris and Frankfurt: The Boss of Goldman Sachs told Prime Minister Theresa May that a “hard Brexit” would help European cities such as Frankfurt and Paris compete for London’s position as the continent’s dominant financial centre.

The Daily Telegraph

City lobby group comes out fighting for global Brexit in dramatic u-turn: The City’s top lobby group has performed a dramatic u-turn on Brexit, scrapping its previous campaign to remain in the EU and instead hailing the vote to leave as “unprecedented opportunity” for the U.K. to develop a powerful new set of trade and investment policies.

Bank of England pumps £5 billion into firms and £20 billion into banks to keep interest rates down: The Bank of England bought £4.9 billion of corporate bonds in just three months, when the scheme intended to buy £10 billion over 18 months. At the same time the Term Funding Scheme (TFS) which gives cheap funds to banks has injected £20.7 billion into lenders. The aim of both policies, alongside a plan to buy £60 billion of government bonds, was to keep interest rates down.

Bond markets sniff mounting risks in France and Italy: The fear gauge for French bonds has jumped to the highest level since the Eurozone debt crisis as fresh twists in France’s electoral campaign suddenly revive the fortunes of anti-euro populist Marine Le Pen.

U.K. to defend maritime industry against cheap foreign seafarers: The Government is preparing to defend the U.K.’s declining maritime industry against the rise of cheap foreign shippers which threaten to price British seafarers out of the North Sea.

UniCredit capital warning spooks investors: Troubled UniCredit had been dealt a further blow after Italy’s biggest bank revealed it might still fall short of capital targets set by European regulators despite a dramatic turnaround plan that includes a €13 billion cash call.

Randgold Resources hit by sit-in at Ivory Coast mine: Gold miner Randgold Resources has assured investors “negotiations are under way” to resolve a protest at one of its mines in Ivory Coast.

Acquisitions send sales fizzing at Conviviality: Three acquisitions in the space of 12 months boosted sales and profits at booze distributor Conviviality by more than two-fold in the first six months of the year.

The Guardian

Ex-HBOS manager and five others face jail over £245 million scam: A group of six financiers including a former senior HBOS banker face jail after being convicted on Monday for their roles in a scam involving £245 million worth of fraudulent loans.

Weetabix warns it may raise prices due to fall in pound since Brexit vote: Weetabix has warned that it may become the latest consumer brand to raise prices this year as a result of the pound’s slump since the Brexit vote.

Starbucks vows to hire 10,000 refugees as U.S. companies condemn Trump travel ban: Starbucks has promised to hire 10,000 refugees over five years in response to Donald Trump’s Executive order temporarily barring refugees access to the U.S. and banning entry for anyone from seven majority Muslim countries.

‘Worrying’ Trump travel ban risks stability of global commerce – IoD: British business leaders have spoken out against U.S. president Donald Trump’s travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries.

Ban coal from backup power subsidy scheme, says Scottish Power: Ministers should ban coal power stations from a scheme paying their owners subsidies to provide backup power, a leading energy company and green energy group have urged.

VW becomes world’s No 1 carmaker despite diesel emissions scandal: Volkswagen has become the world’s biggest car manufacturer, overtaking Toyota in the number of new vehicles sold in 2016 despite the damage it suffered in the diesel emissions scandal.

U.K. and EU heading for economic cold war, says Italian minister: A senior Italian official has warned that the U.K. and the European Union are heading into an “economic cold war” over Brexit that could wreak havoc on the west and weaken the continent.

Daily Mail

Trump travel ban wallops air travel as American Airlines stocks plummet by 4.8% with others following suit: The world’s biggest airlines suffered a sell-off as stock markets around the world plummeted over Donald Trump’s controversial clampdown on travel to the United States.

Blow to a string of high street shops as they lose card fees battle against Mastercard: Mastercard has won a £500 million courtroom battle against retailers over its fees - in a blow for consumers who claim they were ripped off.

Clean engine pioneer hit by electric car boom with shares plummeting 46%: Emissions reduction specialist Torotrak has been hammered by the rise of electric cars, the company admitted. Shares, which peaked at 575p in 2000, fell 46.5 per cent, or 0.85p, to 0.98p.

£790 million bust up at Euro Disney: Investors claim theme park is being crippled by sky-high fees levied by U.S. parent: Small investors in Disneyland Paris have declared war on Walt Disney and are demanding the return of £790 million. Activist hedge fund CIAM is leading a group that claims the theme park has been crippled by grossly inflated license and royalty fees.

Tweet lands online estate agent in a heap of trouble as price-sensitive information causes shares to jump 7%: Purplebricks brought to an end days of confusion over its soaring share price. Shares in the online estate agent jumped nearly 7% on Thursday last week after its Twitter account stated that January ‘has been a record-breaking month for valuations & instructions’.

Daily Express

Germany launches brazen bid to lure banks out of London amid Brexit: Germany is shamelessly trying to persuade global banks to move jobs from London to Frankfurt, as Britain gears up to leave the European Union (EU).

Brexit boom: Danish drugs firm to invest £115 million in new U.K. research centre: A Danish drugs company is to plough £115 million into a new research centre in Britain in another boost for the economy after the vote to leave the European Union (EU).

Trump travel ban: Insurer pledges to pay for customers hit: Insurance giant AXA has promised to cover British customers hit by Donald Trump’s ban on U.S. entry for citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

FTSE and Dow Jones plunge as Donald Trump’s travel ban spooks markets: Global markets fell heavily amid investor fears over Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban and tensions between the U.S. and Chinese governments.

Government further reduces stake in Lloyds – now stands at below 5%: The Government has reduced its stake in Lloyds Banking Group to less than 5% as the lender moves one step closer to full private ownership.

The Scottish Herald

Restaurant group in £8 million hotel plan: The group that owns Di Maggio’s and bills itself as Scotland’s largest independent restaurant chain has unveiled plans for an £8 million aparthotel in Glasgow and posted record annual results.

Biotech firm cancer therapy trial receives £6.25 million boost: TC Biopharm, the Scottish immunotherapy company, has secured more than £6.25 million of investment to fund the latest stage of its pioneering cancer treatment.

Glasgow recruitment firm sees opportunities in Scotland’s healthcare sector following Brexit vote: Search Consultancy, the private equity-backed recruitment firm, has launched a medical division in Scotland amid fears Brexit could worsen the shortage of nurses in the United Kingdom.

Report raises challenge for Edinburgh office sector: Edinburgh could be a “European stronghold” in the mould of Frankfurt or Brussels, but only if commercial property developers keep pace with a rapidly changing city.

Tobermory to stop distilling for two years: The Isle of Mull’s Tobermory distillery is set to close for up to two years while a major refurbishment takes place.

RBS rejects appeal for shareholder committee: Royal Bank of Scotland has snubbed a call by investors for it to appoint a shareholder committee in order to “improve corporate governance”

Fund invests in Aberdeenshire venture planning to create oil and gas technology powerhouse: The Business Growth Fund has shown faith in the long-term prospects for oil services firms amid the North Sea downturn by investing £10 million in an Aberdeenshire business led by big names from the industry.

Barney’s Beer opens first bar: Craft brewer Barney’s Beer has backed a new Edinburgh street food market by becoming its official beer. Food + Flea has opened just off the Royal Mile and will include a weekend flea market.

Jeweller backs China flight bid: Family jeweller Laing Edinburgh is sponsoring a proposal to introduce a direct flight from the Scottish capital to China. Securing the sponsorship deal was described as a crucial step in the landmark Edinburgh-China Air Link Project that is being delivered and funded by Marketing Edinburgh, Edinburgh Airport and The City of Edinburgh Council.

Aerospace hits record high: Figures released show that 1,442 commercial aircraft were delivered in 2016, a sixth successive record-breaking year. The announcement by aerospace trade body ADS Group was welcomed in Scotland, where more than 5,000 people are employed in the industry.

Kained opens fifth Finnieston bar: Bar and restaurant operator Kained Holdings will open its ninth venue, and fifth in Finnieston, on Saturday.

The Scotsman

Aberdeen energy tech ‘hub’ secures £13 million injection: Frontrow Energy Technology Group, an Aberdeen-based outfit aimed at developing new technologies in the oil and gas sector, is poised to help more fledgling firms get off the ground after securing a £13 million investment.

Clydesdale opens doors to ‘flagship’ bank branch: Clydesdale Bank, which recently announced plans to close 40 Scottish branches, was set to unveil a flagship “customer banking centre” in the centre of Edinburgh.

Brexit vote fails to deter firms from targeting EU: More than a third of U.K. businesses are planning to export more goods to Europe over the next five years despite the uncertainty caused by the vote to leave the EU, a study revealed.

Patent firm Murgitroyd upbeat despite slide in profits: Murgitroyd, the Glasgow-based firm of patent and trademark attorneys, expressed confidence in its long-term growth prospects after revealing that its half-year profits have plunged by almost a third.

City A.M.

London salaries hit but regional pay is faring better: Average London wages have dived more than 3.9% in the past year, a greater rate than any other part of the U.K., according to data from Adzuna, the jobs aggregation website.

U.K. commercial construction hit a rough patch in 2016, falling nearly 15 per cent: Commercial construction activity for the 2016 calendar year fell to £16.7bn, down 14.1% on the previous period, according a new report by JLL, the property services company.

Consumer confidence climbed this month, but signs point to slowing spending in 2017: Overall consumer confidence edged up this month, but Britons showed they have less faith in making major purchases, signalling a spending slowdown in the year ahead, a new report suggests.

Amazon and Expedia back Washington state’s lawsuit against Trump’s travel ban: The state of Washington is set to take Trump to federal court with the help of technology companies Amazon and Expedia to challenge the U.S. President’s Executive order to ban travel from certain countries.

Tom Hayes has launched the next stage of his Libor appeal to the CCRC: Tom Hayes, the first person in the U.K. to be found guilty of playing a role in the Libor-rigging scandal, has submitted an appeal to the Criminal Cases Review (CCRC).

Spreadbetting lobby group plots bid to appease City watchdog amid industry crackdown: A coalition of spreadbetting firms is drawing up a code of conduct amid pressure from the City watchdog.

The FCA says Tracey McDermott won’t share confidential information in new Standard Chartered role: Andrew Bailey, Chief Executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), said Tracey McDermott will not share insider information with Standard Chartered from her time at the FCA.

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 08:37:00 +0000
In the Papers - Deutsche Bank, BT, JD Sports, Ocado Newspaper Summary

The Times

Rival engineers in talks on special relationship: The American consulting engineer playing a key role in Britain’s new High Speed Two rail route has approached its U.K. competitor WS Atkins about a possible $4 billion merger.

BAE hopes Turkish jet deal will boost trade links: The U.K.’s biggest defence and security company is hoping a £100 million contract with Turkey will pave the way to a more lucrative defence partnership with Ankara.

EU trade deal ‘vital’ for the prosperity of city economies: Striking a trade deal with the European Union will be vital if the government is to meet its goal of boosting regional development because the Continent is the biggest export market for almost every key British city, according to a report.

Surge in public spending after Brexit vote: The vote to leave the European Union appears to have unshackled public spending, with data from government procurement revealing a sharp rise in the value of work put out to tender.

Baker laments ‘snobbery’ against technical colleges: Lord Baker of Dorking is disappointed. Kenneth Baker, the reforming education secretary of the Margaret Thatcher era, has spent the past decade urging schools to produce students with scientific, engineering, digital or mechanical skills ready for the workplace or further education.

Greece’s woes ‘may spell end of the EU’: Greece is in trouble again, and failure to rein in its explosive debt and wrap up a key bailout review with creditors soon could push the country out of the euro, leading economists and the International Monetary Fund warn.

Wood’s arrival at Paperchase fuels rumours of float plans: Nick Wood, the former Chief Executive of Pets at Home and a veteran retailer, is to become the non-Executive Chairman of Paperchase in a move that will be taken as a sign that the upmarket stationery retailer is preparing for a possible float.

Ivy revamp eats up Caprice profits: The closure of The Ivy for an overhaul before its 100th anniversary took a bite out of 2015 profits at Richard Caring’s Caprice Holdings.

The Independent

Devolved governments won't get decisive role in Brexit talks Theresa May confirms: Theresa May has made it clear the devolved administrations will not be given a decisive role in the U.K.'s divorce from the European Union ahead of talks with leaders from across the U.K.

Donald Trump and Theresa May agree immediate talks on post-Brexit trade deal: The U.K. and the U.S. will begin work immediately on a new negotiating pact to pave the way for a full trade deal to come into force after Brexit.

The Daily Telegraph

Mexico unites in anger over President Trump's plan for sanctions: President Donald Trump’s escalating threats against Mexico have led to calls for a guerrilla struggle of national resistance from across the political spectrum, uniting the Mexican people as almost never before in modern times.

Eurozone 'destruction' necessary if countries are to thrive again, warns former ECB hawk: The Eurozone must break up if its members are to thrive again, according to a former European Central Bank official.

Tesco's One Stop to be scrutinised in Booker deal: Tesco’s One Stop convenience chain is expected to be a key area of scrutiny for competition regulators poring over the details of the merger between Booker and Britain’s biggest retailer.

Black cab maker targets capitals of Europe for fresh sales of new hybrid-electric taxi: The maker of the next generation of the black cab is targeting European capitals for sales of its hybrid-powered version of the iconic vehicle.

New threat to BT share price as Orange freed from stake sale lock-up: BT Investors face a new problem from, as the former French state telecoms monopoly Orange is released from a lock-up stopping it selling its 4% stake in its British counterpart.

L&G signs up Morrissey to lead personal investment: The respected former Boss of Newton Investment Management is joining the investment arm of insurance giant Legal & General with the task of helping the business build direct relationships with savers.

Spire spots potential in GP surgeries: Spire Healthcare is planning to set up its own network of GPs at its hospitals and clinics across the country to address a growing demand for primary care services in the U.K.

The Guardian

Steelworkers to vote on Port Talbot rescue plan: Thousands of steelworkers will vote on rescue proposals for the Port Talbot steelworks this week in a definitive moment for the crisis in the industry.

140 JD Sports staff taken to hospital from one warehouse in four years: At least 140 people have been taken to hospital after incidents at JD Sports’s controversial warehouse in Rochdale in the last four years.

Brexit has allowed the banks to get off Britain's naughty step: It is almost a decade since the financial crisis and barely a day has gone by without banks being in the headlines, invariably for the wrong reasons.

BT fires opening shot at Sky in new Champions League rights battle: BT has fired the first shot in the battle for Champions League football, saying it is determined to keep a grip on the TV rights to European football’s blue-riband club competition and accusing arch-rival Sky of having too much dominance over pay-TV sports.

Daily Mail

Banks and lenders face clampdown from the Bank of England on household borrowing: Banks and other lenders are facing a crackdown from the Bank of England and City regulators in an attempt to put the brakes on runaway household borrowing.

Daily Express

BT feels the heat after accounting scandal: Investors in BT were all set for what should have been a fairly boring third quarter trading update on Friday.

Dixons Chief shrugs off rising credit card debt worries: The Boss of Dixons Carphone has backed U.K. shoppers to keep spending with credit while borrowing is cheap.

U.K. firms plan more trade with the EU: More than a third of U.K. firms hope to step up trade with Europe over the next five years despite uncertainty caused by Brexit, a study shows.

The Scottish Herald

Corallin takes 45% stake in tech firm: Private Equity group Coralinn has taken a 45% stake in fast-growing information and communications technology firm Exsel Group, providing the company with £500,000 of investment.

Glasgow business has capitalised on growth of coffee culture and new technology to help build sales: The recent fall in the value of the pound may have helped exporters but this week’s SME Focus highlights the challenges it has posed for firms that use imported goods and machinery.

Worst may be over for U.K.’s key subsea industry: The downturn in the hard-pressed subsea engineering and manufacturing sector has probably bottomed out but the best firms can hope for is a long and slow recovery, industry leaders have warned.

Solving protein problem is not easy meat for policymakers: Europe is short of protein to feed its livestock, particularly our pigs and poultry. The problem with them is that they have stomachs similar to ours and require highly digestible forms of protein.

Top earner at S&W takes home £541k for last year: The paypacket for the highest-earning partner at law firm Shepherd and Wedderburn increased by 19% in the year to April 2016, taking the total to £541,000.

Capital is city least reliant on European Union: Edinburgh is the Scottish city least reliant on the European Union, but 37% of its exports still head into the single market.

Ocado expected to see profits drop to £10.5 million as supermarket price war hits: Online grocer Ocado will update the City on its annual results next week, with forecasts pointing to a third consecutive year of profits.

Housebuilders focus on supply: Housebuilders will maintain a “positive but cautious” approach between 2017 and 2021, during which time demand for homes will continue to outpace supply, according to property consultancy JLL.

The Scotsman

Prospect of budget deal ‘not looking good’, says Willie Rennie: Willie Rennie has said the prospect of a deal that would allow the Scottish Government’s budget to pass is “not looking good”. The Scottish Liberal Democrat leader said his party was prepared to push the issue to an election if its priorities were not met by Finance Secretary Derek Mackay.

Theresa May under pressure to drop Trump state visit invite: Theresa May is coming under growing pressure to revoke an invitation to Donald Trump for a state visit to the U.K. following global condemnation of controversial immigration restrictions.

City A.M.

British tech sector slams President Donald Trump's migration block, echoing U.S. counterparts: British tech Bosses have echoed their American counterparts by criticising President Donald Trump’s Executive order banning travel to the U.S. for people hailing from several majority Muslim nations.

How 1.5% of U.K. businesses created 780,000 jobs last year: Medium-sized British businesses created 780,000 jobs in 2016 and increased profits by 19%, according to new figures released by accountants BDO in a report into the sector’s growth prospects.

Treasury Select Committee chair hits back at Chancellor over rules which could have blocked HBOS review: The chair of the influential Treasury Select Committee has written to the Chancellor, slamming powers which could have been used to block reviews into recent high-profile scandals like HBOS.

British nationals will be exempt from Trump's travel ban, foreign office says: Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson tonight said U.K. nationals will be exempt from U.S. President Donald Trump's Executive order banning travel from seven majority Muslim countries.

Amanda Staveley's legal row with Barclays to reach crunch point this week: It's a critical week for Amanda Staveley's legal battle with Barclays, with a judge due to decide whether the City financier can have access to documents key to her case.

Deutsche Bank forecast to be in the red for 2016, with a net loss of almost €1 billion predicted: Deutsche Bank is predicted to announce it is almost €1 billion (£850 million) in the red when it releases its full year results for 2016 on Thursday morning.

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 08:43:00 +0000
In the Papers - Jimmy Choo, Johnson & Johnson, Sky, Shell Newspaper Summary

The Times

Bags of swank in record year for Jimmy Choo: Jimmy Choo, the luxury shoe maker best known for its ultra-high heels, has enjoyed a record year after total revenues rose 15% to £364 million.

Verizon eyes $300 billion Charter merger to create telecoms monster: Verizon and Charter Communications are exploring a near-$300 billion merger to create the largest telecommunications company in the world, it emerged.

Hammond defers sale of stake in RBS: Taxpayers may not recover more of their money from Royal Bank of Scotland for several years and only once it has shown that it is “firmly in recovery mode”, the Chancellor said.

Retail sales index has biggest ever fall: British retail sales fell unexpectedly this month, driven by a sharp drop among grocers who suffered their fastest decline since August 2004, according to the CBI’s monthly survey.

TSB likes the big picture despite tough year ahead: TSB will suffer a fall in profit this year owing to a double whammy of extra IT costs and having to hand back a book of mortgages to Lloyds but it is expected to bounce back next year.

Johnson & Johnson swallows Actelion’s medicine for $30 billion: The world’s largest healthcare company has struck a $30 billion deal to buy one of Europe’s most coveted biotech companies after weeks of complex negotiations.

Sky in broadband TV offer after profits fall: Sky is to offer all its television channels over broadband, in addition to satellite dishes, as it continues a long-term drive towards making its content available anytime, anywhere, on all platforms.

Shell cannot be sued in Britain over Nigeria oil spill, judge rules: Royal Dutch Shell cannot be sued in the U.K. over oil spills from its pipelines in Nigeria, a High Court judge has ruled in a crucial test case for the energy group and other multinationals.

Ford pays $200 million penalty for pulling out of Mexico plant: Ford took a $200 million hit to its finances by cancelling a new plant in Mexico amid demands from President Trump to build more cars in the U.S.

Crackdown on gamblers puts dent in Rank casino profits: A government crackdown on money laundering and problem gambling contributed to a fall in half-year profits at the company behind Grosvenor Casinos and Mecca Bingo.

Shares down at Daily Mail publisher: Shares in Daily Mail and General Trust lost more than 8% of their value after the media group cut the outlook for its information division.

Bishop tells mining group to do more for its workers: Lonmin shares were hammered as the London-quoted platinum miner revealed a “disappointing” start to 2017 and was accused of failing the families of 34 miners who were killed in the Marikana massacre in 2012.

HS2 recruits permanent Boss from U.S. advisers: The relationship between High Speed Two and its key adviser, the U.S. consultancy CH2 million Hill, has become even closer after HS2 replaced its interim acting Chief Executive, the CH2 million Director Roy Hill, with a permanent Boss, Mark Thurston, recruited from CH2M.

Fall in copper production takes shine off Anglo American: Anglo American reported a sharp production fall at its huge Los Bronces copper mine in Chile at the end of last year offsetting an overall increase in mineral output across its mines.

The Independent

Unilever Boss says Britons should ‘get used to’ price rises: The Chief Executive of Unilever, the consumer goods giant at the centre of Marmitegate, said Britain should “get used to” price rises triggered by a slump in the pound after the Brexit vote.

Barclays to keep global HQ in London no matter outcome of Brexit: Barclays has reiterated that it will keep its global headquarters in London even after the U.K. leaves the EU, in response to media reports that it was planning on establishing a European headquarters in Dublin.

Chicken prices soar due to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine: When Ukraine first accused Russia of invading Crimea just under three years ago, few were thinking of the effect on chicken prices.

Mortgage approvals hit nine-month high in December: Approvals for house purchases hit a nine-month high in December, according to the latest data from the British Bankers’ Association, suggesting that the national housing market is still holding up despite the Brexit vote last summer.

Pound sterling slips off six-week high: The pound slipped off a six-week high against the dollar on Thursday, with investors displaying caution following several sessions of gains for the currency.

After Marmitegate shares in Unilever are falling again: Shares in Unilever fell on Thursday morning after the consumer good giant at the centre of Marmitegate warned that tough market conditions are “likely to continue” next year as it revealed lower than expected results on Thursday.

Trump’s tipped ambassador to the EU says the euro could collapse: U.S. President Donald Trump’s likely pick for ambassador to the European Union has said that the single currency “could collapse” in the next year and a half.

Credit Suisse considers Dublin expansion as Brexit looms: Credit Suisse is exploring options for expanding in Dublin, as the U.K. moves closer to exiting the European Union, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The Daily Telegraph

Fears over BT debt pile as ratings agency warns of negative outlook in wake of accounting scandal: BT is at risk of having its credit rating cut over fears that the heavy blow to profits from its accounting scandal in Italy and a slump in big contracts will slow effort to reduce its debt pile.

Alphabet shares fade as Google phone costs drag on profits: Google’s parent company Alphabet posted lower-than-expected profits tonight as the high cost of launching its new Pixel phone and investing in cloud services took the shine off a leap in advertising income.

Tata U.K. Steel’s pension fund to be spun off to separate it from business: Tata Steel U.K.’s pension fund is set to be spun off in a move that will ring-fence the business from future financial burdens flowing from the retirement scheme.

Chancellor signals no early exit from RBS as bank sets aside £3.1 billion for U.S. fine: Philip Hammond has signalled that the Government is likely to hold on to its stake in Royal Bank of Scotland until at least the end of the decade, as the bank announced it would take a $3.8 billion (£3.1 billion) provision for mis-selling toxic mortgage-backed securities in the U.S. in the run-up to the financial crisis.

Co-op Bank warns it will miss capital target: Troubled Co-operative Bank has warned that it will miss the capital targets set out by City regulators in yet another sign the lender is struggling to recover from its near collapse in 2013.

Sage considers sale of U.K. payments business: Sage is considering putting its payments business in the U.K. up for sale as the FTSE 100 software group reviews its future.

French Connection begins search for new board members in response to activist pressure: French Connection has begun hunting for replacements for two of its non-Executive Directors following intense pressure from activist investors at Gatemore, which has ramped up its public campaign against the company.

Barclays prepares to expand Dublin office after Brexit: Barclays is preparing to boost its operations in Dublin and use the Irish capital as its main base in the European Union if British banks are forced to relocate their EU businesses because of Brexit.

Imperial backs down from shareholder battle over £8.5 million Executive payout: Tobacco giant Imperial Brands has backed down in the face of a rising shareholder rebellion over plans to hand its top Bosses a potential multimillion pound pay hike.

The Questor Column:

This commodities trust is one to take a punt on if you believe in Trump’s ‘reflation’: At the moment, the investment trend on everyone’s mind is the theory that Donald Trump’s election as U.S. President will lead to dramatic changes in the economy and the investment landscape. But one sector that should benefit not just from a renewal of economic animal spirits in general but specifically from Mr. Trump’s infrastructure boost is commodities. Among investment trusts that operate in this sector, the most attractive to Questor is BlackRock World Mining. The trust, managed by Evy Hambro and Olivia Markham, is one of just 17 quoted funds to make it into the model investment trust portfolio of JP Morgan Cazenove, the stockbroker. One cloud on the horizon is that the trust is highly likely to announce a significant cut to its dividend. The interim payment was cut by 45% and Numis speculated that investors could receive a total of 13p for the year, down from 21p the previous year, which would still be equivalent to a yield of 3.5% at ‘s share price. But the trust’s current discount of 14.3% is perhaps its biggest attraction. The portfolio’s annual cost, as measured by the total expense ratio, is 1.21%, which is on the high side but not unreasonable for a specialist fund of this nature. Questor says ‘Speculative Buy’.

The Guardian

Hermes facing legal challenge from its self-employed workers: Hermes, the courier company that delivers parcels for John Lewis and Next, is facing a legal claim from workers who believe they are wrongly classed as self-employed, according to the Labour MP Frank Field.

Brexit’s mixed bag: good for scotch, bad for washing machines: The contrasting impact of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union on business was underlined when some of the world’s largest companies warned it had hiked food prices and lowered demand for household appliances on one hand but raised overseas profits for British companies on the other.

Brexit economy: weak pound stokes inflation as jobs market cools: The pressure on the pound from Britain’s vote to leave the EU is stoking inflation, denting household finances and putting a brake on spending, according to a Guardian analysis.

Car firms tell May post-Brexit tariffs are ‘red line’ issue that threatens jobs: The car industry has told Theresa May that the introduction of tariffs after Britain leaves the EU is a “red line” issue that would lead to a fall in sales and potentially result in job losses.

Daily Mail

Card Factory Boss leaves just as sales start to grow with firm confident profits will be ahead of expectations: Strong trading over Christmas helped boost Card Factory. The greeting card and gift maker was among the biggest risers on the FTSE 350 after it indicated that the drop off in business it suffered earlier in the year had passed.

Beefeater restaurants are a drag but Costa Coffee serves up success for Whitbread: The group, which includes Premier Inn, said sales at its Beefeater restaurants fell 1.5% in the 13 weeks to December 1.

Haynes revs up for bigger profit thanks to booming demand for car, motorcycle and novelty manuals: Booming demand for car and motorcycle manuals and a growing interest in online products boosted sales for publisher Haynes. The company revealed rising sales in the six months to December, thanks to growing popularity of its key brands. Sales in the six months to November 30 increased by 15% to £14million – up from £12.2million the year before.

Kevin O’Byrne, 52 Chief financial officer, Sainsbury’s handed £300k in shares: The new finance Boss of J Sainsbury has been given more than £300,000 in shares to make up for money he lost leaving Poundland.

Fuller, Smith and Turner report robust Christmas trading at their pubs and hotels: Fuller, Smith and Turner reported robust trading over Christmas, driven by growth at its managed pubs and hotels arm.

Daily Express

German car giant loses €100million contract: A mystery firm has pulled out of a €100million deal with a German car supplier, after new President Donald Trump warned he would punish companies that outsourced jobs from America.

Is your local cashpoint going to be boarded up? Row means half are set to be axed: Tens of thousands of free-to-use cash machines could be axed across Britain amid an ongoing row between banks and providers. As many as half of the 70,000 ATMs covered by the U.K.’s LINK network could disappear if a dispute over fees isn’t resolved.

George Soros bets against ING bank accidentally leaked by bungling Dutch regulator: Billionaire investor George Soros has had details of his bets against banks mistakenly revealed by the Dutch regulator.

U.K. economy is not slowing down: GDP grows by 0.6% - faster than before Brexit vote: Britain’s economy grew faster in the six months after the Brexit vote, than the six months before the referendum, official data revealed.

The Scottish Herald

Bowleven insists it is making progress in Cameroon: Bowleven has said it is making progress in Cameroon days after a rebel investor demanded a boardroom cull and a change of strategy at the firm.

Shares lift for RBS after fine provision: Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland received a boost amid growing hopes the fine to be imposed on the state-owned lender for mis-selling U.S. mortgage-backed securities will not be as high as initially feared.

New name for SECC as it aims for expansion: The Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre has been renamed the Scottish Event Campus as part of a wider strategy that includes a £100 million expansion of exhibition space.

Standard Life’s European pensions Chief to stand down: Standard Life has said Paul Matthews, Chief Executive of its U.K. and Europe pensions and savings business, is set to retire from the firm after 28 years with the business. Mr. Matthews will stand down as an Executive Director on March 1, and leave the company on August 31.

The Scotsman

Spirits giant Diageo in strong sales and profits rise: Diageo, Scotland’s biggest Scotch whisky company, cheered the City with a much better interim trading performance, sending its shares up 4%.

£700k lift for industrial biotech: A string of Scottish businesses and universities and are set for a boost after the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) earmarked more than £700,000 of investment for micro-enterprises specialising in industrial biotech.

Fife pushes ahead with universal basic income plan: A former mining village in Fife is to host a meeting of international experts and politicians to discuss a radical alternative to the present welfare system.

Atlantis inks French deal to develop wind technology: Atlantis Resources, the tidal energy company behind the ground-breaking MeyGen project in the Pentland Firth, has moved a step closer to developing a large-scale floating wind farm after joining forces with a French engineering firm.

Positive data unable to stop Footsie falling: The FTSE 100 Index and the pound edged down after failing to receive a boost from robust economic data showing that Britain has yet to suffer a slowdown in the wake of the Brexit vote.

City A.M.

China’s debt mountain is unlikely to spoil its New Year: As China prepares to ring in the year of the Fire Rooster this weekend, its central bank has ordered lenders to strictly control the amount of loans issued in the first quarter of 2017 – an effort to cut the country’s ballooning levels of debt.

U.S. President Donald Trump says he’ll negotiate trade deal with the U.K. himself: U.S. President Donald Trump says he will personally discuss the framework for a post-Brexit trade deal with Prime Minister Theresa May, having failed to appoint a commerce secretary since moving into the White House.

Cinema chain Vue plans £6.6 million refurbishment of Leicester Square flagship: Cinema company Vue Entertainment is planning a £6.6 million refurbishment of its Leicester Square flagship.

EU Robin Hood financial transactions tax is “within reach” if politicians can agree says diplomat: A financial transactions tax – also known as a Robin Hood tax – on trades is “within reach” according to the EU’s commissioner on tax, which could represent a barrier to the U.K.’s post-Brexit trade deal with the bloc.

Cezanne paints picture of success with Glasgow expansion: Southwark-based Cezanne HR has announced plans to open a new office in Glasgow, with the expansion following the company’s most successful year to date. It now has a record number of new customers and an increased global presence.

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 08:45:00 +0000
In the Papers - WH Smith, Co-op, Santander Newspaper Summary

The Times

Chief of BT Italy sold £675,000 of shares before scandal broke: A top BT Executive with responsibility for the telecoms company’s Italian division sold more than half a million pounds’ worth of shares before financial irregularities were revealed to investors this week.

A world flowing with oil for 30 more years: The world has access to more than twice as much oil as it will need between now and 2050, which will dampen the long-term outlook for prices, according to BP.

Fair wind is forecast for renewables: Renewable power will be the fastest-growing fuel source over the next two decades, with output more than quadrupling by 2035, BP believes.

Santander sounds the alarm on surge in cheap unsecured loans: The head of one of Britain’s largest lenders has become the latest senior banker to sound a warning about the risks of over-heating in the consumer credit market, saying the cost of offering personal loans has become too cheap to make money.

Scunthorpe steeling itself for profit: The Scunthorpe steelworks that was haemorrhaging losses of up to £2 million a week last summer will more than break even this financial year and is expected to turn a profit of £120 million next year.

Fresnillo pays price for taking its golden shot: Every silver lining has a cloud, apparently, at least as far as the London Stock Exchange was concerned after Fresnillo announced record production numbers. The miner, which specialises in silver, said in a trading update that its output of the metal had risen by 7.1% to 50.3 million ounces in the past year, boosted by increased production at its San Julián mine and higher-grade ore at Ciénega in Mexico.

Next lifts the curtain on child labour in factories: Next uncovered eight instances of children working in its factories abroad last year and said that fashion retailers had to maintain a constant vigilance to prevent human rights abuses.

Investors take warning as cue to quit dining chain: The scale of the challenge facing the new Chief Executive of The Restaurant Group was made starkly clear when Andy McCue, who replaced Danny Breithaupt in the job in September, called it “a turnaround situation”.

Met reveals more arrests in Barratt bribery investigation: An alleged cash-for-contracts scandal that has engulfed Britain’s biggest housebuilder went further than previously thought, the Metropolitan police said as it gave details of two further arrests at Barratt Developments.

WH Smith cashes in on captive audience: Southern rail strikes and fog at London airports may have stymied some Britons’ travel plans but they did no harm to WH Smith. The newsagent has reported a 2% rise in total group revenue in the 21 weeks to January 21 and has raised its full-year profit guidance.

Weak yen lifts Japan forecasts: Exports from Japan have risen for the first time in 15 months, suggesting that the weak yen is finally boosting external demand.

Consultant hits jackpot in flotation: A gambling consultant being investigated by Canadian authorities over allegations of insider trading is set to collect C$4.5 million from Jackpotjoy after the online bingo operator completed its London listing.

Shoppers feel the squeeze from inflation: Inflation has hit its highest level for more than two and a half years and threatens to increase the squeeze on families’ spending power, Asda has warned.

We won’t sell to asset-stripper, says Minister: The government has defended its contentious £2 billion sale of the Green Investment Bank to an Australian merchant bank, saying that it would not sell the investment fund to an “asset-stripper”.

Weak pound adds weight to manufacturers’ recovery: Factories have started 2017 on the front foot, with total orders climbing to their highest level in nearly two years and optimism about future prospects surging well above average.

London banks to discuss relocating to Frankfurt: Executives from more than 20 London-based banks are expected to meet German regulators on Monday for a private briefing on relocating to Frankfurt. The meeting, the first such gathering of its kind in Germany, is being hosted by Bafin, the financial supervisor, to cope with increasingly detailed inquiries from banks after Theresa May said Britain would be leaving the EU single market.

The Independent

Impact of immigration on native wages ‘infinitesimally small’: The author of an influential piece of economic research frequently heralded by leading Brexiteers as evidence that immigration from the European Union undermines native British wages has stressed that the negative impact is “infinitesimally small” and that his findings had been widely misrepresented.

Co-op cracks down on supply and sale of unethically source tuna: The Co-op is cracking down on the supply and sale of unethically sourced tuna, holding some of its biggest brands to account.

This is what Donald Trump’s presidency has done to the dollar: The pound recovered on Wednesday while the dollar fell, hit by fresh concerns of what U.S. President Donald Trump’s policies would mean for global trade and markets.

Newspapers cut Facebook and Snapchat content due to meagre returns: Newspapers and other media outlets are struggling to make money from their partnerships with tech giants like Facebook and Snapchat, raising concerns over their business models in a news landscape increasingly dominated by social media platforms.

E.On Boss says Trump causing serious setbacks to climate change effort: German utility E.On, which owns billions of euros worth of wind parks in the United States, said global efforts to tackle climate change were suffering serious setbacks, singling out the election of Donald Trump as a key obstacle.

Trump’s Chief Economic Advisor to receive $284 million from Goldman Sachs: Gary Cohn’s jump from Goldman Sachs to Donald Trump’s administration is helping him unlock more than $284 million (£227 million) in bonuses, shares and other investments through the Wall Street bank.

Tesco shares fall on report of new legal action over accounting botch: Shares in Tesco fell on Wednesday following a report that the supermarket giant is facing a fresh claim for damages to one of its investors, relating to a historical accounting scandal that wiped billions off the company’s share price at the time.

Santander posts rise in profit as Brazil makes up for poor U.K. figures: Spain’s Banco Santander posted a 4% rise in 2016 profit on Wednesday, thanks to a robust performance in its Brazilian business offsetting lacklustre figures out of Britain.

Chinese New Year 2017: London to experience shopping ‘gold rush’ during Year of the Rooster celebrations: Chinese visitors to the U.K. could spend over £11 million in London over the next week alone, as they visit the capital to celebrate the start of the year of the rooster, according to global payment provider Worldpay.

The Daily Telegraph

RBS to set aside $4 billion for U.S. settlement over toxic mortgage securities: Royal Bank of Scotland is to set aside about $4 billion to deal with allegations from U.S. authorities that it mis-sold toxic mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the financial crisis.

BT scandal joins VW and Tesco in crosshairs of shareholder legal action specialists: BT is being targeted by the shareholder litigation specialists behind massive damages claims against Tesco and VW, after nearly £8 billion was wiped off the telecoms giant’s stock market valuation by an accounting scandal and contract slump.

Eurozone set for years of stagnation and crises as members drift apart, Moody’s fears: The single currency is failing to bring its economies closer together, with the strong core nations pulling ever further ahead of the weak periphery - leaving the Eurozone as a whole set for years of stagnation and political crises, according to analysts at credit ratings agency Moody’s.

Discovery goes to war with Sky over channel fees with blackout threat: Discovery, the U.S. media giant behind the TLC and Eurosport channels, has issued an extraordinary public threat to withdraw all its programming from Sky over claims it “refuses to pay a fair price”.

U.K. car production drives to 17-year high but investment stalls on ‘uncertainty’: The U.K. car industry is in rude health, hitting a 17-year production high in 2016, but concerns over Brexit saw investment fall by a third, industry figures have revealed.

Boeing soars to a record as Dreamliner flies into profit: Boeing shares have soared to a record high as the aerospace and defence giant said its flagship 787 Dreamliner airliner is no longer loss-making and it expects to deliver more airliners this year.

Santander Boss: London to remain Europe’s financial hub: London will not lose its status as Europe’s pre-eminent financial hub in the wake of Brexit, according to the Boss of Santander, one of the world’s most influential bankers.

Former AssetCo Directors rapped over financial conduct: The former Bosses of beleaguered firm AssetCo have been disciplined by the accounting regulator over their financial conduct.

Strike threat brews at Escondida, the world’s largest copper mine: The finely balanced global copper market could see a further jump in prices after unions at the world’s largest copper mine vowed to strike over pay.

Retirement house builder McCarthy & Stone brushes off Brexit dip: Retirement house builder McCarthy & Stone has shrugged off a drop in business in the weeks after June’s European Union referendum to post a 5% rise in the value of its sales.

The Questor Column:

Hargreaves Lansdown’s exceptional profitability looks unassailable: The admission reflects two facts about the market for investment shops: that Hargreaves’ service is very good, and that investors tend to be reluctant to switch firms, even when a cheaper rival is available. When a company that charges more than its competitors is able to attract, and retain, the lion’s share of the available custom, as Hargreaves is, it is clearly doing something right. In his December update to investors he noted that the share price of an investment administrator such as Hargreaves would normally rise when the markets did, but that in 2016 this relationship had broken down: shares in Hargreaves had fallen by 17% while the FTSE 100 had gained 16%. If and when the correlation is re-established, the shares can be expected to rally strongly. He said this meant that the “quality” of Hargreaves’ total dividend was improving, as the special or possibly non-recurring proportion of it declined. Questor would add that the recent dramatic changes in the pensions landscape should also benefit the firm. Our only concern is valuation, which at 32.1 times earnings looks on the high side. One to tuck away for long-term growth. Questor says ‘Buy’.

The Guardian

Trump’s wall: Mexican construction firms likely to be biggest winners: The biggest winners from the construction of Donald Trump’s “big, beautiful, powerful” wall along the U.S.-Mexico border are likely to be Mexican cement companies and construction workers.

Car industry tells PM tariffs are ‘red line’ issue that could cost U.K. jobs: The car industry has told Theresa May that the introduction of tariffs after Britain leaves the EU is a “red line” issue that would lead to a fall in sales and potentially result in job losses.

Brexit economy: weak pound stokes inflation as jobs market cools: The pressure on the pound from Britain’s vote to leave the EU is stoking inflation, denting household finances and putting a brake on spending, according to a Guardian analysis.

‘It’s a crisis that keeps on hurting’ - experts debate Brexit watch data: Professor of economics at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, and former member of the Bank’s MPC from June 2006 to May 2009

British Steel to reverse salary cut for workers agreed under Tata: British Steel will reinstate the salary it was paying workers before they accepted a pay cut last year, after predicting a return to full-year profits months after it appeared on the verge of collapse.

Daily Mail

As World Bank forecasts value of precious metals will fall, so price of gold, silver and platinum tumble: As the World Bank forecast that the value of precious metals would fall, so the price of gold, silver and platinum tumbled.

Study says Scotch whisky creates almost £5 billion a year for U.K. economy: Scotch whisky creates almost £5 billion a year for the U.K. economy, a study says. Research commissioned by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) found that the industry supports more than 40,000 jobs across Britain.

Number of savers switching to Santander’s 123 account tumbled after bank slashed interest rates: The number of savers switching to Santander’s 123 account tumbled after the bank slashed interest rates. The lender said only 483,000 customers switched to its account in 2016 compared to around one million the year before.

Founder of online fashion retailer Asos sells £15.5 million worth of shares in order to pay tax bill: The Founder of online fashion retailer Asos has sold £15.5 million worth of shares in order to pay his tax bill. Nick Robertson, who stood down as Chief Executive in 2015 to become a non-Executive Director, cashed in 300,000 shares at a closing price of 5175p.

Cash-for-contracts scandal engulfing one of Britain’s biggest builders sees four people arrested on suspicion of bribery:  The cash-for-contracts scandal engulfing one of Britain’s biggest builders has seen four people arrested on suspicion of bribery, it has emerged.

Daily Express

‘The pound is irrelevant’ German financial giant Deutsche Bank in shocking Sterling swipe: Germany’s biggest lender Deutsche Bank has branded the pound “irrelevant” following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union (EU).

Pound jumps to six-week high - and could go higher, say experts: The pound has rocketed to a six-week high after Theresa May agreed to give MPs a Brexit white paper.

Dow hits record high 20,000 as Donald Trump’s Mexico wall boosts markets: America’s top stock index the Dow Jones surged at the open to reach its highest ever level and hit the key 20,000 mark for the first time ever, amid a rally sparked by new President Donald Trump.

The Scottish Herald

Brexit ‘hiatus’ hampers city property markets: Investment in Scotland’s commercial property market fell 12% last year as the Brexit vote all but ground activity to a halt for a period.

New orders and costs increase in manufacturing sector: The Scottish manufacturing sector enjoyed a rebound in its new order volumes in the latest three months, a survey has shown.

Half of firms in North Sea to cut jobs: More than half the oil and gas firms operating in the North Sea expect to cut jobs in the area this year after confidence levels hit new lows a study has found.

Havelock in shares boost after £21 million order update: Shares in Havelock Europa have risen by more than 8% after the shopfitting specialist revealed it has £21 million of orders in hand.

EICC back in black after big rise in international events: Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) has hailed its track record in attracting major international conventions as it booked its first profit since its £35 million expansion was completed in 2013.

Number of firms going bust falls in Scotland: The number of corporate insolvencies fell in the last quarter in spite of any uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote and the impact of the downturn in the North Sea.

Strathmore inks athletics deal: Scottish soft drinks giant AG Barr has secured a deal for its Strathmore brand to be the national supplier of bottled water for this summer’s IAAF World Championships and World Para Athletics Championships in London. It will see more than one million bottle of water supplied to athletes, officials and volunteers.

Uel Morton to step down after 11 years at the helm of QMS: Uel Morton, Chief Executive of Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), the red meat industry’s promotional body, will step down from his role later this year.

Builders to create 350 jobs in 2017: A trio of housebuilders is to create 350 jobs across Scotland this year as they embark on a range of new developments.

Mallzee app adds forecasting tools: Fashion shopping business Mallzee has enhanced its app with added a suite of insight and prediction tools designed to enable retailers to forecast the items that will sell well.

New tenants for Whisky Bond as 2017 gets off to strong start: Five new tenants have moved into The Whisky Bond in Glasgow, marking a “bright outlook” for the city’s creative sector in 2017.

The Scotsman

Health tech start-up lands contract with NHS England: An Edinburgh-based technology start-up that helps people find the care to meet their needs has landed a deal with NHS England as it aims to “disrupt” the £20 billion market.

Scotland’s pubs and restaurants less likely to go bust: Scotland’s hospitality sector has enjoyed a solid start to the year, with its restaurants and pubs less at risk of failure than the U.K. average, new research would suggest.

Minecraft maker 4J Studios has high hopes for Switch game: The Scottish firm behind the hit game Minecraft is hoping for another high score with a new instalment for Nintendo’s forthcoming Switch device.

T2 helps boost value of film industry to Edinburgh to nearly £8 million: A three-month shoot across Edinburgh on the sequel to Trainspotting boosted the value of film and television productions to the Capital to its highest level since records began 26 years ago.

Housebuilders give sector boost with plans for new sites: Three housebuilders have unveiled plans to construct hundreds of homes north of the Border, going some way to plugging the gap between supply and demand.

Appointedd broadens global reach with strategic partnership: Online booking management firm Appointedd has revealed a strategic partnership making its scheduling software available to more than half a million businesses globally.

City A.M.

At the top since the turn of the millennium: Admiral chairman steps down: Admiral non-Executive chairman Alastair Lyons will retire in April after nearly 17 years in the role.

St Helena aims for tourism boost despite airport woes: It became famous in the 1800s as the home of the exiled French Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, but in recent times St Helena has attracted more attention for the cost of its new airport.

Is blockchain a “new operating system for the planet”? Barclays vice chairman Jeremy Wilson thinks so: Blockchain has the potential to become “a new operating system for the planet” in a generation’s time, while mainstream commercial use is likely to happen within the next decade, one of Barclays’ top Executives believes.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney warns fintech’s democratic revolution poses risk to financial system: The fintech revolution poses significant risks to the stability of the financial services sector, according to Bank of England Governor Mark Carney.

Czech it out: Central Eastern European M&A activity is booming: Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity slowed in the U.K. and across the world last year, but Central Eastern European deals came thick and fast.

City of London grants planning permission for new City skyscraper, 1 Leadenhall: Another skyscraper has moved one step closer to becoming part of the capital’s skyline, after the City of London’s planning and transport committee granted planning permission this morning.

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 08:50:00 +0000
In the Papers - British Gas, BT, HSBC, BlackRock Newspaper Summary

The Times

Patchy phone and tablet coverage is not what the City wants to hear: Promises of a “meaningful uplift” in profits this year at Dixons Carphone after a solid Christmas trading period failed to impress the City.

Italy’s red arrows make tracks for Britain’s HS2 rail line: The Italian state rail company has opened the bidding to operate the trains on the High Speed Two line in what is likely to be the most hotly contested competition in the history of the railways.

Ex-Chief of Essentra in line for £600,000 pay-off: The former Chief Executive of Essentra is to be paid more than a half a million pounds after a series of profit warnings at the struggling packaging company.

British Gas to pay £9.5 million over botched bills: British Gas is to pay a £9.5 million penalty after tens of thousands of business customers received inaccurate or delayed bills due to problems with its new IT system.

EU builders are skilled workers, says Crest Boss: The Chief Executive of Crest Nicholson has urged the government to treat European Union migrants working in the construction industry as “skilled workers” once Brexit negotiations get under way.

Loss of clearing threatens 85,000 jobs: Services associated with clearing euro-denominated securities will be forced to leave London, costing the City up to 85,000 jobs as a result of Brexit, a former head of the Swiss central bank has warned.

RBS ‘sank businesses to meet bailout terms’: Royal Bank of Scotland mistreated businesses because it was rushing to meet the terms of its taxpayer bailout in 2008, a claim lodged in the High Court has alleged.

The Independent

Airbus, which employs 15,000 in Britain, has a warning about Brexit: The Boss of aircraft giant Airbus has warned that his company would be “entering a dangerous phase” if the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union disrupts the movement of people and products.

U.K. airlines will ‘fall off cliff without Brexit deal says Ryanair Boss: The U.K. aviation industry could “fall off a cliff” in two years’ time because of the decision to leave the European Union, Ryanair Boss, Michael O’Leary has warned.

Euro group Chief warns Britain against tax haven temptation: The head of the council of euro zone finance Ministers said on Tuesday that the U.K. risks taking a “crazy step backwards” if it decides to become a tax haven in the aftermath of Brexit.

Government borrowing higher than expected in December: The U.K. public finances improved in December as Government borrowing fell £400 million on the same month a year earlier to £6.9 billion, official figures show.

Guardian ‘considering’ becoming a tabloid and outsourcing printing: The Guardian is weighing up the option of becoming a tabloid newspaper and outsourcing its printing operations to one of its big rivals, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

One of world’s largest tech companies makes Brexit warning: Microsoft has joined a growing list of companies threatening to pull investment from the U.K. after Brexit.

Brexit pound slump expected to cost easyJet £105 million in 2017: Carolyn McCall, the Chief Executive of easyJet, has said the cost of Brexit for her company was likely to hit £105 million this year, as a result of the slide in the value of the pound since the U.K. voted to leave the EU in June.

The Daily Telegraph

Lloyds private equity arm takes stake in U.K. pharma comms company Fishawack: LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Bank, has taken a stake in pharmaceuticals communications company Fishawack, valuing the Cheshire-based firm at £38 million.

BT suffers worst day in more than 30 years as shares are battered by accounts scandal and tough outlook: BT suffered its worst ever day as a public company as an accounting scandal in Italy and the loss of lucrative big contracts at home wiped out all the gains its shares have made under Chief Executive Gavin Patterson.

Hungry investors to battle over Little Chef takeover: The Kuwaiti owners of Little Chef are preparing to choose a new owner for the iconic motorway dining chain after receiving competing bids from hungry investors.

St Tropez no longer shining for PZ Cussons: A poor summer dampened Britons’ appetite for self-tan lotion, according to PZ Cussons, which has blamed a slump in sales on lower demand for its St Tropez range.

Rio Tinto sells Australian coal assets to China’s Yancoal for £1.9 billion: Dirty, unloved thermal coal has been one of the star commodities of the last year, and now Rio Tinto has cashed in on rising prices by offloading an Australian coal business for $2.45 billion (£1.97 billion).

The Questor Column:

Aggreko is expensive, but this is why it’s poised for growth: Ashtead, the FTSE 100 equipment rental specialist, has done this column a good turn, with a healthy 20%-plus gain since its selection in early November, and it may now be worth investigating one of its rivals, Aggreko. Around half of Aggreko’s business overlaps with that of Ashtead in the U.S. equipment rental market, providing mid-sized power generators. If President Trump gets America to invest in infrastructure projects this operation should benefit, although this opportunity is now fairly well understood. The real secret to Aggreko could be the power solutions business, which may be about to reach a welcome turning point after a difficult couple of years. This unit rents out large-scale power generators to meet any power shortages for governments and utilities. Capacity utilisation seems to be rising and once it hits the 70% 80% range the profits can start to motor. A strong schedule of major sporting events in 2018 provides a good range of potential contract wins. The stock could be poised for a comeback after a difficult 2016. Questor says ‘Buy’.

Ladbrokes 2022 retail bond: The Ladbrokes Group Finance retail bond, which pays annual interest of 5.125% and matures in 2022, looks like a good option to consider. A fall in the bond’s price from 110p to 103.2p means the yield to maturity is 4.6%. Interest is paid twice a year. The price has been pleasingly resilient in the face of the introduction of a new horseracing funding scheme, a new levy on bookmakers’ profits and running concerns over a regulatory review of fixed-odds betting terminals. The bond’s BB rating means there are risks and trading has been tough for all high-street bookies, but this is a still a nicely cash-generative business. Questor says ‘Buy’.

The Guardian

Citigroup plans new operations away from London after Brexit: Citigroup has set out 25 criteria to weigh up which financial centre in the European Union will house the new operation it expects to set up as a result of Brexit.

Supreme court rules parliament must have vote to trigger article 50: The government has lost its fast-tracked appeal to the supreme court, forcing Ministers to introduce emergency legislation into parliament to authorise the U.K.’s departure from the EU.

Highly paid Bosses should not get knighthoods, City veteran tells MPs: Knighthoods and other public honours should not be handed to highly paid businesspeople, one of the U.K.’s most respected company Chairmen has told MPs.

The world’s biggest accounting scandals: The scandal at Toshiba has got Japan’s government worried that investors will lose confidence in the country. Japan has its own problems with antiquated oversight of top managers but companies have cooked the books throughout history and worldwide.

Toy prices could rise by up to 15% after pound’s Brexit plunge: The price of some toys could rise by up to 15% as a result of the plunging pound, manufacturers have warned.

Beer prices rise amid sobering threat of Brexit-related inflation: The spectre of inflation is looming over the British pint, as two major brewers raised the price of beer and the brewing business warned of far larger Brexit-related rises to come.

Daily Mail

Spread better IG Group falls despite pledge to protect punters losing more than their original stake: A clampdown on trading continues to weigh on IG Group shares.  the firm admitted it was cautious about the future despite putting in place rules to prevent customers losing more than their original stake.

Housebuilder Crest Nicholson overcomes Brexit wobble to rake in annual sales of £1 billion: Crest Nicholson raked in annual sales of £1billion as it overcame a Brexit wobble. The housebuilder said revenues rose 24% to just over £1billion in the 12 months to the end of October after it sold 2,870 newly built homes – 5% more than the previous year.

Now legal vultures swoop on BT over £530 million black hole: Trio of U.S. law firms prepare to file suits to recover losses suffered by investors: BT is facing legal action over claims it misled investors about the scale of a £530million accounting scandal in its Italian business. A trio of U.S. law firms are preparing to file suits to recover losses suffered by BT investors after almost £8billion was wiped off the value of the telecoms giant.

BoE official predicts more flash crashes in line with pound’s sharp fall in October: Global financial markets will face more ‘flash crashes’ in line with sterling’s sharp fall in October, according to a top Bank of England official.

Britain’s national debt poised to hit £1.7 trillion - with interest payments approaching £40 billion a year: Britain’s ballooning national debt rose by £250 million a day last year – leaving it just shy of £1.7 trillion.

Daily Express

HSBC to shut 62 branches: How will you be affected by closures?: Britain’s biggest bank HSBC is to close another 62 branches in 2017, as the group claims more people move to use online banking.

Pound falls after Supreme Court’s Brexit ruling: The pound fell against the dollar after the Supreme Court ruled Parliament must be given a vote over beginning the formal Brexit process.

Pension fund returns hit seven-year high amid Brexit vote: Pension savers received a boost last year, as the retirement funds enjoyed their highest returns since 2009 amid Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, according to analysis.

BT Italian accounting scandal: £7 billion wiped off shares as full extent of wrongdoing exposed: Shares in BT sank by 18% after the communications giant warned on profits amid an expected £530 million hit, thanks to accounting wrongdoings at its Italian division.

Post Office launches ‘biggest expansion of face-to-face banking in a generation’: The Post Office is rolling out new services that mean more people will be able to access everyday banking at branches in a bid to reduce the hit of providers reducing their presence on the high street.

Banks scale bank on ‘sweeteners’ used to tempt customers to switch current account: The big banks are scaling back the “sweeteners” they have been offering to tempt customers into switching current account.

The Scottish Herald

Call for boardroom purge at Bowleven: Bowleven has come under renewed attack from a rebel investor which is trying to oust Chief Executive Kevin Hart and five fellow board members and has accused the oil and gas company of significant shareholder value destruction.

Alliance willing to buy back activist’s shares: The Board of Dundee-based Alliance Trust has thrown down the gauntlet to activist investor Elliott Advisors by publicly announcing that it would be willing to buy back some of its shares.

Brexit worries of smaller exporters revealed: Small businesses have signalled there will be a significant overall decline in their exports because of Brexit, in a key survey.

Mixed picture for builders: Scottish builders reported growth in the final three months of last year, as workloads continued to rise, but the sector faces “significant challenges” during 2017, a survey has shown.

Self-build home firm goes under after cash runs out: An Inverness-based self-build home company and its sister timber-frame business have ceased trading after running into “serious cash flow problems”.

Not enough jobs for law diploma graduates: There are still significantly more students than training contracts in the Scottish legal market, despite the number of people enrolling on diploma courses dipping by three% in the current academic year.

Scottish Friendly sees sales rocket by 33% in 2016: Sales at financial services mutual Scottish Friendly increased by 33% in the 2016 calendar year, with the provision of life insurance policies for other businesses driving much of the growth.

Faculty to roll out arbitration scheme to cut disputes costs: The faculty of Advocates is on the cusp of relaunching an alternative dispute resolution service that is expected to cut down both the cost and the length of time it takes to bring legal action.

Scotland’s pubs most stable: PUBS and restaurants in Scotland are at less risk of insolvency than outlets across the U.K. as a whole.

Pizza chain to create 350 jobs: Pizza chain Domino’s has unveiled plans to create another 350 jobs in Scotland, with the opening of a further 10 stores north of the Border this year.

Watchdog urges opposition to Aberdeen pay report: A corporate governance watchdog has urged shareholders to vote against the remuneration report of Aberdeen Asset Management, branding the variable pay awarded to Chief Executive Martin Gilbert as “excessive”.

Farm antibiotic use challenged by EU agencies: Farmers must urgently re-think their livestock production systems to reduce their use of antibiotics, for the future good of both animal and human health.

SL trust drops focus on Europe: The Standard Life European Private Equity Trust will go ahead with plans to drop its geographic focus after winning the backing of shareholders at its annual general meeting.

Clothing firm has £500,000 target for crowdfunding bid: A Scottish clothing brand which specialises in fashionable yet “technical” outdoor jackets for women has embarked on a £500,000 crowdfunding drive.

The Scotsman

BP offloads North Sea assets to EnQuest in $85 million deal: North Sea producer EnQuest is to become the operator of BP’s Sullom Voe terminal in the Shetland Islands as part of an $85 million (£68 million) deal with the oil major.

Jobs firm iMultiply hires industry guru Paul Atkinson: Recruitment industry veteran and serial angel investor Paul Atkinson has been hired by iMultiply as the Edinburgh-based firm sets out a goal to double turnover.

Planning consultant Iceni sets up shop in Scotland: A planning and development consultancy has opened an office in Glasgow, its first outside London, and is already working on a series of high-profile contracts.

Shares in Murgitroyd slump following profit alert: Murgitroyd, the Glasgow-based firm of patent attorneys, saw its shares slump by almost a fifth after warning that its full-year results will fall short of City hopes.

City A.M.

Donald Trump urges car giants Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler to build new plants in the U.S.: U.S. President Donald Trump has urged the heads of car companies to boost production in the U.S. and promised to slash “out of control” regulations to attract more investment.

The government will introduce a straight-forward Article 50 Bill “within days”: A bill granting the government power to begin the U.K.’s separation from the EU will be brought forward “within days” after ‘s landmark Supreme Court verdict on Article 50.

Intesa Sanpaolo reveals it is examining Generali takeover: Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo has revealed it is considering a takeover bid for the country’s largest insurance firm, Generali.

The head of the BlackRock, the world’s biggest asset manager, has warned boards he will vote against excessive pay: The Chief Executive of the world’s largest asset manager has warned companies it is invested in it will use its weight to vote down excessive Executive pay.

Saudi Aramco eyes bankers for what could be the world’s biggest float: Global banking giants are set to compete for an advisory role on oil goliath Saudi Aramco’s multi-billion-dollar float, which is expected to be the world’s biggest initial public offering.

Wed, 25 Jan 2017 08:44:00 +0000
In the Papers - Tesco, GAME, BP, Shell Newspaper Summary

The Times

Markets fall after Trump begins to sever trade ties: A record-breaking surge in global stock markets ran out of steam as America’s new president made good on his promises to cut international trade ties and punish U.S. manufacturers that make goods abroad.

Brexit risks pushing up Hinkley cost, EDF warns: EDF has raised the spectre of delays or cost overruns to its £18 billion Hinkley Point nuclear plant as a result of Brexit, warning that any restrictions to trade and movement of labour could hamper the delivery of energy projects.

Tesco rebuts investors’ scandal claim: Tesco has mounted a robust defence against more than 100 shareholders, which claim that they have suffered millions of pounds of losses after the grocer’s accounting scandal.

May strategy ‘is golden opportunity missed’: A digital network that is a national embarrassment, energy costs and business rates that are hobbling enterprise and expansion and the lack of a plan for manufacturers that need unskilled workers were among the red flags thrown up by business leaders after the publication of Theresa May’s industrial strategy.

Thinking outside the box for Paddington: In the summer of 2012, Irvine Sellar and Renzo Piano stood on the 78th floor of the Shard and quietly toasted the completion of the skyscaper after a 13-year battle to get it built. The project helped to transform the grubby streets around London Bridge Station into a bustling new destination. Now the property developer and the Italian architect plan to do the same for Paddington.

There is no easy cure, says Essentra: The new Chief Executive of Essentra warned that there would be no quick fix to the packaging company’s woes after it issued its fourth profit warning in eight months.

Smith takes axe to crystal ball: Terry Smith has attacked investors and analysts for trying to predict political and economic events. In a spirited defence of his investment portfolio, the City veteran has told investors in his £9.1 billion Fundsmith Equity Fund that he was amazed by financial experts who “seem obsessed with trying to predict macro events on which to base their investment decisions”.

Standard Chartered Boss drawn into theatre’s ‘yellowface’ row: Bill Winters dreamed of being a diplomat when he was young, but couldn’t afford to pay for the necessary study. Instead, he went into banking, made millions and now runs Standard Chartered, one of the world’s biggest emerging markets banks.

Investors have little appetite for breakfast at McDonald’s: Fourth-quarter sales at established restaurants in the United States fell by 1.3% compared with the same period in 2015, the burger chain said, because of a “challenging comparison” against the launch in October that year of the “very successful” all-day breakfast menu.

U.S. investigating Yahoo over hacks: Yahoo is being investigated in the United States and other countries over two huge hacking attacks that led to the theft of personal information from more than 1.5 billion of its customers’ accounts.

Law firm failure costs Barclays £25 million: Barclays is set to lose £25 million as a result of the demise of King & Wood Mallesons, a prominent City of London law firm.

The Independent

Brexit to cost Britain more than 5% of GDP by 2030: Analysts from three City of London financial institutions expect the cost of Theresa May’s hard Brexit to add up to between 5% and 10% of GDP by 2030.

Men who supplied workers to agency linked to Sports Direct convicted: Two Polish brothers who recruited staff for an agency that supplied Sports Direct have been convicted of an offence under the Modern Slavery Act, the BBC’s Home Affairs correspondent Danny Shaw reports.

Digital sales deal blow to GAME and other high street retailers: The physical entertainment market for music, videos and gaming suffered a brutal hit over the crucial Christmas period, dealing a sharp blow to retailers like GAME, according to data out Monday.

U.K. faces years of rising unemployment and squeezed incomes, says EY: Britain is facing three years of slow growth, rising unemployment and squeezed consumer spending as the Brexit-induced collapse in the pound triggers a radical rebalancing of the economy.

Dollar and stocks slip on concerns around Donald Trump’s policies: The dollar and major stock indexes slipped on Monday, after U.S. President Donald Trump used his inaugural address on Friday to underscore his protectionist agenda, unnerving some investors who had hoped for a more conciliatory tone.

Brexit could cut wages by 30% over 20 years says private equity Boss: One of the highest profile names in finance has said that Brexit is going to lead to dramatic economic upheaval which will be bad for most people but good for his multi-billion-pound private equity firm.

Optimism in financial services sector hits crisis era-low as Brexit concerns top worry list for banks: Optimism about the trading environment for the U.K.’s financial sector slipped for a fourth straight quarter in the three months to December, the lengthiest decline in sentiment in eight years and largely a result of Brexit-related concerns, a new survey shows.

Shell pays out bumper £11.1 billion dividends in 2016, as U.K. multinationals are boosted by Brexit: Shell paid out the biggest dividend in the world in 2016, thanks at least in part to Brexit. The Anglo-Dutch oil giant distributed £11.1 billion to shareholders, £3.2 billion more than in 2015. Many U.K.-based multinationals, who generate significant revenue abroad, experienced a similar boost, a report from outsourcing firm Capita has showed.

Lloyds Bank reported to be trying to identify who was behind a cyber-attack against its banking website: Lloyds Banking Group is working with law enforcement agencies to identify who was behind a cyber-attack that caused the group’s personal banking website to suffer temporary outages earlier this month, Reuters reported on Monday, citing a source familiar with the matter.

The Daily Telegraph

Global markets turn back on euro as economic woes reinforce dollar as the currency of choice: Banks are using the euro less and less in international transactions, with financiers preferring to use dollars - indicating the euro’s declining importance in the global economy.

BP starts up new $1 billion Gulf of Mexico project almost one year early: BP has started up one of its first major projects in the Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon disaster, almost a year ahead of schedule and $150 million under budget.

Wanda buys Scandinavian cinema chain Nordic to expand Odeon empire: The Chinese conglomerate Wanda has added a Scandinavian arm to its global cinema empire with the £745 million takeover of Stockholm-based Nordic Cinema Group.

LME Boss steps down after difficult year: The Boss of the London Metal Exchange has stepped down abruptly after three years in charge. The world’s oldest metals exchange said that Garry Jones was “retiring” as an Executive Director of the LME with immediate effect. LME said he would serve as an “advisor” for the rest of the year.

Trump effect and ‘green shoots’ in China put shine on diamond market, says Petra: After a tough few years of sinking prices, the diamond market could be regaining some of its lustre, the Boss of Petra Diamonds has suggested. Donald Trump’s plans to pour stimulus into the U.S. economy and cut taxes could give retail consumption there a shot in the arm, Johan Dippenaar said.

British factory workers paid £3 an hour making clothes for high street giants: British factory workers have been paid as little as £3 an hour to make clothes for a high-street chain including New Look and River Island, a new investigation has claimed.

Yahoo reveals $4.8 billion deal with Verizon delayed: Yahoo revealed its $4.8 billion deal to offload its main web business to Verizon Communications has been delayed, just hours after it emerged the company is under investigation for the two record data breaches that have cast a shadow over the sale.

Fitch warns time is running out for China’s debt-driven boom: China is creating credit at twice the pace of underlying growth and is relying on hazardous bubbles to keep growth running far above the safe speed limit, Fitch Ratings has warned. Short-term stimulus is papering over deep cracks in the economy and vital reforms are being neglected, storing up serious trouble for the future.

The Guardian

MPs question post-Brexit viability of May’s industrial strategy: Trade unions, MPs and business leaders have questioned whether the government’s new industrial strategy will succeed if Britain leaves the single market in Europe, despite Theresa May pledging that it will create a platform for businesses to grow after Brexit.

Theresa May’s post-Brexit industrial strategy ducks tough decisions: Hurrah, the U.K. will embark on its post-Brexit adventure with an industrial strategy, or at least a government that is prepared to use the term without embarrassment. What’s more, the business secretary, Greg Clark, hit some of the right notes in his introduction to the green paper.

U.K. tech industry not immune to Brexit, trade group warns: Britain’s booming technology sector risks being forgotten in the rush to cushion traditional industries from the impact of Brexit, business leaders have said.

Financial firms in talks with Amsterdam over relocation from London: Amsterdam is in talks with major financial institutions based in the city of London about their imminent relocation to the Dutch capital, but its deputy mayor has warned the national government that the country’s strict cap on bankers’ bonuses could put it at a disadvantage in the Europe-wide scramble to capture Britain’s financial sector.

Ticket touts rebrand as investigations put them in spotlight: Some of the U.K.’s most prolific and successful ticket touts appear to be rebranding their organisations as the industry braces for investigations by the competition watchdog and the taxman in the U.K.

Jeanette Winterson to close London shop due to business rates surge: The writer Jeanette Winterson is to close her shop in London because of an overhaul of the business rates system, which will dramatically increase the amount of tax retailers pay in the capital.

Paddy Power Betfair takes £5 million hit from Trump election win: Paddy Power Betfair blamed the unlikely pairing of Donald Trump and the Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic as it cut its full-year profit forecast.

Daily Mail

Housebuilders Bovis and Berkeley rise after investor Schroder urges a merger: Housebuilder Bovis shot up after one of its largest investors urged a merger with rival Berkeley. Schroder Investment Management is reported to have written to London-focused builder Berkeley advising it to consider a merger with its smaller counterpart.

Hedge funds bet that commodity prices are on the up: Hedge funds are betting that commodity prices are on the up as they pile into everything from crude oil to live cattle. Analysis by Saxo Bank shows bets on price rises now outweigh those on price falls by the most since June 2014.

Sainsbury’s Chief used supermarket’s staff to do up his £1.5 million country bolthole: Sainsbury’s chairman used the supermarket giant’s staff and its suppliers to revamp his £1.5 million country bolthole.

Three snared after Barratt fraud probe: Cash-for-contracts scandal deepens at top British housebuilder: One of Britain’s biggest housebuilders has suspended at least three more staff following the arrest of an Executive on suspicion of bribery in a cash-for-contracts scandal.

Sparkling sales at Petra Diamonds with production from its mines in South Africa and Tanzania up 24%: Production and sales are soaring at Petra Diamonds. The miner produced more than 2 million carats during the six months to the end of 2016 – thanks to better yields from its mines in South Africa and Tanzania – an increase of 24% on the same period the year before.

Bankers to get a £31 million payday from takeover of Punch Taverns by Heineken: The £402 million takeover of Punch Taverns by Heineken will land advisers a £31million fees bonanza.

Daily Express

European stocks crash to lowest levels of 2017 amid Trump fears: Fears over Donald Trump’s presidency shook global markets during Monday trading, pushing stocks in Europe to their lowest levels in a month.

Theresa May’s industrial strategy ‘to shape global Britain’: Prime Minister Theresa May has said the Government’s flagship new industrial strategy will be about “shaping a new future for the U.K. as a global Britain” after Brexit.

ECB’s Brexit threat: Bank could launch crackdown on London’s euro-clearing industry: Britain’s financial powerhouse is to lose valuable rights to process hundreds of billions of daily investment trades made in euros when it breaks from the European Union (EU), the European Central Bank (ECB) has warned.

Pound hits one-month high against dollar investors ‘lose patience’ with Trump: The pound smashed through the 1.24 mark against the dollar in Monday morning trading, as nerves over new President Donald Trump take their toll on the American currency.

Care home raises thousands of pounds from twitchers who flocked to see rare bird: A care home has raised thousands of pounds for the needy - by collecting from hoards of twitchers who have flocked to see a rare bird.

The Scottish Herald

Law firm lands Merlin deal: The Edinburgh office of law firm DLA Piper has struck a deal to provide legal services to Merlin Entertainments, the company behind the Alton Towers and Legoland resorts.

U.S. giant looking to boost North Sea output: Oil and gas engineering firm Xodus has won a contract to work on two North Sea wells for Apache, which signal continued interest in the area on the part of the U.S. oil and gas giant.

Burns Night bonanza for butcher: As Burns Night approaches, family butcher Simon Howie has seen record breaking sales for its range of haggis products.

Teviot looks for Firestarter: Marketing consultancy Teviot has launched a year-long paid internship for a student at Edinburgh College’s Visual Communication HND course.

Oil workers paid in shares: North Sea-focused developer Independent Oil & Gas has revealed a number of Directors and managers continued to receive all or part of their salaries and fees in ordinary share options from March 1 until August 31, 2016, after a similar structure ran from September 2015 until February 2016. The shares carry a reference price of 18.96p.

Stuart Patrick: The signs are positive for Glasgow on the tourism front: Growing Glasgow’s tourism was always an important goal of delivering the Commonwealth Games, and the aim of the action plan is clear - an extra one million visitors to the city each year, injecting more than £750 million to the economy. The signs for this are positive.

Hotel firm warns of Brexit hit to hiring: Apex Hotels has warned the U.K.’s move towards Brexit will make it more difficult to recruit employees, noting 76% of its housekeeping staff in London come from other European Union countries.

No rate rise forecast before 2019: Economists forecast the Bank of England will hold U.K. base rates at their record low of 0.25% until at least 2019, in spite of rising inflation resulting from sterling’s post-Brexit vote weakness, a poll by Reuters reveals.

SEP supports university entrepreneurs: Venture capital firm Scottish Equity Partners has announced a “significant donation” to a fund which invests in businesses run by staff, students and alumni of the University of Strathclyde.

Recruitment firm highlights risks posed by Brexit mid pressure on lawyers to earn fees: The Brexit vote has created a risk European Union nationals working in financial services industry could leave Scotland according to a recruitment specialist which noted law firms have been removing ‘low billers’ amid the resulting drop in deals.

Clothing firm has £500,000 target for crowdfunding bid: A Scottish clothing brand which specialises in fashionable yet “technical” outdoor jackets for women has embarked on a £500,000 crowdfunding drive.

Lerwick Harbour boosted by tourists as it offsets decline in oil and gas: The appeal of Shetland as a stop on cruise trips has helped increase arrivals to Lerwick Harbour, but the ongoing downturn in the North Sea held back growth.

Gloag buys Edinburgh aparthotel in £6.3 million deal: Ann Gloag’s investment company has revealed it is behind the £6.3 million purchase of an Edinburgh office building, which will be transformed into serviced apartments in a £6 million refurbishment.

Head of exploration at Shell to take on big job in Asia: Royal Dutch Shell’s Head of exploration Ceri Powell, who has been included on Fortune Magazine’s list of the world’s most powerful women, is moving to a new post. The Welsh Executive will become managing Director of Brunei Shell Petroleum in March.

The Scotsman

Hotel group Apex eyes further investment: Scottish hotel group Apex is eyeing fresh investment and acquisition opportunities after hailing a “strong” full-year outcome.

Cautious optimism for finance sector after gloomy 2016: Confidence among Britain’s financial services firms dropped again in the last three months of 2016, although some sectors forecast an improvement in business conditions in the current quarter, according to research published.

Manor F1 team in race against clock to stay on track: The Manor Formula 1 team is facing a race against the clock to secure its survival as the cash available to pay its 200 staff is set to run out within days.

£1 billion renewable project sails ahead with subsea cable move: A £1 billion project to deliver renewable power from Scotland to homes and businesses in England and Wales has taken a step forward with what is claimed to be the world’s largest subsea power cable coming ashore.

Possible float of Green Investment Bank in place of sale: The U.K. government is to ditch plans to sell the Edinburgh-based Green Investment Bank (GIB) in favour of a £3.8 billion flotation, according to a newspaper report.

City A.M.

Halliburton shares fall: “The international downward cycle is still playing out”: Halliburton’s share price fell over 2% after revealing soft markets outside North America were only partially compensating for loss-making international operations.

EU follows U.K. lead and considers plans to test bank defences against a cyber-attack: The EU is contemplating plans to test banks’ ability to repel cyber-attacks in an initiative that would mirror measures already put in place by the Bank of England.

The Supreme Court’s Article 50 verdict is unlikely to derail Theresa May’s Brexit timeline: A landmark Supreme Court ruling is unlikely to derail plans for Prime Minister Theresa May to begin Brexit talks before April – whatever the outcome.

U.S. President Donald Trump gets to work with Executive order to scrap Trans-Pacific Partnership and border tax threat: Donald Trump kicked off his first week as President by signing an Executive order withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, branding the move a “great thing for the American worker”.

Xi Jinping and Donald Trump have fired the opening salvoes of the coming trade war: It’s only the first week of Donald Trump’s presidency, but the contrast between Trump’s “America First” protectionist rhetoric and other world leaders’ hopes of globalisation working for the many could not be starker.

European consumers keep on ignoring politics as confidence improves for fifth month in a row: Consumers in the Eurozone continue to ignore the looming political risks in the bloc, with confidence improving for the fifth month in a row.

GCHQ Director Robert Hannigan has resigned for personal reasons: GCHQ top Boss Robert Hannigan has stepped down citing personal reasons, the surveillance agency has announced.

Financial adviser DeVere Group launches new private bank: Those looking for a place to stash their cash have a new option, with financial consultants DeVere Group launching a private bank. DeVere Group Bank St Lucia, which the group understands to be the first private bank to be independently owned by a financial advisory firm, was created out of the firms acquisition of Arton Bank.

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 08:32:00 +0000
In the Papers - HMRC, BT, ITV, HSBC Newspaper Summary

The Times

MPs warn banks over threat to free cash machines: MPs say they could intervene if banks fail to resolve a dispute that threatens millions of customers with being charged to withdraw their own money from thousands of cash machines that at present are free to use.

Economic slowdown may last for three years: Financiers are losing confidence in the economy and one of the country’s most closely watched forecasting panels has predicted a three-year grind of slow growth.

Berkeley can see its prefabs sprouting up everywhere: One of Britain’s biggest housebuilders, a specialist in the luxury London market, has started to make and sell houses built almost entirely in a factory.

Customs posts on border with Ireland are ruled out: The British and Irish governments have agreed that there will be no customs posts on the Northern Irish border, despite Theresa May signalling she will take the U.K. out of the European Union’s customs union.

French Connection seals its lips over angry investors’ demands: French Connection has stayed silent after receiving a letter from three of its largest investors calling for a clear-out of the struggling retailer’s boardroom and a potential sale of the business.

Sale takes Shell past $6 billion barrier: Royal Dutch Shell has agreed an $820 million deal to sell its share of a Saudi Arabian petrochemicals joint venture, taking it past the $6 billion milestone in its asset sales programme.

Superwoman flies to rescue of ailing lender: A peer-to-peer lender run by Nicola Horlick made a loss of £1.8 million last year and needed an emergency loan to survive after would-be investors pulled out of backing the venture. Money&Co, which allows retail investors to make loans to private companies, almost ran out of funds, its latest accounts show. is sitting pretty as new showrooms boost sales: Britons may be in for a tough year, but at least they are sitting comfortably: sales of settees jumped over Christmas, according to The furniture retailer said that its sales rose by 28% in the 12 weeks to January 9. New customers accounted for 73% of orders of beds, chairs and a sofa at its new showrooms in London’s Islington and Bankside, which have taken its store count to eight.’s digital sales rose by 38% after websites were launched in Germany and Ireland.

The Independent

Nissan Boss Carlos Ghosn says U.K. investment to be ‘re-evaluated’ if Theresa May delivers poor Brexit deal: The Boss of Nissan Carlos Ghosn has admitted that the car giant’s U.K. investments will be “re-evaluated” if Theresa May delivers a bad Brexit deal, despite last October’s high-profile commitment by the firm to build its next Qashqai and X-Trail model at its Sunderland plant.

HSBC bank agrees to repay £4 million to customers for unreasonable debt collection practices: HSBC has agreed to stump up £4 million to pay back customers subjected to “unreasonable” debt collection practices following a regulatory probe.

Ford trials plug-in hybrid vans in London to help tackle air pollution and climate change: Ford will trial plug-in hybrid vans in London in an effort to accelerate the uptake of low-emissions vehicles and tackle climate change and air pollution.

The Daily Telegraph

Stamp duty fuelling housing crisis, says Property Chief: Stamp duty is making the U.K.’s housing crisis worse by distorting the market and harming long-term development, the head of one of the world’s biggest property groups has warned.

Shell’s North Sea deal expected within weeks ahead of M&A boom: Shell’s plans to sell off U.K. oil assets are expected to move ahead within weeks ahead of an M&A boom for the North Sea.

Digital mortgage broker Habito raises £5.5 million from Silicon Valley investor: An internet mortgage broker that aims to shake up the convoluted process of securing a home loan has raised £5.5 million from a Silicon Valley investor.

FTSE investors win record dividends as sterling plummets: London-listed companies paid a record-breaking £16.6 billion to their investors during the final three months of 2016, as the plummeting pound gilded an otherwise downbeat year for dividends.

University of Bath spin-out behind STI diagnostic tool raises £28.3 million: University of Bath spin-out Atlas Genetics has moved a step closer to marketing a diagnostic test for sexually transmitted diseases after securing an extra $35 million (£28.3 million) in funding.

Small drug companies grow as big pharma outsources: The U.K.’s small, privately-owned pharmaceutical companies often go under the radar, but they’re playing an increasingly important role in Britain’s healthcare sector and posting impressive growth rates, according to a report from consultants Catalyst Corporate Finance.

Sky prepares for push into film production: Sky is preparing a push into feature film production, according to industry sources. The company is due to give investors its half-year report on Thursday against the backdrop of its planned takeover by 21st Century Fox, as it attempts to maintain focus on its sporting battles with BT and efforts to retain subscribers as Netflix and Amazon pile more money into original programming.

Dixons Carphone due to ring up festive sales rise: Dixons Carphone is expected to prolong the festive cheer for retailers this week by reporting a jump in sales, before it introduces price rises in response to the weakness of sterling.

British renewables firms vying for $50 billion of Saudi contracts: British renewables firms are preparing to compete for a multi-million-dollar windfall by snapping up contracts to develop wind, solar and power storage projects in Saudi Arabia through the kingdom’s $50 billion renewables drive.

ITV to move staff to new office ahead of refit of South Bank home: ITV has agreed a deal for a new London office as overflow space for hundreds of its staff while it refurbishes its current home on the South Bank.

Merger of Bovis and Berkeley on shaky ground: A City attempt to lay the foundations of a £5 billion merger of Bovis Homes and Berkeley Group is on shaky ground, with Berkeley understood to have rejected the idea.

The Guardian

Mexico braced for exodus to U.S. as ‘Trump effect’ hurts the peso: In Mexico, it is known as “el efecto Trump”: a barrage of taunts and tweets that rattle the economy and hammer the peso. For the new president, it is part of a strategy to pressure companies to move jobs back to the United States. Mexico’s job will be to suck it up, accept the millions of people Trump has promised to deport, and pay for the proposed border wall.

Brexit speech triggers dash for foreign currency as pound wavers: Britain’s consumers rushed to buy dollars and euros for their holidays as the value of sterling dropped after Theresa May’s commitment to a hard Brexit last week.

Chinese growth slips to slowest pace for 26 years: China’s economy slowed further last year to expand at its weakest pace for quarter of a century, with warnings that it risks losing further momentum in 2017 as Donald Trump’s presidency creates new challenges for the trading superpower.

Courgette crisis: Spanish farmers hope the worst is over: Manuel Martínez points to the distant, snow-dusted peaks that rise above the pines and palms and gives voice to a thought to chill the hearts and panic the stomachs of vegetable lovers.

The new robot revolution will take the Boss’s job, not the gardener’s: Guy Ryder is an old hand at Davos. The Director general of the International Labour Organisation has seen it all: the years when the global business elite is brimful of confidence and the years, such as 2017, when the top 1% of the top 1% is fretful.

U.K. GDP forecast: a strong finish to 2016 … and a sharp slowdown in 2017: Official figures this week are expected to provide fresh evidence that the U.K. economy remained resilient in the face of Brexit uncertainty at the close of 2016 but economists warn Britain is headed for a sharp slowdown this year.

Amazon and Google fight crucial battle over voice recognition: Amazon and Google always thrive in the fourth quarter as people get out their wallets for Christmas. Both companies – or in Google’s case, its parent group, Alphabet – are therefore expected to announce booming revenues in their fourth-quarter results over the next fortnight, with Alphabet going first on Thursday and Amazon the following week. But analysts are already looking beyond the simple question of how many cardboard boxes Amazon filled and how many searches Google answered. They’re wondering which company will win the battle to control your home.

Daily Mail

After proposed sale to Aussie asset stripper sparks outrage...MPs in U-turn as they plan float for Green Bank: Ministers may backtrack on plans to sell the Green Investment Bank to the so-called Aussie vampire kangaroo. Plans to offload the bank to investment firm Macquarie may be scrapped in favour of floating it on the stock exchange. Ministers had been widely criticised over plans to sell the Green Investment Bank.

Weetabix could be offloaded to Italian pasta company in £1.5 billion deal: Weetabix could be offloaded to an Italian pasta company in a £1.5 billion deal. The U.K.’s second biggest cereal brand has been attracting potential buyers since it was put up for sale by its Chinese owner last year.

Pearson Chief Executive facing mounting pressure to stand down amid criticism from teachers and shareholders: The Boss of Pearson is facing mounting pressure to stand down amid criticism from teachers and shareholders. John Fallon, Chief Executive of the firm which issued its fifth profit warning in four years on Wednesday, is to answer to shareholders who claim they were blindsided by the scale of the slide in profits.

Boss of homewares retailer Dunelm warns there will be price rises at business this year: The Boss of homewares retailer Dunelm has warned there will be price rises at the business this year. John Browett said the firm, which imports most of its stock, will have to hike prices on around two-thirds of its 30,000 products.

Daily Express

Ladbrokes Coral prove it’s better together: After William Hill downgraded full-year profit guidance at the beginning of the month, few people had high expectations for newly merged Ladbrokes Coral. After all, the group faced exactly the same punter-friendly football and racing results that had afflicted William Hill.

Inflation expected ‘to soar over 3% by April: Inflation will smash past the Government’s limit and hit 3.1% by the end of March, according to the respected EY ITEM Club think tank.

The Scottish Herald

Broadfoot hire is PR coup for Glasgow agency: Frame, the Glasgow-based creative agency, has boosted its public relations division by hiring the communications Chief of the Scottish Football Association (SFA).

Fleet is in a higher gear after takeover: A Glasgow-based vehicle leasing company has declared it is poised for a major leap in revenue after completing its first major acquisition.

Rog Wood: ‘The British Wool Marketing Board has seen turbulent times’: The latest wool auction held in Bradford by the British Wool Marketing Board (BWMB) was yet another lacklustre affair with only 60% of the offering sold.

Edinburgh start up highlights amount of support on offer for firms in fields like software development: After a week in which Brexit has hogged the headlines we hear from a businesswoman who highlights uncertainty about what the vote will mean for small firms.

BT to publish third-quarter results amid Openreach battle with watchdog: Telecoms giant BT will report back on third-quarter trading next week as it battles with communications watchdog Ofcom over plans to force it to legally separate its Openreach network arm.

Filofax maker turns new page: The parent company of the maker of Filofax and Letts diaries has made an underlying pre-tax profit of £1.2 million in the year to April 30, dipping from £1.8 million following completion of a major restructuring.

U.K. economy to become more reliant on exports: A “Shallow and prolonged” economic impact from Brexit will see the U.K. economy become heavily dependent on exports as it sees a “significant readjustment” away from consumer spending following the slump in the pound since the Brexit vote, according to forecasts.

The Scotsman

Frying and roasting in cancer link: Roasting and frying starchy foods could increase the risk of cancer, a government body has said.

Livingston is Scotland’s top performer in house price growth: House price growth in Britain’s new towns has outperformed the national average, a report has found.

ScotRail Boss denies exit is linked to poor performance: ScotRail Alliance Chief Phil Verster has condemned the linking of his surprise departure with poor train performance as “totally wrong”.

City A.M.

Australian overtures are welcome – but post-Brexit trade deals will not be plain sailing: Aussie diplomat Alexander Downer has become the latest foreign politician to propose a quick trade deal post-Brexit, insisting over the weekend the two countries could trigger a “significant intensification” of trade by tearing down barriers.

British business groups welcome Theresa May’s wide-ranging industrial strategy: Britain’s top business groups have thrown their weight behind government plans for a sweeping new industrial strategy, seeking to boost productivity across every sector and in every corner of the country.

Trump could be a great job creator, if he backs women in the workplace: President Donald Trump could live up to his promise to be “the greatest jobs producer that God ever create”, according to an influential think tank, but he may need to promote female-friendly policies to do so.

HMRC in £468 million small business tax haul: Local compliance teams investigating small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) brought in substantial extra revenue to the taxman last year.

Shareholders move in on Johnston Press CEO: Investors in the publisher behind the i newspaper, The Scotsman and The Yorkshire Post are expected to call for Ashley Highfield to step down from the firm in a meeting this week.

Brace for “hard rebalancing” of U.K. economy in 2017: The fall in the pound will result in a “significant readjustment” of the U.K. economy away from consumer spending and towards exports, regardless of the results of the Brexit negotiations.

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 08:31:00 +0000
In the Papers - IBM , Oxfam, Moneysupermarket, Royal Mail Newspaper Summary

The Times

Top investors to demand answers from Rolls-Royce: One of the City’s most influential investor groups is set to intervene again at Rolls-Royce to help investors obtain answers as to how the jet maker was able to get away with decades of systematic corruption and bribery.

Poor sales put Pets at Home in doghouse: Pets at Home, a retailer of pet food, accessories, veterinary and grooming services, said that subdued trading in its merchandise division, where revenues were flat compared with the previous year at £177.4 million, held it back in the vital third-quarter.

Viva la Revolución expansion: A chain of Cuban cocktail bars is wowing revellers from Manchester to Milton Keynes and its owner is on the hunt for further sites.

China lashes out at ‘protectionist’ Trump: Beijing has hit back at claims by the incoming U.S. commerce Chief that it is the “most protectionist” among large economies.

Miner electrified by the search for Cornish lithium: It is a picturesque county that has been better known for its tin mines, but Cornwall could soon become more famous for a different metal if a City miner has its way.

Strewth! Vegemite goes back down under: As national events go, it is akin to bringing home the Ashes. Vegemite is back in Australian hands after Mondelez, the American consumer giant, agreed to sell the salty, Marmite-pretender spread to Bega Cheese.

Zodiac tells Safran to pull up a chair: President Hollande hailed the €8.5 billion deal between Safran, the engine-maker, and Zodiac, the aircraft seat manufacturer, to form the world’s third largest aerospace supplier.

U.S. economy continues to strengthen: Americans filed fewer new claims for unemployment benefits than at any point in the past four decades, figures showed, as a slew of economic data pointed to continued strengthening in the U.S. economy.

British Land remains upbeat on occupancy: Hopes that demand for commercial property would not be damaged by the Brexit vote were boosted when British Land reported its occupancy rate had declined only slightly in the third quarter.

Toshiba seeks help as losses are revealed: Toshiba is seeking help from a state-owned bank after disclosing huge new losses which potentially exceed the net value of the company.

Price rises in mix for Finsbury Food: Finsbury Food has warned further price rises are inevitable as it battles to limit the impact of spiralling costs.

BHP agrees date for mine settlement: BHP Billiton has moved closer to drawing a line under financial liabilities for the Samarco dam disaster, reaching an agreement with Brazilian authorities to settle civil claims by June.

Halfords moves up a gear after revenues surge: Halfords has recovered from a disappointing first half after reporting a stronger third quarter and announcing a £20 million dividend for shareholders.

The Independent

New York ‘already a gainer’ from Brexit says Goldman CEO Blankfein: Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein said New York is “already a bit of a gainer” from Brexit as the Wall Street firm slows its previous policy of moving operations to London.

Barclays CEO: Post-Brexit U.K. likely to be ‘financial lungs of Europe’: The Chief Executive of Barclays has said that – even after a hard Brexit –the U.K. will most likely continue to represent “the financial lungs for Europe.”

Samsung Boss arrest warrant dismissed but bribery probe continues: A South Korean court on Thursday dismissed an arrest warrant against the head of Samsung, the country’s largest conglomerate, amid a corruption scandal that has led to the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye.

The dollar is rising again on the prospect of higher interest rates: The U.S. dollar surged against a range of currencies overnight and remained steady in early London trading on Thursday after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen suggested that interest rates in the U.S. could rise quickly this year.

Toyota examining ‘how to survive’ in post-Brexit Britain after Theresa May’s Single Market announcement: Japanese automotive manufacturer Toyota has warned it is examining “how to survive” in a post-Brexit U.K. just days after Prime Minister Theresa May said that Britain would leave the single market as part of the divorce from the bloc.

RBS considers accepting multi-billion-pound legal hit over mortgage bond mis-selling probe: Royal Bank of Scotland is considering taking a multi-billion-dollar settlement over a U.S. mortgage securities probe, that would give an indication of the size of the full settlement, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The Daily Telegraph

Hammond delights business leaders with pledge to ‘do whatever is necessary’ to ensure the U.K.’s competitiveness: Philip Hammond has vowed to make the U.K. as competitive as possible on the world stage, describing the challenge as “an existential necessity”.

World’s top bankers excited over Trump presidency: The Bosses of some of the world’s biggest financial institutions have spoken in glowing terms about Donald Trump’s presidency ahead of his inauguration in Washington DC.

Ofgem warns big six not to increase energy bills: Ofgem has warned the big six energy companies against hiking household bills, despite experiencing a 15% rise in their costs.

Glaxo’s pharmaceuticals Boss walks away as new Chief prepares to take the helm: One of GlaxoSmithKline’s most senior Directors is leaving the company as incoming Boss Emma Walmsley moves to refresh her team.

Bank of Cyprus joins the London stock market: The Bank of Cyprus has moved its shares to the London market in the hope of tapping into global investors, marking the latest step in the company’s recovery since a bailout four years ago.

N Brown credits online shift for rise in festive sales: N Brown, the retailer behind the niche Simply Be, Jacamo and JD Williams fashion brands, posted an upbeat sales performance after recording the biggest surge in sales of its ladieswear ranges for eight years.

Fresh doubts surface over £3 billion opening up of water market: Plans by the water utilities to tap the £2.9 billion business water market could be hampered by low awareness and limited interest from the companies who will soon be eligible to shop around for cheaper deals.

The Questor Column:

Costly debt and shrinking shareholder base make Scottish Investment Trust one to avoid: Everyone loves a turnaround story, and Scottish Investment Trust is attempting to deliver that. The trust is almost a year into a restructure, which has brought in a new Chief Executive and new fund manager Alasdair McKinnon. The £720 million trust has also focused heavily on cost cutting. The trust cut its 11 investment staff down to four as part of the overhaul, and has reduced the ongoing charges figure from 0.68% in 2014 to 0.49% now. Mr. McKinnon thinks this is about as low as costs can go. The trust has also turned around performance, with 31% share price return in 2016, compared to 17% on the FTSE All Share and 26% for the MSCI World index, which looks more globally. The compares starkly with its longer-term performance, having returned 39% on a net asset value basis over the past three years, compared to 19% for the FTSE All Share and 49% for the FTSE All World. Much of the impact of this depends on the exit that Aviva strikes, but it marks too much uncertainty for us to consider. Particularly when other trusts operate in the same space and with a steadier track record. At 9%, the discount is too great to sell, so hold. Questor says ‘Hold’.

The Guardian

Companies must share benefits of globalisation, Theresa May tells Davos: Theresa May has told the world’s biggest companies they need to start paying their taxes and treat their workers more fairly in order to address the concerns of those who feel left behind by globalisation.

Oxfam attacks failing global tax avoidance battle: Efforts to tackle global tax avoidance are being undermined by a “race to the bottom” on corporate tax rates led by Britain and the U.S., the World Economic Forum heard on Thursday.

Goldman Sachs stalls plan to move jobs to U.K. amid Brexit uncertainty: Goldman Sachs has suspended plans to move key operations from the U.S. to London because of the uncertainty created by the vote to leave the EU. The Wall Street firm – in the midst of building a new £350 million London headquarters – had been preparing to shift more of its global operations and IT activities from New York, but now appears to have embarked on a hiring freeze.

Rolls-Royce lobbied Ministers to weaken anti-bribery proposals: Rolls-Royce, which this week agreed to pay £671 million in penalties after admitting it had engaged in corruption, lobbied Ministers to weaken proposed curbs on bribery a decade ago.

Daily Mail

Footsie in the red as traders countdown to Donald Trump’s inauguration; pound at $1.23: The FTSE 100 closed down 39.17 points at 7208.44 as traders awaited the arrival of Donald Trump in the White House.

Royal Mail share price falls to lowest level for a year as junk mail leads fall in letters posted: Royal Mail shares were suffering after it revealed a six% drop in the number of letters being sent in the nine months to Christmas. Blaming ‘overall business uncertainty in the U.K.’, Royal Mail said business letters and ‘advertising’ - or junk mail - had seen the biggest declines.

Moneysupermarket share price shrugs off TV ad controversy as comparison website posts 20% rise in revenue: Moneysupermarket’s shares jumped more than 6% after the price comparison site giant posted a 19% rise in revenue for the final three months of last year.

Daily Express

Merkel’s Finance Chief warns Theresa May not to compete with EU over Brexit: Britain must not reduce corporate taxes to gain a competitive advantage over the European Union (EU) as the U.K. gears up to leave the bloc, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has warned.

‘Germany has benefitted’ Euro bank Boss defends policies amid furious German criticism: Mario Draghi has been forced to defend his monetary policies from an onslaught of criticism in Germany, as the two sides continue to bicker over the best way to save the Eurozone economy.

EU will fail if leaders don’t sort post-Brexit Eurozone, JP Morgan Boss Jamie Dimon warns: Europe is close to falling apart because political leaders are not fixing the problems that caused Britain to vote out of the European Union (EU), the Boss of one of Wall Street’s biggest banks has warned.

Pound leaps against euro as ECB Boss sticks by money-printing to save the Eurozone: The pound has jumped against the euro, after Mario Draghi hinted the European Central Bank (ECB) could increase the size and length of its already huge money-printing programme.

The Scottish Herald

Tyre firm thrives in tough conditions: Mcconechy’s, one of Scotland’s biggest independent car tyre firms, has revealed that operating profits have more than doubled after driving up margins in difficult market conditions.

Ian McConnell: Banks must respond to Brexit but they do not have to close branches: The big banks have delivered a most unfortunate amount of drama in the last decade. And Wednesday proved, while we might have crawled painfully away from the darkest days of the global financial crisis, there is still plenty to unfold in the big-budget banking sector soap opera.

Overseas investors show faith in North Sea oil: A North Sea-focused oil and gas firm backed by a Bermuda private equity operation has announced plans to explore in the wilds of the outer Moray Firth in an encouraging sign for the industry.

Work gets underway on social building project: Social enterprise Glasgow Together has lined up enough property renovation projects to keep between 10 and 15 ex-offenders in full-time employment.

P&O freight volume hits a five-year high: Freight services on P&O Ferries Cairnryan to Larne service have reached their highest volume for five years.

Aviva Europe Chief Executive McMillan quits group as it merges U.K. insurance businesses: David McMillan, the Chief Executive of Aviva Europe and Chairman of Aviva Global Health Insurance has left the business.

Arria rolls out SME product as it leaves AIM list: Ahead of the cancellation this morning of its shares on the London stock exchange in preparation for a primary listing in New Zealand, data technology and artificial intelligence firm Arria NLG has launched a business reporting tool for the U.K.

Lochside hotel to spend £1 million: Cameron House has revealed plans to invest a further £1 million under continuing renovation work at the Loch Lomond resort.

Saltire scheme is under way: Entrepreneurial Scotland has launched its Saltire Fellowship programme for 2017/18. The six-month leadership development scheme, which is run with Boston’s Babson College, aims to equip participants with the skills to build an enterprise of scale and gain an understanding of global business.

The Scotsman

Clydesdale reveals list of 40 Scottish branches set to close: The owner of Clydesdale Bank has published a list of 40 Scottish branches which are to be axed. Parent company CYBG will also shut a number of Yorkshire Bank branches, bringing the total number of closures across the U.K. to 79.

Airdrie Savings Bank to close its doors with 70 jobs lost: Airdrie Savings Bank, the last survivor of Britain’s independent savings banks, is to close. Staff were told in a meeting in the Lanarkshire town that the headquarters will shut, along with the remaining two branches in Bellshill and Coatbridge.

FreeAgent inks accounting software tie-up with RBS: FreeAgent, the Edinburgh-based accounting software specialist, has fought off competition from more than 30 rivals to land a deal with Royal Bank of Scotland.

Edinburgh entrepreneurs share £24,000 to spark growth: A clutch of Edinburgh’s most promising start-ups have shared £24,000 in prize money to fuel further growth at their firms.

Brewer Innis & Gunn promotes Esther Binnie to Finance Chief: Craft beer firm Innis & Gunn has promoted Esther Binnie to its board as Finance Director as it targets a doubling of turnover within the next three years.

City A.M.

Brexit hit to operations expected by institutional investors but they will continue to hold U.K. assets, according to “Brexometer”: Big institutional investors think Brexit will change their operating models but are determined to hold on to U.K. assets despite fears of a slowdown, according to a new survey.

New senior manager rules could mean fewer bumper fines for City watchdog and more days in court: New rules to hold top Bosses accountable for wrongdoings on their watch may have weakened the City watchdog’s negotiating stance if it tries to swoop in for bumper settlements.

Owner of New York Jets to become U.S. ambassador to the U.K.: The owner of the the New York Jets, Woody Johnson, will be the next U.S. ambassador to the U.K.

JP Morgan Chase reveals Chief Executive Jamie Dimon gets $28 million pay package: JP Morgan Chase Directors paid the bank’s Chief Executive Jamie Dimon $28 million (£22.7 million) in total compensation for last year, the group said.

Freezing Londoners’ travelcards would have cost City Hall £132 million a year: Expanding London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s controversial fares freeze to include Londoners’ travelcards would cost City Hall a total of £132 million a year.

IBM beats estimates but revenues fall: IBM beat estimates with its fourth-quarter results, but its shares fell in after-hours trading as it posted its 19th drop in revenues in a row.

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 08:34:00 +0000
In the Papers - Credit Suisse, EE, Goldman Sachs, Premier Foods Newspaper Summary

The Times

Corporate Britain takes a pounding: Troubles abroad, soaring commodity prices, rising wages and the slump in the pound hit corporate Britain hard, with some of its biggest companies issuing profit warnings.

EE fined £2.7 million for continental drift:  the mobile telecoms company was hit with a £2.7 million fine and forced to offer a grovelling apology to the 32,000 customers affected, as well as hading over full refunds, after admitting to the error, which occurred between July 1, 2014, and July 20 last year.

Burberry’s best of British is back in vogue: The weak pound that has lured shoppers from all over the world to London has paid off handsomely for Burberry.

400 jobs go as Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks cut branches by third: Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank are to close one third of their branches this year with the loss of 400 jobs and potential inconvenience to tens of thousands of account-holders.

Australia raises hopes of Brexit deals for trade without barriers: Britain is ideally placed to secure a services-based trade agreement with Australia, the country’s trade Minister said.

Rolls-Royce Bosses face bribery charges: The Serious Fraud Office is within weeks of bringing criminal prosecutions against individuals caught up in the Rolls-Royce bribery scandal, one of the biggest corruption cases in British corporate history.

French lift stakes again for Lavendon: The takeover battle for Lavendon has hit new heights, with the latest bid for the aerial platform plant hire group valuing it at £459 million, more than double where the shares were at the start of the struggle nearly three months ago.

Ivy creeping to all corners of the capital: The Ivy may be celebrating its centenary this year, but the billionaire owner of the Covent Garden institution is not resting on his laurels. Richard Caring has opened six restaurants in London and one in Bristol, all based on the celebrity haunt. Another eight are in the pipeline for the next six months.

The Independent

Signs of slowdown in house sales in latest RICS survey: There was a drop in house sales activity in December according to the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors survey, suggesting that the overall housing market might be slowing.

Goldman Sachs and Citigroup toast Donald Trump profits windfall: Goldman Sachs and Citigroup both reported fourth-quarter profit that surpassed analysts’ estimates as a bond-trading revival spurred by Donald Trump’s surprise victory lifted earnings across Wall Street.

Fewer than half of small businesses predict they will grow in 2017: Fewer than half of the U.K.’s small and medium-sized businesses believe they will grow in 2017, new research has revealed.

Trump a ‘bizarre’ reflection of people’s discontent with inequality: Lawrence Summers, the former U.S. Treasury Secretary, said the U.S. has just elected “the world’s biggest example of conspicuous consumption.”

IMF’s Lagarde says ‘I told you so’ on populist backlash: The managing Director of the International Monetary Fund said that she experienced a fierce backlash from leading economists when she first warned on the impact of rising equality some four years ago.

More signs of cooling in jobs market after Brexit vote: The numbers in employment slipped for a second successive month in the quarter to November in a tentative sign of the labour market slowing in the wake of last June’s Brexit vote.

Economists criticise May for trying to ‘have her cake and eat it’: Top economists and strategists have warned that Theresa May’s vision of Brexit lacks credibility and clarity, a day after the Prime Minister delivered an agenda-setting speech on Britain’s future outside the EU.

Deutsche Bank agrees to pay £5.8 billion fine over role in subprime crisis: Deutsche Bank agreed to pay $7.2 billion (£5.4 billion) in the U.S. for its illegal conduct and “irresponsible lending practices” before the financial crisis, the Justice Department said on Tuesday.

The Daily Telegraph

Fallon under pressure as Pearson shareholders back board to oust him in wake of fifth profit warning: Pearson Chief Executive John Fallon is under mounting pressure as investors in the education giant backed its board to oust him if necessary in the wake of a profit warning that sent the shares plunging to their lowest level in 14 years.

Yellen signals further rate rises as U.S. economy storms ahead: Janet Yellen, the chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, said the economy had come a long way in recovering from the 2008 financial crisis and that she and her colleagues expect the central bank to raise interest rates “a few times a year” until 2019.

Moody’s warns on House of Fraser outlook: House of Fraser’s recent upbeat festive trading hasn’t convinced credit rating agency Moody’s which lowered its outlook for the department store chain.

Premier Foods’ shares tank on profit warning and rising costs: Premier Foods’ shares have crashed by 16% after the Mr. Kipling maker warned that its profits would be 10% lower than it had hoped.

Deutsche Bank takes the axe to staff bonuses: Deutsche Bank announced massive cuts to its annual bonus scheme on Wednesday, as it looks to absorb the impact of a record $7.2 billion (£5.6 billion) fine in the U.S.

Ladbrokes Coral profits on track despite wrath of ‘sporting gods’: Ladbrokes Coral is on track to hit its profit targets for 2016, despite a series of sporting upsets in late December. The newly formed gambling giant said its profits for the year would be in the range expected by the market at between £275 million - £285 million, with £179 million of that coming from Ladbrokes and £101 million from Gala Coral.

The Questor Column:

It’s not cheap, but this unique Aim stock boasts great growth potential: Despite high valuations, there are companies whose growth prospects are strong enough to warrant a look, particularly if investors are prepared to hold stocks for several years. Pet treatments are, as in the world of human medication, becoming more comprehensive, complex and costly. Animal owners will pay through the nose for vaccinations, surgery, accessories and even cemetery spaces, while spending is sustained at the expense of discretionary items during downturns or periods of rising inflation. Mark Slater, of the eponymous investment company, is one major fan. CVS now accounts for 4.4% of Mr. Slater’s £400 million MFM Slater Growth portfolio and is the third-largest holding. This has been one of the top-returning British-invested funds in recent years, doubling investors’ cash over the past five. CVS is expanding rapidly – it acquired 68 surgeries in 2016 alone – and just last month secured £30 million of new spending to fuel expansion both here and in the Netherlands, a market it entered last year. While over 90% of its revenue comes from its 380 practices, income from its portfolio of crematoria doubled over its last financial year and its laboratory division pulled in 13% more cash than in 2015. In September last year, Questor had CVS as a hold at its price of 945p. It is higher now, closing up 10p at £10.82, but is a speculative buy for investors prepared to wait. Questor says ‘Speculative Buy’.

The Guardian

Middle classes in crisis, IMF’s Christine Lagarde tells Davos 2017: The head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, has called for urgent action to tackle a “middle-class crisis” hitting working people as she warned that inequality, distrust and a lack of hope were fuelling growing populism.

Top Trump adviser says post-Brexit trade deal feasible within a year: Teresa May’s hopes of striking a trade deal with the incoming Donald Trump administration have been given a boost after a leading adviser to the President-elect said a new accord could be achieved within six to 12 months.

Royal Albert Hall called a ‘national disgrace’ over members’ ticket resales: Royal Albert Hall members have exchanged detailed advice on how to sell their seats on ticket touting sites, prompting the venue’s former President to label its stewardship a “national disgrace”.

Pearson profit warnings wipe almost £2 billion off its value: Almost £2 billion was wiped from the stock market value of Pearson after the beleaguered FTSE 100 company issued profit warnings for the next two years and said it would cut its payout to shareholders.

Daily Mail

Fitness tech firm Fitbug forced to suspend trading as share price quadruples after it announces major new customer: Fitness tech firm Fitbug was forced to suspend trading after its share price quadrupled when it announced it had won a major new customer. Shares started the day at 0.17p and climbed as high as 1.07p in the afternoon before easing off.

World’s largest oil company could join London stock market in major boost to Britain following Brexit vote: The world’s largest oil company could join the London stock market in a major boost to Britain following the Brexit vote. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, state-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Company, commonly known as Saudi Aramco, told how it was planning the biggest-ever stock market listing that could value the firm at £1.9 trillion.

New Boss of troubled outsourcing firm Mitie cleans decks as firm issues its third profit warning since September: The new Boss of troubled outsourcing firm Mitie has cleaned the decks as the firm issued its third profit warning since September. Phil Bentley, former Boss of British Gas, has sacked a number of staff in the firm’s cleaning division, and let the finance Boss go as he seeks to rescue Mitie.

Daily Express

Tim Martin blasts establishment’s ‘semi-religious’ belief in EU and calls for free-trade: Establishment experts and politicians have a “semi-religious” belief in the European Union (EU) that will lead them to repeat judgement errors over the economy and trade amid Brexit negotiations, Wetherspoon Boss Tim Martin has warned.

Theresa May to meet with Wall Street bankers in Davos and outline hard Brexit vision: Theresa May is to meet Bosses from some of Wall Street’s biggest firms after banks threatened to move jobs out of the U.K. amid a so-called hard Brexit.

Brexit boom: Wages UP and unemployment falls proving doom-mongers wrong again: Wages were rising in the months after the Brexit vote while unemployment fell, as Britain’s strong economy continued to prove doom-monger Remain warnings wrong, official data revealed.

Savers warned about risks of absolute return funds: Older investors and pensioners may be putting their savings in jeopardy by investing in supposedly low-risk absolute return funds. Millions of hard-pressed savers have been advised to invest in targeted absolute return funds, which aim to deliver a higher return than cash, but with less volatility than the stock market.

The Scottish Herald

‘Co-op is back’ after revealing surge in sales during Christmas period: The Co-operative Group declared it was “back” after cheering surging sales in its Christmas quarter, boosted by a push to sign up more customer members.

UBS wealth managers eye growth in Scotland: The head of UBS’s wealth management business in Scotland, Debjani Raffan, says it sees plenty of room to grow in the country and shrugged off concerns about the possibility of another independence referendum.

Pound slips back after surge following Theresa May’s Brexit speech: The pound lost its footing on Wednesday as the dollar strengthened and investors backtracked on initial enthusiasm around Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit speech.

HSBC set to shift 1,000 jobs to Paris over U.K. departure from single market: The Boss of HSBC has said the bank is on course to move 1,000 jobs from its London business to Paris after Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed Britain will scrap its single market membership after Brexit.

The Scotsman

Farming industry anger after PM signals single market exit: If a quick and comprehensive trade deal giving U.K. farmers continued access to their European markets cannot be achieved, transition arrangements that avoid the Brexit “cliff edge” will be vital to allow the industry time to adapt, farming leaders have argued.

Lettings market tipped for return to growth this year: Residential rentals are forecast to rise this year in the wake of an “uncharacteristic” dip at the end of 2016.

Graham’s targets fitness fans with protein-packed snack: Graham’s The Family Dairy has secured supermarket shelf space for its latest product, a protein-packed snack aimed at health-conscious consumers.

Offshore firms ‘lock out’ local traders from Google ads: The Boss of an Edinburgh-based digital marketing agency has hit out at overseas companies that he claims are “distorting” online competition for local tradespeople.

Scots retailers boosted by 4.3% rise in festive sales: Retail sales north of the Border increased 4.3% in December, providing a boost for businesses over the vital Christmas period.

City A.M.

JP Morgan Chase to fork out $55 million to settle mortgage discrimination claims: JP Morgan Chase has agreed to pay $55 million (£44.9 million) to put to bed claims that it charged borrowers from minority backgrounds more for mortgages.

These peer-to-peer platforms lent nearly £3 billion in 2016: Nearly £3 billion was lent across the U.K.’s biggest peer-to-peer platforms last year, new figures out showed.

Theresa May is expected to launch a consultation on her flagship industrial strategy next week: Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to launch a consultation on her much-heralded industrial strategy early next week.

Goldman Sachs predicts healthcare M&A flurry, helped by Donald Trump: Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs is predicting a mergers and acquisitions (M&A) flurry in the healthcare sector this year, helped by Donald Trump.

U.K. wages grow at fastest rate since September 2015, while unemployment rate retains 11-year low: Wages grew faster than expected at the end of 2016, while unemployment stayed steady at 4.8%, as the U.K. labour market showed little sign of any short-term Brexit effect.

Now it’s Credit Suisse’s turn to sign off on its Department of Justice fine for $5.3 billion: Credit Suisse has finalised its agreement to settle for $5.3 billion (£4.3 billion) with the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) for mis-selling mortgage-backed securities in the lead-up to the financial crisis.

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 08:34:00 +0000