Proactiveinvestors United Kingdom Proactiveinvestors Proactiveinvestors United Kingdom Proactiveinvestors RSS feed en Mon, 25 Mar 2019 01:51:22 +0000 Genera CMS (Proactiveinvestors) (Proactiveinvestors) <![CDATA[Media files - Salt prices remain healthy despite record levels of trading ]]> Fri, 22 Mar 2019 13:17:00 +0000 <![CDATA[Media files - UK Investor Update - March 22 2019 ]]> Fri, 22 Mar 2019 10:30:00 +0000 <![CDATA[Media files - UK Investor Update - March 21st 2019 ]]> Thu, 21 Mar 2019 10:07:00 +0000 <![CDATA[News - Lyft gets first Wall Street Buy recommendation ahead of listing next week ]]> Ride-share company Lyft Inc, which is Uber’s closest rival, won't list on the tech-laden Nasdaq until next week, but one Montana-based investment firm is already rating it a "buy."

The San Francisco company has only been on the road marketing its IPO for two days, but investors have already been informed that the listing is oversubscribed at the current price range. Reuters reported that it is likely that the ride-hailing startup will “fetch or even exceed” the $23 billion valuation it is seeking.

READ: Lyft takes IPO fast lane, zipping ahead of rival Uber

Meanwhile, DA Davidson isn’t holding its horses. According to CNBC, the Montana-based investment firm isn't waiting until the shares, which will trade under the symbol "LYFT," are ticking away, to recommend getting in. 

DA Davidson senior research analyst Tom White initiated coverage with a "buy" rating and a $75 price target on Lyft. The tech unicorn is expected to be priced at between $62 and $68 per share.

White is excited about the total addressable market for personal transportation, which he writes US consumers are spending $1.2 trillion on annually.

"On-demand services have already disrupted traditional ownership models in sectors like entertainment/computing," White wrote in a note to clients Tuesday. "The continued population migration to cities and the rising costs of personal car ownership will further drive adoption of Transportation as a Service (TaaS) models over the coming years."

Lyft started its IPO road show on Monday and has spent the last two days meeting with investors in New York. Books close next week as it is set to price the IPO on March 28.

Company's financials

The San Francisco-based ride-hailing company’s filing lifted the hood on its financials. Lyft's revenues doubled in 2018 to reach $2.2 billion, according to the contents of its S-1 registration with the SEC. That is up from $343.3 million in 2016 and $1.1 billion in 2017.

But like Uber, Lyft is hemorrhaging money. Its net loss climbed to $911.3 million in 2018 from two years of steady losses of $682.8 million in 2016 and $688.3 million in 2017.

Lyft claims its ridesharing market share grew to 39% in 2018, up from 22% in 2016. In the fourth quarter of 2018, it had 18.6 million active riders and 1.1 million drivers.

Contact Uttara Choudhury at

Follow her on Twitter: @UttaraProactive 

Wed, 20 Mar 2019 10:13:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Media files - Heavy Metals takes a look at an emerging gold market: Japan ]]> Tue, 19 Mar 2019 16:27:00 +0000 <![CDATA[News - Brexit process remains unclear as Parliament votes against a no-deal exit ]]> How Britain will exit the European remained unclear Wednesday as Parliament voted to reject a no-deal Brexit.

Members of Parliament voted 321 in favour to 278 against on a government motion that they do not want to leave without a deal - a move that has been dubbed a "cliff-edge" departure.

Before that, they voted 312 to 308 on an amendment to reject leaving the bloc without an agreement under any circumstances.

It was one of a series of votes on Brexit and means lawmakers can now get a vote (planned for Thursday) on extending the process, meaning the March 29 date touted for the past two years is no more.

In addition, MPs voted 374 in favor to 164 against to reject a plan to delay the exit until May 22, so there could be a "managed no deal"

Wed, 13 Mar 2019 15:58:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Airbnb to buy last-minute hotel booking site HotelTonight ahead of potential IPO ]]> Airbnb is to buy hotel booking site HotelTonight as it seeks to further expand the business beyond short-term home rentals ahead of a potential initial public offering.

HotelTonight partners with hotels to provide last-minute deals on accommodation.

The acquisition of the business will bring Airbnb, which is an online platform for people to rent out their homes or rooms to holidaymakers, into the traditional hotel industry.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed. HotelTonight was valued at US$463mln in its last fundraising round in 2017.

The two sites will continue to operate separately but Aibnb said some HotelTonight listings will become part its platform in future.  Airbnb users will be directed to HotelTonight if no accommodation is available in areas they are looking to stay.

Airbnb, which was valued at US$31bn in a 2017 fundraising, is considering an IPO in the next two years.

Revenue Source

The deal will give Airbnb another source of revenue and customer growth, making it potentially more attractive to investors. It will also help the group tackle competition from other travel sites like Expedia and Priceline.

“Welcoming more boutique hotels to our platform will help us deliver on our commitment to make Airbnb for everyone, providing guests with the authentic, local experience they have come to expect on every trip,” said Airbnb co-founder and chief executive, Brian Chesky.

Airbnb has in recent years added premium and luxury home rentals to its platform and allowed boutique hotels to list their rooms on its site.  The group has more than 6mln listings for accommodation but most are privately owned homes or rooms.

Airbnb said it more than doubled the number of listings on its site for boutique hotel rooms, bed and breakfasts, hostels and resorts in 2018. 

The company expects to reach 500mln guest arrivals since it was founded in 2008 by the end of the first quarter.  It is aiming for 1bn guests a year by 2028.
HotelTonight’s co-founder and chief executive, Sam Shank, will run Airbnb’s boutique hotel division following the completion of the deal.

Fri, 08 Mar 2019 08:27:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Quadriga cryptocurrency goes missing after founder's death, investigators reveal ]]> The cryptocurrency wallets of a man who died without giving anyone else the password, have been found empty by the firm appointed to secure access and recover clients' holdings. 

Gerald Cotten, the founder of the Canadian cryptocurrency exchange, passed away in India in December last year and was the only person who knew the password to unlock the digital wallets held on his laptop.

READ: Crypto exchange left skint after only password holder dies

Auditor Ernst & Young - appointed to wind up QuadrigaCX - had expected to find the wallets full of C$180mln in crypto-cash deposited by 115,000 customers.

But once E&Y investigators gained access, they discovered the wallets had been cleaned out months before Cotton died, according to the BBC. 

Most of the cryptocurrency that customers deposited with the exchange was meant to be kept in ‘cold storage’, an offline environment designed to protect stored cryptocurrencies from internet hackers.

E&Y said it did not know what happened to the digital cash they had expected to find in the storage.

However, the auditor found evidence Cotten had 14 other user accounts "created outside the normal process" that may have been used to trade on the QuadrigaCX exchange.

E&Y is now looking into the trading that was carried out through these other accounts to find out if it can trace the crypto-cash that passed through them.

Tue, 05 Mar 2019 14:49:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Media files - Proactive Investors Heavy Metals shines bright with a look at Copper ]]> Mon, 04 Mar 2019 11:38:00 +0000 <![CDATA[News - UK financial watchdog says motor dealers overcharging buyers £1,000 a year for loans ]]> Some motor dealers have been overcharging customers more than £1,000 in interest charges on loans taken out to buy a car, the UK financial watchdog has said.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said an investigation into the motor credit sector found these dealers were overcharging to boost their own commission.

The practice of allowing dealers to set their own interest rates on loans is costing car buyers £300mln a year, the regulator added.

“This is unacceptable and we will act to address harm caused by this business model,” the FCA said.

The FCA launched an investigation into the motor finance market in April 2017 following concerns about the rapid growth in car loans.

It found motor dealers were not giving customers complete or clear information about their loans.

The FCA said a number of motor finance lenders were not complying with the rules on assessing creditworthiness, including affordability.

The regulator is now “assessing the options for intervening in the market, which would address the harm it has identified”. This includes considering changes to the way motor dealers earn a commission. 

Mon, 04 Mar 2019 10:03:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Lyft takes IPO fast lane, zipping ahead of rival Uber ]]> Ride-share company Lyft, which is Uber’s closest rival, filed paperwork Friday to raise $100 million in an initial public offering. The sum is a placeholder and likely to change quickly depending on investor appetite.

The move has been widely expected after Lyft disclosed in December that it confidentially filed a draft registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission related to its initial public offering. On Friday, the ride-hailing company made public the contents of its S-1 registration with the SEC.

It will list on the Nasdaq under the stock ticker "LYFT."

READ: Lyft races towards IPO with confidential SEC filing

The year started ominously for IPOs after the government shutdown in Washington, DC proved disruptive. However, 2019 is now shaping up to bring a stampede of so-called unicorns to Wall Street. Uber, Airbnb, Slack, Pinterest and Postmates are all expected to go public this year providing a veritable bonanza for early investors.

Lyft, which is part of the sharing economy, makes money by taking a commission on rides booked through its app.

The San Francisco-based ride-hailing company’s filing lifted the hood on its financials. Lyft's revenues doubled in 2018 to reach $2.2 billion, according to the filing. That's up from $343.3 million in 2016 and $1.1 billion in 2017.

But like Uber, Lyft is hemorrhaging money. Lyft's net loss climbed to $911.3 million in 2018 from two years of steady losses of $682.8 million in 2016 and $688.3 million in 2017.

Lyft claims its ridesharing market share grew to 39% in 2018, up from 22% in 2016. In the fourth quarter of 2018, it had 18.6 million active riders and 1.1 million drivers.

Contact Uttara Choudhury at

Follow her on Twitter: @UttaraProactive 

Fri, 01 Mar 2019 13:30:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Wonga borrowers awaiting compensation from collapsed pay-day lender 'cast aside', say MPs ]]> Borrowers who are still awaiting compensation over mis-sold loans by collapsed payday lender Wonga have been “cast aside”,  according to a committee of MPs.

The Treasury Committee said many of the 10,500 Wonga customers still waiting for the results of ombudsman rulings on whether they were mis-sold loans, have given up hope of redress.

READ: Wonga appoints administrators as payday loans firm collapses, having stopped accepting new loans

Treasury Committee chair, Nicky Morgan, said: “If Wonga continues to damage people's finances from beyond the grave, it may be time for the government to intervene."

She added: "It cannot be right that over 10,000 people who may have been mis-sold loans are just cast aside, especially as many will be vulnerable consumers.

"These people have been left to fend for themselves by Wonga, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Financial Ombudsman Service. They have been allowed to fall through the cracks with nobody taking responsibility for their mistreatment."

Wonga went into administration in August last year, blaming a surge in compensation claims.

Following the collapse of Wonga, the Financial Ombudsman stopped investigating cases for mis-sold loans due to the weakened prospect of recovering compensation.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) provides a safety net for savings when a lender goes bust but it does not cover compensation or other money owed by collapsed short-term credit firms.

More details sought​

Financial Conduct Authority head Andrew Bailey said in a letter to Morgan that it would not be “proportionate” or affordable for the FSCS to cover the collapse of short-term lenders since they did not hold clients’ money or assets.

Wonga borrowers with compensation claims will have to wait behind creditors who may get a small piece of the value of any company assets that can be sold by the administrators.

Many of the borrowers who have lodged complaints have claimed they were mis-sold loans due to their vulnerability and inability to repay.

One of the borrowers, Ashely from Bristol, used Wonga to help fund a gambling addiction. 

The Treasury Committee has asked Wonga's administrators for more details on how outstanding complaints could be taken forward. They have requested an answer by early March.

Wed, 27 Feb 2019 12:11:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Britain's richest man to spend £1bn on North Sea infrastructure and new plants ]]> Ineos, the vehicle of Jim Ratcliffe, the UK’s richest man, is to invest £1bn overhauling the North Sea’s oil and gas infrastructure.

The Forties pipeline system, through which 40% of the UK's North Sea oil and gas is transported, will get a £500mln upgrade while the Grangemouth oil refinery will get a £350mln energy plant.

Ineos will also build a new chemical plant in Hull to produce a key ingredient of safety glass and laminated windscreens.

The company acquired the 310 miles of Forties pipeline from BP in October 2017. It has a maximum capacity of 600,000 barrels per day.

Earlier this year it was reported that Ratcliffe, a keen Brexit supporter, is working on plans to switch residence to Monaco to reduce his tax bill.

“Ineos is a supporter of British manufacturing and this £1bn investment underlines our confidence in our business in the UK,” he said today.

“These investments will ensure that our UK assets continue to be world-class for many years to come.”

Ratcliffe owns 60% of Ineos, with Andy Currie and John Reece owning 20% each.

Ineos made an underlying profit of €2.29bn in 2018.

Wed, 27 Feb 2019 08:54:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Media files - Proactive's Heavy Metals takes a deep dive on zeolite ]]> Mon, 25 Feb 2019 07:00:00 +0000 <![CDATA[Media files - Cobalt has had a stormy year, does the blue metal have blue skies ahead? ]]> Thu, 21 Feb 2019 11:47:00 +0000 <![CDATA[News - DP World reunites with P&O Ferries in £322mln deal ]]> Two parts of the old P&O empire are being reunited again with the acquisition of the Ferries and Ferrymasters business by DP World for £322mln.

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, DP World’s group chairman and CEO, said: "We are pleased to announce the return of P&O Ferries back into the DP World family.

“P&O Ferries is a strong, recognisable brand and adds a best-in-class integrated logistics provider into our global portfolio.

Dubai-based DP World bought P&O’s ports operation in 2006, though subsequently, it had to sell the US assets due to national security concerns. The group makes more than 30,000 voyages a year across the Channel and the Irish Sea, while Ferrymasters provides logistics in 19 European locations.

P&O Ferries reported full-year 2017 revenue of US$1.4bn and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of US$131mln.

The deal will be earnings accretive from the first year of consolidation said Bin Sulayem.

“Importantly, P&O Ferries provides efficient European freight connectivity building on last year's acquisition of Unifeeder.”

The cruise arm of P&O was spilt out in 2000 and merged with Carnival in 2003.

Wed, 20 Feb 2019 09:43:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Why the train trumps the plane in China ]]> China has more high-speed railroad than anywhere else in the world, but why? And how did it achieve this status in less than a decade?

[Remember, the planning around HS2, the 250mph, London to Birmingham route, began in 2009 with the line expected to go into service seven years from now.]

This video reveals the huge strides in transportation being made in the People's Republic and why low-cost air travel just isn't taking off. 

Fri, 15 Feb 2019 11:48:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - React Group sales climb but restructuring take its toll ]]> More work cleaning up cells, crime scenes, hospitals and houses trashed by tenants, boosted React Group PLC’s (LON:REAT) turnover over the past 12 months.

The extreme cleaner's sales rose 48% to £3.3mln in the year to September, with half of that work coming from the emergency services.

Can start to return to profit​

React has also been tidying up its own structure with three businesses merged into one and a management overhaul.

Costs associated with the restructuring, plus bad debt and redundancy costs meant £1.34mln of one-off costs, which pushed losses up to £1.93mln from £458,000.

Gill Eates, executive chairman, said React now had a solid business from which it can grow and begin to return to profit.

Shares were unchanged at 0.21p.

Fri, 15 Feb 2019 09:32:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Media files - Proactive Investors Buds & Duds ]]> Thu, 14 Feb 2019 15:42:00 +0000 <![CDATA[Media files - Proactive's Heavy Metals takes a closer look at graphite ]]> Mon, 11 Feb 2019 13:37:00 +0000 <![CDATA[News - DWF Group expects to raise primary gross proceeds of around £75mln from an initial public offering next month ]]> Law firm DWF Group Ltd expects to raise primary gross proceeds of around £75mln when it launches an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange's main market next month.

The company said it expects to announce the final offer price and publish its final prospectus following a marketing and book-building process, with admission currently expected in March 2019.

READ: Law firm DWF Group planning potential initial public offering on the LSE's Main Market

It also confirmed that would have a free float of at least 25%, and expects that it would be eligible for inclusion in FTSE UK indices.

The group said it will use the funds raised from the IPO to repay a portion of the members' capital contribution to DWF; to invest in operations and infrastructure including in additional IT systems and certain strategic initiative change programmes in support of its managed services work; to fund working capital for general corporate purposes as well as potential funding for future acquisitions; and to pay underwriting commissions and fees and other offer-related fees and expenses. 

DWF provides a mixture of legal services across its Commercial Services, Insurance and International divisions, and also provides a range of professional, business or consulting services.

For the six months to October 31, DWF reported a 26% year-on-year jump in internal gross profit to £66.2, as net revenue increased by 18% to £133.4mln.

The company said it has engaged Stifel Nicolaus Europe and Jefferies International to act as joint global co-ordinators and Zeus Capital to act as lead manager for the IPO.

Fri, 08 Feb 2019 11:22:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Randall & Quilter raises £100mln to cash in on ideal conditions ]]> Randall & Quilter Ltd (LON:RQIH) is raising up to £107mln to take advantage of what the insurer says are very favourable conditions currently.

Some £100mln will come from a placing at 153p with up to a further £7mln from an open offer at the same price.

Ken Randall, chairman and chief executive, said the money would strengthen the AM Best credit and financial strength ratings of the Accredited companies and boost its balance sheet after the spate of acquisitions last year.

Favourable conditions

A confluence of factors has created an exceptionally attractive period within the legacy industry, he added.

“These factors include, but are not limited to, regulatory changes impacting underwriters globally (including Solvency II, recent US tax reforms and certain OECD tax policies), Brexit, heightened M&A activity in the property and casualty insurance sector and the continuing separation of distribution from underwriting capital are some of the reasons  behind this trend.

R&Q expects these conditions to subsist for the foreseeable future and that attractive legacy investment opportunities will continue to arise.

In 2018, the insurer completed 18 legacy transactions and entered into 12 new program partnerships across the US, Bermuda, European and UK markets.

Shares fell 6% to 170p.


Thu, 07 Feb 2019 10:59:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Media files - Is the price of Gold on the rise? Proactive's Heavy Metals takes a deep dive ]]> Mon, 04 Feb 2019 16:01:00 +0000 <![CDATA[Media files - Gold and Iron Ore to take centre stage at upcoming African mining conferences ]]> Fri, 01 Feb 2019 12:22:00 +0000 <![CDATA[Media files - Central Bank gold purchases in 2018 hit second highest year on record ]]> Fri, 01 Feb 2019 09:51:00 +0000 <![CDATA[News - Npower to slash 900 jobs in wake of collapsed deal to merge with SSE's retail arm ]]> Npower plans to slash 900 jobs to save costs in the wake of a collapsed deal to merge with SSE plc’s (LON:SSE) energy services business.

The group, which is one of the UK’s big six energy firms, blamed the decision on fierce competition in the sector and the government’s price cap on default tariffs.

READ: SSE calls off Npower merger amid worries about price cap and competition

Chief executive Paul Coffey said Npower would make significant losses this year even with the savings from the job cuts but the company is doing “everything we can to minimise them whilst continuing to focus on service and value for our customers”.

The energy price cap came into effect at the start of January and regulator, Ofcom, has said it expects it will save 11 million customers an average of £76 a year on their bills.

Many energy providers have slammed the move, including British Gas owner Centrica, which has warned it would cost the company £70mln in the first quarter. Several smaller energy firms have also collapsed since the cap was announced.

Ofcom is expected to announce next week that it will raise the level of the cap, which could add almost £100 to the annual bills of customers on default tariffs.

“Ofgem forecasts that five of the big six energy companies will make a loss or less than normal profits this year owing to the implementation of the price cap,” Coffey said.

 “And with several recent failures of new energy suppliers, it is clear that many have been pricing at levels that are not sustainable.”

His remarks come after SSE called off a proposed merger of its retail arm with Npower, saying it was no longer in the best interests of its customers, employees or shareholders.

The deal fell through because the two companies failed to agree on how much capital to inject into the merged business.

 The ownership of Npower will now be transferred to German energy giant E.ON and there are concerns this could lead to more job losses when the transaction is completed later this year. 

Fri, 01 Feb 2019 08:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Law firm DWF Group planning potential initial public offering on the LSE's Main Market ]]> Law firm DWF Group Ltd is planning for a potential initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange's Main Market and has said it expects to publish a registration document soon.

The company said it would have a free float of at least 25%, and expects that it would be eligible for inclusion in FTSE UK indices.

READ: Gateley shares jump as it posts solid first-half earnings

The IPO intention news came as DWF reported a 26% year-on-year jump in internal gross profit to £66.2 for the six months to October 31, as net revenue increased by 18% to £133.4mln.

DWF provides a mixture of legal services across its Commercial Services, Insurance and International divisions, and also provides a range of professional, business or consulting services.

The firm’s chief executive Andrew Leatherland commented: "We have developed into a global legal business, providing an innovative and differentiated offering to meet the full spectrum of our clients' legal needs."

He added: "We are in a strong position for further expansion, allowing us to capitalise on the positive trends in the global markets in which we operate as DWF continues to thrive.”

The company said it has engaged Stifel Nicolaus Europe and Jefferies International to act as joint global co-ordinators and Zeus Capital to act as lead manager in the event the IPO proceeds.

Thu, 31 Jan 2019 14:51:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Norwegian Air seeks US$350mln cash injection ]]> Norwegian Air has asked investors to stump up US$350mln (3bn krone) to help bolster its finances, days after British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group PLC (LON:IAG) ruled out a takeover bid for the budget carrier.

The loss-making airline is yet to set a price for the rights issue, but the market is pricing in a big discount, with the Oslo-listed stock falling by almost a third on Tuesday morning before recovering slightly.

READ: IAG rules out bid for Norwegian Air

Norwegian started off as a small, regional carrier back in the early 90s but it has changed tack in recent years, taking on the likes of BA and Virgin by offering cut-price transatlantic fares on its new fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

But the rapid expansion has left it with heavy losses and high debts; its preliminary earnings report for 2018 showed an operating loss of 3.8bn krone (US$450mln).

“The company is changing its strategic focus from growth to profitability,” Norwegian said in a stock exchange announcement.

“We will now get in place a strengthened balance sheet that supports the further development of the company … [and] will increase its competitiveness and stand-alone financial strength.”

There are currently no talks ongoing with potential buyers, the airline added, although it kept the door open, saying it is still “willing to engage in consolidation discussions”.

The final terms of the rights issue, including price and number of shares, are expected to be confirmed on 18 February.

Norwegian’s chief executive, chairman and other shareholders have already committed to investing 610mln krone (US$72mln), with the remaining 2.4bn krone jointly underwritten by oil shipping magnate John Fredriksen and brokers DNB Markets and Danske Bank.

Tue, 29 Jan 2019 12:21:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Brexit Vote 2: Amendment Boogaloo ]]> On Tuesday, Prime Minister Theresa May will return to the House of Commons to kick off a debate on the next steps following the overwhelming defeat of her Brexit deal earlier this month.

Her new motion has seen a flurry of proposed amendments by multiple backbench and frontbench MPs of various parties in a bid to force a change of direction in the government’s policy, with the more prominent efforts aimed at averting a ‘no deal’ outcome.

Labour amendments - Labour frontbench:

The core amendment from the opposition benches is pushing the government to rule out a ‘no deal’ scenario entirely and allow Parliament to vote on a number of options including an alternate Brexit deal that includes a permanent customs union (which Labour has backed as part of its own Brexit policy), and the possibility of a public vote on a deal or any other proposition MPs support for a plebiscite.

If the amendment was selected for debate by the Speaker of the Commons, it would also open up a can of worms for MPs to vote on other proposals from various opposition members, some of which alter the amendment itself to include or exclude various points.

Some of these involve backing a re-run of the 2016 in/out referendum or at least a public vote on the deal itself.

Potential impact: Could embolden other MPs to explicitly oppose no deal but could also aggravate Labour’s own split between pro-second vote MPs and the more Eurosceptic leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

Cooper amendment:

Perhaps the most high-profile amendment of the bunch, the motion proposed by former shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper is essentially looking to delay Brexit until a deal is agreed with the EU, averting a no deal exit on 29 March.

The amendment proposes time for Parliament to pass a new law that would require the PM to seek a postponement of the leave date until 31 December if her deal is refused at a vote on 26 February, requiring a request to extend the Article 50 exit mechanism from the EU.

This amendment has garnered cross-party support from various Tory backbenchers, including pro-EU MPs Nicky Morgan and Oliver Letwin as well as Lib Dem health minister Norma Lamb and Plaid’s Ben Lake.

Potential impact: A little more serious for the government as Cooper’s bill, if passed, would create a legal obligation on the government as opposed to the other amendments. If this happens, there is chance for a Brexit delay.

Labour’s Yvette Cooper on her plan to delay #Brexit: "We can’t just carry on with a game of chicken" #Marr

— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) January 27, 2019 Creasy amendment:

Labour MP Stella Creasy has proposed getting the government to postpone Brexit day for an unspecified period and create a 250-member ‘Citizen’s Assembly’ to allow more public say on the Brexit process.

This would contain a representative sample of the population, supported by an advisory group of experts, that would make recommendations after a 10-week consideration period.

Potential impact: Brexit delay a little more likely but then the UK would enter a somewhat undefined process of setting up a citizen’s assembly, with all the wrangling entailed in figuring out what a “representative sample” is.

Reeves amendment:

Like the Creasy amendment, but this merely seeks to suspend Brexit day with no time period.

Potential impact: Could delay Brexit … that’s all really.

Benn amendment:

Put forward by former shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn, the amendment calls for a series of “indicative votes” to signal MPs support for various Brexit options.

These range from a new vote on the PM’s current deal, a ‘no deal’ exit, a renegotiation of the deal, and a second Brexit referendum.

Potential impact: Could potentially be a useful gauge of Parliamentary opinion on Brexit and what kind of deal would make it through the house, although nothing of any solid substance in terms of policy.

Conservative amendments - Grieve amendment:

A key pro-European Tory and thorn in the side of the government, Dominic Grieve has proposed an amendment that essentially forces a debate on multiple alternatives to the PM's Brexit deal for six full days before 26 March.

Backed by MPs from the Scottish National Party (SNP), the Liberal Democrats, the Greens, and Plaid Cymru, as well as some Labour backbenchers, the six-day debate would conclude with MPs voting on any amendments tabled during the period.

These could include anything from a second Brexit referendum, the ‘Norway’ option which would move the UK toward membership of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), or even a no deal exit.

Potential impact: Likely to open the floodgates to amendments on the deal and potentially result in a delay to Brexit if the wrangling fails to secure a precise outcome supported by Parliament.

Murrison amendment:

Another Tory MP Andrew Murrison has submitted a group of amendments aiming to win around opponents of the so-called ‘Irish backstop’, a fall-back option to avoid a hard border between Brexiting Northern Ireland and the EU member Republic.

Murrison’s amendment proposes that the PM’s deal "insists on an expiry date to the backstop", essentially assuaging fears that it would continue indefinitely with Northern Ireland stuck in a separate customs regime to the rest of the UK.

The backstop has garnered fierce opposition from both pro-Brexit Tories and the 10 MPs from the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), who are vital to propping up Theresa May’s majority in the Commons.

While the amendment is preferred by the DUP, the Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney has already poured cold water on the proposal, saying the EU would never agree to a definitive end date to the backstop.

Potential impact: Would probably cause more headaches for the PM as the EU has already said it will not renegotiate the backstop (in public at least), cue more negotiations.

Baron amendments:

Speaking of the backstop, John Baron MP has submitted three amendments to the motion that aim to stop the UK being constrained by EU customs laws for an extended period.

The amendments range from limiting a backstop to six months, calling for the UK to have a right to exit any backstop unilaterally, and avoiding an agreement that would tie any area of the UK to EU customs rules until a formal trade deal is in place.

Potential impact: Similar to Murrison's amendments as it is predicated on the EU agreeing to the changes to the backstop.

Brady amendment:

Rounding off the main Tory amendments is one from Graham Brady, the chair of the influential 1922 committee of backbench Conservative MPs.

In a short and sweet proposal, Brady’s amendment calls for the backstop to be replaced with “alternative arrangements” that would also avoid a hard border with Ireland (although it doesn’t go into depth about what these might be).

Potential impact: A little vague to be certain as no one is sure what the “alternative arrangements” will be, although it will almost certainly involve more negotiations and a possible delay of Brexit.

Other parties’ amendments - Liberal Democrat amendment:

The pro-EU Lib Dems have tabled a proposal to rule out no deal and push for a second public vote with the option to remain in the EU on the ballot paper.

Potential impact: The Lib Dems are the most pro-Remain party, but they have little clout for a rerun of the 2016 vote even if many other MPs are sympathetic to their cause.

Brake amendment:

Lib Dem MP Tom Brake has tabled an amendment to create a cross-party committee that would take charge of the Brexit process, deciding when parliamentary time is made available for Brexit debates and legislation.

Potential impact: Similar to the citizen’s assembly idea, it may take power away from the government but is unlikely to resolve the ideological gridlock in a meaningful way.

Cross-party amendment:

Tabled by the Tory MP Caroline Spelman and Labour MP Jack Dromey, this amendment is trying to block no deal by adding an explicit rejection of no deal to the PM’s motion.

Potential impact: Not much. There is already a Brexit deal on the table so the motion boils down to ‘no no-deal’ along with various others.

Market impact

In terms of the wider impact on markets, these motions will probably have little, immediate effect as they are all non-binding on government policy.

Therefore, unless the Cooper amendment becomes law, Theresa May could simply reject all the amendments and continue hammering away at her own deal.

For markets, the reactions could be familiar, anything that increases the likelihood of no deal will probably cause a dip in the value of the pound, while if there are moves toward a softer Brexit, the opposite may happen.

The value of the pound has risen about 2.2% since the deal was first voted down on 15 January as the prospect of a softer outcome increased, so it’s not unreasonable to expect more of the same.

Mon, 28 Jan 2019 13:57:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Property and construction firm Henry Boot beats Brexit gloom ]]> Property and construction firm Henry Boot PLC (LON:BOOT) said it would have been on course to exceed guidance but for a one-off pension contribution.

Its performance came in the face of more challenging trading conditions as negotiations around the UK's departure from the EU “served to increase the level of uncertainty within the UK real estate market”.

The company said its Hallam Land Management business “performed exceptionally well”, Stonebridge Homes turned over £35mln and construction “held up well”.

Henry Boot Developments' results were affected by the aforementioned macro uncertainty.

That said boss John Sutcliffe was guardedly optimistic on prospects: "Although we remain mindful of some uncertainty in the UK real estate market, these transactions, added to the already committed and contracted activity for 2019, give us a good start to the year."

Fri, 18 Jan 2019 07:55:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Media files - Markets subdued, pound rallies ahead of no-confidence vote after Brexit defeat ]]> Wed, 16 Jan 2019 11:52:00 +0000 <![CDATA[News - Uncertainty rolls on in Zimbabwe, as rioters hit the streets and internet access is shut down ]]> Rioters took to the streets of Bulawayo and Harare this week as the economic situation in Zimbabwe continues to fester, despite earlier hopes that new President Emmerson Mnangagwa would be able to deliver much-needed reform.

The country is currently suffering from severe fuel shortages, in the wake of price hikes imposed by the President a couple of days ago.

President on four-nation tour

Private internet access has also been cut off across most parts of the country, as Mnangagwa’s regime seeks to stifle the potential power of the social media in coordinating a rising tide of protest.

In Harare, streets were blocked by burning tyres and angry youths, while most businesses shut down in response to a call from trades unions to protest the ongoing economic uncertainty.

Mnangagwa himself, however, appeared unconcerned, and left Zimbabwe for a four-nation tour, starting with a trip to Russia.

Inflation remains a significant problem in Zimbabwe, which has no currency of its own. What's more, there is an ongoing shortage of US dollars to oil the country’s economic wheels, partly because there isn’t enough export activity to bring the money in.

In addition, the issuance of so-called bond notes that are supposed to be pegged to the US dollar has led to a revival of the Zimbabwean currency black market, as the real value of the bonds is less than a third of the US dollars they’re supposed to be tied to.

Many government workers, including doctors, are paid in these bond notes and argue that they are not earning enough to live on.

However, some hopes still remain that Zimbabwe will turn an economic corner.

READ: Vast Resources asking for shareholder support to back debt funding plans

This week, Vast Resources asked shareholders to approve additional capital raising powers that would allow it to fund the development of a diamond mining operation in Zimbabwe. Vast hasn’t yet been granted a concession but wants to be able to move fast if it does get one.

The company is well-hedged against any uncertainty though, with operating mines in Romania providing the bulk of its cashflow.

Wed, 16 Jan 2019 11:07:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Amid the current global uncertainty, how bearish should we be on copper? ]]> What should we make of the current price of the bellwether metal, copper?

It’s been on a significant downtrend lately, as a succession of poor economic numbers out of China have spooked markets and led to speculation that demand could slow.

In part, this is because of the economic warfare between China and the USA. As a headline grabber, Apple Inc’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) recent warning on Chinese revenues was second to none, but underlying the woes of the world’s ex-biggest tech company are the deeper woes of China.

Exports are slowing, consumer demand is slowing, there are fears about bursting credit bubbles, and on top of all that, in spite of all the progress in recent years, it’s still an opaque country that’s hard for market participants really to read.

Will President Xi crack under this tariffs pressure and sign up to a trade deal that’s advantageous to the US and which will allow Mr Trump to claim victory? Or will he double down, reckoning that the country that’s endured the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution is more than capable of weathering the effects of a mere tariff war?

At this stage, the uncertainty is almost more problematic than the eventual outcome, as markets don’t know which way to look.

There seems a very real possibility that as a result of the tariff war, and ongoing economic weakness in Germany and Japan, that global growth will slow markedly this year. It’s been enough to make the Federal Reserve put the brakes on its monetary tightening, even thought the US itself is still booming, and its been enough to spook stock markets world wide.

Commodities too, with the honourable exception of gold, have taken a hit.

The copper price has fallen by more than US$1,000 per tonne since the optimism peaked in the spring of 2018, and current sentiment would have it fall further. On the other hand, looking back slightly further, the price is still above the 2016 troughs. So, mixed signals then.

Broker Liberum talks of “difficult dynamics” for the next six months, while conceding that copper remains the favoured commodity for most major miners. That being so, and with the balance sheets of the majors all in good shape at the moment, there may be an opportunity for buying the likes of Antofagasta (LON:ANTO) or Glencore (LON:GLEN) on further dips.

However, Liberum reckons greater value is to be found amongst the more significant of the companies with large projects moving through the development stages.

On this thinking Liberum highlights Asiamet (LON:ARS) and Solgold (LON:SOLG) as offering the best value, while it recommends steering clear of KAZ Minerals (LON:KAZ), on the basis of Russian risk.

Another company worth considering is Kincora Copper (CVE:KCC), which is at an earlier stage, but which may well be sitting on most of the useful ground in the next major district play to emerge in copper mining: Mongolia.

Liberum reckons most of the speculative positions that were taken up in copper in 2018 have now washed out through the system. However, in terms of pricing, negotiations between the US and China will continue to be crucial.

“We believe the issues around industrial output can and probably will be solved, however the controls on intellectual property transfers will be far greater hurdles and we do not expect to see a solution in the next six months,” the broker said.



Wed, 16 Jan 2019 10:36:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Ovo Energy appointed by regulator to take on supplying collapsed Economy Energy’s domestic customers ]]> Ovo Energy has been appointed by regulator Ofgem to take on supplying Economy Energy’s 235,000 domestic customers after the independent power supplier ceased trading earlier this week.

In a statement on its website, Ofgem said the appointment follows a competitive process run by the regulator to get the best deal possible for customers.

READ: Economy Energy ceases trading, leaving 235,00 customers orphaned

It pointed out that Ovo Energy is offering Economy Energy’s customers a competitive tariff and will honour all outstanding credit balances, including money owed to both existing and former customers.

Philippa Pickford, Ofgem’s director for future retail markets, said: “Ovo Energy has also agreed to absorb the costs of taking on these customers and outstanding credit balances, which means the extra costs will not fall on the industry or households.

“Ovo Energy will be in contact with customers over the coming days with further information. Once the transfer has been completed, customers can shop around for a better deal if they wish to.”

Economy Energy ceased trading on Tuesday, having entered a credit default on Monday - the ninth small UK power supplier within a year to fail - a move expected after Ofgem last week banned the independent firm from taking on new customers due to customer service issues.

Ofgem said it would appoint a new supplier for its Economy Energy’s customers.

Fri, 11 Jan 2019 16:12:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Media files - Gold climbs on expectations of pause in further US interest rates hikes ]]> Fri, 11 Jan 2019 11:34:00 +0000 <![CDATA[News - Heathrow unveils record year of passenger traffic ahead of planned expansion ]]> Heathrow had a record 80 million passengers travelling through the UK airport in 2018 ahead of an expansion that has been approved by the government.

Passenger numbers were 2.7% higher in 2018 than a year ago, supported by the use of larger and fuller aircraft. In December alone, 6.5 million people travelled through Heathrow, up 2.5% on the previous year.

Africa and Latin America were popular destinations for people seeking winter sun in December with passenger traffic up 9.3% and 7.0%, respectively.

"2018 has been an exceptional year for Heathrow, with record passenger numbers and service levels, and with MPs voting overwhelmingly in support of expansion,” said Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye.

“We are on track to deliver an expanded Heathrow in the early years of Brexit, which will keep Britain as one of the world's great trading nations."

Third runway

Heathrow is set to build a third runway after MPs voted in favour of the controversial proposal last June. Environmental activists have protested against the plan over worries about increased emissions.

The airport has said it would take action to reduce carbon emissions from the increase in flights that would be created by an additional runway, including investments in peatland restoration and free landing fees for the first electric flight.

There a number of projects seeking to create an electric aircraft. easyJet PLC (LON:EZY) has teamed up with US firm, Wright Electric, to create a 150-seat plane capable of flying up to 300 miles.

Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Siemens are also working together on an electric-hybrid plane. 

Fri, 11 Jan 2019 08:55:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Economy Energy ceases trading, the ninth small UK power supplier to fail within a year, leaving 235,00 customers orphaned ]]> Economy Energy ceased trading on Tuesday, the ninth small UK power supplier within a year to fail, a move expected after regulator Ofgem last week banned the independent firm from taking on new customers due to customer service issues.

In a statement on their website, the company – which entered a credit default on Monday – said Ofgem is appointing a new supplier for its 235,000 customers.

READ: Ofgem bans Economy Energy from taking on new customers over service issues

It added: “Customers need not worry, their supplies are secure and credit balances are protected. Ofgem’s advice is not to switch, but to sit tight and wait until the new supplier has been appointed.”

On Ofgem's website, Philippa Pickford, the regulator's director for future retail markets said: “Our message to energy customers with Economy Energy is there is no need to worry, as under our safety net we will make sure your energy supplies are secure and your credit balance is protected.”

She added: “We have seen a number of supplier failures over the last year and our safety net procedures are working as they should to protect customers.”

Tue, 08 Jan 2019 15:36:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Ofgem bans Economy Energy from taking on new customers over service issues ]]> Independent energy supplier, Economy Energy, has been banned by the UK market regulator from taking on new customers due to "unacceptable" services. 

Ofgem said the ban would be in place for up to three months initially for Economy Energy to resolve its customer service issues, including complaints on handling processes and standards as well as billing and payment procedures.

READ: British Gas owner Centrica to challenge energy price cap

Economy Energy has been told to improve its customer contact procedures via email and webchat, address billing and payment failures and issue customer refunds in a timely manner.

Ofgem can extend the ban if the company fails to make improvements within three months and can revoke the supplier’s licence if it fails to improve after that.

"Ofgem is taking action to protect customers from suffering more harm from the unacceptable level of customer service provided by Economy Energy," said Anthony Pygram, Ofgem’s director of conduct and enforcement.

"We expect the supplier to take immediate action to rectify its failings or face having its ban extended."

The regulator has been cracking down on energy suppliers over customer services and bills.

A new energy price cap came into force at the start of the month, saving 11 million people an average of £76 a year. 

Fri, 04 Jan 2019 08:07:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Iceland faces £21mln bill from HMRC over staff Christmas savings scheme ]]> Iceland Foods faces a £21mln bill from HM Revenue & Customs over a Christmas savings scheme offered to staff.

According to The Times, HMRC has told the supermarket group that the scheme –which allows low-paid staff to voluntarily set aside money from their weekly wages over the year to help to pay for Christmas – means it was technically paying below the minimum wage.

HMRC also said Iceland should have compensated staff for the “sensible shoes” they were told to wear to work.

Iceland provides safety shoes free of charge for use in warehouses and any employee can request them. Store staff are not required to wear the shoes.

The tax authority claims Iceland has underpaid about £3.5mln a year for six years, even though staff decided to take part in the scheme and received all the money they had set aside.

Iceland may have to pay a fine that could be double the amount of the alleged underpayment, which amounts to £21mln over the six-year period.

Iceland founder says HMRC dispute 'just madness'

Sir Malcolm Walker, Iceland’s founder and chief executive, said the dispute over the scheme was “just madness”.  He intends to fight the HMRC claim and is prepared to go to court if necessary.

Walker said the government’s own Money Advice Service website has recommended that people should use “dedicated Christmas savings schemes [which] can help you to avoid dipping into your cash too early”.

He has also prepared a document called The Campaign for Common Sense, which describes the “growing red tape and bureaucracy affecting business”.  But he said there were few in government interested in addressing the issue.

“They [HMRC] will not give in, so I went to see the business secretary Greg Clark. He promised he would look into it — never heard from him again,” he said.

 “I sat next to Theresa May at a dinner and gave [The Campaign for Common Sense] to her. She said, ‘Give it to Philip as I don’t have my handbag.’ And I said, ‘Promise you will read it?’ She said, ‘Yes.’ I then spoke to the secretary for Wales who was full of ‘yeah yeah, this isn’t right”, but I never heard from him.”

Iceland is meeting with Kelly Tolhurst, a junior minister in the business department, this month.  Malcolm said that he was “confident we will get a positive outcome”. 

Wed, 02 Jan 2019 08:43:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Rail commuters stage protests at stations across the UK as fares rise 3.1% ]]> Rail unions, politicians and campaigners are planning to stage protests outside stations across the country on Wednesday against rail fare increases.

Rail fares rose by an average of 3.1% in England and Wales for commuters on the first day back to work after the Christmas break, marking the highest increase since January 2013. In Scotland, fares were raised by almost 3.0%.

The price hikes come despite a series of issues across rail networks last year that caused disruptions for many commuters. One in seven trains has been delayed by at least five minutes in the past 12 months, according to the Press Association.

READ: London Waterloo travel chaos: South Western Railway hit by overrun engineering work

Campaign group Railfuture described the fare increase as “yet another kick in the wallet”.

The Labour Party has said its analysis shows the average commuter is paying £786 more for their annual season ticket since the Conservatives came into power in 2010.

Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said the latest fare rises were an "an affront to everyone who has had to endure years of chaos on Britain's railways".

Railways lining shareholders' pockets, says TUC

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) said the fare increases were higher than the expected 2.5% rise in wages this year.

TUC research has found UK passengers pay up to five times as much on season tickets as other European travellers. A rail passenger travelling from Chelmsford to London spends 13% of their average earnings on a monthly season ticket, compared with 2% for an equivalent commute in France, the study revealed.

Customers should be reminded that this year's price rise is directly proportionate to the proposed increase in delays. No free rides for you fuckers, we're not running a doss house. You clog up our stations you pay for it. #SouthWesternRailway #HonestRailwayTweets

— South Western Failways (@SW_Failways) 2 January 2019

The TUC said private rail operators in the UK have paid out more than £1bn in dividends to shareholders in the past six years.

"The most reliable thing about our railways is the cash that goes to private shareholders each year, but with the most expensive fares in Europe, that can't be right. It's rewarding failure and taking money away that should be invested in better services,” said TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady.

"It's time to take the railways back into public hands. Every penny from every fare should go back into the railways. The number one priority should be running a world-class railway service, not private profit."

Transport secretary defends fare increase

Transport secretary Chris Grayling has defended the rail fare hike, saying the government has made a record investment in improving the network. He said the investment into the network will help passengers get the "frequent, affordable and reliable journeys they deserve".

Grayling also announced a new railcard extending child fares to 16 and 17-year-olds, which will be available before the new academic year in September.

Figures from the Office of Rail and Road show that UK railways are funded mostly by customers’ fares. Last year customer fares yielded £9.7bn while the government provided £6.4bn, excluding loans from National Rail.

This year’s fare increase was capped at the July 2018 retail price index inflation of 3.2%.

The government has said fares could be raised in line with a lower index of inflation if unions agree rail workers’ wages also rise at the same rate.  

Annoyingly Chris Grayling is right and Labour are wrong when it comes to protesting the 3.1% rail fare increase:

If you don't want fares to go up you have to tell the unions to use CPI.

— Kieran Kunhya (@kierank_) 2 January 2019

Unite national officer Harish Patel said: "Given last year's rail timetable chaos, presided over by the hapless Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, there should be no rail fare increases for hard-pressed travellers in 2019 - fares should have been frozen. The 3.1% rise is an insult.”

The protests will be held at a number of stations across the UK on Wednesday, including London King’s Cross, Cardiff, Liverpool, Bristol and Birmingham.

#BringBackBritishRail#RMT protesting at this year's ripoff fare increases.
25 years of the great rail ripoff
End Privatisation Now

— UniteCommCamden (@UniteCommCam) 2 January 2019

This year’s Rail increases are beyond a joke. Plymouth to Exeter season tickets have increased 35% since 2010.

Join us or say hello at Plymouth station this morning as part of a national rail action day

— Charlotte Holloway (@CharlotteHollo) 2 January 2019 ]]>
Wed, 02 Jan 2019 07:51:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - HMV collapses into administration for second time in six years ]]> HMV has collapsed for the second time in six years after poor sales over the key Christmas trading period.

The music retailer has appointed administrators at KPMG, putting more than 2,200 jobs at risk. The company said 125 stores in the UK will remain open while talks with suppliers and potential buyers continued.

HMV collapsed into administration in 2013 when it was rescued by restructuring firm Hilco.

The company has been hit by slowing demand for CDs and DVDs as more consumers download content online.

Paul McGowan, the executive chair of HMV and Hilco, said: “During the key Christmas trading period the market for DVD fell by over 30% compared to the previous year and, while HMV performed considerably better than that, such a deterioration in a key sector of the market is unsustainable.

“HMV has clearly not been insulated from the general malaise of the UK high street and has suffered the same challenges with business rates and other government-centric policies which have led to increased fixed costs in the business.

“Business rates alone represent an annual cost to HMV in excess of £15mln. Even an exceptionally well-run and much-loved business such as HMV cannot withstand the tsunami of challenges facing UK retailers over the last 12 months on top of such a dramatic change in consumer behaviour in the entertainment market.”

On top of a challenging market for CDs and DVDs, the group has also been affected by a wider downturn on the UK high street as more consumers shop online and reign in spending amid Brexit uncertainty.

Fri, 28 Dec 2018 10:52:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - French group snaps up majority stake in Gatwick Airport a week after drone chaos ]]> French group Vinci has bought a majority stake in Gatwick just a week after the drone scare that saw thousands of flights disrupted in the run-up to Christmas.

Nicolas Notebaert, the head of Vinci’s airports arm, said he had "every confidence" in the teams currently in place and it will work to make Gatwick “as resilient as it can be in the face of these new risks"

Gatwick’s chairman Sir David Higgins will stay on along with senior management.

The deal was a “vote of confidence in Gatwick and it’s future potential,” he said.

Vinci has been growing its airport interests substantially over recent years.

The French group acquired Airports International in April, a deal that included Belfast International and boosted its portfolio to 45 airports in places including Sweden, Costa Rica, the US and Liberia. The group already runs three airports in each of France and Portugal.

Vinci is paying £2.9bn for 50.01% in Gatwick, which values the airport at £5.8bn.

The existing owner, a consortium led by GIP, will hold the reminder of the shares.

The GIP consortium bought Gatwick from BAA in 2009 for £1.5bn and has since spent £1.9bn on upgrades and modernisation.

Notebaert played down concerns that Brexit might affect passenger numbers, adding that the uncertainty had helped Vinci achieve a 'reasonable price'.

The airport handled 42mln passengers last year, but this number is expected to grow to 60mln as the airport allows more and larger planes to use its runway.

Vinci agreed the before Christmas but the announcement was delayed by the drone scare that saw Gatwick closes its runway, disrupting flights for 140,000 passengers.

Thu, 27 Dec 2018 13:31:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - SPONSORED CONTENT: Making the most of available tax wrappers ]]> THIS IS SPONSORED CONTENT PAID FOR BY NETWEALTH

When investing there are several factors that are out of your control, such as market performance, volatility and inflation. Yet one thing that you can influence – that significantly impacts your wealth – is the use of tax wrappers that contain your investments, and ensuring that tax-free allowances and exemptions are also used. 

There are two main types of tax-incentivised wrappers for investments in the UK: pensions and ISAs. Both wrappers benefit from tax-free investment returns but pensions offer two key further advantages. 

Find out more today by clicking here

The advantages of pensions 

Firstly, money paid into your pension benefits from tax relief at your marginal rate, which can mean that paying £20,000 into your pension costs you as little as £8,000. Twenty five per cent of the total pension can then normally be taken tax-free when you retire. Secondly, pensions do not form part of your estate for the purposes of inheritance tax, which can provide an additional benefit to the beneficiaries of your estate. 

Changes to pension legislation, such as the reduction of the lifetime allowance to £1.03m and the introduction of the tapered pension annual allowance for those earning more than £150,0002, have not only earned HMRC an additional c£250m this year3, but also mean that it is sensible in many cases for clients to look to other tax-efficient wrappers to bolster their savings for retirement (or any other financial goal they have). 

That said, even high earners impacted by the tapered annual allowance can contribute up to £10,000 per annum (gross of tax relief) to a pension, while maintaining the tax advantages discussed above. It is also possible for one spouse to provide cash that allows the other spouse to make a pension contribution (or indeed to fund a child’s pension contribution4). 

Why ISAs are such a solid choice for investors 

Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) have become a slightly more attractive investment vehicle in recent years as the inheritability, flexibility and amount you can invest have all improved. They are therefore suitable for many types of clients, although the tax shelter ISAs provide is still limited to £20,000 per annum per person. 

Unlike pensions, investors do not receive tax relief on contributions into an ISA, but they do benefit from tax-free growth and income, and withdrawals are tax-free rather than being treated as income as they are with pensions. 

Further benefits for clients who need extra 

It may be that the annual level of savings you can make is covered solely by pensions and ISAs, although for many clients, something beyond this limit is also required. The solution is often to invest through a General Investment Account (GIA) that can replicate the same investment strategy that is present in a pension and ISA portfolio. 

Investing through a GIA is not as advantageous as investing via an ISA or pension, but using a GIA does allow you to take advantage of your annual capital gains tax exemption (£11,700 currently), your annual dividend allowances (£2,000 currently), and your annual Savings Interest allowance (up to £1,000 currently). 

Between a married couple, for example, these allowances can still add up to a reasonable degree of income or capital gains before tax is due – especially if managed in conjunction with an ISA or pension portfolio. 

Two different routes with very different outcomes 

The following case study shows how an investor could use their various tax wrappers, and the allowances within, to invest a total of £936,000 over 45 years.


Case Study Key Facts

Client Age


Netwealth Risk Level


£600 per month for 5 years

Retirement Age


Income in Retirement

£4,000 (net) per month

Inflation Assumption

2% per annum


45 years (to age 95)




Scenario A

Scenario B


Pension Starting Value




Pension Contributions

✔ (£600 p/m net)



GIA Starting Value




GIA Contributions


✔ (£600 p/m net)


Annual ISA Funding from GIA



The projection below shows a range of outcomes for Scenario A whereby the investor appropriately uses the various tax wrappers available and is also carefully drawing upon those tax wrappers in retirement to fund their income of £4,000 per month, increasing in line with inflation. 




In summary, although there are many factors to consider when investing that are out of your control, They should still be frequently assessed and taken into account so that action can be taken where necessary. 

Making use of the appropriate tax wrappers (along with minimising fees, ensuring you stay invested and that you are well diversified) is very much within your control and can have a huge impact on your net returns over the long term. To focus on this is time well spent.

For more information click here ]]>
Tue, 18 Dec 2018 14:14:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Media files - HPQ Materials planning on IPO next year as it advances flagship project in Australia ]]> Tue, 18 Dec 2018 14:00:00 +0000 <![CDATA[News - SDCL Energy Efficiency Trust shares steady on first day of trading ]]> SDCL Energy Efficiency Income Trust (SEEIT) PLC shares were steady on their first day of trading on the London market.

The energy efficiency investor earlier this month said it had raised £100mln through the issue of 100mln shares at 100p a share.

READ: Echo Energy will shortly shoot seismic on Tapi Aike, chief executive moves to non-exec role

Shares in the company were flat at 103.0p in early afternoon trade.

The company, which is targeting a total return of between 7% and 8% per annum, said its initial dividend yield target will be 5.0%, rising to 5.5% in March 2021.

"Today, we are delighted to be listing SEEIT as the first investment company on the main market of the London Stock Exchange to focus exclusively on energy efficiency infrastructure. It is a testament to the proposition that we have been able to attract high-quality investor support in challenging markets. We look forward to delivering a stable and growing income stream from our seed portfolio and from attractive acquisition opportunities,” CEO Jonathan Maxwell said in a statement.

Tue, 11 Dec 2018 13:29:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Media files - Baker Tilly and RGL Forensics merge to create 'global forensic accounting practice' ]]> Tue, 11 Dec 2018 10:15:00 +0000 <![CDATA[News - Huawei agrees to meet UK security demands for 5G after CFO arrest ]]> Huawei Technologies Co Ltd has reportedly agreed to meet the UK’s security demands for future 5G mobile networks after its chief financial officer was arrested in Canada.

According to the Financial Times, Huawei agreed to a series of technical demands to address risks found in its equipment and software at a meeting between the Chinese telecom provider’s executives and senior officials from GCHQ's National Cyber Security Centre.

Huawei will change its practices in the UK to avoid being locked out from future 5G telecoms networks.

BT Group PLC (LON:BT.A) said earlier this week that it would not use Huawei's equipment for the core of its 5G service when it is rolled out in the UK amid security concerns.

The telecoms giant also said it would strip out Huawei's equipment existing 3G and 4G mobile networks following security concerns.

READ: BT scraps Huawei's equipment from core mobile networks amid security concerns

The US, Australia and New Zealand have blocked the use of the Chinese firm's equipment in infrastructure for 5G.

US lawmakers have claimed that Huawei’s technology could be used by the Chinese government to spy on the country, therefore representing a threat to national security.

Western governments are concerned that China will gain access to 5G and other communications networks through Huawei and expand its ability to spy. However, Huawei has denied having any ties to the Chinese government beyond paying its taxes.

Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou has been detained in Vancouver on allegations of breaching US sanctions against Iran and for cyber espionage. She was arrested on Saturday but the details only surfaced on Thursday.

Canadian officials said the Chinese government has demanded the release of Wanzhou, whom the US was seeking to extradite. 

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said: "The detention without giving any reason violates a person's human rights."

"We have made solemn representations to Canada and the US, demanding that both parties immediately clarify the reasons for the detention, and immediately release the detainee to protect the person's legal rights."

Fri, 07 Dec 2018 08:56:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Bitcoin drops to a new low for 2018 amid market sell-off ]]> Bitcoin, the digital asset synonymous with cryptocurrency, has hit a yearly low of around $3,400 as of Friday morning, with altcoins following suit.

The price of Bitcoin plummeted nearly 8% to $3,421.87 by the time of publication.

Bitcoin slipped more than 20% this week and nearly 50% this month, according to Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin Price Index.

“Bitcoin is very cheap right now. This should be the bottom of the bear market before the bounce, but it isn't / won't be. A lot of people are waking up to the crumbling economy and upcoming recession and are either one, not choosing to enter a highly speculative asset class or two, are pulling their money out of the most volatile markets, crypto included,” said Viktor Bunin, a former token designer at Brooklyn-based blockchain company ConsenSys, in an exclusive interview with Proactive Investors.

Ripple, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, fell about 10% to $0.30 as of time of publication.

READ: NetCents releases its first SaaS-based cryptocurrency payments processing platform

The price of Ripple is down nearly 24% this week and down 40% in monthly losses.

Ethereum, Litecoin, EOS and Stellar were all deep in negative territory, falling by double digits.

The market cap of all cryptocurrencies totaled $107.1 billion as of this morning, a 20% drop from the nearly $136 billion market total at the beginning of the week.

Crypto Lawsuit

Cryptocurrencies are notoriously volatile, but that’s not to say there’s no rhyme or reason to the double-digit drops.

Tech development firm UnitedCorp has reportedly filed a lawsuit against Chinese mining computer manufacturer Bitmain,, the Kraken Bitcoin Exchange and early Bitcoin investor Roger Ver over the recent split of Bitcoin Cash.

WATCH: Crypto tax-reporting software maker NODE40 buys assets back from HashChain

Bitcoin Cash split off from Bitcoin’s original blockchain in August 2017 in what’s known as a hard fork, or a separation from the Bitcoin protocol.

Bitcoin Cash underwent a hard fork of its own, splitting off into Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin SV, short for founder Satoshi’s Vision.

Interestingly, Bitcoin SV was an exception to the drop, surging 9% to $102.50.

UnitedCorp is accusing the parties of using unfair methods to manipulate the Bitcoin Cash network to their benefit.

“UnitedCorp believes that the defendants colluded to effectively hijack the Bitcoin Cash network after the November 15, 2018 scheduled software update with the intent of centralizing the network — all in violation of the accepted standards and protocols associated with Bitcoin since its inception,” states the suit filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

The Bitcoin ETF Dream Dashed

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has once again crushed the dream of a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund, which may be a possible explanation for the drop.

The SEC has postponed its decision on an application for a Bitcoin ETF submitted by VanEck and Solid X until February, following a previous postponement.

“Don’t hold your breath. I do caution people to not live or die on when a crypto or Bitcoin ETF gets approved. You all know that I am working on trying to convince my colleagues to have a bit more of an open mind when it comes to [crypto]. I am not as charming as some other people,” said SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce.

The SEC did not give an exact time frame for the potential approval of an ETF, with Peirce saying it could see approval tomorrow or in 10 years.

--Updated to include commentary and recent price movement


Contact Lenore Fedow at

Follow her on Twitter: @LenoreMariee

Fri, 07 Dec 2018 08:38:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Catenae Innovation signs first deal for platform using its blockchain technology ]]> Catenae Innovation PLC on Thursday said it has signed a deal with STM Security UK - its first contract for a solution using its blockchain technology, sending its shares higher.

The digital media and technology company said it would supply STM with OnGuard Plus, a business management solution specifically developed for the security industry.

READ: NetCents Technology draws nomination for blockchain company of year award

The integration of Catenae’s Sequestrum distributed ledger technology provides organisations with the ability to store critical and regulatory reports in an immutable form within the Sequestrum repository, providing auditable proof of both the existence of the report as well as its original content.

Revenue is generated via an annual ‘in advance’ licence fee as well as a transaction fee on a ‘per report’ basis.

Catenae also said it had recently completed final testing of Sequestrum, its digital repository running on the hyper ledger blockchain platform. This recent technical development opens up the opportunity for Sequestrum to be run on the client’s choice of Blockchain platform, significantly broadening its potential application, the company said.

The blockchain firm also announced the launch of its management and inspection platform – OnSite, a product developed specifically for the construction industry. The product provides the ability for companies to manage and schedule their workforce and provides a universal inspection and reporting tool that can be adapted to meet the regulatory reporting standards for this industry.

Shares in Catenae were 16.2% up at 0.12p in early afternoon trade.

Thu, 06 Dec 2018 13:45:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - O2 apologises after mobile phone data network crashes ]]> Mobile phone operator O2 has apologised to customers after its data network was down across the UK on Thursday morning.

O2, owned by Telefonica, is investigating reports of issues with 3G and 4G data, leaving customers without internet access.

Problems were first reported at around 5.30am with about 1,662 complaints made before 7 am about outages in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds and other UK areas, according to the Downdetector website that tracks internet service issues.

Other mobile phone providers that share the O2 network, including GiffGaff and Mobile, were also affected.  Transport for London's electronic bus timetable was also hit by the problem.

O2 said calls were still working but data connections were broken.

“We apologise for any inconvenience,” the firm said.

I can’t use my phone for Anything no data no calls no texts ????

— Amy-Lou Hudson (@MissLou86) 6 December 2018

Yo people on at @O2 for money back cause the service is down ????????‍♂️ iv been with O2 for 16 years or so and can count on one hand how many times this has happened. Chill the fuck out. #o2down

— Jus (@JustinSizzle) 6 December 2018

The news comes a day after BT Group PLC (LON:BT.A) customers were affected by a network outage. Customers said they couldn't send or receive text messages.

Ernest Doku, mobiles expert at, said the issue with O2 was worrying for some 32 million UK customers.  

"For the millions of users who are out and about and rely on smartphone maps to get around, it's worth considering that apps like Google Maps allow customers to download maps on WIFI and view them offline,” he suggested.

"With little idea of when this problem will be sorted, it's worth preparing before heading out to make sure you're not caught out by this data downtime." 

Thu, 06 Dec 2018 09:29:00 +0000