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In the Papers - Emirates, Porta Communications, Aldi, Snapchat

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Newspaper Summary

The Times

Noble Founder quits as shares plunge: Shares in Noble lost a third of their value after the troubled commodity trading group revealed a sharp first-quarter loss and confirmed that its Founder was quitting as Executive Chairman.

Millions more households could be on full-fibre diet: BT caved in to growing public pressure, announcing plans to roll out full-fibre broadband to up to ten million homes.

No room for U.K. in Trump grand plan for economy: President Trump has vowed to renegotiate the North American free trade agreement, overhaul the tax system and lure businesses back to the U.S. — but gave little indication that he would follow up on his promise to prioritise a bilateral trade deal with Britain.

Smooth Brexit is key to robust economic growth, says Carney: Leaving the European Union without a deal could derail the economy, the Bank of England has warned in a thinly veiled criticism of the government’s fall-back Brexit plan.

Record fine for PWC over audit blunders: A former top partner at PWC has been fined a six-figure sum and his old employer has agreed to pay a record £5 million penalty after being criticised by the accountancy regulator over audit work for a defunct social housing maintenance business.

Generator Hostel Chiefs ousted by new owners: The Chief Executive and Chief Financial Officer of Generator Hostels have been ousted by its new private equity owner after completion of the €450 million acquisition this week.

Stock Exchange head Rolet in £2 million share sale: The Chief Executive of the London Stock Exchange has sold shares in the group worth almost £2 million after the collapse of the Deutsche Börse merger.

Monsoon Boss takes cut to his dividend: The Founder of Monsoon has taken a large dividend cut and vowed to take no more until the struggling retailer’s performance is back on track.

Emirates is buffeted by headwinds: Terrorism in Europe, the Brexit vote and President Trump’s attempts to ban passengers with certain passports have been blamed for a 70% plunge in profits at Emirates, the biggest airline in the Gulf.

Lloyds to pay £80 million in new sales blunder: Lloyds Banking Group is set to pay millions of pounds in compensation to thousands of customers who were mis-sold investment products as “low risk” that turned out to be highly complex.

Energy cap ‘will cost thousands of jobs’: Britain’s Big Six energy suppliers will cut thousands of jobs in response to the Conservatives’ price cap, a leading analyst has warned.

The Independent

U.K. wage squeeze to return due to Brexit, says Bank of England: Wages, after adjusting for expected inflation, will fall over 2017, which would make this the first calendar year of negative growth in four years, according to revised projections from the Bank of England.

Nationwide mobile ‘not-spots’ are hobbling U.K. businesses, report warns: The vast majority of U.K. companies are hampered by a lack of mobile coverage, with businesses in rural areas the most severely affected, according to a new report.

Bank of England keeps interest rates on hold and cuts growth forecast: The Bank of England sent a mixed message on the future pace of interest rate rises on Thursday ahead of next month’s general election, with a modest downgrade of its 2017 growth forecast and a majority vote to keep rates this month on hold at 0.25%.

Amazon gives half of new office to provide shelter for homeless: Half of Amazon’s new office building will be a given to a shelter for the homeless women and children, the company announced on Wednesday.

U.K. industrial output shrinks for third month in a row as Brexit bites: British industrial output shrank for a third month in a row in March, official data showed on Thursday, underscoring how the impact of last year’s Brexit vote has begun to weigh on the economy.

Plans to increase the minimum wage ‘could put jobs in danger’: Proposals by both Labour and the Conservatives to “dramatically” increase the minimum wage could put the jobs of lower paid workers at risk, according to a new report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

China’s tech money is Israel bound as U.S. appeal wanes: Struggling to seal deals in the United States as regulatory scrutiny tightens, Chinese companies looking to invest in promising technology are finding a warmer welcome for their cash in Israel.

Airbnb suspends Istanbul host after police evict guests from apartment: Airbnb, the accommodation-sharing service, has apologised after a dawn raid on an apartment in Istanbul in which two British guests were detained and interrogated. Turkish police took action in a dispute over whether the company had the right to rent out the property.

The Daily Telegraph

SoftBank leads $500 million investment in British startup Improbable: British virtual simulation firm Improbable has raised $502 million (£390 million) in a funding round led by Japan’s SoftBank, in one of the largest investments ever made in an early stage European tech firm.

Business investment and global recovery will aid U.K. growth, Bank of England says, as interest rates remain on hold at 0.25%: Stronger business investment and the ongoing global recovery will ensure economic growth this year remains solid, even as households face the biggest real income squeeze since 2013, according to the Bank of England.


Uber dealt setback in European court over transport laws: Uber has been dealt a major setback at Europe’s highest court, with its top legal adviser declaring that the minicab-booking app should abide by strict rules that govern transport providers.

French raider Bollore engineers merger of Vivendi and Havas: The French media giant Vivendi is due to take control of the second-tier advertising agency group Havas, in a £2 billion deal that highlights the sway held over it by the billionaire corporate raider Vincent Bollore.

Morrisons boosts Boss pay package despite MPs warnings: Despite the stormy climate around Executive pay and MPs calling for a ban on long-term incentive plans, supermarket chain Morrisons has broken the mould by significantly boosting Boss David Potts’s pay package after shareholders pushed for him to be paid more.

BMW steps up warning on threat to U.K. Mini production: Production of Minis could be moved out of Britain if Brexit talks do not deliver a favourable result, the Boss of the German car giant BMW has hinted.

House of Fraser hires new Boss with no retail experience: Department store chain House of Fraser has defended its decision to hire a new Chief Executive with zero retail experience by highlighting the company’s increasing focus on leisure.

The Questor Column:

Discounts have diminished at these two trusts – this is why you should still hold them: This week we’ll look at two trusts in just this situation: Monks and Jupiter European Opportunities. We tipped Monks in October last year at 539p and a discount of about 10%. Last night the shares closed at 683.5p – netting readers a gain of 26.7% – and the discount had disappeared. Instead, the trust’s shares now trade at a small premium of 1.7%. The trust focuses on international growth stocks; only about 5%-6% of the holdings are British, so it benefited from the post-Brexit fall in the value of the pound. Monks has some holdings in common with the larger Scottish Mortgage portfolio, also managed by Baillie Gifford. However, it is more diversified than the latter fund, with smaller holdings in technology firms such as Amazon. We tipped Jupiter European Opportunities in December last year, when the share price was 524p and the discount stood at 5.7p. The price has since risen by 27.7% to close at 669.5p last night and the discount has narrowed to 2.1%. The Jupiter manager has a large stake in his trust, amounting to 5% 6% of the shares. Questor says ‘Buy’.

The Guardian

Bank of England warns Brexit vote will damage living standards: The Bank of England has warned households that living standards will fall this year as the effect of the Brexit vote works its way through to higher prices and meagre pay deals.

Deliveroo bows to pressure to change contracts for U.K. couriers: Deliveroo, the takeaway delivery company that relies on 15,000 self-employed couriers, has made changes to its contracts for riders following pressure from parliament.

Barclays’ Boss Jes Staley fooled into email exchange with prankster: Just as Jes Staley, the embattled Boss of Barclays, might have hoped to lie low after a gruelling confrontation with shareholders he is now facing fresh scrutiny.

Aldi plans U.K. supermarket for every 30,000 people: Aldi has set out an ambitious plan to conquer the U.K. grocery market that could see it open up to eight stores in some towns.

Number of zero-hours contracts stalls at ‘staggering’ 1.7 million: Growth in zero-hours contracts has stalled in the U.K., according to the latest official figures, but campaigners have warned that insecure work is still a problem in Britain.

Daily Mail

Weak pound is a double-edged sword for clothing maker SuperGroup as it boosts sales but eats into margins: The owner of faux-Japanese fashion brand Superdry reported a surge in revenues helped by the translation of overseas sales into sterling, although its gross margins are being squeezed by the pound’s weakness.

RBS Chief gets a £1.1 million pay cut and no chance of taxpayer getting its £45 billion back: A bonus scheme for Bosses at struggling Royal Bank of Scotland has been slashed as furious shareholders hit out after nearly a decade of losses.

Snapchat owner loses £1 billion in just 45 minutes but he’s still got £4 billion: Evan Spiegel, who founded the firm with friend Robert Murphy, saw the value of his shares plummet £830 million after parent company Snap announced its first results as a listed company on Wednesday.

Gas firm Infrastrata board coup as £2 million deal faces hold up: The value of gas storage firm Infrastrata fell after it said it may have to hold a shareholder meeting to vote on whether to axe its entire board of Directors.

Porta Communications reports ‘year of significant change’ with 9% rise in profit: Marketing and communications group Porta has posted a 9% jump in revenues to £37.1 million in the year to December 31.

Daily Express

Translink renews mobile ticketing partnership with Corethree: Translink has renewed its contract with Europe’s leading mobile ticketing developer and provider of digital payment solutions, Corethree.

George Soros sued for £7.7 billion political meddling ‘motivated by malice’: Billionaire George Soros is facing a huge legal battle in the United States over his alleged meddling in politics.

Britain’s booming pension funds see retirement income surge by 12%: The typical pension fund has surged over the past year, pushing retirement income to its highest level since the summer of 2014, analysis has revealed.

Do not punish Britain! U.S. threatens EU over plans to relocate U.K. businesses to continent: The U.S. has fired a warning shot to the European Union (EU) over its plans to decimate Britain’s financial business by forcing euro-clearing to take place within the bloc.

Cryptocurrency Ethereum soars by 900% as stellar performer gets Chinese boost: A cryptocurrency that allows users to move value around as well as represent the ownership of property has rocketed by 900% in just a year.

Mark Carney warns Bank of England interest rates set to rise sooner than expected: Mark Carney warned Britons could see interest rates rise sooner than expected, as one of the Bank of England’s key policymakers again called for an immediate hike.

The Scottish Herald

Strong Scotch sector on Brexit alert but May talks about fox hunting: There are probably few industries which better demonstrate the dichotomy between short-term, currency-related gains following the Brexit vote and the monumental longer-term challenges arising from the U.K.’s European Union exit than Scotch whisky.

Lloyds to make swift payouts to fraud victims: Lloyds Banking Group Chairman Lord Blackwell has said victims of the fraud committed by former HBOS Reading staff will be compensated in weeks rather than months.

Noble Grossart Chief issues note of caution on unrealised profits: The Chairman of Edinburgh merchant bank Noble Grossart has warned of the pitfalls of affording too much weight to unrealised investment gains after the organisation booked a 269% rise in pre-tax profits in the last financial year.

Scottish airports see rise in passenger numbers: Glasgow Airport achieved an 8.9% year-on-year rise in passenger numbers in April, amid strong demand for its growing network of European routes.

Ladbrokes Chief defends shop betting machines: The Chief Executive of Ladbrokes Coral Group has said the company “will not be going down without a fight” over plans to curb the use of fixed odds betting terminals, known as FOBTs, in shops.

SpaceandPeople share price rockets 45%: Shares in SpaceandPeople have leapt more than 45% after the shopping mall marketing firm reported profits and revenues ahead of expectations in the first four months of the year.

Association Chief wants ‘strong’ commitment from PM on renewable energy: The U.K. Government has been urged to recommit its support for the Climate Change Act and publish a plan to ensure clean technology businesses and investors can have “the clarity they need to build new low-carbon infrastructure”.

Nucleus posts rise in assets under administration: Edinburgh investment trading platform Nucleus saw its assets under administration rise by 23% over the course of 2016 to hit £11.4 billion although net inflows for the year fell from £1.3 billion to £1.1 billion.

The Scotsman

BT to axe 4,000 jobs ‘over next two years’: BT has announced it will be axing 4,000 jobs worldwide over the next two years and cutting senior figures’ pay packages.

BoE eyes ‘moderate’ growth as rates left on hold: The Bank of England has warned the squeeze from Brexit-fuelled inflation on household income has begun and said growth would remain “moderate” after faltering at the start of the year.

Contraction for manufacturing and construction sectors: Britain’s manufacturing and construction sectors contracted in March and the country’s trade deficit widened as the economy continues to falter.

Gin-makers raise a glass to £800,000 deals with Asda: A group of Scottish gin firms has launched five products at Asda in contracts amounting to £800,000.

Rutherglen business park in line for £4.2 million expansion: A new business park in Rutherglen is set for expansion in a move that could create a further 80 jobs at the site.

City A.M.

Nordstrom beats expectations on the back of anti-Trump bump: U.S. department store Nordstrom beat expectations in the first quarter to deliver sales of $3.35 billion (£4.5 billion), after it dropped Ivanka Trump’s clothing line.

Department stores Macy’s and Kohl’s struggle with U.S. malls downturn: Sales at American department store giants Macy’s and Kohl’s fell in the first quarter, as the retail sector struggles to cope with declining footfall in malls.

Ovo Energy closes in on Big Six with Corgi HomePlan acquisition: Challenger energy company Ovo has snapped up the U.K.’s third-largest home services provider in a move which puts it closer to competing with the ‘Big Six’ gas and electricity suppliers.

AEW to float long lease real estate investment trust on London Stock Exchange: Property management firm AEW Global has announced plans to float a new real estate investment trust (REIT) on the London Stock Exchange next month.

Mothercare finance Boss to step down after tough year for the baby retailer: Mothercare’s Chief financial officer, Richard Smothers, has resigned. He will stay in post until a successor can be found, which is thought to be towards the end of the year. Mothercare said it had started its search for a new finance Chief.

TP Icap avoids shareholder upset at AGM as interdealer broker reports growing revenues: Interdealer broker TP Icap avoided a shareholder revolt over pay after altering its plans earlier in the year.

Challenger bank Aldermore on the lookout for M&A as rumours of industry consolidation swirl: Challenger bank Aldermore is on the lookout for deals as rumours of consolidation within its peer-group swirl.

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