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In the Papers - Jimmy Choo, Toyota, Boots, John Lewis

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Newspaper Summary

The Times

Petrofac Boss made €300,000 ‘on tip-off’: Petrofac’s Chief Executive made more than €300,000 by betting on a share price fall at a rival oil services company after its Boss tipped him off about his imminent resignation, financial regulators in Italy have said.

Tax paid by non-doms exceeds £9 billion: Non-domiciled taxpayers in Britain contributed more than £9 billion in 2014-15, a rise of 1% over the previous fiscal year.

Ladbrokes Coral’s double payout shows faith in merged books: Ladbrokes Coral has doubled its interim dividend to shareholders in a sign of its confidence in the opportunities created by last year’s merger.

Euro’s rapid rise increases doubts over exit from QE: A growing number of policymakers at the European Central Bank are worried about the euro’s sharp climb, suggesting that the bank’s quantitative easing programme may be phased out more slowly than markets expect.

Federal Reserve can see inflation in slow lane: Inflation in the U.S. increased at its slowest pace in more than 18 months in July while consumer spending rose at a slower pace than expected, dampening expectations of an interest rate increase in December.

Galeries Lafayette and La Redoute merge into modern era: Galeries Lafayette may be a venerable French department store chain headed by a 90-year-old woman but it is aiming for the cutting edge of ecommerce.

German court backs VW in damages row: A German court rejected a case seeking compensation for owners of Volkswagen diesel cars in the first stage of an attempt to bring the carmaker before European judges.

Slater & Gordon law firm splits from parent: The U.K.’s first publicly listed legal services business is to split from its parent company in Australia, Slater & Gordon said in the latest effort to save the financially struggling operation.

China target for Pernod Ricard sales: Net profit at Pernod Ricard rose 13% to €1.4 billion as it returned to growth in China and saw strong demand across the Americas.

The Independent

Six big banks to create a blockchain-based cash system led by UBS: Six new banks have joined a UBS-led effort to create a digital cash system that would allow financial markets to make payments and settle transactions quickly via blockchain technology.

Qantas ditches Dubai as flagship route returns to Singapore: Thousands of U.K. airline passengers booked to fly to or through Dubai have woken up to find they have been re-booked or re-routed.

Eurozone inflation beats expectations to hit four-month high in August: Inflation across the eurozone rose more than expected in August, hitting its highest level in four month, fuelling expectations that the European Central Bank might soon begin winding down its massive monetary stimulus programme.

Kanye West counter-sued by Lloyd’s of London over cancelled tour: Kanye West is being counter-sued by Lloyds of London over his cancelled Saint Pablo tour, after his touring firm launched legal action earlier in August.

Universal basic income could expand whole economies, claims think tank: The potential advantages and drawbacks of universal basic income have been debated fiercely in recent months, but a new study suggests that paying everyone an unconditional salary could have a welcomed side effect.

Bill Gates knocked off top of Forbes rich list by Spanish retailer: Bill Gates is no longer the richest person in the world – and it wasn’t Jeff Bezos who knocked him off the top spot.

Billion-dollar Australian pension fund eyes up U.K. office space: Bankers may be leaving London, but Britain’s exit from the European Union could still offer opportunities to buy U.K. commercial real estate with the market in flux, according to Australia’s largest pension fund.

Amazon hit by lawsuit from couple over solar eclipse glasses: Amazon has been hit with a proposed class action lawsuit by a couple who claims defective eclipse glasses purchased through the online retailer damaged their eyes.

UBS leans towards Frankfurt as its new EU trading hub: UBS is leaning toward Frankfurt for its trading headquarters inside the European Union after Brexit, according to four people with knowledge of the matter.

The Daily Telegraph

SSE revealed as most profit-hungry of Big Six as margins climb for a third year: Britain’s second largest energy supplier has steadily grown the profits it makes from supplying energy to households for a third year in a row despite mounting political pressure to keep bills low.

Former Morrisons Boss Dalton Philips returns home as Boss of Irish airport business: Former Morrisons Boss Dalton Philips is jetting back home to run the company that owns Dublin airport.

Two years on from ‘dieselgate’, Volkswagen launches diesel scrappage scheme: Volkswagen – the car maker whose emissions scandal sparked the huge backlash against diesel – has launched its own scrappage scheme.

IP Group passes 90% support for hostile Touchstone takeover: A bitter hostile takeover by IP Group of rival science investor Touchstone Innovations is set to go through after it secured more than 90% support for the deal.

Eddie Stobart looks to grab bigger slice of online retail market: Eddie Stobart will target further acquisitions this year as it looks to capitalise on demand from online retailers to ship goods to people’s doors.

Hays pays first special dividend as international job markets boom: Recruitment firm Hays has hailed a “milestone” year for the firm, declaring its first special dividend on the back of strong international fees, despite a steep fall in the U.K. market.

The Questor Column:

Infrastructure normally attracts a premium but this trust offers a 15% discount: The fundamentals may have moved on but the share price hasn’t. Naturally, this can give rise to buying opportunities. Something of the sort seems to have happened at this week’s trust, Ecofin Global Utilities & Infrastructure, which is trading at a discount of about 15%. It also yields almost 5%. The portfolio has been radically reshaped in the past year and, while it’s easy to understand why it merited a discount in its earlier guise, there seems to be far less justification now, according to one investment trust veteran. The trust’s holdings include firms involved in the electricity, gas and water markets, and companies that own infrastructure assets such as roads, railways, ports and airports. Well-known names such as SSE and United Utilities, the British utilities, GDF Suez, the French giant, and Ferrovial, the Spanish transport group, feature among the top 10 holdings. Currently the income derives naturally from the holdings’ own dividends as opposed to capital realisations and is modestly enhanced by the trust’s gearing. One worry, however, for all income-focused investors is how income assets would respond to a rise in interest rates and bond yields. Questor says ‘Buy’.

The Guardian

U.K. gambling industry now takes £14 billion a year from punters – report: The British gambling industry has ballooned in size over the past decade, thanks to the growth of online games and the liberalisation of gambling laws by Tony Blair’s government.

Ryanair Chief: May should be doing Brexit deal, not drinking sake: Ryanair has stepped up warnings that flights between the U.K. and Europe are imperilled by Brexit, with the airline’s Chief Executive Michael O’Leary claiming that the prospect of disrupting aviation was one of the quickest and best ways for the EU27 to “stick it to the British”.

John Lewis rolls out scheme to take the hassle out of finding a tradesperson: Can they fix it? John Lewis reckons it knows someone who can. Middle England’s favourite retailer has signed up an army of plumbers, electricians, decorators and gardeners to offer a new home maintenance service launching next month.

Sir Philip Green threatening legal action against Frank Field MP: Sir Philip Green has threatened the MP Frank Field with legal action after the Labour politician claimed to have seen leaked details of the official investigation into the BHS pension crisis.

Boots cuts price of morning-after pill after weeks of controversy: Boots has cut the price of emergency contraception weeks after it sparked outrage by refusing to do so in case it encouraged women to have sex.

Despacito drives Bertelsmann to record €500 million profits: The global success of 2017’s song of the summer, Despacito, together with sales of the TV series American Gods and the popularity of controversial book-turned-Netflix series 13 Reasons Why has helped drive record first-half profits at German media group Bertelsmann.

Popularity of cash Isas collapses in space of year: Cash Isa savings accounts have collapsed in popularity, with a £20 billion fall in the amount invested in the space of 12 months.

Asda urged to drop equal pay challenge and raise shop-floor wages: Asda is being urged to drop a legal action and increase pay on the shop floor after the supermarket lost its appeal against an equal pay claim from 15,000 workers.

Daily Mail

Hurricane Harvey sends U.S. petrol prices surging 20%: The price of petrol has surged 20% in a week in America after Hurricane Harvey ripped through Texas, knocking out a fifth of U.S. oil refineries.

U.S. debt disaster ‘would be worse than Lehman Brothers collapse’, analysts warn: Political turmoil in Washington could trigger a debt crisis in the United States that would be more devastating to the global economy than the collapse of Lehman Brothers, a credit agency has warned.

Breadline lender Morses Club reports surge in demand: The biggest rival to scandal-hit doorstep lender Provident Financial has reported a surge in demand as it is boosted by woes at the stricken firm.

Rathbones abandons its plans for £2 billion tie-up with rival wealth manager Smith & Williamson: A £2billion merger between two wealth managers has been called off. Listed business Rathbone Brothers sought to buy privately-owned rival Smith & Williamson, which would have created a major new player overseeing £56billion of customers’ assets.

Running a business is much harder for a woman, declares Boss of power plant operator Drax: Under Thompson, the Drax complex pioneered a controversial switch from burning carbon-laden coal to greener biomass products largely imported from the United States.

Interest rates need to start rising now to avoid a painful economic slowdown later, says policy setter Saunders: The Bank of England needs to start raising interest rates gradually now to avoid the risk of more dramatic hikes later a key policymaker has said, warning a delay could cause ‘a more abrupt and painful economic slowdown’.

Daily Express

Pound dips as Bank of England policymaker urges interest rate rise: The pound edged down against the euro as a key Bank of England policymaker called for an immediate interest rate rise.

Euro is about to plunge EU economy back into crisis, fear top policymakers: Eurozone monetary policymakers are frantic the euro is about derail the bloc’s fragile economic recovery, according to sources at the European Central Bank (ECB).

Markets shrug off World War 3 fears as FTSE 100 and Dow Jones rise: North Korea nuclear war worries were brushed off by investors on Thursday, with the FTSE 100 and global stock markets rising higher.

Royal Mail and Provident Financial dumped from the FTSE 100: The Royal Mail and Provident Financial have crashed out of Britain’s top stock index the FTSE 100 in a humiliating relegation for the troubled firms.

Retirees are making this big mistake with income drawdown policies: Retirees are putting their pension income at risk by making key errors with income drawdown strategies, experts have warned.

The Scottish Herald

Solid first half for real estate fund: The Standard Life Investments Property Income Trust made a net asset value total return of 6.6% in the first six months of this year, although its manager has warned that it could be hit by fading economic resilience in the second half of the year.

Engineering grows but signs of sector cooling: Scotland’s engineering sector achieved further growth of order intake, output volumes, new export business and employment in the latest quarter, although the rates of increase slowed, an industry survey reveals.

FTSE 100 rallies as fears over North Korea stand-off ease: The London market’s relief rally continued on Thursday as concerns over North Korea eased and blue-chip mining stocks surged on robust economic data from China.

North Sea skills in focus amid oil and gas industry upheaval: Oil and gas experts have launched a study of the North Sea labour market to help ensure the industry develops the skills base needed to respond to the big changes it will face over the next 20 years.

Takeover of Scots tech firm a boon for Ctrip: Chinese travel business Ctrip has pointed to its 2016 acquisition of Edinburgh travel booking firm Skyscanner has having a direct positive impact on its performance in the second quarter of this year.

Ecometrica lifts profits as governments harness data: Ecometrica, the satellite data specialist, has hiked profits nearly five-fold amid growing demand for its earth observation and reporting platform, writes Scott Wright.

£290,000 shares for Wood Group Chief: Wood Group Chief Executive Robin Watson has been awarded shares worth around £290,000 in the oil services giant. Mr Watson exercised options to acquire 50,806 shares in the Aberdeen-based firm at nil cost on Wednesday.

Aberdeenshire’s Bancon group hails results of its “transitional year”: Aberdeenshire housebuilder and construction firm Bancon Group has said the £300,000 operating profit it generated in the year to end of March represents “a significant improvement in trading performance in a challenging market”.

The Scotsman

Menzies drives off with green delivery firm Gnewt Cargo: Logistics group John Menzies has revealed a further acquisition with its distribution arm’s purchase of a London-based delivery firm that it says has the U.K.’s largest all-electric commercial vehicle fleet.

888 fined record £7.8 million for ‘failing’ vulnerable punters: Online bookmaker 888 has been fined a record £7.8 million for “serious failings” in its handling of vulnerable customers, including one who went on a £1.3 million gambling binge after stealing £55,000 from their employer.

SSE launches record ‘green bond’ to tackle climate change: Utility giant SSE has issued the biggest-ever “green” bond by a U.K. company.

Kilmarnock’s Halo regeneration scheme gets £5.3 million boost: The Scottish Government is investing £5.3 million in a project to transform the former Johnnie Walker bottling plant in Kilmarnock into a site with hundreds of new homes and an enterprise and innovation hub.

STV to return £10 million to investors despite profits plunge: Broadcaster STV revealed a 26% drop in first-half profits but said its confidence in the “underlying strength of the business” would see it return £10 million to shareholders over the next 18 months.

Aberdeen digital agency Wired strengthens London links: Aberdeen-based digital marketing agency Wired Studio has opened a London office as it looks to grab a greater slice of the lucrative market in the U.K. capital.

City A.M.

Toyota announces a scrappage scheme for the U.K.: Japanese carmaker Toyota has launched a scrappage scheme for the U.K., giving customers the chance to claim up to £4,000 when they trade in their old cars for a new model.

Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance more than doubles the size of its workforce with acquisition of Australian steel group Arrium: A British metals and industrials group has more than doubled the size of its global workforce after acquiring an Australian mining and steel business.

McColl’s sales climb after snapping-up convenience stores from Co-op: McColl’s summer climbed sales this year after the store chain’s acquisition of outlets from the Co-op.

Jimmy Choo’s profits rocket ahead of £900 million takeover by Michael Kors: Jimmy Choo’s profits soared in the six months to June as it raced towards a sale of the business to Michael Kors.

German media firm bookmarks fourth quarter for completion of $1 billion Penguin Random House deal: Bertelsmann plans to close its $1 billion (£777 million) deal to increase its stake in Penguin Random House in the fourth quarter of this year.

As e-cigarette sales heat up, British American Tobacco shakes up its corporate structure and adds a Chief operating officer: British American Tobacco (BAT) has created a new role of Chief operating officer as it shakes up its corporate structure to bring its increasingly popular e-cigarette unit into its main business.

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