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In the Papers - Stobart Group, Volvo, Snapchat, Apple

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Newspaper Summary

The Times

Interserve’s future in doubt after new warning: Interserve appeared to be fighting for its survival last night as the company crashed through its banking covenants, sending shares in the construction and cleaning group plunging to new lows.

Barclays set for £200 million windfall from Shop Direct: The Barclay brothers are expected to collect a dividend of up to £200 million from Shop Direct as part of a refinancing of the digital retailer.

IWG takes a £1 billion tumble after warning on profits: The Founder of IWG was last night sitting on paper losses of £250 million after a surprise profit warning from the world’s biggest serviced office provider.

Buy British to boost helicopter industry, urges Vince Cable: Sir Vince Cable has stepped into the row over government links with Boeing to demand that Ministers stop handing Americans firms giant multibillion pound contracts for helicopters and instead build them in Britain.

China bank Chief Zhou Xiaochuan warns of financial crash risk: The Governor of China’s central bank has warned that the country’s excessive debt and speculative investments could lead to a “Minsky moment” when asset prices suddenly collapse.

Stobart flies high with haulage sale: The FTSE 250-listed Stobart Group claimed a £122 million pre-tax profit for the six months to the end of August but only after it sold down its 49% stake in Eddie Stobart Logistics and booked a near £124 million profit when the freight lorry business separately listed on the stock exchange in April.

The Independent

Volvo has ‘special relationship’ with Chinese government CEO says: Volvo enjoys a commercial advantage in China over other Western car firms because of the Swedish company’s ultimate Chinese ownership, its Chief Executive has claimed.

Nivea lotion advert branded ‘racist’ on social media: A Nivea advert that features a black woman using the company’s product with the tagline ‘visibly lightens’ has been branded “racist”.

Aston Martin set to build luxury waterfront Miami tower: Aston Martin’s latest project swaps horsepower and acceleration for ocean views and private pools as the maker of slinky sports cars pushes into real estate for the first time in an effort to establish a broader luxury brand.

Tesco is stocking green satsumas ‘as ripe and as sweet as usual’: Tesco is stocking green satsumas and clementines in a drive to cut down on food waste.

Nissan suspends Japanese car production for two weeks: Nissan will suspend all local car production for Japan from Thursday for about two weeks as the company’s fallout from a lapse in vehicle quality inspection worsens.

Snapchat advertising jumps 73% as companies use app to track where people are shopping: Advertising spend on Snapchat soared 73% in the third quarter of the year, driven by features that allow companies to track where customers shop so that they can target their ads more effectively. Companies also spent 55% more on Instagram over the three months, according to new data.

U.K. fashion market returns to growth: The U.K. fashion market has returned to growth as retailers move away from heavy discounting and seasonal trends that bear little relation to unpredictable weather, figures show.

The Daily Telegraph

Xavier Rolet to step down as Boss of London Stock Exchange next year: Xavier Rolet, the Chief Executive of the London Stock Exchange, is to leave the group next December after almost a decade at the helm.

Union Boss says he would rather destroy Royal Mail than lose pensions fight: A senior Boss from the Communication Workers Union (CWU) has said he would rather “smash Royal Mail to bits” than back down over a dispute over pensions.

Apple shares slump as buyers hold out for iPhone X: Apple was dragged down more than 2% on Thursday amid criticism its staggered release of the new range of iPhones has hampered demand for the iPhone 8 as buyers hold out for the higher-end model.

Car Chiefs meet Chancellor as industry calls for support on new technology: An end to the “demonisation” of diesel cars and support for new technology such as battery vehicles that will help improve air quality topped the agenda at a summit between motor and Chancellor on Thursday.

Vodafone attacks ‘selfish’ EE and Three over 5G delays: The Boss of Vodafone U.K. has branded rivals EE and Three “selfish” for challenging plans for an auction of mobile airwaves in the High Court and delaying the rollout of 5G networks.

The Questor Column:

The shale oil properties that underpin this trust are significantly undervalued: Riverstone Energy specialises in backing U.S. shale oil start-ups. Its management company, Riverstone Holdings, has long-standing relationships with many entrepreneurs in the sector, as well as geological expertise of its own, and the trust provides finance when these entrepreneurs identify a promising area for exploitation in one of American’s shale basins. As Riverstone’s portfolio is “concentrated”, with stakes in just 13 businesses, even one sale at an appreciably higher price will cause a spike in the overall NAV. “Whenever one of its assets is sold or floated you tend to get an average uplift of 20%-30% relative to book value,” said Nick Wood of Quilter Cheviot, the wealth manager, who holds the trust in some of his clients’ portfolios. “The trust values its assets relatively conservatively so anything sold will be at a significant premium.” The trust was fortunate in the timing of its investments in the shale sector: it listed (in London, despite its U.S. focus) in 2013, shortly before the collapse in the crude oil price to about $30 a barrel, which forced owners of land in the shales basins to accept “fire sale” prices. The company currently trades at an “official” discount of about 16% but the true figure is likely to be far greater if, as expected, assets are sold at a significant premium to book value. Investors are likely to respond to such sales by pushing the shares higher. Investors should bear in mind that while the shares are priced in sterling the assets are denominated in dollars, so exchange rate fluctuations could affect the value of their holding. Questor says ‘Buy’.

The Guardian

Goldman Sachs Boss talks up Frankfurt as Brexit talks loom: Goldman Sachs piled pressure on Theresa May in advance of a crunch European summit by ridiculing London’s hopes of staunching the flow of lucrative banking jobs after Brexit.

U.K. retail sales slump in September as inflation and wage woes bite: High street sales slumped last month, pushing the U.K. retail sector to its lowest growth rate in four years for the three months to the end of September as the impact of rising inflation and sluggish wage growth dented consumer spending power.

Energy firms warned by watchdog of ‘radical’ change ahead: Electricity and gas companies have been bluntly warned that “change is coming” by the head of the U.K.’s energy regulator, who indicated that Theresa May’s proposed price cap was just one of the reforms planned to help consumers with their bills.

‘Revolutionary’ government pensions dashboard gets go-ahead: One of the most ambitious IT projects ever undertaken in financial services, to provide individuals with an online “pensions dashboard” covering all the schemes they may have, has been given the go ahead by the government.

HBOS takeover: Lloyds buyout was unique opportunity, says defence QC: The acquisition of HBOS was a “unique opportunity” for Lloyds Banking Group and regarded by its Directors as in shareholders’ best interests, the high court has been told.

Daily Mail

Acacia Mining soars after striking deal with the Tanzanian government: Shares in Acacia Mining soared after a deal with the Tanzanian government to resolve a long-running dispute. Its owner, Barrick Gold, will hand over a 16% stake in three gold mines, a 50% share of revenues from those mines and a payment of £227.8 million.

BHP Billiton mining Boss fights off coup attempt from vulture hedge fund Elliott: The Boss of embattled miner BHP Billiton has come out fighting against an attack from vulture hedge fund Elliott.

Singapore billionaire makes a third bid for the Millennium & Copthorne hotel chain: The Singapore billionaire vying to take over Millennium & Copthorne Hotels has made a third bid for the chain.

Mohawk tribe launches legal fight against Amazon and Microsoft over tech patents: A Native American tribe is suing Amazon and Microsoft after accusing the tech giants of breaching patent laws.

HSBC and Standard Chartered face £400 million fraud probe after ex cabinet Minister accuses them of money laundering: HSBC and Standard Chartered face investigations over their alleged role in laundering £400million linked to the controversial Gupta family.

Daily Express

Marks & Spencer to offer mortgages from next year: Marks & Spencer is planning to enter the mortgage market early next year, with products aimed at first-time buyers as well as home-movers.

Britain’s fintech booms: Record levels of global investment ploughed into sector: Britain’s booming financial technology (fintech) industry has this year attracted the highest ever levels of global investment in a huge economy boost ahead of Brexit.

Reckitt Benckiser cyber-attack: Household goods giant grappling with ‘challenging’ markets: Household goods giant Reckitt Benckiser has warned over sales for the second time in three months as it grapples with “challenging” markets and the ongoing impact of a recent cyber-attack.

Pound on edge amid Brexit EU summit as Theresa May tries to break deadlock: The pound fell against the euro ahead of a key Brexit EU summit where member states will decide whether there has been enough progress in talks to move on to negotiations over a trade deal.

Green brick developer Kenoteq wins £500,000 Scottish Enterprise grant: Low carbon brick developer Kenoteq is firing up for a commercial roll-out after winning a £500,000 grant from Scottish Enterprise.

The Scottish Herald

Disappointing Unilever results drag on London’s blue chip index: Unilever shares dragged on the FTSE 100, after the consumer goods giant’s third quarter sales took weather-related hits in the U.S. and Europe.

Chief of world’s largest tidal power project, in Scotland, calls for Theresa May to give renewables sector more funding: The Chief Executive of the firm behind a huge tidal power project has asked the Government for a special deal to help get the third phase of the project underway.

Oil activity helps Highlands and Islands Airports achieve growth: Growth in oil industry traffic going through Sumburgh on Shetland played a key part in an overall rise in third-quarter passenger numbers at Highlands and Islands Airports.

Firms in change of strategy as Brexit looms: More than three in ten small and medium-sized enterprises in Scotland are changing strategy because of Brexit, a survey shows.

Pay fall raises doubts over rate increase: Doubts over whether the Bank of England will raise U.K. base rates next month have been fuelled by official data showing average pay continues to fall in real terms.

Hargreaves Lansdown: The Chief of the U.K.’s biggest online trading platform has issued the latest stark warning over Brexit as he said the loss of banking jobs to the continent was already doing “long term damage” to Britain’s economy.

Brewery in Asia and TV channel just part of craft beer firm BrewDog’s £50 million Equity for Punk V plans: BrewDog plans to open a brewery in China and launch a TV channel if it raises enough investment in the fifth round of its Equity For Punks crowdfunding initiative.

The Scotsman

Standard Life Aberdeen offshoot buys Bristol firm: Standard Life Aberdeen’s financial planning business, 1825, has acquired a Bristol-based financial management firm with more than £350 million of assets under advice.

Clyde shipyard workers ‘betrayed’ over frigate order: The recent dominance of the Clyde shipbuilding industry in securing warship contracts could be weakened as five Type 31e frigates are on course to be built on the Mersey.

City A.M.

Blackstone beats expectations as assets hit record levels: Earnings at the U.S.’ biggest buyout firm swelled by almost a quarter, beating analysts expectations.

Chinese tourists give U.K. high streets a boost over Golden Week public holiday: The U.K. high street received a spending boost from Chinese tourists at the beginning of this month, after a disappointing period for retailers in September.

The Land Registry’s tapping tech startups to make property more digital with artificial intelligence and chatbots: The government department in charge of the country’s property and land records is turning to startups for technological innovation.

Verizon shares rise after ringing in bumper levels of new subscribers: Shares in the largest wireless firm in the U.S. were driven up by quarterly results topping analyst expectations.

Alphabet just backed Lyft, a U.S. rival to Uber, in a $1 billion funding round: Alphabet has led a $1 billion investment in ride-hailing app Lyft, even though it’s also an investor in its rival Uber.

Iconic sailing-wear brand Musto sets sail to Helly Hanson for £50 million: British outdoor clothing brand Musto, worn by the likes of Zara Phillips and yachtswoman Samantha Davies, has been sold to Norwegian sportswear company Helly Hansen for around £50 million.

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