Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset 11bn Merger

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Tue, 15 Aug, 2017) London, Uk – –

The £11bn merger between Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management has completed, creating Europe’s second-biggest fund manager.

A Stock Exchange announcement confirmed the deal’s conclusion, following court approval for the merger last week.

The enlarged company, which will trade as Standard Life Aberdeen, will hold £670bn under management.

Co-chief executive Keith Skeoch described the move as the “beginning of a new chapter” in the firms’ history.

Mr Skeoch said: “Our leadership team is in place and we have full business readiness from day one.”

The merger, which was agreed in March, is targeting cost savings of £200m a year, with about 800 jobs expected to be lost over three years from a global workforce of 9,000.

The new company will be jointly led by Mr Skeoch and Aberdeen boss Martin Gilbert.

Mr Gilbert said: “As ever our priority remains the delivery of strong investment performance and the highest level of client service.

“The merger deepens and broadens our investment capabilities and gives us a stronger and more diverse range of investment management skills as well as significant scale across asset classes and geographies.”

Overall, Standard Life Aberdeen will have offices in 50 cities around the world, servicing clients in 80 countries.

Worldpay Accept Vantiv’s £9.3bn Takeover Offer

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Wed,  9 Aug, 2016) London, Uk – –

Worldpay, Britain’s largest payments processor, has finally agreed the terms for a tie-up with US rival Vantiv that was revealed more than a month ago.

Vantiv’s takeover offer of £9.3bn has been accepted by Worldpay after the British company was granted a last-minute extension to talks earlier this week.

The companies said the deal created a combined group worth more than £22bn, with Worldpay shareholders owning 43pc.

The combined company, which will keep the Worldpay name, will have its global headquarters in Cincinnati and its international headquarters in London.

“The growth of eCommerce and the way consumers expect to transact is increasing complexity for businesses around the world,” said Worldpay chief executive Philip Jansen.

“Our unique combination of scale, innovation, technology and global presence will mean that we can offer more payment solutions to businesses.”

The announcement comes as Worldpay released its half-year results showing an 18pc growth in first-half revenues and a 9pc jump in underlying pre-tax profits.

Total revenues climbed to £2.5bn in the six months to the end of June, from £2.1bn in the same period of 2016.

On a statutory level, pre-tax profits fell from £167m to £129m.

“We delivered a strong first-half performance, further extending our long-term track record of substantial growth,” said Mr Jansen.

“This performance has been achieved through our relentless focus on meeting the changing needs of our customers in an increasingly global and dynamic payments market.”

By Sam Dean

Green & Black to launch its first UK product without a Fairtrade label.

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 4 Aug 2017) London, Uk – –

Green & Black’s, which pioneered organic Fairtrade chocolate, is launching its first UK product without a Fairtrade or organic label.

The new Velvet Edition dark chocolate bars go on sale in the UK this month.

Instead of the Fairtrade mark, it carries the Cocoa Life certification, set up by Mondelez International, the owner of Green & Black’s.

Mondelez calls Cocoa Life “a holistic, cocoa sustainability programme in partnership with Fairtrade”.

And unlike all other Green & Black’s bars, there is no organic label.

Glenn Caton, Northern Europe president of Mondelez, said: “These beans are not available in organic at the scale required for Green and Black’s, but I am proud that they are sustainably sourced, independently verified beans from the Cocoa Life programme, of which Fairtrade will ensure we remain an accountable partner for farmers.”

Green & Black’s was founded on the Portobello Road in London by Craig Sams and Jo Fairley in 1991. Three years later, its Maya Gold bar was the first chocolate in the UK to be awarded the Fairtrade mark.

It sources its organic cocoa from the Dominican Republic.

All its ranges, apart from the Velvet Edition, will continue to be organic and carry the Fairtrade logo, which is considered to be one of the most widely recognised and trusted ethical brands in the world.
Cocoa Life branding
Mondelez, formerly Kraft Foods, owns Green & Black’s through Cadbury’s, which bought Green & Black’s in 2005, before being bought itself by Kraft in 2010.

Its Cocoa Life branding is now rapidly replacing the Fairtrade logo across all its chocolate products. By 2019, Cadbury’s entire chocolate range in the UK and Ireland – including Flake, Twirl and Wispa – will display the Cocoa Life logo.

Green & Blacks said in a statement: “Cocoa Life, which is independently verified, means Green and Black’s will build more and stronger relationships with farming communities and become an accountable partner, not just a buyer. ”

Fairtrade

The UK Fairtrade label is administered by the Fairtrade Foundation, an independent non-profit organisation, and appears on some 5,000 products.

It claims there are more than 1.65 million farmers and workers in 1,226 producer organisations across the Fairtrade system, which guarantees decent working conditions and a minimum price for produce.

Last year, it went into partnership with Cocoa Life to create “greater scale and impact for cocoa farmers and their communities”.

It says the partnership means that five times as much Cadbury chocolate will now be made with sustainably sourced cocoa.

Fairtrade admitted: “The cocoa for Cadbury products in the UK and Ireland under Cocoa Life will not be traded according to the Fairtrade Standards of certification.”

But it insists farmers will not lose out: “They will instead receive a competitive price for the cocoa, additional loyalty cash payments plus further investments in projects and support to improve their farming practices and implement community action plans.

“The value of all this will be at least equivalent to that previously delivered under Fairtrade.”

 

Car Makers Hold ‘Diesel Summit’ in Germany

 

 

German carmakers are meeting the government on Wednesday seeking solutions for the diesel sector damaged by scandals over emissions test cheating.

The aim is to find ways to cut emissions and head off moves by some large cities to ban diesel vehicles.

The government has been accused of not doing enough to crack down on pollution, and of being too close to the car industry.

Rolls-Royce interim results delivered a forecast-beating performance

Warren East Rolls-Royce chief executive

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Tue, 1 August 2017) London, Uk – –

Rolls-Royce chief executive Warren East has delivered a forecast-beating performance with the company’s interim results as he continues to deliver a turnaround of the blue-chip engineering group.

Half-year results for the six months to the end of June showed reported revenue of £7.57bn, up from £6.46bn a year ago. Pre-tax profit soared to £1.94bn, reversing last year’s loss of £2.15bn.

However, the company conceded that the improvement in profit was heavily influenced by currency movements. Rolls has a huge “hedge book” of foreign exchange deals aimed at protecting it from currency fluctuations and the strengthening of the pound since the start of the year meant these assets got a £1.4bn boost, compared with a £2.2bn charge last time round. Rolls noted that this was the “principal reason” for the strong results at a headline level.

On an underlying basis, Rolls’s preferred measure and which strips out currency movements, revenue was £6.87bn, up 6pc. Pre-tax profit was £287m, a gain of 148pc. The weaker pound has inflated Rolls’s figures, as the bulk of the aviation industry’s deals are done in US dollars.

The news was welcomed by traders, with shares in the company up more than 6pc in early dealing, rising 54p to 947.5p.

City forecasts were much more downbeat. Analysts had been expecting the FTSE 100 business would report underlying revenue of £6.58bn and underlying pre-tax profit of £193m.

Free cash flow – the measure of how much money the company generates after expenses and a key figure for Mr East – was negative £339m, meaning the company is spending more than it is making. However, this was still an improvement on the figure a year ago, which was negative £414m.

Mr East has repeatedly said that he wants Rolls to be generating £1bn of positive free cash flow by 2020.

Rolls has tried to rein back expectations, describing the £1bn figure as an “ambition ” rather than a clear target.

“Rolls-Royce delivered encouraging year-on-year operational progress in the first six months,” said Mr East, who was appointed two years ago to turn around the business after it issued a series of profit warnings that saw its share price halve.

The chief executive said Rolls’s plans to increase the number of jet engines it makes for airliners and at a lower cost were working, with deliveries up 27pc and “good further progress” improving the economics of making the engines.

Mr East added that cost savings from his “simplification” restructuring “were ahead of plan” and a better than expected boost from accounting measures meant the company had delivered “a good set of results, with financial performance ahead of our expectations for the first half”.

However, Mr East cautioned analysts and investors not to get ahead of themselves, holding guidance at previous levels and warning that “execution and delivery of a number of important milestones across our businesses will be key to achieving our full-year expectations”.

Analysts have said that as Mr East has deliberately been downbeat about the company’s performance to mange expectations.

“Warren is being smart by under-promising and over delivering,” said one.

The order book at the end of the six months stood at £82.7bn, up from £79.5bn at the same point a year ago.

The dividend was held at 4.6p.

By Alan Tovey

New Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square

 

Originally built in 1922 as the former headquarters of the Port of London Authority, Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square is a luxurious landmark of sophistication reborn in the City’s historic heart. The Grade-II* listed building has been carefully restored to create a 100-room hotel along with 41 private residences and a private members club. Within steps of the Tower of London (home to the Crown Jewels), Tower Bridge and the River Thames, this is one of the capitals most remarkable central locations.

2018 ROLLS-ROYCE PHANTOM

 

The New Phantom will be the first of a new generation of Rolls-Royces to benefit from the creation of the Architecture of Luxury. This new architecture serves as the foundation on which this eighth generation of Phantom reaffirms its position as ‘The Best Car in the World’ by taking the best fundamentals and making them better.

Inspirational Last Words Spoken by Steve Jobs

 

-Wise and Inspirational Words Of Steve Jobs Before He Died.
-Please listen all the way through and take what wisdom you can from these words.
-Take them in deeply and let them inspire you to live your life to the fullest!

-This video was put together to share with more people these inspirational and wise words of Steve Jobs just before he died so they may benefit from them in any way they can.

Floyd Mayweather could pocket up to $400 million in his upcoming fight, here how he spends his millions

 

Floyd Mayweather’s upcoming fight against Conor McGregor could pocket him up to $400 million, according to Forbes. His current net worth is upwards of $340 million. Here’s how he makes and spends that cash.

Sir Richard Branson sells 31pc stake of Virgin Atlantic airline for £220m

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Fri, 28 July 2017) London, Uk – –

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is to receive a major windfall by selling down part of its stake in Virgin Atlantic in a major joint venture deal set to include Air France-KLM and existing investor Delta Air Lines.

Air France-KLM is to buy a 31pc stake in Virgin Atlantic for £220m.

Virgin will hold on to a 20pc stake in the trans-Atlantic airline, and hold onto the chairmanship, as a result of the deal which will see a closer union between the four airlines.

Delta, which bought a 49pc stake in Virgin Atlantic from Singapore Airlines in 2013, will at the same time buy a 10pc stake in Air-France KLM for €375m, gaining a seat on the board of its European counterpart.

Alitalia’s involvement is through its existing partnerships with Air France-KLM and Delta, but the deal will not see the Italian carrier gain any equity interest in the joint venture or have a seat atop the entity.

Shai Weiss, chief commercial officer for Virgin Atlantic, said the deal was not linked to the UK’s impending exit from the EU.

“I can say really definitively this has nothing to do with Brexit,” he said, adding the rationale was entirely commercial. Mr Weiss said the airline did not fly intra-Europe and so the joint venture was not a way to secure such flying rights post-Brexit.

He said the success of its existing joint venture with Delta, which had helped provide so-called feed traffic – passengers who take a short haul flight to a hub airport before travelling on a long haul flight – could now be replicated with passengers from Europe.

If the UK endures a hard Brexit, rules which says airlines have to be majority domestic owned could be enforced. This deal means Virgin Atlantic is only 20pc British owned but Mr Weiss said it would overcome such problems if they transpired. If the Brexit deal is more amicable, the airline’s majority European ownership will mean it complies with similar rules on the Continent.

Sir Richard sent a letter to the airline’s staff outlining the details of the deal, in which he said he would remain the largest individual investor.

The billionaire entrepreneur said the airline industry had consolidated since he launched Atlantic in 1984, going on to say “it’s now our turn to put ourselves at the heart of an important alliance”.

“With these three partners in place and with me – and one day, the wider Branson family – still very much involved, we have the foundations to make sure this is so,” Sir Richard added.

The deal, set to last for at least 15 years once it gains regulatory approval, will, subject to regulatory approval, see the carriers combine their transatlantic routes.

The joint venture will offer more than 300 daily non-stop transatlantic flights from 12 hubs including from Amsterdam, Atlanta, Heathrow, New York’s JFK and Los Angeles.

Sir Richard said “one of the best moves” his company made was tying up with Delta Air Lines five years ago, partly to compete with the British Airways and American Airlines alliance.

By Bradley Gerrard

Uk to ban sales of all diesel and petrol cars from 2040

 

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Wed, 26 July 2017) London, Uk – –

Plans follow French commitment to take polluting vehicles off the road owing to effect of poor air quality on people’s health

Britain is to ban all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 amid fears that rising levels of nitrogen oxide pose a major risk to public health.

The commitment, which follows a similar pledge in France, is part of the government’s much-anticipated clean air plan, which has been at the heart of a protracted high court legal battle.

The government warned that the move, which will also take in hybrid vehicles, was needed because of the unnecessary and avoidable impact that poor air quality was having on people’s health. Ministers believe it poses the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK, costing up to £2.7bn in lost productivity in one recent year.

Ministers have been urged to introduce charges for vehicles to enter a series of “clean air zones” (CAZ). However, the government only wants taxes to be considered as a last resort, fearing a backlash against any move that punishes motorists.

“Poor air quality is the biggest environmental risk to public health in the UK and this government is determined to take strong action in the shortest time possible,” a government spokesman said.

“That is why we are providing councils with new funding to accelerate development of local plans, as part of an ambitious £3bn programme to clean up dirty air around our roads.”

The final plan, which was due by the end of July, comes after a draft report that environmental lawyers described as “much weaker than hoped for”.

The environment secretary, Michael Gove, will be hoping for a better reception when he publishes the final document on Wednesday following months of legal wrangling.

A briefing on parts of the plan, seen by the Guardian, repeats the heavy focus on the steps that can be taken to help councils improve air quality in specific areas where emissions have breached EU thresholds.

Measures to be urgently brought in by local authorities that have repeatedly breached EU rules include retrofitting buses and other public transport, changing road layouts and altering features such as roundabouts and speed humps.

Reprogramming traffic lights will also be included in local plans, with councils being given £255m to accelerate their efforts. Local emissions hotspots will be required to layout their plans by March 2018 and finalise them by the end of the year. A targeted scrappage scheme is also expected to be included.

Some want the countrywide initiative to follow in the footsteps of London, which is introducing a £10 toxic “T-charge” that will be levied on up to 10,000 of the oldest, most polluting vehicles every weekday.

Sources insisted that while the idea of charges were on the table, there was no plan to force councils to introduce them, and that other measures would be exhausted first.

They hope the centrepiece of Wednesday’s strategywill be the plan to ban diesel and petrol sales completely by 2040, in line with Emmanuel Macron’s efforts across the Channel.

The French president took the steps to help his country meet its targets under the Paris climate accord, in an announcement that came a day after Volvo said it would only make fully electric or hybrid cars from 2019 onwards.

That decision was hailed as the beginning of the end for the internal combustion engine’s dominance of motor transport after more than a century.

Prof David Bailey, an automotive industry expert at Aston University, said: “The timescale involved here is sufficiently long-term to be taken seriously. If enacted it would send a very clear signal to manufacturers and consumers of the direction of travel and may accelerate a transition to electric cars.”

Britain’s air quality package also includes £1bn in ultra-low emissions vehicles including investing nearly £100m in the UK’s charging infrastructure and funding the ”plug-in car” and “plug-in grant” schemes.

There will also be £290m for the national productivity investment fund, which will go towards the retrofitting, and money towards low-emission taxis.

The report will also include an air quality grant for councils, a green bus fund for low carbon vehicles, £1.2bn for cycling and walking and £100m to help air quality on the roads.

The strategy comes amid warnings that the UK’s high level of air pollution could be be responsible for 40,000 premature deaths a year.

A judge had said the government’s original plans on tackling the issue, which included five clean air zones, were so poor as to be unlawful. The government was asked to present a new draft policy to tackle air pollution from diesel traffic before the election.

It was then called to court to explain why it had made a last-minute application to delay publication of its draft policy until after the election.

James Eadie QC, representing the government, said the policy was ready to be published but it would be controversial and should therefore be withheld until after the election.

“If you publish a draft plan, it drops all the issues of controversy into the election … like dropping a controversial bomb,” he said, adding that it could risk breaching rules about civil service neutrality and lead to the policy being labelled a Tory plan.

However, judges said the government did have to publish a draft plan with the final version needed by the end of July.

May’s draft contained few concrete proposals and did not specify the cities and towns where polluting vehicles might face charges, the level of any charges or the scope or value of any scrappage scheme.

Instead, the plan put the onus for action on local authorities: “Local authorities are already responsible for improving air quality in their area, but will now be expected to develop new and creative solutions to reduce emissions as quickly as possible, while avoiding undue impact on the motorist.”

Analysis in the documents showed increasing the number of CAZs from the current six planned to 27 would make by far the greatest impact in cutting pollution and provide cost benefits of over £1bn. The CAZ policy would cut more than 1,000 times more NO2 than a scrappage scheme, even if that scheme required old diesels to be replaced by electric cars.

But it required local authorities to exhaust all other options before introducing CAZ charging for diesel vehicles, such as removing speed bumps and retrofitting buses.

The coalition government had already set out a vision for almost every car and van to be ultra-low emission by 2050 – a move which the government acknowledged would require “almost all new cars and vans sold to be near-zero emission at the tailpipe by 2040”. So it is unclear to what extent the new pledge will further boost Britain’s ability to achieve air quality requirements.

ClientEarth, the campaign group that has successfully pursued the government through the courts over the UK’s air pollution crisis, gave a cautious welcome to the announcement but said ministers must take immediate action to tackle the UK’s air pollution crisis.

“The government has trumpeted some promising measures with its air quality plans, but we need to see the detail,” said CEO James Thornton. “A clear policy to move people towards cleaner vehicles by banning the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans after 2040 is welcome, as is more funding for local authorities.

“However, the law says ministers must bring down illegal levels of air pollution as soon as possible, so any measures announced in this plan must be focused on doing that.”

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has been calling for tougher measures to tackle air pollution, which kills 9,000 people a year in the capital.

A City Hall source was sceptical about the government’s announcement. “We need to look at the full details but what Londoners suffering from the terrible health impacts of air pollution desperately need is a fully-funded diesel scrappage fund – and they need it right now.”

Areeba Hamid, clean air campaigner at Greenpeace, said: “The high court was clear that the government must bring down toxic air pollution in the UK in the shortest possible time. This plan is still miles away from that.

“The government cannot shy away any longer from the issue of diesel cars clogging up and polluting our cities, and must now provide real solutions, not just gimmicks. That means proper clean air zones and funding to support local authorities to tackle illegal and unsafe pollution.”

By Anushka Asthana and Matthew Taylor