Westfield shopping centres acquired by France’s Unibail Rodamco in $25bn deal

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(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Tue, 12 Dec 2017) London, Uk – –

The owner of Westfield shopping centres is being bought for $24.7bn (£18.5bn) in a deal which will see the malls launched in new markets.

French property group Unibail-Rodamco is offering $7.55 a share for the Australian business.

Westfield Corporation has 35 shopping centres in the UK and the US while Unibail-Rodamco has 71 sites in Europe.

Unibail-Rodamco said the takeover would result in a “progressive roll-out of the world famous Westfield brand”.

The takeover is the second major deal involving shopping centre owners to emerge in just over a week.

On 6 December, Hammerson, which owns the Bullring in Birmingham, announced a £3.4bn bid for Intu, whose properties include the Arndale shopping centre in Manchester.

In a joint statement, Unibail and Westfield said they would make €100m (£88.2m) in savings a year despite no overlap between where the companies’ shopping centres are based.

Christophe Cuvillier, chief executive of Unibail-Rodamco, said the acquisition of Westfield “adds a number of new attractive retail markets in London and the wealthiest catchment areas in the United States”.

Mr Cuvillier said it will cut the cost of advertising and marketing. At the moment, Unibail shopping centres advertise individually under different brands for big events, such Christmas.

He said that by using the recognisable Westfield brand, which it intends to roll-out across its flagship shopping centres in areas such as Paris, Barcelona, Vienna and Warsaw, it will reduce advertising spend.

It will also save costs at the corporate level because the board of Westfield is stepping down and leaving the combined group.

The group expected to sell €3bn (£2.65bn) worth of assets over the next few years, which will involving divesting of some smaller shopping centres.

Sir Frank Lowy, the billionaire property tycoon who co-founded Westfield in the 1950s, will retire as chairman of Westfield. His sons Peter and Steven will also step down as co-chief executives of the business.

However, following completion of the deal, Peter Lowy will be appointed to the combined group’s supervisory board and Sir Frank will chair a newly created advisory board.

They also said: “The Lowy family is committed to the success of the Group and intends to maintain a substantial investment in the group.”

Sir Frank is one of the richest people in Australia with a fortune of $5.9bn, according to Forbes magazine and was knighted by the Queen last week.

Sir Frank originates from Eastern Europe and survived the Holocaust in Hungary. He moved to Australia in 1952.

 

Richard Reed Innocent Drinks Founder advice to Small business

(qlmbusinessnews.com via travelers.co.uk – – Sun, 10 Dec 2017) London, Uk – –

Innocent Drinks is known for its upbeat, playful brand. Founder Richard Reed offers his thoughts on why giving your brand a clear mission helps guide your business.

Focus on what you can control in business

“There are plenty of businesses that do well in the bad times, and there are plenty of businesses that do badly in the good times. The trick to staying positive is not to get too distracted by the external events you can’t control, and double down and focus on the things that you can.

“Ask yourself: have you got the right strategy? Are you effectively using that strategy? Are you attracting and retaining talent? Are you looking after your consumer better than the competition? And are you doing so in a meaningful way?”

Be prepared to adapt when you face challenges as a startup

“In 2008 when the credit crunch struck, we lost a third of our sales over a three-month period. We owed money to the banks, fruit prices went up due to a failure in world harvest, and the pound collapsed by 25%.

“Suddenly, consumers were saying our products were too expensive, but we were losing money on every single smoothie sold.

“We could have made our smoothies cheaper by reducing quality, but Innocent is about making the most natural, best quality drinks. Instead of changing our recipes, we resized our product to adapt to market pressures.”

Cut prices without compromise

“There are times when you’re going to need to make yourself cheaper because consumers have less money, but there will be a way of doing it which is in line with your brand.

“We knew there was absolutely no way we could compromise on quality, instead we sold smoothies in cartons of 750ml rather than 1litre. We made them smaller but we made the price smaller too – that actually turned the business around.”

Stay balanced through the highs and lows

“The bad times don’t last forever. They come in waves. Make sure you keep focused on the things that are important like looking after your consumer, making sure that the business is economically sound, and doing what you can to look after and attract talent.

“When you’re going through the good times, remember they’re going to end. Use the good times to build up a cushion of natural resource. It’s a classic thing, when the sun is shining, that’s when you start mending the roof – don’t wait until it’s raining.”

 

 

Cineworld to buy Regal in £2.7bn deal making them second largest cinema operator

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(qlmbusinessnews.com via independent.co.uk – – Tue, 5 Dec 2017) London, Uk – –

Cineworld has announced that it is snapping up its US peer Regal for $3.6bn (£2.7bn), turning the British company into the second largest cinema operator in the world, with over 9,500 screens.

In a statement on Tuesday, Cineworld said that the deal would create a globally diversified cinema operator, spanning ten countries and would allow Cineworld to access the North American cinema market – which is the largest box office market in the world.

The US cinema market has had an industry box office worth in excess of $10bn in each year since 2008 and stable admissions in excess of 1.25 billion in each year over the same period, Cineworld said.

“We have long had high respect for Regal and for its strong position in the largest box office market in the world and we are delighted that the Regal directors have unanimously agreed to recommend our offer to their shareholders,” said Mooky Greindinger, chief executive of Cineworld.

“Consolidation is an important move forward and the best practice we have successfully rolled out across Europe will be the key driver to continued success,” he added.

Amy Miles, CEO of Regal, said that she believes the transaction “provides compelling value for our stockholders”.

“We believe this partnership with Cineworld will enhance Regal’s ability to deliver a premium movie-going experience for customers and further build upon our strategy of introducing innovative concepts and premium amenities designed to enhance the value of our theatre assets,” she said.

Cineworld was founded in 1995. It was originally a private company but re-registered as a public company in May 2006 and listed on the London Stock Exchange in May 2007.

On Tuesday it said that it expects the deal to be “strongly accretive to earnings” in the first full year following completion of the transaction, which will be 2019.

The deal will be funded by a rights issue, which will raise approximately £1.7bn, and a debt issue.

Because of the size of the acquisition, Cineworld said that it will be classed as a reverse takeover under the listing rules of the Financial Conduct Authority. As such it will be conditional on the approval of Cineworld’s shareholders at a general meeting which is expected to take place in February next year.

Cineworld added, however, that board intends to unanimously recommend the deal.  The directors of Cineworld also intend to vote in favour of it, the group added.

Separately, Cineworld said that the Anschutz Corporation, which controls about 67 per cent of the voting rights in Regal, has agreed to provide its written consent to approve the takeover.

By Josie Cox

Facebook pledged to hire 800 new staff in the UK over the next year

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Mon, 4 Dec 2017) London, Uk – –

Facebook has opened a new office in London and pledged to hire 800 new staff in the UK over the next year.

The social media giant said the seven-storey building in central London, one of a number of offices it has opened in recent years, would make the capital its largest computer engineering base outside of the US.

In a first for the company, it is also promising to house technology start-ups in the new building, running an “incubator” designed to foster young companies.

Facebook, which has been criticised over its UK tax arrangements, has often highlighted its investment in staff. It opened its first office in London 10 years ago and will employ 2,300 in the UK by this time next year.

The 247,000 sq ft building in Rathbone Place, off Oxford Street, designed by Frank Gehry, the architect, will house developers and sales staff. Services developed in the UK include Workplace, its office communication tool, and part of Facebook’s Oculus virtual reality team.

The start-up incubator, called “LDN LAB”, will mark the first time that Facebook has housed start-ups in its offices. It will not take equity in the companies but a spokesman said it would share “expertise and mentorship” and that it would be looking for companies dedicated to Facebook’s mission of “building communities”, suggesting the lab could be a pre-cursor to acquisitions.

“Today’s announcements show that Facebook is more committed than ever to the UK and in supporting the growth of the country’s innovative start-ups,” said Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s vice-president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “This country has been a huge part of Facebook’s story over the past decade.”

The move is the latest commitment to the UK from a large Silicon Valley company. Google, Apple and Snap have all expanded in London since last year’s Brexit vote.

Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, said: “The UK is not only the best place to start a new business, it’s also the best place to grow one. It’s a sign of confidence in our country that innovative companies like Facebook invest here, and it’s terrific news that they will be hiring 800 more highly skilled workers next year.”

By 

Tilman Fertitta the billionaire on how to be successful

 

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Tilman Fertitta, CEO of Landry’s Inc. – one of the nation’s largest restaurant corporations, sits down with Mark Lack. Tilman talks about owning Golden Nugget Casinos and Landry’s (worth over $3 billion) – the Houston-based restaurant and entertainment company that owns more than 500 properties and 40 brands of restaurants, including Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and Morton’s The Steakhouse. Fertitta is the chairman and CEO. His CNBC show called “Billion Dollar Buyer” premiered in March 2016 and was renewed for a second season. He talks about going public, and then taking it back to private. He talks about growing his company to a billion dollar company. He gives great business advice and more!! He has 3 tips for anyone starting a business. Tilman is the man.

UK bows to EU demands with possible £50bn Brexit divorce bill

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(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Wed,  29 Nov 2017) London, Uk – –

Senior European official says that Britain ‘wants to come along with the money’ but the EU needs to see the fine print

The UK has bowed to EU demands on the Brexit divorce bill in a move that could result in the UK paying £50bn to Brussels, in an attempt to get France and Germany to agree to move negotiations to trade.

Non-stop behind-the-scenes negotiations have led to a broad agreement by the UK to a gross financial settlement of £89bn on leaving the bloc, although the British expect the final net bill to be half as much.

A senior EU official told the Guardian that the UK appeared ready to honour its share of the EU’s unpaid bills, loans, pension and other liabilities accrued over 44 years of membership. “We have heard the UK wants to come along with the money,” the official said. “We have understood it covers the liabilities and what we consider the real commitments. But we have to see the fine print.”

The bill could total £53bn to £58bn (€60bn to €65bn), although EU officials are not discussing numbers and the British government will fight hard to bring the total down. While EU sources have spoken in recent months of £53bn to £58bn, both sides are trying to avoid talking numbers to help the British government deal with the potentially toxic political fallout.

Theresa May got the agreement of key cabinet ministers last week to increase the amount that the UK was willing to pay. However, sources made clear that the discussion at the meeting of the Brexit cabinet subcommittee did not include agreeing to a particular figure, but instead to signing up to a method by which the bill could be calculated.

For EU diplomats the moment of truth will come at a lunch meeting between May and the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, on Monday 4 December, when all three Brexit divorce issues will be on the table: the Brexit bill, the Irish border and protecting EU citizens’ rights. If the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, thinks the outcome is clear, he could issue his recommendation on sufficient progress the same day.

EU leaders will make the final decision at a European council meeting on 14 and 15 December, but Barnier’s recommendation to move on to the second phase of Brexit talks will be crucial. His decision will trigger an intense round of discussions in 27 EU capitals, involving different government departments and, in some cases, parliaments.

“I think we can reach sufficient progress, but again we haven’t seen anything on paper yet, so I am always extremely cautious,” said the EU official.

The FT has reported the gross liabilities to be more than €100bn, which fall to €55bn to €75bn once the UK’s share of EU assets is taken into account.

The signs of agreement over money have left the Irish border as the most uncertain issue hanging over the talks. EU diplomats are uncertain whether the Irish government could hold up the process by calling on Barnier to refuse sufficient progress. “There are lots of different signals coming about the possibility of an Irish veto,” said one diplomat. “As things stand now, I’d say we have 50/50 chance of that happening.”

A UK government source said that with negotiations still going on there would be no comment yet on specific figures. Those being cited currently seemed “speculative”, the source added.

Sources close to the member states counselled against overoptimism about talks moving on at the meeting of the EU’s leaders on 14 and 15 December.

The problem of how the British intend to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland remains unsolved, and the republic is insistent on “a road map” to how Downing Street intends to avoid a new border.

The British government has ruled out Northern Ireland in effect staying in the single market and the customs union, as Barnier had encouraged in the talks.

One senior diplomat said: “The divorce bill should be fine now. That was the big issue. And then it wasn’t. The border is the big worry. And I don’t know how they can square that circle. That is the big one now and it is up to the Irish to decide.”

EU diplomats were informed at lunchtime on Tuesday that enough progress on the divorce bill had been made for a meeting to be required on Friday, although the agreement may have been reached by the end of last week.

The final sum is 13% of the £660bn total liabilities the UK has committed to as a member state, including the seven-year budget ending in 2020, pension costs and outstanding loans, such as those to Ukraine, and to cover the costs of keeping Chernobyl safe.

The sum is reduced when payments that would have been made to EU projects in the UK, including structural funds, are taken into account, along with the UK’s capital share in the European Investment Bank.

The divorce bill will not be paid in a lump sum but over time, under the agreement struck in behind-the-scenes talks between Olly Robbins, Downing Street’s Brexit adviser, and the EU’s article 50 task force.

As the UK will continue to pay until all recipients of pensions have died, the final sum is unknown. It has long been expected that the final sum would land at between £40bn and £48bn.

Senior diplomats in Brussels said they were confident that the financial settlement would not now hold up the talks. “I think Germany, who has been strong on this, will be happy enough and the French will follow their lead,” said one source.

It is expected that the commission will propose a joint statement for the member states to scrutinise over the weekend ahead of a series of meetings next week.

British sources suggested that one leading leave campaigner, Michael Gove, is comfortable if that figure creeps up beyond £40bn as he is keen to show his loyalty to May. But Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, who was seen as a key advocate of the claim that Brexit would recoup £350m a week for the NHS, has been more resistant to the suggestion of paying large amounts. He had suggested EU officials should “go whistle” over calls for €60bn to €100bn. However, he has more recently backed the prime minister’s position.

By  Daniel Boffey and Jennifer Rankin and Anushka Asthana

 

Shares in Ocado surged with French retailer Groupe Casino deal

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(qlmbusinessnews.com via independent.co.uk – – Tue, 28 Nov 2017) London, Uk – –

Shares in Ocado surged by more than 20 per cent in early trading on Tuesday after the online supermarket announced that it had struck a deal to cooperate with French retailer Groupe Casino.

Ocado said that it had sealed a deal with Casino for the latter to use its e-commerce platform to help bolster its online business.

As part of the deal, Casino will build a fulfilment centre using Ocado’s mechanical handling equipment. The plant will serve the greater Paris area, the Normandie and Hauts de France Regions.

The construction and launch is expected to take at least two years.

Ocado will take care of maintenance and provision of technology within the centre. In return, Casino will pay Ocado upfront fees after signing the deal, and during the development phase. It will then pay ongoing fees linked to the use of the fulfilment centre.

“This agreement is a major leap in terms of quality,” said Jean-Charles Naouri, chief executive of Groupe Casino.

He said that the agreement would strengthen the quality of service available to its customers.

Tim Steiner, CEO of Ocado, said that he was “delighted” with the deal.

“We continue to make investments to commercialise our proprietary platform and expect this deal to be one of many successful collaborations with leading retailers to use it the world over.”

Ocado also said that it expects the deal to “create significant long term value to the business”.

Analysts have for some time said that international collaboration is crucial to Ocado’s ongoing success and on Tuesday ETX Capital senior market analyst Neil Wilson said that investors “should be relatively hopeful that this is just the start of a number of new deals around Europe”.

He also cautioned however, that shareholders should watch “just how much the technology investment eats up earnings and whether these deals increase the cash burn.”

By Josie Cox

Bitcoin hits $10,000 valuation for the first time

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(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Tue, 28 Nov 2017) London, Uk – –

A single Bitcoin has hit $10,000 (£7,495) for the first time despite fears of a bubble.

The cryptocurrency hit $5,000 (£3,750) for the first time in October and in the brief period since then has doubled in value again.

It traded at $10,009 on the CEX exchange on Tuesday morning before dropping back down.

Over this calendar year, the digital cash has increased 1,000% in value and is continuing to attract investors.

Despite concerns that a bubble in the cryptocurrency’s value has been driven by increasing investment from those who fear they are missing out, investors continue to buy in to the digital means of exchange.

Bitcoin has surged through a number of symbolic milestones in recent weeks, showing an exponential curve on value-tracking charts.

However, as the World Coin Index image chart below shows, the volume of Bitcoin transactions has not grown at a similar pace to Bitcoin’s value – suggesting that many of those buying it are speculating on its value rather than using the currency to buy goods.

Despite volatility prompting severe drops at times, it has gained serious interest from financial institutions, with CME Group announcing its plans to launch a futures market in Bitcoin by the end of the year.

Onlookers have suggested that CME’s entry into Bitcoin could lure in more cautious investors.

CME Group’s contracts will be settled in cash, meaning that investors would not receive Bitcoin at a lower (or higher) rate, but the difference in price in dollars.

Sebastian Purcell, an assistant professor at SUNY Cortland in New York, wrote that he believed CME’s futures market would boost Bitcoin’s price – but ultimately “spells the end of Bitcoin mania”.

In a market outlook piece written for Seeking Alpha, Mr Purcell said: “These capital flows from institutions will temper volatility. This will make Bitcoin undesirable for traders, since volatility is critical for a good trading vehicle.

“These points mean that the gold-rush is over, but perhaps they also mean that Bitcoin could finally serve as a digital currency.”

 

The bespoke craftsmanship and unique design of Connor Wood bicycles

 

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(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Sat, 25 Nov 2017) London, Uk – –

The forerunner of the bicycle – the laufmaschine or running machine – bears only a passing resemblance to the pedal-bikes we know today.

Invented in 1817, it had no chain and was powered by the rider pushing his feet along the ground in a walking or running motion.

Even more unusually, its frame was made from wood.

Jump forward to 2017, and a crop of bike makers is turning back the clock – at least in terms of using wood as a core material.

These firms make their bicycles in part, and occasionally wholly, from woods such as ash, oak and walnut.

They are driven by a love of craft and design, the desire to use natural materials, and a passion for cycling itself.

And they have attracted a small but growing base of enthusiastic customers, willing to pay high prices for their lovingly crafted creations.

“People like having something unique, something different,” says Chris Connor, the founder of Connor Wood Bicycles.

“They also appreciate the craftsmanship. Not a lot of things are built by hand these days.”

The company was born in 2012, after the 48-year-old American decided to combine his long held passions for woodwork and cycling.

All his bikes all have wooden frames; the other parts, such as the gears and wheels, are made from steel, carbon or rubber.

Prices range from $3,500 (£2,600) to $11,000.

Sales have gradually been increasing, but it hasn’t been easy, says Mr Connor. That’s because of a perception among some cyclists that wooden bikes may break or be unsafe.

In fact, Mr Connor says wood is very durable, which is why it’s used to make tool handles, skis, boats, even light aircraft.

It also absorbs vibrations well, making cycling on bumpy roads smoother, less tiring and quieter.

“And of course, these bikes look great,” says Mr Connor, who makes his frames made from “strong but flexible” white ash or “eye candy” black walnut.

A recently published book called “The Wooden Bicycle: Around the World” features 111 companies that make bikes from wood or bamboo.

Only one, Splinterbike in the UK, sells 100% wooden models with its bikes featuring wooden gears, chains and wheels.

However, most limit their use of wood to the frame, and occasionally parts such as the handlebars and forks. Other parts will be made from materials typically associated with bikes, such as aluminium.

It is the unique design of wooden bikes, and their bespoke craftsmanship, that underpins their appeal, says Gregor Cuzak.

The Slovenian co-founded Woodster Bikes after meeting woodworker Iztok Mohoric, who had recently designed a bike with a wooden frame.

“I wasn’t interested at first, but after I saw it and took a ride, I was immediately convinced,” Mr Cuzak says. “People were watching me as if I was driving a wild sports car.”

Like other firms in the space, Woodster is targeting customers who appreciate the finer things in life. Its bike frames are made of woods such as beech and bog oak, and prices range from 2,500 euros (£2,190) up to 17,000 euros.

In addition, every customer gets a book with a story about how their individual bike was made.

“We even plant a new tree at the same location where we cut one for your bike,” Mr Cuzak adds.

Piet Brandjes, 63, who co-founded Dutch firm Bough Bikes, agrees that wooden bikes “attract attention”.

For that reason, firms in the Netherlands such as Novotel and Rabobank have bought Bough Bikes for their guests and employees to use.

By Thessa Lageman

Black Friday 2017 how the UK now embrace this excessive shopping event

 

Tim Tabor/flickr

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Fri, 25 Nov 2017) London, Uk – –

It’s a shopping event that didn’t even exist here a few years ago but now seems to have turned into a relentless machine.

Look around you today, and witness an outbreak of furtive shopping.

People at work, on the train or maybe sitting opposite you in the living room, all looking at a screen, spending time on spending money.

Today is Black Friday, a retail event that didn’t even exist in this country a few years ago but now seems to have turned into a relentless machine.

In shops and online, we are expected to spend around £3bn over the next few days. Black Friday, after all, doesn’t actually stop until Sunday or Monday.

Yes, it’s a bit gaudy and no, not every retailer joins in.

Marks and Spencer, for instance, have made a point of avoiding this carnival of cost-cutting, but every year, more people do seem to get involved.

Today, you’ll see special deals at stores ranging from Poundland to John Lewis, which rather suggests that Black Friday is here to stay.

But why? Why would retailers decide to embrace all this, offering huge discounts in the run-up to Christmas, traditionally the time when we all dig into our savings for an annual shopping splurge?

Why, to use a rather vivid metaphor, would shops cannibalise their own sales?

To discover the answer, you have to cast your mind back to the financial crisis and then gently scroll forward.

In the years that followed, Britain’s economy was helped by consumer spending.

British shoppers, to put it bluntly, kept on opening their wallets, and Britain’s retailers kept finding things to sell to them.

The competitive nature of that was fierce – just look at food price deflation or the collapse of BHS as evidence of that – but our best retailers are all still there.

Into that pot came tumbling the explosive expansion of online shopping.

The internet delivered three strands: traditional retailers who found a new way of selling goods, pure online companies such as ASOS or Ocado, and then Amazon – a company worth £418bn at last count, but which is younger than Ariana Grande, and sells just about everything, to just about everyone.

British retailers found themselves battling to understand how to combat Amazon, and also how to keep us all spending money.

And then, Black Friday tumbled into their laps, offering an opportunity.

Black Friday was already an American institution, heralding a shopping splurge after Thanksgiving, and it was brought here by Walmart, an American company.

But the Brits have embraced it – retail giants such as Dixons Carphone commission special Black Friday products a year in advance while the list of special deals is long and detailed.

Yes, some of them are things they’re trying to get rid of anyway, and yes, some of them were probably available at a discount price a few months back anyway.

But few now doubt that there are bargains to be had out there.

This is an important Christmas period. Retail sales have been weak over the past few six months and plenty of retailers I speak to paint a picture that is tougher even than official statistics suggest.

Some say their focus is pretty much entirely on survival, rather than growth and they worry that the likes of Amazon are selling products for below-cost, creating prices that are impossible to beat on a regular basis.

Black Friday gives them a chance to grab back our attention.

And curiously, it seems that this doesn’t ruin Christmas sales – only one in five Black Friday sales are Christmas presents.

Mostly, it’s people treating themselves to a bargain purchase, and mostly they’re doing it online.

Only 20% of Black Friday shopping is done in an actual shop.

That’s why you’re going to see so many people studying screens over the next couple of days, adding to the billions that we spend over a weekend.

That leaves other, pressing questions – if more shopping is now being done online, and if young people assume all transactions are done online by default, what are the consequences for physical shops, for delivery companies, automation and retail employment?

These could end up being crucial questions for the UK economy – something to ponder as you wait at the online checkout.

By Adam Parsons

Tech giants to face renewed crack down over tax avoidance

(qlmbusinessnews.com via independent.co.uk – – Thur, 23 Nov 2017) London, Uk – –

‘Multinational digital businesses pay billions of pounds in royalties to low-tax jurisdictions where they are not taxed,’ the chancellor said

Tech giants like Google and Amazon who legally shift profits into tax havens will face a renewed crackdown, the Chancellor announced on Wednesday.

“Multinational digital businesses pay billions of pounds in royalties to low-tax jurisdictions where they are not taxed,” Mr Hammond said in his Budget speech.

He said that from 2019, companies will have to pay income tax on any royalties relating to UK sales that they funnel through tax havens. The tax will apply regardless of where the payer is located.

But Mr Hammond admitted the so-called ‘Google Tax’ would not solve the problem of tax avoidance and would bring in just £200m per year. That compares to Amazon’s UK sales of £7.3bn last year, on which it paid £7.4m in tax.

The notes released to accompany the Budget show that the Treasury thinks revenue raised from the tax will fall rapidly from £285m in its first year to less than half that amount four years later – possibly an admission that companies will quickly find ways to avoid paying.

Mr Hammond recognised that he is unable to tackle the “tax challenge posed by digital economy” on his own and said that international co-operation was needed, though he assured the nation that the UK is “leading the charge” on that front.

“We will continue to work in the international arena to find a sustainable and fair long-term solution that properly taxes digital businesses that operate in our cyberspace,” Mr Hammond said.

He also said he would make online marketplaces liable for VAT paid on goods. MPs have accused companies like Amazon and eBay of failing to combat VAT fraud taking place on their platforms, meaning that sellers from overseas can offer an effective tax cut of up to 20 per cent by not charging VAT. The Treasury estimates that this kind of VAT fraud costs taxpayers £1.2bn per year.

Digital platforms will likewise be asked to play a “wider role in ensuring their users are compliant with the tax rules”, according to this year’s Budget, with the Government set to publish a call for evidence in spring 2018 to explore what more can be done by digital platforms.

By Ben Chapman