The business startup making wine that’s naturally blue


Spanish startup Gik Live! make wine that’s naturally neon blue. They extract a pigment from the skin of the red grape (called anthocyanin) which gives the neon blue hue. Some winemakers have called Gik “blasphemous,” but the founders say the wine is safe to drink. “This is not something that’s done in a lab at all,” said founder Taig Mac Carthy. “This is all pigments, they come from nature, and so do the grapes. The making of this is 100% natural.” Grapes are sourced from vineyards in Spain and France. It took two years of testing to get the recipe right. The founders are all in their twenties. They raised £26,000 between them to start their business with help from The University of the Basque Country. The wine has a very sweet taste and it’s similar to white wine. It’s sold in over 25 countries at a shelf price of £12. They have sold around 400,000 bottles so far.


How Greg Cox sports injury led to a successful business career

( via – – Sat, 17 Feb 2018) London, Uk – –

When a serious injury ended Greg Cox’s hopes of making it as a professional rugby player, little did he know that it would set him on the path to making a fortune in business.

On the books of top English club Wasps back in 1999, the then 18-year-old was playing regularly for the second team, and had been called up by the England Under 19s squad.

Then one rainy evening training session Mr Cox says he twisted his knee ligaments “and that was that”.

“I had a full knee operation, and I did return to Wasps the next year,” he says. “But still recovering from the injury I couldn’t apply myself as much when I came back. And you have to be 100% committed [to be successful at rugby].”

So realising that his contract was not going to be renewed he left the club, swapping rugby for working on building sites.

“I was earning £300 a week cash in hand, which when you are living at home isn’t bad, but I was looking for something else to do, and thinking ‘how can I earn more money?’.”

Soon Mr Cox swapped being a bricklayer for the life of a serial entrepreneur, moving from importing cars, to property investments, and then into the world of finance.

Since 2009 he has been the founder and chief executive of Quint Group, which owns a number of financial technology or “fintech” businesses, and today has an annual turnover of £42m.

“I think I have always been entrepreneurial, I was always selling things to other pupils at school… and I’ve always had a real drive,” says Mr Cox, now 36.

Educated at a private school in the south west of England, he had gained good enough A-levels to go to university, but instead chose to try a career in rugby.

When things didn’t work out at Wasps, he didn’t think of making a late arrival at college. Instead while working on those building sites he came up with his first big moneymaking idea – importing cars.

“There was an article in the Sunday Times all about how to import a car from Europe and save money,” he says. “At the time there was a big hoo-ha in the press about cars in Europe being 20% cheaper than in the UK.

“So I thought that this was a really good idea for a business, so I created a company to help people import cars from Europe.”

Remembering how to program computers from his school days Mr Cox quickly built a website and started to import up to 400 cars a month, even handling work for much larger firms such as Virgin Cars.

“What many people didn’t realise is that you could simply go to a car dealer in Germany or Belgium and they’d be quite happy to sell you a right hand drive car. It wasn’t as if people would have to put up with a left hand drive vehicle.”

For the next two to three years business boomed for Mr Cox and his company Coszt Imports “despite the terrible name”.

But then a combination of the dotcom bubble bursting in 2001, and the pound going up in value meant that the business went bust.

“I felt dented pride and a bit stupid, I guess,” he says. “I had dived into it, and I didn’t know how to run a business at that age.

“Obviously you think you are invincible at 21, but I learned a lot from it. I had racked up quite a bit of debt as a result of it all, so I just had to go straight back to work.”

So licking his wounds, Mr Cox moved to South Africa, and thanks to the weakness of that country’s currency, he started to once again export cars to the UK. He then expanded into property investments.

By 2008 Mr Cox was back in the UK and investing in the fintech sector when together with a friend and business partner called Paul Naden they launched Quint Group in January of the following year.

Both investing £12,500, Mr Cox says that he saw a big opportunity to set up a number of consumer finance websites. Brands owned by Quint include Monevo, an online marketplace that connects lenders with consumers that wish to borrow money, and price comparison website Moneyguru.

Based in Macclesfield, in Cheshire in the north of England, Quint makes most of its money by charging lenders a commission, and it also has a data business called Infinian.

Mr Cox today owns 90% of Quint after buying out his co-founder last year. The company now has 100 employees, and overseas offices in Poland, China, South Africa, and the US, as it continues with its international expansion plans.

Richard Bell, north west editor of business news publisher Bdaily, says that “given the level of growth that Quint has achieved over the past couple of years… I’m keen to see where they are headed. Exciting business with switched-on leadership.”

Mr Cox is, however, happy to admit that it hasn’t all been plain sailing at Quint, with an unsuccessful insurance business being closed down.

“When something doesn’t work we stop it and do something else,” he says.

“My advice to anyone wanting to start a business is: Focus on what you are good at, work relentlessly at it, make considered decisions, don’t be too emotive, and with a bit of luck you’ll have some success.”

By Will Smale



Birmingham demands greater clarity about Uber business model before deciding on licence extension


( via – – Fri,  16 Mar 2018) London, Uk – –

Birmingham has demand more clarity from Uber on its business model before deciding whether to renew the ride hailing giant’s license to operate permanently.

Uber’s one-year licence to operate in the UK’s second largest city expired last month. It has been granted a temporary licence but a failure to get a permanent extension would deal a blow to the group as it already battles for a permit to keep operating in London – one of its most important markets.

“Officers in our licensing team have temporarily extended Uber’s private hire operator licence in Birmingham, whilst they seek clarity from Uber around its operating model,” the council’s acting director of regulation and enforcement, Chris Neville, said.

Uber has been subject to fierce scrutiny for its treatment of drivers and the safety of passengers in recent months, and especially since a shock decision in September by Transport for London not to automatically extend the company’s licence to operate in the capital.

Since then the group has made a series of changes in an attempt to pacify regulators. It’s introduced a 24/7 support helpline and has vowed to be more proactive when it comes to reporting serious incidents to police.

In February it also announced that it was launching a driver feedback programme across the UK, responding to calls for greater rights and protections for workers in the gig economy.

On Friday, in response to the comments from Birmingham Council, a London-based spokesperson for the California-based company said that its application for the city was still being processed.

The spokesperson added that Uber had been granted operating licenses by a number of UK cities in recent months, including Sheffield, Cambridge, Nottingham and Leicester.

Uber’s licence is reportedly due to expire in Edinburgh next week.

By Josie Cox



Currys PC World apologises for pressuring customers to pay extra for new laptops


( via – – Fri, 16 Mar 2018) London, Uk – –

Currys PC World has apologised after customers complained they were pressured into paying up to £40 in set-up fees for a new laptop.

Consumer group Which? said 108 customers had reported being given no choice but to pay the extra amount when they collected their laptop.

Which? said it had raised the issue with the firm “multiple times” since 2015, but continued to hear complaints.

Currys PC World said it was “urgently re-briefing” its stores.

Customers said staff had told them computers that had already been set up were the only ones left in stock, meaning they would have to pay a previously unmentioned set-up fee.


The retailer offers a £35 “Knowhow” set-up service. Customers told Which? they were not advised it was optional.

Under UK consumer contract law all retailers should advertise the full price of a product bought online.

A Currys PC World spokeswoman said: “We are sorry to hear that some customers have been charged for a Knowhow Laptop Set-up service on their new machine when they did not request it.

“While setting up machines in advance enables customers who want the service to benefit from it straight away, it is not something everyone needs.

“We are urgently re-briefing our stores now to remind them that, in the small number of cases where only pre-set up models are available, customers should not be charged for the service when they buy their laptop.”

Customers affected by this should email Currys PC World at, she added.


Which? called on the firm to refund affected customers, saying it had first contacted Currys in January 2015.

Alex Neill, Which? director of home and product services, said: “This issue has been going on for more than three years without resolution and we are disappointed people are continuing to report feeling pressurised into parting with their cash.

“We want Currys to make cast-iron guarantees that it will put an end to this practice and that customers who’ve been caught out will be reimbursed.”

In 2013, hundreds of Currys customers complained they had been mis-sold extended warranties.

Currys said at the time that documents seen by BBC Wales were a record of why people cancelled a warranty and did not prove mis-selling.



Unilever Britain’s third biggest company chooses Rotterdam for headquarters over London

( via — Thur, 15 Mar 2018) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s third biggest company Unilever (ULVR.L) (UNc.AS) will scrap its London corporate headquarters and make Rotterdam its sole legal home in a blow to Prime Minister Theresa May’s government almost one year to the day before Brexit.

The maker of Dove soap and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream launched a review of its dual-headed structure in 2017 after fighting off a $143 billion (102.3 billion pounds) takeover from Kraft Heinz (KHC.O), triggering a battle between Britain and the Netherlands.

Unilever said the choice to end 88 years of operating with two parent companies was not linked to Brexit or protectionism, but would simplify its structure, improve its corporate governance and help enable takeover deals.

Forged by the 1930 merger of the Dutch margarine producer Margarine Unie and the British soap maker Lever Brothers, Unilever said its 7,300 staff in the United Kingdom would be unaffected and it will continue to be listed in London, Amsterdam and New York.

“This is not about Brexit,” Chief Executive Paul Polman said. “Unilever is in 190 countries in the world. Most of these countries are not in the European Union.”

Unilever was forced to rethink its structure after it had to fight off one of the biggest takeovers ever proposed in 2017. Unilever swiftly rejected the offer and Kraft walked away in a matter of days but the incident was enough to force the company to pledge to improve its operations.

Chief Executive Polman had used the incident to argue that British companies should have stronger tools to fight off takeovers.

Some analysts point out that Dutch takeover law is more protective and speculate that a Dutch-headquartered Unilever could more easily fend off unwelcome suitors in the future.


As part of the restructuring, Unilever will create three divisions with Beauty & Personal Care and the Home Care units being headquartered in London. The Foods & Refreshment division will be based in Rotterdam.

“This secures nearly 1 billion pounds per year of continued spend in the UK, including a significant commitment to R&D,” it said.

Finance Director Graeme Pitkethly told Reuters that its continued inclusion in the FTSE 100 Index was still to be determined because it had not yet engaged with the index providers.

Unilever’s shares could be hit if it was no longer in the FTSE Index because tracker funds would be forced to sell.

Unilever had held talks with the governments of both countries in the run-up to its decision and the move will be seen as a blow to Prime Minister May who is locked in talks with Brussels over the country’s departure from the EU on March 29, 2019.

In recent months, speculation had grown that Unilever would choose the Netherlands after Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, himself a Unilever veteran, proposed a tax change seen as benefiting Anglo-Dutch multinationals.

The British government said however it welcomed Unilever’s long-term commitment to Britain and the protection of jobs.

“Its decision to transfer a small number of jobs to a corporate HQ in the Netherlands is part of a long-term restructuring of the company and is not connected to the UK’s departure from the EU,” a government spokesman said.

Reporting by Kate Holton and Paul Sandle



PZ Cussons Imperial Leather maker share price fall on profit warning

( via – – Thu, 15 Mar 2018) London, Uk – –

Consumer goods giant PZ Cussons has warned its profits will be lower than expected this year after running into trouble in its key markets of the UK and Nigeria.

Shares in the FTSE 250 company – which makes Imperial Leather and St Tropez – fell by a quarter in early trade after it said that profit before tax for the year would be in the range of £80m-£85m. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had anticipated a sum closer to £93m.

PZ Cussons, which had warned at its interim results in January that it would need a strong performance in the second half of its financial year to make up ground, blamed poor sales in its UK washing and bathing division “reflecting consumer caution across all retail channels caused by economic uncertainty and inflation out-stripping wage growth”.

New product launches had been “well received” but failed to offset the slowdown, it said.

In Nigeria, PZ Cussons has battled cost inflation for a number of years. “The Nigerian consumer’s discretionary income remains under pressure with subdued buying levels. As a result the usual peak season uplift has not occurred to the expected level,” the company said.

PZ Cussons announced a review of its structure as it looks to cut costs, which could include reducing packaging. It will also review the future of its milk division in Nigeria and overhaul its pipeline of new products to focus on “fewer, bigger projects requiring lower levels of complexity”.

The company added: “We believe that the initiatives outlined above will strengthen the group’s brand portfolio to better withstand the subdued levels of consumer confidence and higher levels of competitive intensity which are being faced in most of the markets in which it operates.”



UK holiday firms urged to warn customers about post-Brexit bookings

( via – – Wed, 14 Mar 2018) London, Uk – –

Flights to EU after March 2019 at risk if no aviation deal in place, says consumer group Which?

Holidaymakers are not being adequately informed of the risks that Brexit could pose to their plans when booking, the consumer group Which? has warned.

With several of the UK’s biggest tour operators selling holidays for 2019, Which? said customers should be told of the possibility of flight disruption, and what compensation could be paid.

No legal framework yet exists to manage flights to Europe once Britain leaves the EU in March 2019, and Ryanair and Lufthansa have cautioned that planes could be temporarily grounded without an aviation deal.

Unless a transition deal for aviation is signed, from September 2018 Ryanair will include the warning on its tickets: “This flight is subject to the regulatory environment allowing the flight to take place.”

Which? called on the government to clarify consumer rights and strike an aviation deal as soon as possible. It advised anyone booking a holiday after March 2019 to check cancellation and refund policies – particularly for any elements such as car hire or villa rental booked outside of a package.

The consumer group said that it asked the UK’s five biggest travel companies, which take 13 million holidaymakers abroad each year, how they were keeping customers informed.

It said Tui, Jet2 and On the Beach “failed to provide any reassurance that any information would be communicated upfront”, while Thomas Cook had amended its terms and conditions to class any airspace closure with natural disasters, stating it would not provide compensation or reimburse expenses.

Expedia told Which? it believed passengers would be entitled to compensation from airlines, though it is not yet selling post-Brexit holidays.

Peter Vicary-Smith, the chief executive of Which?, said: “This uncertainty for holidaymakers is just one of the many issues affecting people’s everyday lives that need to be resolved as we move closer to the date that the UK leaves the EU.”

About 75% of the 70m foreign trips made by UK residents each year go to the other 27 EU member states.

A spokeswoman for the travel trade organisation Abta said: “Package holidays will continue to be covered by regulations which give holidaymakers the right to an alternative holiday, if available, or a refund in the event of changes caused by extraordinary circumstances.”

Huw Evans, the director general of the Association of British Insurers, said: “It’s critical people planning trips abroad after Brexit are given urgent clarity about what happens in the event of ‘no deal’.”

By Gwyn Topham



Taxes rises of £30bn to cut deficit ‘needed by mid-2020s’

Tim Tabor/flickr

( via – – Wed, 14 Mar 2018) London, Uk – –

Taxes will need to rise by £30bn per year by the mid-2020s if the government wants to keep spending constant and balance its books, a think tank warns.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies added that dismal productivity, earnings and GDP growth had become the “new normal”.

It comes after the chancellor unveiled upgraded growth and borrowing forecasts in the Spring Statement on Tuesday.

Philip Hammond said the UK economy had reached a turning point and there was “light at the end of the tunnel”.

The chancellor told MPs growth was now forecast to be 1.5% in 2018, up from 1.4% forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility in November.

Debt is also expected to fall as a share of GDP from 2018-19, the first drop in 17 years.

However, Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), said that “nothing much” had changed on Tuesday.

He said the good news on borrowing would “largely wash out” over the next few years, while the structural deficit in 2019-20 would be almost unchanged.

He also said the latest growth projections remained “very subdued”.

“The reality of the economic and fiscal challenges facing us ought to be at the very top of the news agenda.

“And I mean the reality, not the spin and bluster of politicians on all sides pretending there are easy solutions.”


Philip Hammond’s Spring statement 2018: what to look out for

( via – – Tue, 13 Mar 2018) London, Uk – –

What the chancellor is likely to say about economic growth, debt, borrowing and more

Philip Hammond has promised MPs a short, snappy affair when he delivers the government’s first spring statement to the Commons at about 12.30pm on Tuesday.

Shorn of tax and spending measures, the chancellor’s 15- to 20-minute speech will play second fiddle to the budget, which has been moved to the autumn.

Attention will focus on the latest forecasts for the economy and the public finances provided by the government’s independent forecaster, the Office for Budget Responsibility, which last reported in November.

This is what to look out for in the chancellor’s statement:

Economic growth

Hammond is likely to say that the outlook for growth is marginally better than it was three months ago. In November, the OBR said it was expecting the economy to expand by 1.5% in 2017 and by 1.4% in 2018. The latest official figures from the Office for National Statistics show that growth was actually 1.7% in 2017 and the consensus among City, business and academic economists is that something similar is likely in 2018.

In the past, chancellors have used their statements to boast about the UK outperforming other economies, but that won’t happen on this occasion given that Britain grew more slowly all the other G7 countries in 2017 bar Italy.


The statement is expected to provide positive news about productivity – the weak spot in the economy since the financial crisis a decade ago. In its November 2017 report, the OBR gave up waiting for the improvement in productivity – economic output per hour worked – that it had been predicting since it was created in 2010. So it slashed its productivity forecast by 0.7 percentage points a year for each of the next five years. However, as the OBR was downgrading its forecasts, the picture for productivity improved, with growth of 0.8% recorded by the ONS in the fourth quarter of 2017, following 0.9% growth in the third quarter. At this stage, however, the OBR will want more good news before it thinks about revising its five-year forecasts upwards.

Government borrowing

Hammond is expected to say the government will not need to borrow to cover its day-to-day spending this year – the first time this has happened since the financial crisis. That is because the borrowing needed to cover the gap between the amount the government spends and the revenue it raises through tax is on course to be about £40bn in the the 2017-18 financial year, rather than the £50bn predicted by the OBR three months ago. Government spending comes in two forms: current spending, which includes items such as teacher salaries and the NHS drugs bill; and capital spending, which includes investment in roads and railways. A deficit of £40bn would mean that the borrowing this year would solely be for investment and allow Hammond to say that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

However, Hammond is expected to use the high level of national debt to say that Britain is still in the tunnel. The national debt is the sum of all the annual budget deficits and surpluses the government has been running down the years and it has risen sharply as a result of the big annual deficits that have been run in the past decade.

This year, the debt will hit £1.8tn but a better measure is the ratio of the debt to the annual output of the economy (gross domestic product). The national debt was below 40% of GDP when the financial crisis began in 2007 and is expected to peak in this financial year at just over 85% of GDP. Hammond will say a reduction in the national debt would put the UK in a stronger position to weather another recession.


Although the chancellor has said specific tax changes must wait for the autumn budget, he is likely to announce a series of consultations in areas where future action is possible. These could include the VAT threshold for small businesses, the tax paid by multinationals, curbs on the use of plastic in packaging via a so-called “litter levy” and the impact of artificial intelligence on the economy.



Qualcomm $117bn takeover blocked by Trump citing national security

( via– Tue, 13 Mar 2018) London, Uk – –

Broadcom says it “strongly disagrees” with a decision to prohibit its hostile takeover of Qualcomm on national security grounds.

Donald Trump has exercised rarely-used powers to block the hostile takeover of mobile chipmaker Qualcomm by Singapore-based rival Broadcom.

The White House said the President was acting on the recommendation of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which reviews foreign purchases of US companies, to reject the proposed $117bn offer on national security grounds.

It would have been the most valuable tech takeover in the world had it gone ahead.

Broadcom had gone directly to shareholders after a previous offer was rejected by Qualcomm.

Its bid interest was blocked at a sensitive time – given the world is gearing up for the roll-out of ultra fast 5G mobile services and Mr Trump’s wider agenda to protect the interests of US companies.

The committee had warned that “a shift to Chinese dominance in 5G would have substantial negative national security consequences for the United States.

“While the United States remains dominant in the standards-setting space currently, China would likely compete robustly to fill any void left by Qualcomm as a result of this hostile takeover.”

Broadcom, which had pledged to move all its headquarter functions to the US if it won the day, said it “strongly disagreed” with the reasoning behind the decision.

The committee had raised concerns that any takeover may hinder progress in achieving 5G mobile networks because of Qualcomm’s current position as one of the leading makers of processors that power smartphones.

It also holds key patents which earn massive royalty payments from phone makers, such as Apple.

Broadcom chief executive Hock Tan had written to US policymakers last week to argue that legal claims Qualcomm is facing, alleging abuse of its patents to damage competition, should be seen as a risk to Qualcomm’s 5G investment.

He had pledged a $1.5bn investment in 5G in the US if Broadcom secured the takeover.

Mr Trump’s decision was also widely seen as an extension of his protectionist agenda that has seen him pledge to impose tariffs on imports of steel and metal products from later this month.


GKN offered new increased £8.1bn bid in Melrose takeover battle

( via – – Mon, 12 Mar 2018) London, Uk – –

Turnaround specialist Melrose has increased its offer for UK engineering giant GKN from £7.4bn to £8.1bn.

GKN makes parts for Boeing 737 jets and Black Hawk helicopters, as well as parts for Volkswagen and Ford cars.

It has fought hard against the bid, offering to give back £2.5bn to shareholders and agreed to merge its car unit with US company Dana.

The takeover battle has also entered the political arena, with some MPs calling for the bid to be blocked.

‘Final’ offer

GKN employs more than 59,000 people, 6,000 in the UK alone. It became a takeover target after it issued profit warnings late last year.

Melrose said all recent attempts to engage in “constructive discussions” with GKN had been blocked. It added that its latest offer was “final” and would “not be increased under any circumstances”.

It is now offering 467p a share, compared with Friday’s closing share price of 435p. Melrose is also offering to give shareholders £1.4bn in cash as part of its offer.

It has also raised the amount GKN shareholders would own in Melrose following the deal from 57% to 60%.

However, investors appeared unimpressed by the latest move. Shares were up less than 2% in early trading at 444p.

Rebecca O’Keeffe, head of investment at Interactive Investor, said: “The muted market reaction… is the strongest indication yet that Melrose might not get its way.

“The robust efforts GKN has taken to protect itself from the hostile bid, including the proposed disposal of its Driveline business to Dana, combined with the comments from Melrose that their offer will ‘not be increased under any circumstances’ is leading investors to conclude that GKN has won this battle, at least for now.”

GKN said it was evaluating the new bid and advised shareholders to take no action. It said it would provide a response in due course.

Earlier on Monday, GKN had issued its latest defence. However, this was based on Melrose’s previous offer, which it said was “opportunistic” and “fundamentally undervalues” GKN’s prospects.

Melrose is a firm that specialises in buying up industrial companies it believes are undervalued and restructuring them before selling them on.

The takeover approach has also raised fears among unions and MPs that GKN, one of the UK’s largest industrial firms, will be broken up and sold to overseas owners.

The Pensions Regulator has warned that the Melrose takeover could affect the company’s ability to fund its pension scheme.

Last week, a cross-party group of MPs wrote to the Business Secretary, Greg Clark, saying the Melrose takeover should be blocked.

GKN shareholders have until 29 March to decide whether or not to accept Melrose’s offer.

‘Fire sale’

Melrose called GKN’s attempts to fend off the approach a “hasty fire sale of GKN businesses before they have reached their potential”.

In its offer statement, Melrose chairman Christopher Miller appealed to GKN’s shareholders.

“On the one hand you can join us on a journey of value creation by investing in a UK listed manufacturing powerhouse worth over £10bn today and receiving £1.4bn of cash,” he said.

“On the other hand your board is attempting a hasty fire sale of GKN businesses before they have been given a chance to reach their potential and with damaging consequences, we believe, for all stakeholders.”

On Friday, GKN agreed to merge its Driveline division with US auto-engineer Dana in a deal worth $6.1bn (£4.4bn). The deal would see GKN shareholders end up with a 47.25% stake in the enlarged, US-listed group.

However, Mr Miller said the proposed deal was likely to involve a “lengthy and uncertain completion process” with competition authorities, and added that some GKN investors would not be able to hold the shares as they would not be listed in the UK.

A brief history of GKN

Founded in 1759 as an ironworks in South Wales

Involved in aerospace, automotive, materials and manufacturing engineering

Operates in 30 countries with more than 59,000 employees

Employs 6,000 staff in the UK, mostly in aerospace and automotive technology

Ten UK sites, including Bristol, Cowes, Luton, Portsmouth, Birmingham and Telford.

Chief executive Anne Stephens took over in January



Lego secure pole position in UK’s annual superbrands ranking

( via – – Mon, 12 Mar 2018) London, Uk – –

Lego has been voted the UK’s strongest brand as previous winner British Airways fell from the top 20 ranking entirely.

Lego beat more than 1,500 companies to pole position as it celebrates its 60th anniversary, rising from 25th place in 2014 to second position last year in the annual UK Superbrands ranking.

Traditional retail and consumer goods names still dominated the list, keeping “challenger” brands at bay.

Gillette rose three places to take the runner-up position, while Apple placed third having risen three spots from last year.

Marks & Spencer leapfrogged John Lewis to seventh place as the department store slipped nine to 15th position.

Google and Amazon both dropped out of the top 20 as Disney and Heathrow both re-entered the ranking for the first time since 2013, as did BP and Shell after a four- and three-year absence respectively.

Daily staples Andrex, Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Heinz retained top 10 places, but Kellogg’s and Fairy slipped out.

The list is determined by 2,500 consumers, who are asked to rank each brand for quality, reliability and distinction on behalf of the Centre for Brand Analysis.

Superbrands chairman Stephen Cheliotis said: “British Airways tumbling from top spot to outside of the top 20 should be a wake-up call for all brands.

“In a world where customer expectations have rightfully risen, brands cannot afford to disappoint and need to continually deliver to retain their valuable reputations. No brand, however strong, is immune to changing consumer sentiment.”

Last year British Airways suffered a series of embarrassing setbacks, including a costly computer meltdown, cabin crew strikes and long delays.

Add to that the backlash over its decision to axe free meals on all short-haul flights and squeeze more passengers onto planes, 2017 was a year to forget for Britain’s largest carrier.

Mr Cheliotis added: “The rise of fresh, disruptive brands – particularly in terms of relevance to consumers’ lives – should be an added warning to more established brands.

“The likes of Netflix, PurpleBricks and Zoopla may not be challenging for the top spot in the overall ranking yet, but they surely will be if they continue their current momentum and the established elite don’t respond fast enough.”



The Entrepreneur Making Tantalizing Hand-crafted Food Inspired beauty products


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Moorea Seal: A Female Entrepreneur’s Journey



In celebration of International Women’s Day,  sharing about inspiring everyday women

Helping to amplify the voices of females—filmmakers, photographers, foodies, architects, and brand makers. Let’s inspire more women to share their work with more people to support one another.



Uk Trade Secretary Liam Fox brand U.S. approach to tariffs wrong, absurd if Britain affected

( via — Fri, 9 Mar 2018) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – The United States is taking the wrong approach by seeking tariffs on steel and aluminium imports and it would be “absurd” for Britain to be caught up in them, Trade Secretary Liam Fox said.

U.S. President Donald Trump put import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent for aluminium but exempted Canada and Mexico and offered the possibility of excluding other allies. The European Union has said that it should be exempt from the tariffs.

Fox said there was overproduction of steel in the world, mainly coming from China, but that protectionism “never really works”, adding that British steel was used to supply the U.S. military.

“So it’s doubly absurd that we should then be caught on an investigation on national security,” Fox said on BBC’s Question Time late on Thursday evening.

“We can deal multilaterally with the overproduction of steel, but this is the wrong way to go about it.”

He said he would raise the issue with the United States in a trip to Washington next week.

By Alistair Smout



Shell and Blackstone working on a joint $10bn Bid for BHP US shale assets


( via– Fri, 9 Oct 2018) London, Uk – –

Shell and Blackstone are working together on a joint bid for BHP’s onshore US shale assets.

Shell, the FTSE 100 oil behemoth, is plotting a $10bn (£7.3bn) joint takeover bid for the American shale division of BHP, the world’s biggest miner.

Sky News has learnt that Shell and Blackstone, the private equity firm, have agreed to work together on an offer for the assets, which were put up for sale last summer by BHP amid pressure from an activist investor.

A joint offer from Shell and Blackstone would be only one of several credible proposals that BHP is expecting to receive for the US shale operations, according to banking sources.

If they were to succeed with a bid, it would be the largest takeover in which Shell has been involved since its £35bn purchase of BG Group in early 2016.

The shale auction, which includes a number of fields in the prized Permian Basin, is expected to lead to a deal later this year.

BHP has indicated that it will consider a separate stock market listing for the division if it fails to generate sufficient value from a trade sale.

It also said this week that it would look at asset swaps as part of the disposal plan.

“Shale is just simply not as capital efficient as the other opportunities for investment across the BHP portfolio, and it’s failed to generate competitive returns on capital employed,” BHP’s petroleum boss Steve Pastor was reported to have said this week.

For Shell, a takeover of the BHP business would accelerate its plans for shale to become a material cash engine by the mid-to-late 2020s.

Partnering with Blackstone provides the Anglo-Dutch oil giant with additional financing firepower, according to people close to the situation.

The mining group formed the shale unit during a period of frenzied interest in onshore oil resources, spending close to $20bn on the so-called unconventional assets.

In recent months, however, the separation of the shale arm has become a priority following intense pressure from Elliott Advisors, one of the world’s most prolific activist funds.

Elliott is also demanding that BHP consolidate its corporate structure into a single entity based in Australia.

Shell and Blackstone both declined to comment on Thursday.

By Mark Kleinman