Dixons Carphone data breach 10 million affected


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(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Tue, 31 July 2018) London, Uk – –

Dixons Carphone has said a huge data breach that took place last year involved 10 million customers, up from its original estimate of 1.2 million.

The Carphone Warehouse and Currys PC World owner has been investigating the hack since it was discovered in June.

It said personal information, names, addresses and email addresses may have been accessed last year.

However, no bank details were taken and it had found no evidence that fraud had resulted from the breach.

The hackers also got access to records of 5.9 million payments cards, but nearly all of those were protected by the chip and pin system.

Dixons said it was “very sorry for any distress” caused and it would be apologising to customers, although it did not say how or over what timescale it would be contacting them.

Alex Neill, from consumer lobby group Which?, said: “Dixons Carphone customers will be alarmed to hear about this massive data breach and will be asking why it has taken so long for the company to uncover the extent of its security failure.

“It is now critical that the company moves quickly to ensure those affected get clear information about what has happened and what steps they should take to protect themselves.

“Anyone concerned they could be at risk of fraud should consider changing their online passwords, monitor bank and other online accounts and be wary of emails regarding the breach as scammers may try and take advantage of it.”

Analysis:
by Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC technology editor

On the face of it, this is terrible news for Dixons Carphone and its customers – it's as if a householder who discovered in June that burglars had stolen the telly has belatedly looked in the garage and found that the car has gone too.

But remember, the really shocking thing about the first announcement last month was that details of 5.9 million payment cards had been accessed – it's not that number which has gone up tenfold but the separate and less serious total of non-financial personal records hacked.

Now that still leaves many more people at the theoretical risk of phishing attacks and it's another stain on the company's reputation.

But whereas Dixons Carphone shares fell after the news in June, they've risen slightly this morning. Investors have had so much bad news lately about the last electronics retailer left standing on the High Street that they seem able to shrug off something which may not have a huge effect on the bottom line.

Data probe
Dixons said it had been working with leading cyber security experts and had put in further security measures to safeguard customer information.

The National Crime Agency began investigating the breach last month when it was first revealed. It is working with the National Cyber Security Centre, the Financial Conduct Authority and the UK's data protection regulator, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

An ICO spokesperson said: “Our investigation into the incident is ongoing and we will take time to assess this new information.

“In the meantime, we would expect the company to alert all those affected in the UK as soon as possible and to take all steps necessary to reduce any potential harm to consumers.”

Dixons Carphone chief executive Alex Baldock, said: “Since our data security review uncovered last year's breach, we've been working around the clock to put it right.

“That's included closing off the unauthorised access, adding new security measures and launching an immediate investigation, which has allowed us to build a fuller understanding of the incident that we're updating on today.

“As a precaution, we're now also contacting all our customers to apologise and advise on the steps they can take to protect themselves.”

 

 

British Gas profits fall as 340,000 customers left supplier

 

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(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Tue, 31 July, 2018) London, Uk – –

The Government’s energy price cap is already chilling profits at British Gas as costs climb and customers continue to turn their backs on the supplier.

British Gas, which is owned by FTSE 100 energy giant Centrica, said its operating profits fell by a fifth compared to the first half of last year, to £430m, as costs continued to climb and more than 340,000 customers left the supplier.

The country’s largest energy supplier said the freezing weather brought by the so-called Beast from the East drove energy use higher for the first half of this year, but also brought soaring costs.

The supplier hinted that another price hike could be on the cards, as market costs continue higher.

The company said: “Energy prices have continued to rise since we announced our price rise in April, and a number of competitors have since increased prices. We are keeping the movement of wholesale energy prices and their impact on our cost of supply under review.”

British Gas said the extreme weather earlier this year also brought a one-off £15m hit to the company due to higher call-outs and other associated costs.

The Big Six supplier lifted its standard tariff price by 5.5pc to keep up with rising energy market prices, but British Gas is unable to lift tariffs for homes using pre-payment meters which are protected by a new Government cap.

The hit wiped 11pc from Centrica’s cash flows and dragged its adjusted operating profits down 4pc from the first half of last year to £782m.

Centrica boss Iain Conn assured investors that the group would still manage to meet its full year financial targets in the second half of 2018, and will keep its 12p a share dividend in tact.

But the markets reacted to the worse than expected results with a punishing 5pc share price drop to £1.45 a share, a fraction of Centrica’s market value in 2013 when its shares traded at around £4.

Further pain for the supplier is likely to emerge in the years ahead as the Government’s market-wide price cap takes effect from the end of this year.

Mr Conn said: “Although we are awaiting the final outcome of regulation to impose a temporary cap on all default tariffs for residential customers in the UK, we have plans in place to manage this.”

The former BP executive took over the top spot at Centrica in 2015 with a three-year plan to reposition the energy producer as a customer-focused business.

“We continue to make progress on implementing our strategy,” he said. “We have developed new propositions and delivery capabilities in both customer divisions and our cost efficiency programme is on track.”

By Jillian Ambrose

 

 

Reach, Mirror and Express owner slumps to £113m half-year loss

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 30th July 2018) London, Uk – –

The owner of the Mirror and Express newspapers has slumped to a £113m half-year loss after slashing the value of its regional publishing operations.

Reach, formerly known as Trinity Mirror, said the £150m charge reflected a “more challenging outlook” for its regional businesses.

They include the Manchester Evening News, Daily Record and Liverpool Echo.

The results are the first since Reach completed its takeover of the Express and Star titles from Richard Desmond.

The £113.5m pre-tax loss for the 26 weeks to 1 July, compares with a profit of £38.2m for the same period last year.

Adjusted pre-tax profit for the UK's biggest news publisher rose £3.4m to £64.7m.

Group revenue rose by 10.6% to £353.8m reflecting the acquisition of the Express and Star, but fell by 7.2% on a like-for-like basis. The fall partly reflected the company handing back two regional Metro titles to Daily Mail owner DMGT in the period.

Sales of Reach's national newspapers plunged in the first half, with circulation for the Daily Mirror down 13.9%, a 12.1% fall for the Daily Star and a 9.3% slide for the Daily Express. The overall UK national tabloid newspaper market declined by 9.3% in the period.

The Sunday Mirror was down 14.8%, the Sunday People fell 16.4%, with 8.3% and 9.2% declines for the Sunday Express and Star titles respectively.

Simon Fox, chief executive, said Reach had delivered a positive performance in a “difficult trading environment”.

He was “reasonably optimistic” about the prospects of the regional titles despite the writedown and said they had a long-term future digitally.

Reach had no plans to close print editions “at the moment” and is opening digital titles in areas such as Leeds and Edinburgh where it had no print titles, Mr Fox added.

The company was on track to deliver the savings of £20m it expected from integrating the Express and Star titles, but needed growth in digital revenues to offset the continued decline from its print products, he said.

Shares in Reach fell 2.4% in morning trading to 71p, valuing the company at £215m.

In April Johnston Press, publisher of newspapers including the i, the Scotsman and the Yorkshire Post, posted a pre-tax loss of £95m for last year. That was down from a £301m loss in 2016 after slashing the value of its titles.

By Chris Johnston

 

 

GVC shares hit record high after joint venture with MGM Resorts

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Mon, 30th July 2018) London, UK —

(Reuters) – GVC Holdings Plc (GVC.L) shares leapt to a record high on Monday after it agreed to set up an online betting platform in the United States with U.S. hotel and casino operator MGM Resorts International (MGM.N) .

The announcement comes ahead of the American football season and as British betting companies look to capitalize on the U.S. market after a U.S. Supreme court ruling in May lifted a ban on sports betting.

Bookmakers have also been assessing the impact of recently implemented UK gambling curbs after the government said in May it would cut the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) to two pounds from 100 pounds.

“GVC appears to have struck gold by signing a 50/50 JV with arguably the biggest gambling brand in the U.S.,” London-based broker Shorecap’s Greg Johnson said in a note.

GVC shares rose as much as 7.5 percent to a record high of 1,178 pence before retreating slightly to trade 5 percent by 0748 GMT.

The companies will initially invest $100 million each in the joint venture, which will have a U.S. headquarters, said GVC which owns the Coral, Ladbrokes and Sportingbet brands.

GVC said the joint venture would get access to 15 U.S. states with a population of 90 million, adding that the venture will get access to all U.S. land-based and online sports betting while integrating both companies’ customer loyalty programs.

“We are proud to join forces with GVC, the largest and most dynamic global online betting operator, with existing reputable and trusted operations in the U.S.,” MGM Resorts Chief Executive Jim Murren said.

GVC had said on Friday that it was in advanced talks regarding a joint venture with MGM. Sky News had also reported that the deal could pave the way for a merger between the two firms.

GVC, which has grown rapidly through acquisitions including the purchase of Ladbrokes late last year, has been looking to expand in the United States, after the U.S. Supreme Court paved the way to legalize sports betting.

The company said in July that it expected to post full-year results in line with expectations.

Reporting by Sangameswaran S

 

 

How Ben Francis Started The UK’s Fastest Growing Company Gymshark

 

Youtube/Gymshark

Gymshark has been my entire life since I started it as a teenager. After being awarded the UK's fastest growing company by the Fastrack 100 in the Times newspaper, I've decided to document my journey.

My first video is a brief explanation of how Gymshark started, and the work we had to put in to get it to where it is today.

 

 

The Selfridges “Billionaire’s Soft Serve” Ice Cream With Edible Diamonds selling for $130

 

Selfridges department store in London is selling a luxury ice cream for £99 which contains 24-carat gold leaf. The ice cream is called “Billionaire's Soft Serve” and it weighs 350 grams. Here's a run down of what you get for your money.

 

PepsiCo Chief Executive Officer Indra Nooyi discusses the concept of “having it all”

 

Youtube/Bloomberg

PepsiCo Chief Executive Officer Indra Nooyi discusses the concept of “having it all” with David Rubenstein on the sixth episode of “The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations.”

 

 

BP British energy giant to buy US shale oil and gasfields assets for $10.5bn

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(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Fri, 27th July 2018) London, Uk – –

Deal gives British energy giant ‘access to some of the best acreage in the best basins’

BP has agreed to buy US shale oil and gasfields from the Anglo-Australian miner BHP for $10.5bn (£8bn), in the UK firm’s biggest acquisition in nearly two decades.

Bob Dudley, BP’s chief executive, lauded the deal as transformational and industry watchers said the move significantly beefed up the company’s US shale presence, which was small compared to peers.

The acquisition will boost BP’s US oil and gas production by nearly a fifth and marks a new period of growth for the company, which is emerging after years under the $65bn burden of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

In total, 470,000 acres of assets are covered in the deal, including fields in the Permian in west Texas, the Eagle Ford in south Texas and Haynesville in east Texas and Louisiana.

Analysts said Eagle Ford was the most valuable of the three because of its scale and economics, while the Permian offered the greatest long-term promise.

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BHP bought the fields in 2011 but has struggled to make them work, putting them up for sale last August.

BP said it believed its approach would differ by bringing $350m of synergies from its other US operations and capital efficiencies.

Bernard Looney, the chief executive of BP’s upstream division, said: “It gives us access to some of the best acreage in the best basins. It takes us into the very heart of the most-talked-about oil play in the world [the Permian].”

The UK oil giant was “not desperate to do a deal” he added but BP believed the quality of the resources made the acquisition worthwhile.

After the deal is completed BP’s US production will climb from 744,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day to 885,000 boe/d.

“BP was previously underweight to US tight oil compared to its peers. This deal transforms BP’s US business,” Maxim Petrov, a senior analyst at Wood Mackenzie, said.

BP said it was making “conservative assumptions” about how much oil and gas could be pumped to begin with, given regional bottlenecks around infrastructure such as pipelines. “We think the infrastructure will get built out over the next two years,” Looney said.

The acquisition will be fully paid for in cash and is being part-funded by the company divesting its interests in the Greater Kuparuk Area in Alaska, which will raise $5-6bn.

The scale of BP’s deal dwarfs its recent $200m investment in Europe’s biggest solar company and its £130m purchase of the UK’s largest electric car charging network.

BHP said it would return the proceeds to investors and shares ended the day up 2.3% in Australia, to A$34.40. BP’s share price fell by 1.5%. The company’s last biggest transaction was when it bought the American oil company Atlantic Richfield in 1999.

By Adam Vaughan

 

 

Financial Ombudsman Service to review digital payments increase as use of cash declines

 

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 27th July 2018) London, Uk – –

As the use of cash declines and digital payments increase, a new independent review has been set up to look at the impact on consumers.

The Access to Cash Review will look at the impact of new technology, including contactless cards, over the next five to 15 years and examine future needs.

It will be chaired by the former head of the Financial Ombudsman Service, Natalie Ceeney.

Ms Ceeney said there was a need to make sure no-one was left behind.

She added: “The rise of contactless and digital payments has changed the relationship between cash and consumers.

“Many people in the UK have already made a shift to paying for most things digitally, but at the same time, there are between two and three million people across the UK who are entirely reliant on cash.”

The review is funded by Link, the UK's biggest network of cash machines, but is independent from it.

It will spend the next six months gathering information.

Exclusion risk
Link said consumer groups, community representatives, small businesses, industry and the general public would all be able to contribute their views.

Harry Rose, money editor of Which?, said: “We've seen hundreds of ATMs closing across the country, with more under threat, which risks excluding the millions of people still reliant on cash in their daily lives.

“This review is much-needed and we'll be pushing to ensure that everyone's access to cash is properly protected.”

Last month, it emerged that debit card payments had overtaken cash use for the first time, as contactless technology takes a firm hold on day-to-day spending.

A total of 13.2 billion debit card payments were made last year, a rise of 14% on the previous year, according to banking trade body UK Finance.

That outstripped the 13.1 billion cash payments made, as the use of notes and coins dropped by 15%.

An estimated 3.4 million people hardly used cash at all during the year.

Young consumers, aged between 25 and 34, were most likely to make contactless payments. Those who shunned cash entirely were also most likely to be among this age group.

 

 

Facebook user growth slows as shares plunge 24%

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(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Thur, 26th July 2018) London, Uk – –

The social media giant warns investors to expect a surge in costs to address Facebook's inadequate handling of users' privacy.

Facebook shares slumped 24% in after-hours trading, as the social media giant revealed that its user base and second-quarter revenue grew slower than expected.

The shares, which have risen as much as 23% this year, fell to $201.40 in trading after the bell as the company warned that significant investment would hit profits into next year.

If such a share price fall was to be realised when trading opens on Thursday, it would mean more than $150bn (£114bn) would be wiped off the value of the social media firm – with founder Mark Zuckerberg seeing his personal wealth, on paper, plunge by $17bn.

A decline of 24% in Facebook's value in regular trading would also represent the biggest one-day loss in value for a US company.

“The most popular stock among hedge funds got slammed last night and entered into a bear market territory,” Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets, said.

“Even during the conference (call to investors), Mark Zuckerberg failed to rescue the stock as the element which haunted traders is that Facebook isn't confident about the growth rate.”

It was the company's first full quarter following the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal.

The firm said it had 2.23 billion monthly active users at the end of June, up 11% on June 2017, the slowest growth in more than two years.

Analysts attributed the user growth shortfall largely to European privacy rules that went into effect in May.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal prompted several apologies from chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and generated calls for users to desert Facebook, which has grown strongly since launching as a public company in 2012.

The company had warned investors to expect a surge in costs due to efforts needed to address concerns about Facebook's inadequate handling of users' privacy.

Chief financial officer David Wehner said operating profit margin will sink to the “mid-30s” for more than 2 years.

And quarterly revenue growth would be closer to 30% for the rest of the year, due to currency fluctuations and users choosing to have less personalised adverts as they opt out because of the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Total expenses in the second quarter surged to $7.4bn (£5.6bn), up 50% from a year ago. However, ad sales seemed unaffected by the scandal, rising 42% in the quarter to $13bn (£9.9bn).

Think Markets's Aslam said: “The other main reason for disappointment for Facebook investors was in the massive increase in the operating cost due to rise in the headcount. Smart money failed to factor in the impact of Facebook's scandals on user agreement which resulted in higher headcounts.”

Net income attributable to Facebook shareholders rose to $5.11bn, or $1.74 per share, in the second quarter ending 30 June, up from $3.89bn, or $1.32 per share, a year earlier.

Total revenue for the quarter rose 42% to $13.23bn, below analysts' estimates of $13.36bn

Royal Dutch Shell Plc starts £19bn buyback programme for patient shareholders

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(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Thur, 26th July 2018) London, Uk – –

Royal Dutch Shell has triggered the start of a long-awaited £19bn ($25bn) share buyback scheme that will reward patient investors over the next two years.

The oil major will kick off the payday by distributing $2bn over the next three months for those shareholders who accepted shares rather than dividends during a downturn in the oil price two years ago.

As the crude market has recovered, Shell has prioritised paying down debt and selling off $30bn in assets over repurchasing the dividend scrips.

But boss Ben Van Beurden said the company's progress in strengthening its balance sheet had given it confidence in taking this “important step” in maintaining Shell’s investment case.

Shell’s profits for the last quarter bounced almost a third higher than the same period last year to $4.7bn, while its debt has fallen to 23.6pc of its earnings, down from 25.8pc a year ago.

Both the profit and debt reduction figures fell slightly short of expectations, but Shell will still press ahead with its plan for buybacks after better-than-expected sales of its non-core assets.

Shell has so far completed $27bn of asset sales, including large swathes of the North Sea, and has more than $7bn worth of deals that it has announced or that are in advanced stages.

“This move complements the progress we have made since the completion of the BG acquisition in 2016, to reshape our portfolio through a $30bn divestment programme and new projects, to reduce net debt, and turn off the scrip dividend,” Mr Van Beurden said.

The announcement is expected to be warmly welcomed by investors after a disappointing February update in which Shell dashed hopes for the start of buybacks.

At the time, Jessica Uhl, chief financial officer, said the company would first need “line of sight” that its debt gearing could ease to 20pc.

Ahead of the financial results analysts predicted that the group would begin buybacks despite remaining stubbornly above this level in order to fulfil its pledge that it would complete the buyback programme by 2025.

“Timing is getting fairly limited,” warned Gordon Gray, of HSBC, last week.

By Jillian Ambrose

 

 

FCA suggests banks should set minimum interest rate on savings accounts

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Wed, 25 July 2018) London, Uk – –

Banks could be forced to set a minimum interest rate on their savings accounts, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has suggested.

The FCA said it was concerned that savers who stay with the same bank or building society for a long time get poor returns on their money.

Some banks currently pay just 0.05% a year on instant access accounts.

The Basic Savings Rate (BSR) would apply to all easy access cash ISA products, as well as savings accounts.

It would be applied after the account had been opened for a set period, for example one year.

FCA considers texts to warn of low savings rates
Why hasn't my savings rate gone up yet?
“Providers can take advantage of high levels of customer inaction to pay lower interest rates to longstanding customers,” said Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA.

He said customers who do not shop around for higher rates should be treated fairly by their banks or building societies.

Citizens Advice said the average amount that savers were losing by not switching accounts was £48 a year.

The FCA suggested it would be up to each bank to set their own BSR, which would apply across all their instant access accounts. The rates would then be published on the FCA's website, so consumers could compare them easily.

‘Concern'
Banks said they had already taken measures to improve competition in the savings market.

“These include communicating more clearly with customers about the rates they receive, faster cash ISA transfers and enhanced customer prompts before a rate is reduced,” said Peter Tyler, director of conduct and savings policy at UK Finance, which represents the High Street banks.

The FCA has tried previously to encourage savers to shop around for better rates, but with limited success.

“Efforts to encourage customers to switch have had limited impact and we remain concerned about the way firms are treating customers,” Mr Woolard said

“This is why we are considering the introduction of a basic savings rate for older accounts, which would promote competition and help get customers a better rate of interest.”

The highest returns are generally offered by current accounts, where savers can get up to 5% a year in some cases – although such accounts have strict limits on the amount of money that can be put in.

Analysis, Simon Gompertz, BBC personal finance correspondent
The FCA has tried forcing banks to tell customers how to switch accounts. It's tried naming and shaming the ones paying the worst rates.

But none of these measures has made much difference.

So now it is looking at a more powerful weapon to use against savings providers who exploit their customers.

This isn't the FCA reaching for the nuclear button of setting minimum rates itself, because each institution would set its own Basic Savings Rate.

But the measure would prevent the least savvy savers being left behind and make it easier to compare what's on offer.

The danger – if this ever happens – is that the new weapon explodes in the FCA's face, if banks react by setting the lowest Basic Savings Rates they can get away with.

The FCA said a Basic Savings Rate (BSR) could enable customers jointly to earn up to £480m a year more than they do at the moment.

It said around a third of accounts were opened more than five years ago.

And on average, customers with such accounts earned 0.82% less than people whose accounts were opened more recently.

Interested parties can respond to the FCA's discussion paper between now and 25 October.

By Brian Milligan
Personal Finance reporter

 

 

Sergio Marchionne former Fiat boss dies from complications after surgery

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Wed, 25th July, 2018) London, UK —

MILAN (Reuters) – Former Fiat Chrysler chief executive Sergio Marchionne has died, the carmaker’s controlling family shareholder said on Wednesday.

Marchionne fell gravely ill after suffering complications following recent surgery in a Zurich hospital. He was replaced as chief executive last weekend after Fiat Chrysler (FCA) (FCHA.MI) said his condition had worsened.

“Unfortunately, what we feared has come to pass. Sergio Marchionne, man and friend, is gone,” FCA Chairman John Elkann, of the controlling Agnelli family, said in a statement.

 

UK shopping centre operator Bullring owner Hammerson to sell off £1.1bn of properties

 


Wikimedia/Sunil060902

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Tue, 24th July 2018) London, Uk – –

UK shopping centre operator to offload retail parks and reduce exposure to department stores

Hammerson, the UK shopping centre operator, plans to sell its portfolio of out-of-town retail parks and reduce exposure to department stores in a bid to appease disgruntled investors.

The owner of London’s Brent Cross and Birmingham’s Bullring aims to offload £1.1bn of properties by the end of 2019 as it exits the retail park sector and focuses on “flagship retail destinations”.

Hammerson now owns 13 retail parks across the UK, after announcing on Monday that it had agreed to sell its Imperial retail park in Bristol and Fife Central retail park in Kirkcaldy for a total of £164m to the property investment firm Capreon.

The shift follows Hammerson’s decision in April to abandon a £3.4bn buyout of its smaller rival Intu, the company behind Manchester’s Trafford centre, after pressure from investors concerned about the health of UK retailers.

David Atkins, the Hammerson chief executive, said on Tuesday it was changing its strategy to address the shift in the wider retail market.

“Through increasing the level of disposals, including exiting the retail parks sector, we will now focus solely on winning destinations of the highest quality: flagship retail destinations and premium outlets,” he said. “These are the venues we believe will maintain relevance and outperform against the shifting retail backdrop.”

Hammerson said it would cut by a quarter the amount of space given over to department stores, while high street fashion space would be reduced by a fifth, replaced by “aspirational fashion, leisure, events and lifestyle spaces”.

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It comes as Britain’s department store chains and other high street retailers struggle against a backdrop of higher costs, waning consumer confidence, and competition from online-only retailers.

Debenhams has issued three profit warnings since Christmas and came under fresh pressure last week when it emerged that credit insurers had reduced cover for suppliers to the company.

House of Fraser announced last month that it would close 31 of its 59 stores in the UK, including its flagship shop on London’s Oxford Street, with .

Hammerson also announced that it was shrinking its board, reducing the number of executive directors from four to two.

Peter Cole, the chief investment officer, will step down from the board at the end of 2018, after 29 years with the property company.

Jean-Philippe Mouton will also step down from the board at the end of the year, but he will remain in his role as managing director of the company’s French business and will continue to be responsible for marketing.

Shares rose 1.6% to 534p.

By Angela Monaghan

 

 

Vauxhall Motors under Peugeot ownership return to first-half profit in almost 20 years

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(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Tue, 24th July 2018) London, Uk – –

Opel Vauxhall has returned to profit for the first time in almost 20 years after being acquired by France’s Peugeot S.A. last year.

The brands made €502m (£448m) in operating profits in the first half of 2018. That compares with a $257m loss in 2016, the last full-year they were owned by the US’s General Motors.

The acquisition and turnaround helped Vauxhall’s new parent report a 40pc surge in revenues to €38.6bn and operating profits of €3bn, up 48pc.

The €2.2bn takeover, which completed last June, sparked fears of job cuts at Vauxhall Opel’s factories in Luton and Ellesmere Port, which have 4,500 workers.

PSA chief executive Carlos Tavares said: “Opel Vauxhall teams started to deliver good results to build the New Opel Vauxhall and are eager to unleash further potential.”

Profits at PSA’s major existing brands, Peugeot, Citroen and DS, were up 30pc to €1.9bn.

Shares in PSA jumped nearly 10pc in early trading.

 

 

Barclays unveil plans to create up to 2,500 jobs in Glasgow

 


QLM Image

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 23rd July 2018) London, Uk – –

Barclays has unveiled plans to create up to 2,500 jobs at a new hub in Glasgow, in a major boost to Scotland's financial services sector.

The bank will house its technology, functions and operations teams at a campus at the planned Buchanan Wharf development on the banks of the Clyde.

Barclays said it would “play a pivotal role” in its “long-term strategic priorities”.

The move would double Barclays' current workforce in Scotland.

Barclays has agreed to purchase the campus development from Drum Property Group and is currently finalising the design of the new facility as part of the wider Buchanan Wharf development.

The bank's existing Scottish operations are expected to start transferring to the new campus from 2021.

Scottish Enterprise has agreed to provide a grant of £12.75m towards the project.

The offer requires that at least 42% of the new jobs are of “high value”, with at least 341 posts made available for disadvantaged workers or those who have a disability.

The development will make the bank one of Glasgow's largest commercial employers.

Paul Compton, chief operating officer at Barclays, said: “The Glasgow campus, alongside others in Whippany, New Jersey, and Pune, India, is part of a global strategy to create world-class facilities for our functions, technology and operations teams.

“This new campus at Buchanan Wharf is a flagship project for the bank, which builds on Barclays' long history in Scotland and clearly demonstrates our commitment to supporting the UK economy.”

‘Transformational'
Scotland's first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said the project would be “transformational for Glasgow”.

She added: “The new campus will strengthen Glasgow's financial services sector and shows Scotland continues to be a highly attractive location for inward investment.

“I am particularly pleased that as part of this investment, Barclays has committed to employing local people who often face barriers into work, including those with disabilities and young people.”

Paul Lewis, from Scottish Enterprise, said: “This investment establishes Glasgow as a key global site for Barclays, providing a platform for growth whilst also securing existing operations in Scotland.

“It will breathe new life into a part of the city with huge potential and bring significant new jobs, including employment specifically for disadvantaged workers.”

Buchanan Wharf is a major mixed-use scheme currently being developed by Drum Property Group.

Drum managing director Graeme Bone said the project was “setting a new benchmark for large scale development across Scotland”

He added: “Our development will be one of Scotland's largest single-site construction projects, bringing together over a million square feet of prime Grade A office space with residential accommodation, and an exciting mix of amenities and landscaped public spaces.”

 

 

Analysis by Douglas Fraser, BBC Scotland business/economy editor
The prospect of up to 2,500 more Barclays jobs in Glasgow is very good news for the city in several ways, but it should also be treated with some caution:

It is a decision being made by an employer that isn't taking a risk on Glasgow's workforce, but making a judgement on a pool of labour that it already knows well. That's a big vote of confidence.

It sends a strong signal to others in the sector to look to the Scottish workforce for back office and technology roles, including those at the higher end.

That's particularly true of those looking to move to locations with lower costs than London. HSBC has chosen Birmingham for a new base.

The message will travel beyond an audience of senior managers in the UK. While other banks have shrunk their global ambitions, Barclays is making its strategic choices across three continents.

The city centre is badly in need of a regenerative lift, particularly the Tradeston district, where too many blocks are empty or decaying.
The move will focus attention more on the riverfront, which has had substantial investment, but has not yet become a focus for city life.

The outline plan for Buchanan Wharf is to have enough office space for 7,000 people, and 300 new homes, so in time, Barclays' development ought to bring along that additional capacity.

But two words of caution: the numbers are “up to 2,500 jobs”. And as some of them are being relocated from London and possibly elsewhere, Glasgow will still have to fight and make its case if that potential number is to be reached.

The other: banking is changing very fast, and the pace is about to pick up. Many jobs are vulnerable to being replaced by technological advances.

While some of those will be developed by Barclays' workforce in Glasgow, those working in the sector can't afford to be complacent. Expect continuing employment churn.

 

Ryanair warns of job losses in countries where it faces strike action


Wikimedia/Arpingstone

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Mon, 23rd July 2018) London, Uk – –

The low-cost airline has cancelled more than 300 flights ahead of strikes in Belgium, Portugal and Spain.

Ryanair has warned jobs could be lost as it cuts the number of planes stationed in some of the countries where it faces strike action.

It made the threat as first-quarter profit slumped by a fifth amid rising oil prices and employment costs, including a 20% pay increase for pilots.

The Irish low-cost carrier said profit fell 20% to €319m (£284.8m) in the first three months of its financial year to 30 June, compared to a profit of €397m in the same period a year earlier.

Ryainair, which was forced to recognise unions in December for the first time in its 32-year history, is facing strikes in many of the countries it operates in over pay and conditions.

Irish pilots are expected to strike for the third time on Tuesday and Belgian, Portugese and Spanish cabin crews are to strike on 25 and 26 July.

Over 300 flights have been cancelled from its daily schedule of 2,400 on Wednesday and Thursday.

“While we continue to actively engage with pilot and cabin crew unions across Europe, we expect further strikes over the peak summer period as we are not prepared to concede to unreasonable demands that will compromise either our low fares or our highly efficient model,” the company said in a statement.

It continued: “If these unnecessary strikes continue to damage customer confidence and forward prices/yields in certain country markets then we will have to review our winter schedule, which may lead to fleet reductions at disrupted bases and job losses in markets where competitor employees are interfering in our negotiations with our people and their unions.

“We cannot allow our customers flights to be unnecessarily disrupted by a tiny minority of pilots.”

First quarter “staff costs increased by 34% primarily due to pilot 20% pay increases, 9% more flight hours and a 3% general pay increase for non-flight staff,” the airline said in a statement.

It has also been forced to cancel more than 2,500 flights due to air traffic control staff shortages in the UK, Germany and Greece and strikes in France, which added to its costs, the company said.

It added: “Fuel prices have risen substantially from $50pbl (per barrel) at this time last year to almost $80pbl in Q1. While we are 90% hedged at $58pbl our unhedged balance will see our full year fuel bill increase by at least €430m.”

Ryanair's stock fell more than 5% in early trading as it warned average fares would lower than expected during the summer due to increased competition and strikes.