(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Mon, 31st Aug 2020) London, UK —
LONDON (Reuters) – British broadcaster ITV (ITV.L) is set to be expelled from the FTSE 100 .FTSE blue-chip index after its shares have fallen by about 60% this year, hit hard by an advertising slump triggered by the coronavirus crisis.
Index manager FTSE Russell placed ITV on its “indicative FTSE 100 deletions” list on Aug. 26 and said it would make a final announcement on Wednesday, based on the data collected at Tuesday’s close.
ITV's market capitalisation, by far the weakest in the benchmark index, amounts to 2.4 billion pounds ($3.19 billion) and is smaller than those of dozens of companies in the mid-cap FTSE 250 index .FTMC.
Given the huge valuation gap between ITV and its FTSE 100 peers, there is little doubt the broadcaster will be demoted to the FTSE 250.
Retailer B&M European Value Retail (BMEB.L), worth 4.7 billion pounds on the London stock market, was indicated as the only likely entrant to the FTSE 100 by FTSE Russell.
ITV, the UK’s biggest free-to-air commercial broadcaster, this month reported a 43% decline in advertising revenue in the second quarter. That fuelled a 17% decline in external revenue in the first six months of the year.
Advertising revenue in July was down 23%. While that represented an improvement from the 42% drop in June, the outlook remains uncertain, ITV said.
The broadcaster, the studios unit of which produces popular dramas such as “Coronation Street” and “Emmerdale”, did not provide financial guidance for the year.
“The COVID-19 pandemic limits the company’s ability to create and show new content and thus attract advertising, although the longer-term trend of competition from streaming services and rival broadcast technologies is a huge factor as well”, Russ Mould, an analyst at broker AJ Bell, said in a note last week.
Shares in ITV were not trading on Monday because of a UK public holiday but closed at 60.72 pence on Friday.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 31st Aug 2020) London, Uk – –
The fee for plastic shopping bags in England will be doubled to 10p and extended to all shops from April 2021.
Small retailers – those employing 250 people or fewer – will no longer be exempt, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.
Environment Secretary George Eustice described the UK as “a world-leader in this global effort”.
Greenpeace said the move was “a small step in the right direction” but urged the government to go further.
The environmental group called for “fast and substantial reductions on plastic pollution” beyond the issue of carrier bags.
Mr Eustice described the original 5p charge at large retailers as a “tremendous success” and said the increase to 10p should be seen alongside other measures such as the ban on plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds in England.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he had somewhere between six and 10 bags for life at his home but did sometimes purchase carriers when he forgot them.
The increase in charge for single-use bags will encourage the sale and use of bags for life, he added.
In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, all retailers – including smaller shops – already charge a minimum of 5p for plastic bags.
It was introduced first in Wales in 2011, then in Northern Ireland in 2013, before Scotland introduced the charge for all carrier bags in 2014, and England rolled out its plastic bag charge on 5 October 2015.
A public consultation in England last year saw the “vast majority” of people back government plans to raise the fee, in a bid to further reduce the plastic used by consumers.
Since the fee was introduced in England, an estimated 15 billion bags have been taken out of circulation, with studies demonstrating the levy has had an impact on reducing plastic waste on beaches and in the sea.
In 2014, 7.6 billion bags were given away to customers at England's seven largest supermarkets, the equivalent of 140 per member of the population.
Between 2017 and 2018 just over a billion bags were sold at major supermarkets across the UK.
Smaller retailers in England supply about 3.6 billion single-use bags annually.
Last December, the Association of Convenience Stores estimated about half of the small shops it represents in England are currently charging for plastic bags.
The government “expects” retailers to donate proceeds from plastic bag sales to good causes – but it's not compulsory. According to Defra, an estimated £51m was donated in 2017-18.
But while the vast majority of retailers chose to donate their plastic bag revenue – in line with government expectations – some chose to keep the money instead.
Greenpeace welcomed the fee increase, but said plastic carriers bags were only “one part of the problem” and the government should be considering taking action on plastic bags-for-life.
Greenpeace's Sam Chetan-Welsh said: “By raising the price of plastic bags again the government is taking a small step in the right direction, but by now they should be taking great strides.”
He added there were “so many ways ministers know they could be driving fast and substantial reductions on plastic pollution”.
“If they're increasing costs for shoppers, ministers really have no excuse not to increase costs for the companies that are responsible for the escalating volumes of single-use plastic packaging in the first place.”
Earlier this month, supermarket Morrisons initiated a trial offering paper bags instead of reusable plastic ones, with the aim of ditching all plastic bags from its stores.
Responding to the forthcoming fee hike, CPRE – the countryside charity – said it was time to “step up and face the war on plastic”.
“Government should bring in charges on all single-use, throwaway items – from takeaway cups to wooden forks,” said Tom Fyans, deputy chief executive.
“Incentivising re-use systems and finally committing to an all-in Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers are the only ways the government can achieve a litter-free countryside and win the war on waste.”
A review on how the Global elite, ultra-wealthy and billionaires, travel through Heathrow Airport. The Heathrow VIP service was bought to our attention by our investors and we thought it would be a good idea to tag along and find out more about how the service operated and how the richest people around the World traveled when flying from Heathrow Airport. Yes you can go from Luton via your private jet – but this level of luxury is really second to none.
Plastics recycling is failing, and the plastics industry is betting big on a technology called chemical recycling to save it. This tech can supposedly convert any type of used plastic into plastic that's as good as new. But skepticism abounds.
Grab a snack and chew on today's lessons from a man who went from writing a play in high school after a classmate was shot and killed to playing Jackie Robinson in movie 42 and being the Black Panther. He's Chadwick Boseman and here's my take on his Top 10 Rules for Success!
Dippin' Dots has famously been marketed as “The Ice Cream of the Future”. There was a time where I completely believed that statement but I can admit when I'm wrong. Dippin' Dots filed for bankruptcy in 2011 but have since made a respectable comeback. This video talks about the ups and downs of the business behind this unique product.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Fri, 28th Aug 2020) London, Uk – –
Guardian analysis shows pace of job cuts on back of Covid-19 crisis remains the concern
Britain’s economic recovery from Covid-19 gathered pace in the past month, fuelled by consumer spending and people taking advantage of the government’s “eat out to help out” scheme, despite fears mounting over rapid growth in unemployment.
On the Guardian’s latest monthly tracker of economic news since the pandemic spread to Britain this spring, the release of pent-up demand with the easing of lockdown is driving the sharpest rebound in economic growth among the G7 advanced economies, while retail spending has returned to pre-crisis levels.
However, after the country plunged into the deepest recession on record in the three months to June, companies have started making job cuts at a faster pace than during the 2008 global financial crisis, with hundreds of thousands of redundancies announced in the past few weeks alone.
Sounding the alarm as the UK government prepares to remove its furlough job retention scheme this autumn, Frances O’Grady, the director general of the TUC, warned that continued support would be required to avert a jobs catastrophe and long-term damage to the economy.
Writing in the Guardian, she said: “Without urgent action we face the prospect of mass unemployment on a scale not seen since the 1980s.”
Issuing an appeal to the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, she said: “There is still time to stop mass unemployment. We worked together once before as this crisis began: I will work with you again if you are serious at stemming the haemorrhage of jobs.”
The Guardian has chosen eight economic indicators, as well as the level of the FTSE 100, to track the impact on jobs and growth from Covid-19 and the measures used to contain it. Faced with the deepest global recession since the 1930s Great Depression, the Covid Crisis watch will also monitor how the UK is faring compared with other countries.
In the past month, private sector business activity has risen at the fastest pace in seven years as companies race to catch up on work put on hold during lockdown. The increase in demand for services and manufactured goods, which followed the easing of restrictions during the summer, sent the IHS Markit CIPS flash UK composite output index to 60.3 in August, up from 57 in July. On a scale where a figure above 50 indicates expansion, the latest figures suggest the UK is recovering faster than the US, China and the eurozone.
The recovery comes after Britain was officially confirmed to be in the deepest recession since modern records began in the 1950s, with gross domestic product (GDP) falling by 20.4% in the second quarter.
In the deepest decline of any nation in the G7 and the EU, the slump was worsened by the later launch of lockdown and prolonged use of controls to limit the spread of the virus. In a reflection of the deeper downturn for Britain, non-essential shops were closed for just 50 days in Germany, compared with 84 days in the UK.
Retail sales jumped above pre-pandemic levels in July during the first full month since the relaxation of restrictions, as shoppers gradually returned to the high street. The hospitality sector also received a shot in the arm from the “eat out to help out” scheme, with a Monday-to-Wednesday boom at restaurants, pubs and cafes in August. More than 64m discounted meals – the equivalent of one for almost every person in Britain – have been claimed by venues taking part in the scheme so far.
However, significant pressure remains for firms, threatening a sharp increase in unemployment this autumn. Online spending remains higher than before the crisis struck, footfall remains down in several big cities amid the continued absence of office workers, and demand remains weak in certain sectors more reliant on social interaction or travel, such as entertainment, aviation and tourism.
Millions of workers have been brought back from furlough as firms gradually reopen with physical distancing measures in place, with the total number of people on the government’s wage subsidy scheme down from a peak of about 9 million in May to about 4.5 million at the start of August.https://www.theguardian.com/email/form/plaintone/3887Sign up to the daily Business Today email or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDeskAdvertisement
However, more than half of the workforce in the arts, entertainment and recreation industry remains furloughed, compared with only 13% still away from work for the economy as a whole, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Despite the government scheme protecting millions of jobs, official figures show almost three-quarters of a million jobs have been shed from company payrolls since March. Economists say unemployment is set to more than double as the government rolls back the furlough scheme this autumn and as firms cut their costs amid weaker levels of demand while Covid-19 remains a risk to health.
Warning that the crisis is far from over, O’Grady said employers would need continued government support to protect jobs and create new ones as the risks from the pandemic gradually recede.
“Mass unemployment is not inevitable. If the government acts fast to keep people in work, our economy will recover faster and our country can build back better,” she said.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 28th Aug 2020) London, Uk – –
Gatwick airport says passenger numbers fell by 14.7 million, or two-thirds, in the first half of the year as air travel collapsed amid the pandemic.
The airport, which announced job losses earlier this week, also posted a £344m loss as sales fell across its business.
Despite signs of recovery, Gatwick said it expected air traffic and passenger numbers to remain under pressure.
It also warned passenger levels would take between four and five years to recover to pre-Covid levels.
The West Sussex airport has been hard-hit by the pandemic. Virgin Atlantic has said it will cease operating at Gatwick, while British Airways has shifted its short-haul flights to Heathrow and is cutting hundreds of ground staff jobs at the airport.
The number of travellers at Gatwick dropped by 66% to 7.5 million during the six months to June.
Gatwick said this was “due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the effects of which began to be felt during February, increasing significantly in March and causing a near-complete drop in volume during April, May and June 2020”.
Pre-tax losses in the first half of the year hit £343.9m compared with a £59.4m profit a year earlier. Sales more than halved to £144.2m.
Gatwick Airport chief executive Stewart Wingate said: “Like any other international airport, the negative impact of Covid-19 on our passenger numbers and air traffic at the start of the year was dramatic and, although there are small signs of recovery, it is a trend we expect to continue to see.”
The company also said: “The recovery period to pre-pandemic traffic levels is forecast to be four to five years.”
Gatwick has already announced plans to cut 600 jobs. About 75% of staff are currently on the government's furlough scheme, which is due to end in October.
‘Use it or lose it'
Despite announcing plans to cease operations at Gatwick, struggling airline Virgin Atlantic said it planned to retain its slots at the airport to “enable a return in future years as demand recovers”.
In the meantime, Virgin Atlantic intends to lease slots to rival carrier Norwegian. But on Friday, Norwegian itself admitted that it might need more financial help in order to survive.
Norwegian chief executive Jacob Schram said: “We are thankful for the loan guarantee made available to us by the Norwegian government which we worked hard to obtain.
“However, given the current market conditions it is not enough to get through this prolonged crisis.”
Wizz Air has been lobbying to increase its number of flights from Gatwick from one to 20.
But the Hungarian airline said it was being stopped from expansion because the European Union relaxed its “use-it-or-lose-it” slot restriction rules. This allows airlines to hang onto the slots despite not using them.
Wizz Air co-founder and chief executive József Váradi told the BBC's Today programme: “We are talking to the regulators, we are talking to decision makers at EU level as well as country-level. We are saying that the relaxation of the slots rules is not fair and it distorts the market, it distorts a level playing field.”
He said: “We would be ready to move, we would be ready to invest, ready to create jobs. It was just announced Gatwick is going to lose 600 jobs as a result of airlines' inability to scale back. We would reverse that.”
(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 27th Aug 2020) London, UK —
LONDON (Reuters) – British aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce (RR.L) said it would sell assets to try to raise at least 2 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) as it battles to shore up a balance sheet ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic and slump in travel.
Rolls-Royce plunged to a record loss before tax of 5.4 billion pounds ($7.14 billion) in the first half of 2020 and, compounding its woes, finance chief Stephen Daintith resigned, although said he would stay for a transition period.
The company said it would continue to look at options to bolster its finances even after asset sales. But asked about a possible rights issue, Daintith said Rolls-Royce had a good level of liquidity and a plan to cut costs.
“We’re not going to be drawn on any particular option for strengthening the balance sheet. We’re taking our time, considering carefully,” he told reporters on Thursday.
JP Morgan analysts said a rights issue was needed: “In our view only a very major capital raise would put Rolls-Royce on a sound footing.”
Rolls-Royce shares dropped 9% in early trading. The stock is down 66% this year, giving it a market capitalisation of 4.54 billion pounds.
As the company is an important supplier to the UK government on military programmes, there has been media speculation that Britain could be forced to rescue it.
“Probably the most important thing that government can do is help get people flying again,” CEO Warren East said, when asked about potential state help.
Planes stopped flying for months in coronavirus lockdowns earlier this year and travel remains at a much lower level than before the pandemic, hitting Rolls-Royce as airlines pay it based on how many hours engines fly.
Flying hours were down 70-75% in May, June and July, and the company warned of considerable uncertainty over the timing and shape of a recovery.
To boost its coffers, Rolls-Royce said it planned to sell ITP Aero, which is based in Spain and makes turbine blades for jet engines, and other assets to raise at least 2 billion pounds over the next 18 months.
The group will also consolidate its aerospace manufacturing facilities into six locations from 11, and said 4,000 job cuts had already been made at its civil aerospace unit of the 9,000 announced in May – part of this year’s 1 billion pound cost cutting plan.
Daintith is set to move to retail technology firm Ocado (OCDO.L) and Rolls-Royce said the search for a successor was underway.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Thur, 27th Aug 2020) London, Uk – –
In a letter to staff Meyer cited a ‘sharply changed’ political environment, after Donald Trump ordered ByteDance to sell up within 90 days
Kevin Mayer is stepping down from TikTik after just months in the job.
Tik Tok’s chief executive, Kevin Mayer, has quit just months after his appointment, amid a “sharply changed” political environment after Donald Trump accused the platform of threatening national security.
The Financial Times reported on Thursday that the former Disney executive would be replaced in the interim by Vanessa Pappas, the general manager. In a letter to staff, parts of which have been seen by the Guardian, Mayer said he had decided to leave after Trump ordered TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, to sell its US assets to a US company within 90 days.
“In recent weeks, as the political environment has sharply changed, I have done significant reflection on what the corporate structural changes will require, and what it means for the global role I signed up for,” the letter said. TikTok suing Trump administration over executive orderRead more
“Against this backdrop, and as we expect to reach a resolution very soon, it is with a heavy heart that I wanted to let you all know that I have decided to leave the company.”
The Financial Times quoted an excerpt from the letter that said: “I understand that the role that I signed up for – including running TikTok globally – will look very different as a result of the US administration’s action to push for a sell off of the US business.”
Mayer said TikTok expected a resolution to Trump’s orders “very soon”.
TikTok said in a statement it thanked Mayer for his time and wished him well. “We appreciate that the political dynamics of the last few months have significantly changed what the scope of Kevin’s role would be going forward, and fully respect his decision,” it said.
US tech companies including Microsoft, Twitter and Oracle, have expressed interest or announced talks with ByteDance to acquire some of TikTok’s operations outside China.
TikTok’s Chinese ownership has raised concern about the potential for sharing user data with Chinese officials as well as censorship of videos critical of the Chinese Communist Party government. TikTok says it does not censor videos and it would not give the Chinese government access to US user data.
In early August Trump threatened to ban TikTok on the basis of national security concerns.
He later issued a pair of executive orders banning US transactions with the Chinese companies that own TikTok and also WeChat, saying the US must take “aggressive action” in the interest of national security. TikTok is suing the US government over the executive orders.
In a blog post it said “the company does not take suing the government lightly, however we feel we have no choice but to take action to protect our rights, and the rights of our community and employees.”
“In our complaint we make clear that we believe the Administration ignored our extensive efforts to address its concerns, which we conducted fully and in good faith even as we disagreed with the concerns themselves.”
(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Wed,26th Aug 2020) London, Uk – –
Fifty of the biggest UK employers questioned by BBC have said they have no plans to return all staff to the office full-time in the near future.
Some 24 firms said that they did not have any plans in place to return workers to the office.
However, 20 have opened their offices for staff unable to work from home.
It comes as many employees return to work from the summer holidays with the reality of a prolonged period of home working becoming increasingly likely.
The BBC questioned 50 big employers ranging from banks to retailers to get a sense of when they expected to ask employees to return to the office.
One of the main reasons given for the lack of a substantial return was that firms could not see a way of accommodating large numbers of staff while social distancing regulations were still in place.
Many companies said they were offering choice and flexibility to those who want to return, particularly in the banking and finance sectors.
A few firms have already announced they have no plans to return to the office until late autumn, and Facebook has said it does not plan a return of employees until July 2021.
Some smaller businesses are deciding to abandon their offices altogether. Tara Tomes runs a PR agency with an office in the heart of Birmingham's business district.
Her team of eight cannot fit in the space they have if they are to obey social distancing guidelines and she will not be renewing the office lease in September.
“I personally don't want to force my team back onto public transport,” she told the BBC.
“Not having four walls around us won't change the dynamic or culture of the team. If anything it will make us more pioneering in the way the world of work is going.”
She said that the money saved on rent and utilities and the time spent not commuting were other benefits to giving up the office.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street acknowledged that the challenges facing city centre businesses were grave but said he was hopeful the climate would gradually improve.
“This is undeniably a very difficult situation for businesses that thrive on the back of the big office occupiers being there. What we are trying to do is steadily build confidence that it is safe to return to the city centre.”
He said Birmingham's transport system was currently carrying about 20% of pre-covid numbers but that he hoped this would rise to 50% over the autumn.
Still, that means that city centre footfall – which is the lifeblood of businesses that rely on office workers and commuters – would in the best case scenario be half of what it is in normal times.
That may be cold comfort to Naomi and her brother James who opened up a new coffee shop in the heart of Birmingham's business district earlier this year. They are now getting less than a fifth of the trade they were banking on.
“It's been devastating really,” Naomi told the BBC. “Office workers are absolutely critical to us. We are hoping things improve in September but if they don't we will have to rethink the whole business.”
It is, however, too soon to announce the death of the office, according to Rob Groves from office developer Argent, which has just completed the construction of 120,000 feet of office space in Birmingham's Chamberlain Square.
While he admitted that some would-be tenants were pressing the pause button, he also insisted there would always be a need for a workplace where people could congregate and collaborate.
“I'd like to challenge people saying they will never need an office and ask them in 12-18 months time whether that was the right decision or just a reaction to what's happening now.”
One of Argent's blue chip tenants agrees. Accounting and consultancy firm PwC has just moved into the property next door. It is supposed to house 2,000 people but is currently catering to just 150 each day.
Nevertheless, Matthew Hammond, chairman of the Midlands region for PwC, said that the office was a must have, particularly for younger workers.
“We have colleagues who may be working at the end of their bed or on a return unit in their kitchen. That is not sustainable or healthy for the longer term. As employers we invest a huge amount in providing the right environment, the right seating, the right technology so people can be at their most productive.”
Not everyone has deep enough pockets to afford such flexible working spaces. While many employees want the option of coming to the office, many now see home working as a right, according to Midlands recruitment specialist Kam Vara.
“For many candidates it's now a deal-breaker if there isn't an option for home working, and some are saying they want 100% home working with no physical contact with the office whatsoever.”
The knock-on effects of these changes to the world of work could be enormous and long lasting. If people don't need to be in the office, they can be anywhere. And the cost of commuter season tickets and expensive suburban housing within commuting distance of big cities is an expense employers could deduct.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street is optimistic that what we are witnessing is simply an age old tale of urban evolution, with Covid-19 holding down the fast forward button.
“The calling of the death of the office is very premature. Cities have repurposed themselves before over decades… the coronavirus has just speeded it up.”
That may be so, but the short term shock to the city business model feels more like a cardiac arrest than a gentle evolution. And the reluctance on the part of both workers and employers to return to the office poses a grave economic threat to the future of city centres.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Wed, 26th Aug 2020) London, Uk – –
The Manchester-based technology company will this week signal its plan to float in London, Sky News learns.
The co-founder of The Hut Group, the digital consumer brands retailer, could land one of the biggest payouts in British corporate history from an incentive scheme to be disclosed this week alongside plans for a £4.5bn stock market flotation.
Sky News can reveal details of a long-standing share plan that could hand more than £700m-worth of shares to Matthew Moulding, the company's executive chairman, if it achieves a market capitalisation of £7.25bn by December 2022.
Mr Moulding, who helped establish The Hut Group in 2004 and has since grown it into a giant of Britain's digital economy employing 7000 people, already owns a significant minority stake in the company.
City sources said that The Hut Group would announce as soon as Thursday a plan to file its intention to float on the London Stock Exchange, with details of the incentive plan to be disclosed in its prospectus.
The company has pencilled in September 16 for its shares to begin trading, they added.
In order for the massive incentive scheme to pay out, it would require an uplift in The Hut Group's value after its initial public offering (IPO) of well over 30% during a relatively brief period that could be affected by souring investor sentiment about Brexit and COVID-19, according to insiders.
The Manchester-based business has become one of Britain's biggest technology success stories, being feted by politicians during its 16-year history including Boris Johnson, the prime minister, and David Cameron, one of his predecessors.
It owns cosmetics brands such as Christophe Robin, ESPA and Eyeko, and sells third-party branded products such as those made by Glossybox and LookFantastic.
Investors are particularly enthusiastic about its role as a third-party logistics and infrastructure provider, powering some of the world's biggest consumer brand-owners – including Johnson & Johnson, Nestle, Procter & Gamble and Walgreens Boots Alliance – through its tech platform THG Ingenuity.
Its IPO, which will be the biggest City float of 2020, will involve The Hut Group selling between £500m and £900m of new shares to institutional investors.
People involved in the deal said the company had already seen demand for shares from potential backers of well over £1bn, reflecting a conviction about the company's long-term growth prospects.
Institutions have been briefed on the incentive plans that could hand Mr Moulding the massive share windfall, and are broadly said to be comfortable with the proposals.
One insider added that more than 500 employees of The Hut Group “from the warehouse to the boardroom” had been given equity in the business, with roughly 200 participating in the scheme that could vest in just over two years' time.
By floating, the company would have created more millionaires than any other in British corporate history, he claimed.
Under the incentive scheme, Mr Moulding's stake would not rise above 25%, meaning that after being diluted in the IPO, the maximum he is likely to be awarded would be approximately 10% of the company – which at a £7.25bn market value would be worth £725m.
That would be in addition to an existing shareholding worth more than £1bn, propelling the entrepreneur firmly into the upper ranks of Britain's super-rich.
One investor cautioned that the final figure could be higher, with other employees also in line to receive – in aggregate – several hundred million pounds in shares.
The incentive stock would lapse if the market valuation threshold is not met, they added.
It would be one of the richest share schemes ever implemented by a UK-based public company, and dwarf that of Boohoo, the online fashion retailer which in June unveiled plans to award top managers shares worth £150m if its shares rose by two-thirds over a three-year period.
If The Hut Group shares do vest, the scale of such a payout may provoke controversy in the wake of a period when hundreds of thousands of workers have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Nevertheless, allies of Mr Moulding point to the thousands of jobs created, and millions of pounds in taxes paid, by The Hut Group since it was set up.
A source said The Hut Group's share scheme had been put in place three years ago to compensate Mr Moulding and other employees for the dilution of their stakes when early investors including Balderton Capital injected money into the company in 2010.
KKR, the private equity giant which became a shareholder in 2014, is among the investors keen to cash out in the IPO
The Hut Group is understood to have opted to list in London despite protracted overtures from international exchanges, including New York's Nasdaq, which successfully lured the British-based online fashion business Farfetch last year.
As part of its IPO, the company has handed Mr Moulding a ‘founder share' that would enable him to veto any hostile takeover bid for the company for a limited period.
That structure, which has been developed in conjunction with the City's listing authorities and is widely deployed at US-listed companies, will lead to The Hut Group having a standard, rather than premium, listing.
One investor said The Hut Group's flotation would be “a rare bright spot for the City amid the worst IPO drought for more than a decade”.
“It's a sign that the LSE is keen to become more attractive to entrepreneurial businesses, and reverse the flow of UK tech companies listing on Nasdaq.
In its first year of operation, The Hut Group recorded £1m in sales, a figure which had grown by 2019 to £1.14bn, with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £114m.
In recent months, The Hut Group has held detailed talks with some of the world's leading technology funds about a private or public fundraising.
Seven banks, led by Citi and JPMorgan, have been appointed to work on the IPO.
The float's accelerated timetable is said to have scuppered plans to offer retail investors the opportunity to participate in the share sale, sources said.
A spokesman for The Hut Group declined to comment on Wednesday.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Tue, 25th Aug 2020) London, Uk – –
Global fast food giant KFC says it is halting its “Finger Lickin' Good” slogan given the current hygiene advice because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We find ourselves in a unique situation – having an iconic slogan that doesn't quite fit in the current environment,” the company said.
It has altered its packaging with the phrase obscured but KFC said the phrase would return when the time was right.
KFC outlets closed temporarily in March, but most have now reopened.
The company revealed its new look through a YouTube video, showing the slogan pixelated on posters and its food “buckets”, saying: “That thing we always say? Ignore it. For now.”
Some people commented on social media the slogan was not a health hazard as you were already eating with your own hands.
But the finger-lickin' message has caused concern since the pandemic began. In March, the Advertising Standards Authority received 163 complaints about a KFC TV advert which featured people licking their fingers.
The complainants considered the advert was irresponsible because they thought it encouraged behaviour that might increase the chances of Covid-19 spreading. The advert was withdrawn by KFC.
KFC, which was founded in the 1930s by Harland Saunders, opened its first franchise in the 1950s and has used the Finger Lickin' Good slogan since then.
It dropped the slogan in the late 1990s but brought it back in 2008.
KFC has 22,500 outlets around the world – 900 in the UK and Ireland. It is owned by Yum! brands, which also owns Pizza Hut.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Tue, 25th Aug 2020) London, UK —
LONDON (Reuters) – Virgin Atlantic’s creditors will vote on a 1.2 billion pound rescue plan on Tuesday in a crucial test of the airline’s ability to survive in an industry devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Virgin Atlantic agreed the deal with shareholders and creditors in July to secure its future beyond the coronavirus crisis.
The airline, which is 51% owned by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and 49% by U.S. airline Delta (DAL.N), said it remains confident in the restructuring plan and is on track to finalise its solvent recapitalisation in the first week of September.
Tuesday’s vote of affected trade creditors includes nearly 200 suppliers that the airline owes more than 50,000 pounds to. It needs 75% support of the overall outstanding value of money owed at a hearing at London’s High Court.
If successful, another UK court hearing will be held on Sept 2 to approve the plan, and a procedural hearing is scheduled for Sept 3 in the United States.
Should the creditors fail to support the plan, the judge can still rule that it is in their interests for it to go ahead.
Virgin Atlantic has had to close its base at London’s Gatwick Airport and cut more than 3,500 jobs to contend with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has grounded planes and hammered demand for air travel.
Global airline body IATA has said that the industry will not return to pre-crisis levels until 2024.
Although the likes of Germany and the United States have given bailouts to major carriers, Virgin Atlantic agreed a private-only restructuring deal after Britain said state support would only be considered after all other avenues had been exhausted.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 24th Aug 2020) London, Uk – –
Tesco will create 16,000 new jobs after lockdown led to “exceptional growth” in its online business.
The new posts will include 10,000 staff to pick customer orders from shelves and 3,000 delivery drivers.
Tesco, the UK's largest supermarket chain, said it expected many of the roles to go to staff who joined them on a temporary basis at the start of the pandemic.
More new posts could be created “in the coming months”, the firm said.
Supermarkets scrambled to meet a surge in demand for online deliveries while the UK was in lockdown. Tesco said online customer numbers had risen from around 600,000 at the start of the pandemic to nearly 1.5m.
Before the pandemic, around 9% of Tesco's sales were online. Now online sales are 16% of sales, and expected to be worth over £5.5bn this year, the company said.
It comes at a time when competition in the sector is intensifying with Amazon launching more services that supply Morrisons groceries within a few hours of ordering.
Tesco has already created 4,000 new permanent roles since March. The new roles are permanent and a mixture of full and part-time.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Mon, 24th Aug 2020) London, Uk – –
Route delayed by coronavirus saves hour-long passport and security check in Brussels
Eurostar is to launch its eagerly awaited direct Amsterdam to London service on 26 October, it announced on Monday.
The high-speed rail service had been due to start at the end of April but was delayed following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
The cross-Channel rail operator launched the London to Amsterdam route in April 2018, but until now the return leg of the journey meant a change in Brussels to allow for passport controls and security screening, adding about an hour to the journey time.
Eurostar said the new journey time to London is just over four hours (4h 9m) from Amsterdam and three and a half hours (3h 29m) from Rotterdam. Initially just two trains a day will operate, with services likely to be increased next year.
Tickets will go on sale from 1 September, priced at £40 each way. They can be booked up to February of 2021, allowing passengers to plan a Christmas or New Year break in the Dutch capital.
The introduction of the service comes amid uncertainty because of ongoing travel restrictions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The UK government has removed the Netherlands from its list of countries people can travel to without having to quarantine on their return.
Travellers who arrive back in the UK from the Netherlands after 15 August have to self-isolate for 14 days under coronavirus safety measures. Eurostar says it will offer more flexible booking options, including accepting changes to any booking at no cost up to 14 days before departure.
Eurostar claims to offer a more sustainable way to travel to mainland Europe, with a journey between London and Amsterdam resulting in 80% less carbon per passenger than the equivalent flight.
The operator has also suspended its popular seasonal South France route – to Avignon and Marseille – until 2022, in order to focus on routes between London, Paris and Brussels which have the highest demand and shorter journey times. It operates up to five daily return trains between London and Paris and up to two to Brussels.
Delta Technical Operations in Atlanta fixes commercial jets for Delta and 150 customers, including the military and other airlines. The bustling operation runs 24-7, repairing everything from landing gear to $32 million engines. Business Insider goes inside TechOps to see how technicians nurse complex jet engines back to health.
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(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Fri, 21st Aug 2020) London, Uk – –
Holdup only partly down to pause in construction because of Covid-19, TfL says
Crossrail, the mass-transit train line through London, has been further delayed until 2022 and gone another £450m over budget.
Transport for London said that the temporary pause in construction and ensuing slowdown because of Covid-19 distancing requirements had only partially contributed to the latest delays, which mean the Elizabeth line will open more than three years late and cost almost £4bn more than originally budgeted.
The announcement follows a Crossrail board meeting, which concluded that any 2021 opening date was an unrealistic target, only a month after it ruled out opening next summer.
Crossrail said it was working to finalise the cost estimates and the exact budget remains unclear, with additional Network Rail costs due to be factored in, but that it was at least £450m more than the estimated range in November 2019, which would make the current expected budget up to £18.7bn.Timeline
Crossrail – two decades of delays and rising costs
The giant infrastructure scheme had been planned to cost £14.8bn, with services across the heart of London to start operating in December 2018, but the problems in its delivery were formally admitted only months before the planned opening by the Queen was due to take place.
Crossrail’s chief executive, Mark Wild, said: “Our focus remains on opening the Elizabeth line as soon as possible. Now more than ever Londoners are relying on the capacity and connectivity that the Elizabeth line will bring and we are doing everything possible to deliver the railway as safely and quickly as we can.”
While delivery of the Elizabeth line was in its complex final stages, according to a Crossrail statement, the project was being completed at a time of great uncertainty because of the risk of more coronavirus outbreaks.
Crossrail admitted that construction had been slow, with “lower than planned productivity in the final completion and handover of the shafts and portals” of the line. It said it had also overestimated the speed at which it could finish and hand over the new stations built in central London. Covid-19 had exacerbated schedule pressures, it said, with constraints on how many people could work on site, currently reducing numbers by half to about 2,000 workers.
The business group London First described the delay as “disappointing but unsurprising” and said it should “not distract from the need for a fair and sustainable long-term funding solution for TfL”.
Crossrail hopes to start intensive testing of train services, or trial running, as soon as possible in 2021. Bond Street station remains incomplete and not ready to be part of the tests.https://www.theguardian.com/email/form/plaintone/3887Sign up to the daily Business Today email or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDesk
The scheme, when completed, is designed to carry up to 200 million passengers a year across the capital from beyond the far west of London to eastern suburbs. As well as relieving London’s normally congested tube system, it will eventually provide fast, direct links between Heathrow airport and Reading to central London, the financial districts, with branches to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.
The central underground section has been the major work, with 13 miles of new tunnels from Paddington to Abbey Wood. However, even when it finally opens, Crossrail has not squared when it can join up with the other two parts of the Elizabeth line, which have different signalling systems and already operate services on existing, overground rail lines.
For an unspecified period, passengers wishing to travel from the western end, from Reading and Heathrow, will have to change at the Paddington mainline station to join Elizabeth line services for central London and passengers on the eastern branch to Shenfield will have to change trains at Liverpool Street.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 21st Aug 2020) London, Uk – –
A post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and the EU “seems unlikely” at this stage, the bloc's negotiator has said.
Speaking after the latest round of talks, Michel Barnier said he was “disappointed” and “concerned”.
His UK counterpart David Frost spoke of “little progress”, amid differences on fisheries policy and state aid rules.
The EU has said it would like to agree a deal by October so it can be approved by the European Parliament before the post-Brexit transition period expires.
The transition period ends on 31 December and, if a deal has not been secured by then, the UK would have to trade with the EU on WTO (World Trade Organization) terms.
This means most UK goods would be subject to tariffs until a free trade deal was ready to be brought in.
The UK has said it will not extend talks if an agreement cannot be reached by the December deadline.
In a statement released after the seventh round of talks, Mr Frost said the EU had made it “unnecessarily difficult” to make progress by insisting that differences over state aid and fisheries have to be resolved before “substantive work can be done in any other area of the negotiation, including on legal texts”.
In a bid to break the deadlock, the UK has presented the EU with a draft legal text for a free-trade agreement.
Mr Frost, who reports directly to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said the UK was seeking a deal which “ensures we regain sovereign control of our own laws, borders, and waters”.
Frustration on both sides
By Nick Beake, Brussels correspondent
We were never expecting a big breakthrough this week. But the frustration and exasperation expressed publicly on both sides underlines how tough reaching a meaningful deal will be over the next six weeks.
For the UK, it's a frustration that the EU is not willing to commit to paper areas of agreement until the big stumbling blocks – fishing and state aid – are overcome.
For the EU, it's a frustration that the British continue to want the benefits of the single market – for UK hauliers, for example – without paying the membership fee or signing up to its rules.
Amid the talk of disappointment, time-wasting and a lack of compromise, both sides insist they do want a deal.
I'm told the latest round of discussions were courteous and friendly, with a warmth between the two chief negotiators facing each other – even if each is delivering an uncomfortable message.
They've been sitting in the other's gaze, but hardly seeing eye-to-eye.
“When the EU accepts this reality in all areas of the negotiation, it will be much easier to make progress,” he said.
A senior UK negotiating official added that a deal was “still possible but not that easy to get there”.
They also said it was “frustrating” that the EU “says Brexit means Brexit… yet they want us to continue with arrangements as though we were still [an EU] member”.
“Frustrating that they want us to move towards their position on fishing and state aid before doing anything else.”
Speaking at a press briefing in Brussels, Mr Barnier accused the UK side of “wasting valuable time”, suggesting the draft text was “useful” but downplaying its significance in reaching any agreement.
“Too often this week it felt as if we were going backwards more than forwards,” he said.
“Given the short time left, what I said in London in July remains true, today at this stage, an agreement between the UK and EU seems unlikely.”
While there had been progress on energy co-operation, participation in union programmes and anti-money laundering, on the subject of access to UK and EU fishing waters, there had been “no progress whatsoever”.
He also said the EU's demand for a level-playing field – one of the other sticking points in negotiations – was “a non-negotiable pre-condition to grant access to our market of 450 million citizens”.
A level-playing field is a trade policy term for a set of common rules and standards that prevent businesses in one country undercutting their rivals and gaining a competitive advantage over those operating in other countries.
The EU has been insistent there should be level-playing field for workers' rights, environmental protection, taxation and state aid.
The next round of talks is due to begin on 7 September in London.