How Global Trade Runs on U.S. Dollars

Source:WSJ

Nearly 90% of international transactions in 2019 were in U.S. dollars, giving the U.S. extraordinary power over nearly every entity that imports or exports anything anywhere. Here’s how the global economy runs on the U.S. dollar — and why some countries are trying to chip away at its dominance.

The $100 Million Milk Empire Built By Oatly

Source: CNBC

Oatly sat in relative obscurity in Sweden for its first 20 years. In 2012, the oat milk company brought in a new CEO, Toni Petersson, with a radical new vision for the brand and with a new look and a tasty product, Oatly set its sights on America.

Why Billionaire is the New Millionaire

Source: Alux

In this Alux.com video we'll try to answer the following questions: Why is billionaire the new millionare? How much money do you need to call yourself rich? What is middle-class? How do people get richer? How rich is the 1%? How rich is the 0.0001%? Who was the first millionaire? Who was the first billionaire? What is considered wealthy? How are the rich effecting the economy?

Jean Liu The Woman Who Drove Uber Out of China

Source: Bloomberg

Jean Liu is the president of Didi Chuxing, one of the world’s biggest ride-hailing services. Liu has overcome tough challenges in life: She drove Uber out of China and has survived breast cancer. But serious questions remain about her company and whether it can ever turn a profit.

Credit Suisse boss Tidjane Thiam resigns

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 7th Feb 2020) London, Uk – –

Credit Suisse boss Tidjane Thiam had to resign to protect the bank's reputation following a spying scandal, its chairman has said.

Mr Thiam is leaving the Swiss bank amid a reported power struggle with chairman Urs Rohner.

It emerged that two former employees had been put under surveillance, although Mr Thiam denied knowledge of the operations.

Mr Rohner said things “became more difficult” when a second case emerged.

Speaking to Swiss radio, Mr Rohner said Mr Thiam's departure was to maintain the bank's credibility, and denied there was ill-feeling between the two.

“At some point we realised that we couldn't get out of this situation unless we made a change and Tidjane Thiam understood that too,” he said.

Credit Suisse's board has unanimously backed Mr Rohner, despite high profile pledges of support for Mr Thiam from key investors.

The surveillance scandal initially came to light in September when a probe found the bank's former chief operating officer, Pierre-Olivier Bouée, had hired private detectives to track its former head of wealth management, Iqbal Khan.

Credit Suisse later admitted its former human resources head Peter Goerke had also been tailed, prompting an investigation by Swiss financial watchdog FINMA.

The bank's board unanimously accepted Mr Thiam's resignation.

This week a number of shareholders in Credit Suisse, such as Harris Associates, had backed Mr Thiam to stay on as chief executive and for Mr Rohner to go.

And on Wednesday, Mr Thiam posted a smiling photo of himself on Instagram with Credit Suisse's executive team.

However, the bank's board has thrown its support behind Mr Rohner.

Credit Suisse's lead independent director Severin Schwan said: “After careful deliberations, the board has been unanimous in its actions, as well as in reaffirming its full support for the chairman to complete his term until April 2021.”

Mr Rohner told Swiss broadcaster SRF on Friday: “I have spoken with many [shareholders], also with the big ones. Many have confirmed to me that they support the course of the board of directors.”

End of Instagram post by tidjane.thiam

Mr Thiam will leave on 14 February and is being replaced by Thomas Gottstein, who is head of the bank's Swiss business.

Relations between the chief executive and chairman had been increasingly strained following the spying scandal.

In a statement, Mr Thiam said: “I had no knowledge of the observation of two former colleagues.

” It undoubtedly disturbed Credit Suisse and caused anxiety and hurt. I regret that this happened and it should never have taken place.”

Analysis: Dharshini David

The spying scandal, which involved Iqbal Khan, Credit Suisse's former head of wealth management being chased through the streets of Zurich, rocked the rather staid world of Swiss banking, overshadowing Tidjane Thiam's attempts to overhaul the bank.

Mr Thiam and Mr Khan had previously been close allies, with the wealth management business a cornerstone in the chief executive's turnaround plan. He pivoted the bank away from riskier trading activities, stabilising revenue.

The scandal, which emerged after Mr Khan defected to rival UBS, claimed the jobs of two senior Credit Suisse executives and resulted in a probe from the regulators – but Mr Thiam was cleared of involvement at the time.

But as the accusations escalated, a showdown between Mr Thiam and the board ensued. Urs Rohner triumphed: the man responsible for appointing Mr Thiam also determined his departure. Tidjane Thiam has for many years been a high profile figure in the financial world, even resorting to Instagram to put his message out, and denies any wrongdoing

The bank's largest shareholders had publicly called for him to be retained; now the challenge for Credit Suisse is to persuade shareholders that his successor, bank veteran Thomas Gottstein, can continue to restore its fortunes.

Mr Thiam has had an illustrious and varied career. The French Ivorian studied in France and worked in management consultancy before serving as Ivory Coast's Minister of Planning and Development, until a military coup led to him being placed under house arrest.

He later became boss of financial services firms Aviva Europe and Prudential before joining Credit Suisse five years ago.

Mr Thiam had attempted to overhaul the Swiss bank, including increased focus on Mr Khan's wealth management division.

While he had initially praised and promoted Mr Khan, there were reports a personal animosity had developed.

This intensified after Mr Khan redeveloped a property near Lake Zurich neighbouring that of his boss.

Media reports suggested there was an altercation between Mr Khan and Mr Thiam's girlfriend at a cocktail party held by the chief executive at his home, over trees planted on Mr Thiam's property.

Shortly after that Mr Khan announced his departure from Credit Suisse.

It later emerged private detectives were hired to track him due to fears he might poach clients when he started work at UBS.

Mr Khan, after noticing he was being tailed, had confronted the person observing him.

Energy bills set to fall for millions of UK households

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – -Fri, 7th Feb 2020) London, Uk – –

Energy bills are to fall for millions of British households this April after the regulator lowered price caps.

Ofgem has reduced the default price cap and pre-payment meter cap by £17, which the regulator said would lower bills for about 15 million households.

The cap was introduced to protect customers on poor value default or standard variable tariffs.

Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley said households could get even lower bills by switching suppliers.

The default price cap, which protects about 11 million households, is set to fall from £1,179 to £1,162 for the April-September period.

The pre-payment meter cap, which protects a further 4 million households, will fall from £1,217 to £1,200 per year for the same six months.

Wholesale gas and electricity prices are currently at their lowest levels for about 10 years, and there had been speculation that Ofgem would make deeper cuts, of between £20-£60.

Ofgem said in its statement that “a strong supply of gas, such as record amounts of liquefied natural gas and healthy gas stock inventories, has been the main factor pushing down wholesale prices”.

Mr Brearley said the default price cap was designed to “protect consumers who do not switch from overpaying for their energy, whilst encouraging competition in the retail market”.

“Suppliers have been required to become more efficient and pass on savings to consumers. In its first year, the cap is estimated to have saved consumers £1bn on average on their energy bills and switching rates have hit record levels.

“Households can reduce their energy bills further by shopping around for a better deal,” he added.

Analysis: By Simon Gompertz

All those who usually get a bashing for high energy bills – company bosses, their regulator, ministers as well – are now hostages to this six monthly resetting of the price cap.

If it goes up they cower in their bunkers from the criticism. If it goes down they can step gingerly into the light and gain some respite.

This time they can claim not only that the cap has kept prices lower than they would otherwise be, but also that more customers are switching and that there is a bigger choice of cheaper deals than ever.

But complacency can be dangerous. There are still millions who haven't bothered to scour the market for the best offer.

If the cap is raised in future, they will be sitting ducks.

Ofgem has to consider over the summer whether the system is really working for them.

Then the government needs to decide not just if the price cap should continue next year, but also whether more action is needed to get people onto the lowest rates.

Earlier this week, data from consumer group Which? suggested that the number of energy deals priced at under £1,000 a year had surged over the past 12 months.

Which? looked at the availability of cheaper energy tariffs priced under £1,000 a year for a medium user. It found 78 deals available, compared with just 12 when the energy price cap was first introduced on 1 January 2019.

Ofgem, which reviews the price cap every six months, also said it would carry out a review this summer on whether the market conditions exist for the default price cap to be lifted or be extended past the current year.

The regulator has faced intense scrutiny from MPs and pressure groups to control price increases amid complaints that suppliers had been been overcharging for electricity and gas.

The UK's energy market is dominated by big six suppliers – Centrica's British Gas, new entrant Ovo Energy that has taken over SSE's retail arm, Iberdrola's Scottish Power, Innogy's Npower, E.On and EDF Energy.

UK new homes registered to be built hits 13-year high

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – -Fri, 6th Feb 2020) London, Uk – –

Rise of 1% to 161,022 properties in 2019 remains far short of government target

The number of new homes registered to be built in the UK last year rose 1% to a 13-year high – but is still far below the government’s target.

The National House Building Council (NHBC) said 161,022 homes were registered with the organisation last year, the highest level since the start of the financial crisis in 2007. The number of affordable or rental homes rose 13% to 48,936.

The government wants private housebuilders, housing associations and councils to ramp up annual construction to 300,000 a year by 2025.

The housing charity Shelter noted that the last time housebuilding was at that level was in 1969, when almost half was social housing delivered by councils.

Polly Neate, the chief executive of Shelter, said: “Relying on big developers to build unaffordable homes means the government is falling well short of their ambitious housebuilding targets … Right now, only a tiny fraction of new-build homes are genuinely affordable social rent homes – a paltry 6,287 were delivered last year.”

The NHBC figures are taken from builders responsible for about 80% of homes constructed in the UK. Builders are required to register houses with the NHBC or another warranty provider before starting work. There is typically a time lag of nine to 15 months between the registration and completion of homes.

Last year, growth was driven by a revival in London, where new home registrations climbed 37% to 21,726.

New housing projects across the UK include the Commonwealth Games athletes village in Birmingham, which will be converted into 1,400 homes after the 2022 games; 6,500 homes on the site of a former army barracks in Waterbeach near Cambridge; and 518 at Bellway’s Eastside Quarter in Bexleyheath, Kent.

By Julia Kollewe

Twitter post quarterly revenue above $1bn for the first time

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Fri, 6th Feb, 2020) London, Uk – –

User growth and revenue numbers delight investors but Twitter warns its costs are set to rise sharply in the current year.

Twitter has posted quarterly revenue above $1bn for the first time, helping its shares surge in early trading.

The platform's fourth quarter figures and its projections were largely seen as a bit of a mixed bag but the core numbers were positive after a lacklustre performance in the previous three months.

Total revenue came in at $1.01bn (£771m), up 11% on the same three-month period in 2018 – driven by a 12% increase in advertising sales, Twitter said.

There was further good news on user numbers – an area the company has focused on through attempts to bolster the user experience.

It said improvements to its machine-learning models to provide more relevant content and notifications contributed to a 21% surge in its core daily user metric, which hit 157 million.

Its efforts have included allowing people to follow topics and tackling abusive content more proactively.

Late last year, it also launched a feature for users to hide certain replies on their tweets.

But Twitter's profits fell short of expectations as costs rose.

Net income came in at $119m – a fall of more than 50% on the final quarter of 2018.

It also warned that costs were expected to rise by 20% in the current 2020 year – passing $1bn – as it hires more staff and creates a new data centre.

Shares were 15% higher on the NYSE in early trading – at their highest level since October last year.

The company's clean up efforts take place as America, its biggest market, prepares to go to the polls in November for what is likely to be a bitter presidential election that will see Donald Trump bid for a second and final term in office.

Twitter said it was prioritising efforts to protect the integrity of election-related conversations.

It banned political ads in November last year – as Britain prepared to go to the polls – amid growing pressure on social media companies to stop accepting ads potentially containing misleading or false information.

The company said this week it would apply “false” warning labels to tweets containing synthetic or deceptively edited forms of media and remove such media if it is likely to cause harm.

Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com, said of the financial performance: “Twitter numbers look pretty darn good and a bounce back from a lacklustre third quarter characterised by a serious slowdown in revenue growth and technology problems with its ad targeting system.

By James Sillers

Uk Government hints at scrapping BBC annual TV licence fee

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com –Wed, 5th Feb 2020) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – Culture minister Nicky Morgan hinted on Wednesday that the annual BBC licence fee on Britain’s television-watching households could be scrapped after the next review of its royal charter, as crunch funding talks with the broadcaster near.

The possibility of losing guaranteed licence fee money comes at a time when the 100-year-old BBC is under attack on several fronts ranging from accusations of extravagant spending to political bias.

“The licence fee will remain in place this charter period which ends in December 2027, however we must all be open-minded about the future of the licence fee beyond this point,” Morgan said.

“These are not easy issues and they will require some honest and at times difficult conversations,” she added.

Anyone who installs or uses a television or watches the BBC’s streaming and catchup service iPlayer must pay the 154.50-pound ($198) charge or be guilty of a criminal offence, resulting in a fine of as much as 1,000 pounds.

Failure to pay can lead to a criminal conviction.

The government started an eight-week public consultation on Wednesday on whether non-payment should be decriminalised.

“As we move into an increasingly digital age … the time has come to think carefully about how we make sure the TV licence fee remains relevant,” Morgan said.

She said fewer young people were tuning into the BBC’s radio, TV and online output, and “therefore we do need to look at this funding model.”

The BBC has said decriminalisation will result in more people evading the fee, costing it millions in lost revenue.

“If there are changes, they must be fair to law-abiding licence fee payers and delivered in a way that doesn’t fundamentally undermine the BBC’s ability to deliver the services they love,” the broadcaster said in a statement.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson raised the licence issue just a few days before December’s general election which he went onto win with a large majority.

“I don’t think anyone should interpret today’s announcement or discussion about the licence fee model as any kind of attack on the BBC,” Morgan said, describing the broadcaster as a beacon of freedom and light.

Wednesday’s comments come after recent clashes between government and political journalists. Cabinet ministers are boycotting BBC Radio 4’s flagship “Today” news programme and some journalists were barred from a government briefing on Monday, causing others to walk out.

The successor to the BBC’s outgoing Director General Tony Hall will have to fight for the future of the organisation and its funding model, which some critics say is outdated in the era of subscription services such as Netflix.

But in recent years, the BBC has come under criticism for awarding extravagant salaries to its stars, paying some women less than men and for what some politicians say is a London-centric bias.

The BBC has also faced accusations of political bias from the government, the opposition Labour Party and Scottish nationalists which it has rebuffed.

By Paul Sandle and Stephen Addison

Cathay Pacific airline asks staff to take unpaid leave to cope with impact of coronavirus

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Wed, 5th Feb 2020) London, Uk – –

Hong Kong's flagship airline Cathay Pacific has asked staff to take three weeks of unpaid leave to help it cope with the impact of the coronavirus.

The carrier had already been hit by the effect on passenger demand of several months of anti-government protests in Hong Kong.

It has offered a voluntary special leave scheme to all employees from 1 March to 30 June.

The airline said that preserving cash was “key to protecting” its business.

On Tuesday, Cathay said it intended to cut services by about 30% over the next two months, including a cut of about 90% in flights to mainland China.

The airline had already been facing difficulties because of anti-government protests in Hong Kong, an international financial and travel hub and a key part of its business.

Analysts said the airline had been likely to offer the unpaid leave scheme to staff because of those issues anyway.

The new coronavirus causes severe acute respiratory infection and symptoms usually start with a fever, followed by a dry cough. The number of cases in China has now exceeded 24,300, with 490 deaths reported.

Other developments

  • European aircraft manufacturer Airbus said it was “observing Chinese government requirements for staff to work from home” and had closed its Tianjin assembly line
  • At least 10 people on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship in the Japanese port of Yokohama have tested positive for the virus, but with many still to be tested the number of those infected could rise
  • Sportswear firm Adidas said it was “experiencing a negative impact” on its operations in China and that it had closed a “significant number” of its own stores in the country
  • Danish brewer Carlsberg said there could be a short-term impact in China on the firm as a result of the virus and warned it faced a “more volatile business environment” as the coronavirus outbreak spread
  • Crude oil price falls to its lowest level in 12 months amid declining demand in China

In a statement, Cathay said: “In view of the Novel Coronavirus outbreak and also significant drop in market demand, we just announced massive capacity cuts yesterday.

“Preserving cash is the key to protecting our business. We have already been taking multiple measures to achieve this.

“Today, we are appealing to all employees to participate in the special leave scheme, which will take effect from 1 March and last until 30 June. All employees will have the option to take three weeks of unpaid leave in this period.”

Cathay chief executive Augustus Tang has sent a video message to employees, according to the Reuters news agency.

In it, he said the airline had also asked its suppliers to cut prices, stopped hiring new staff and postponed some major projects and stopped all non-critical spending.

The new coronavirus causes severe acute respiratory infection and symptoms usually start with a fever, followed by a dry cough. The number of cases in China has now exceeded 24,300, with 490 deaths reported.

Petrol and diesel car ban brought forward to 2035

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Tue, 4th Feb 2020) London, Uk – –

The car industry said the plans were “extremely concerning” and accused the government of setting a “date without a plan”.

Boris Johnson has been accused by the car industry of “moving the goalposts” as he confirmed plans to phase out new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars by 2035.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said the plan to bring forward the change from 2040 was “extremely concerning” and accused the PM of setting a “date without a plan”.

It came as efforts to step up the battle against climate change took centre stage, with aviation industry firms publicly pledging to cut the sector's emissions to net zero by 2050.

Yet that promise, backed by airlines including British Airways and easyJet and lauded by the government, was also under fire – described as a “flight of fancy” by Greenpeace.

The pledge on cars came as Boris Johnson launched a climate change summit, COP 26, to be held in Glasgow in November.

While bringing forward the ban on selling new petrol and diesel vehicles, it includes hybrid models for the first time, meaning that in 15 years the only new option for UK motorists will be electric cars.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “It's extremely concerning that government has seemingly moved the goalposts for consumers and industry on such a critical issue.”

Mr Hawes insisted that car makers were “fully invested in a zero emissions future” with dozens of plug-in models on the market already and more to come this year.

“However, with current demand for this still expensive technology still just a fraction of sales, it's clear that accelerating an already very challenging ambition will take more than industry investment,” he added.

Mr Hawes said the UK's charging network was “woefully inadequate”, adding that there was still no clarity on whether discounts currently available to electric car buyers would be extended beyond this spring.

The new plans come at a time when the car industry is already struggling, with new vehicle sales in 2019 falling to their lowest level for six years, and major manufacturers worried about whether their businesses will be sustainable under a “hard” Brexit arrangement.

Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden are ahead of the UK's timetable, with their petrol and diesel bans coming into force in 2030.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps had already signalled last September that the government wanted to bring forward the date from 2040.

But Mr Hawes said: “A date without a plan will merely destroy value today.”

He called for the government to set out how it planned to achieve its aims while safeguarding jobs and industry, allowing lower income groups to benefit, and not undermining hybrid technology that was helping to deliver air quality and climate change goals.

On the other side of the debate, Friends of the Earth called for the ban to be brought forward even earlier, to 2030, and for the government also to pull support for “more climate-wrecking roads and runways”.

The PM's plans to boost his green credentials have been helped by the backing of Sir David Attenborogh, the veteran naturalist and TV documentary maker.

Speaking ahead of the climate change summit launch, Mr Johnson said: “There can be no greater responsibility than protecting our planet, and no mission that a global Britain is prouder to serve.

“2020 must be the year we turn the tide on global warming – it will be the year when we choose a cleaner, greener future for all.”

However Mr Johnson's leadership on climate change was called into question by Claire O'Neill, who was sacked by the prime minister last week from her role running the summit.

She said that while the PM was pledging to put the issue among the “Premier League” of priorities, it was “currently somewhere around the middle of League One”.

It came as air industry group Sustainable Aviation – a coalition of airlines, aeroplane makers and airport operators – announced its plans to tackle emissions.Sky pledges to go net zero carbon by 2030The company is attempting to eradicate carbon emissions from its businesses.

The aviation pledge relies on more efficient aircraft and more sustainable fuels as well as the controversial use of offsetting – which relies on things like planting trees to balance out the emissions by vehicles.

The industry insists that it can still grow passenger numbers by 70% by 2050 while still cutting net emissions from 30 million tonnes of CO2 per year today to zero.

But Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven said carbon offsetting – a key part of the pledge – was “simply an excuse to carry on with business as usual” and the only way for the aviation industry to cut emissions was by cutting demand.

By John-Paul Ford Rojas

Ikea to close Coventry store, putting 350 jobs at risk

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Tue, 4th Feb 2020) London, UK —

Swedish chain says Coventry city centre store loses money and will shut this summer

Ikea is to close its Coventry city centre store this summer, marking the first closure of one of its large format UK branches.

The Swedish furniture chain says the shop has consistently lost money since it opened in 2007, with a declining number of visitors as shoppers visit retail parks or buy online instead.

The retailer says it will enter consultations with the 352 employees affected by the closure and would like to retain as many as possible in the company, although the closest outlets are in Birmingham and Nottingham, approximately 30 and 50 miles away.

Coventry was one of Ikea’s first attempts at opening a new format, city centre store to respond to the changing habits of its customers. It blames the size of the seven-storey building for its higher operating costs and says it has been unable to make the store more cost-efficient or repurpose it.

Peter Jelkeby, the country retail manager and chief sustainability officer for Ikea UK and Ireland, said the Coventry closure was not an easy decision, but was the right one for the long-term success of Ikea in the UK.

“At Ikea we are constantly challenging ourselves to find ways to meet the needs of our customers and we will continue to try and test, investing in stores, fulfilment centres, city centre formats and our digital capabilities to make Ikea even more affordable, convenient and sustainable.,” he said.

In recent years, the chain has trialled opening smaller city centre outlets, on Tottenham Court Road in central London and Bromley in south-east London, to attract a different range of customers who do not travel by car to visit its usual “big box” stores. Ikea currently has 22 UK stores and says it is still focusing on growth, despite what it calls a “changing retail environment”.

In January, Ikea bought the Kings Mall, a shopping centre in Hammersmith in west London, which it plans to redevelop, and is understood to be looking for more malls in the UK. The chain already owns 44 malls globally, which it built itself. Ikea said last October it had strengthened its UK property team as it looks to take advantage of bargain prices in Britain’s crisis-hit retail property market to secure smaller and more accessible sites in city centre locations.

Ikea’s Coventry store has a prominent position in the city centre and the city faces the challenge of how to repurpose a large and distinctive-looking building when the branch closes in the summer.

By Joanna Partridge

Tax Return Deadline Missed By Nearly One Million People

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 3rd Feb 2020) London, Uk – –

Nearly one million people in the UK missed the deadline for filing their tax return, but this was an improvement on the previous year.

A total of 11.1 million did hit the deadline of the end of Friday to complete their self-assessment tax forms.

Mostly those with more than one source of income and the self-employed are required to complete returns.

Anyone with a genuine excuse can talk to the tax authority to avoid fines.

Paper returns had an earlier deadline of 31 October, but a record 10.4 million people filled in the forms electronically for which the deadline is 31 January.

Last year, just over one million people missed the 31 January cut-off. Fines can be issued immediately for late filing.

More than 700,000 people submitted their tax returns on deadline day, peaking between in the hour from 16:00 GMT, when 56,969 filed. Some 26,562 people completed their returns in the final hour before the deadline.

Angela MacDonald, director general for customer services at HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), said: “Customers who have missed the deadline should contact HMRC.

“The department will treat those with genuine excuses leniently, as it focuses penalties on those who persistently fail to complete their tax returns and deliberate tax evaders. The excuse must be genuine and HMRC may ask for evidence.”

Previous, failed, excuses for missing the deadline in recent years had included someone claiming they were unable to log on because they were up a mountain in Wales.

The current system means HMRC could demand a penalty of £100 for late filing during the first three months after the deadline.

After three months, additional penalties of £10 per day can be demanded, up to a maximum of £900, followed by further charges six and 12 months after the deadline.

Nissan to focus on UK market in contingency plans in the event of a hard Brexit according to report

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Mon, 3rd Feb 2020) London, Uk – –

Carmaker considering focusing on UK market if there are tariffs on exports, according to report

Nissan has reportedly drawn up contingency plans to pull out of manufacturing in mainland Europe in the event of a hard Brexit in favour of ramping up its production in the UK.

If a trade deal is struck between the UK and the EU that leads to tariffs on car exports, the Japanese carmaker would focus on selling more cars in Britain, the Financial Times reported, citing two people involved in the discussions.

Under the proposal drawn up towards the end of last year, Nissan would maintain its factory in Sunderland and aim to boost its 4% UK market share to about 20%. At the same time, it would shut its struggling van factory in Barcelona and stop manufacturing in France.

The contingency plan is said to be one of several drawn up in preparation for post-Brexit tariffs, and was drafted before Makoto Uchida became Nissan’s chief executive on 1 December, the FT reported.

Nissan denied having made such a plan, however, and said its Sunderland plant would be under threat along with its European operations if the UK fails to ensure tariff-free access to the EU market. Following the UK’s departure from the EU on Friday, both sides are expected to set out their negotiating positions on Monday before trade talks next month.

A Nissan spokesman said on Monday: We deny such a contingency plan exists. We’ve modelled every possible ramification of Brexit and the fact remains that our entire business both in the UK and in Europe is not sustainable in the event of WTO [World Trade Organisation] tariffs.

“We want our UK team of more than 7,000 people to have the best possible chance of future success, which is why we continue to urge UK and EU negotiators to work collaboratively towards an orderly balanced Brexit that will continue to encourage mutually beneficial trade.”

Gianluca de Ficchy, the chairman of Nissan Europe, already warned in October that the imposition of a 10% tariff on exports under WTO terms would put Nissan’s entire European business model in jeopardy.

Sunderland is the UK’s largest car factory and employs 6,000 workers. It makes three of Nissan’s five flagship models – the Qashqai, the Juke and the electric Leaf.

Under the contingency plan, production of the Micra, which is made in France, would be moved to the UK and Nissan would reconsider producing the X-Trail in Sunderland. A year ago, it decided not to make the new version of the X-Trail in Sunderland, citing Brexit uncertainty.

By Julia Kollewe

How 215,000 Meals Are Made For Football’s Biggest Super Bowl LIV Fans

Source:BI

From kitchens deep within Miami Hard Rock Stadium, a culinary staff of 3,000 people are dishing out all the food for Super Bowl LIV. Chefs are flown in from all over the country to help feed 215,000 of football's biggest fans. They're hustling non-stop to cook 10,000 hot dogs and 400 different menu items in just one week leading up to the big game.

15 Best Skills That Will Pay Off Forever

Source: Alux

In this Alux.com video we'll try to answer the following questions: What skills should you learn? How to prepare for life? How to future proof your life? What should you learn to help you in life? What are the best skills to have? What is the most important skill to know? What are the skills of successful people? What skills will last forever? Why do you need to know how to sell? Why is meditation important? What is emotional inteligence?

What EV Start-Up Rivian Is Doing That Tesla Isn’t

Source: BI

Rivian is an up and coming startup company building high-performance electric adventure vehicles. So far the company has received investments from Ford and Amazon totaling over $1 billion. The company has progressed so much by making business decisions no other EV startup is making.

Aston Martin announced plans to raise emergency funding worth £500m

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 31st Jan 2020) London, Uk – –

Struggling luxury UK carmaker Aston Martin has announced plans to raise emergency funding worth £500m.

A consortium led by billionaire Lawrence Stroll will put in £182m, with the rest of the money coming from existing investors.

Mr Stroll partly owns the Racing Point Formula 1 team, which will be branded Aston Martin from 2021 under the deal.

The move comes hours after a board meeting held to discuss how to prop up the ailing firm.

Aston Martin's best known customer is fictional spy James Bond and the company recently revealed that four of its cars will feature in the next Bond movie, No Time To Die.

The carmaker said its latest financial moves were aimed at strengthening its balance sheet after its “disappointing performance” in 2019.

Mr Stroll's consortium will take a 20% stake in the company and he will become its executive chairman.

As a result, Penny Hughes will be stepping down as Aston Martin's chairman once the deal is completed.

She said: “The difficult trading performance in 2019 resulted in severe pressure on liquidity which has left the company with no alternative but to seek substantial additional equity financing.

“Without this, the balance sheet is not robust enough to support the operations of the group.

“Notwithstanding recent weak trading, the strength of the Aston Martin brand and our expanding portfolio of cars has allowed us to attract a strong new partner in Mr Stroll to support the turnaround of the business.”

Earlier this month, the 106-year-old firm issued a profit warning, saying annual earnings were expected to fall by nearly half from a year earlier.

It said core retail sales – which covers sales from Aston Martin dealers to consumers – were up 12% from a year earlier. However, wholesale volumes – which covers how many cars the dealers are ordering from Aston Martin itself – were down 7% to 5,809.

The company said it was expecting earnings of between £130m and £140m, well below the £247.3m it reported last year.View comments127

Jeff Bezos Amazon founder interviewed by FBI in 2019 over alleged Saudi hack

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Fri, 31st Jan 2020) London, Uk – –

Amazon founder interviewed as FBI conducts inquiry into Israeli firm linked to malware

Jeff Bezos met federal investigators in April 2019 after they received information about the alleged hack of the billionaire’s mobile phone by Saudi Arabia, the Guardian has been told.

Bezos was interviewed by investigators at a time when the FBI was conducting an investigation into the Israeli technology company NSO Group, according to a person who was present at the meeting.

Reuters first reported on Thursday that the FBI was investigating the role of NSO in possible hacks of US residents and companies, citing four people familiar with the inquiry. Reuters also reported that the FBI had met Bezos in connection with the alleged hacking of his phone.

The FBI investigation into NSO has been under way since 2017, when officials were seeking information about whether the company had received any of the code it needed to infect smartphones from US hackers, Reuters reported.

In a statement provided by the strategy firm Mercury Public Affairs, NSO said: “We have not been contacted by any US law enforcement agencies at all about any such matters and have no knowledge or awareness of any investigative actions. Therefore, we cannot comment further.”

NSO has previously said government customers are the ones who do the hacking.

Two independent investigators at the United Nations, Agnes Callamard and David Kaye, revealed last week that they have launched their own inquiry into allegations that Bezos’s phone was hacked on 1 May 2018 after he apparently received a video file from a WhatsApp account belonging to Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince. The investigators are examining whether the alleged hack occurred in connection to Bezos’s role as the owner of the Washington Post.

An analysis of the alleged hack that was commissioned by the Amazon founder has not concluded what kind of spyware was used.

NSO said last week it was “shocked and appalled” by allegations that Bezos’s phone had been hacked. The company also said: “We can say unequivocally that our technology was not used in this instance.”

Saudi Arabia has called the claim that it was involved in the hack “absurd”.

A person who was present at the April 2019 meeting between Bezos and investigators said it took place at the offices of Bezos’s lawyer, Matthew Schwartz, at the firm of Boies Schiller Flexner.

An attorney for Bezos did not immediately return a request for comment.

WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, has separately referred a civil claim it filed against NSO last year to the Department of Justice. WhatsApp has said it believed NSO has violated criminal laws, including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a federal law that is used to prosecute hackers.Advertisement

WhatsApp has claimed 1,400 users were hacked using NSO technology over a two-week period in April-May last year, after NSO was allegedly able to exploit a WhatsApp vulnerability that was later fixed. NSO has staunchly denied the claim and has said it would vigorously defend itself in court.

NSO has faced scrutiny after multiple claims that its technology has been used against journalists, human rights campaigners, academics and high-ranking government officials. Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto Munk school, which investigates hacking cases, said this week it believed the New York Times reporter Ben Hubbard, who has written a book about Prince Mohammed, had been targeted by spyware known as Pegasus, which is made by NSO.

NSO has said its technology is used by clients to combat crime and terrorism. It has said it investigates claims of abuse of its technology. The company has previously denied ever being contacted by the US Department of Justice. NSO has also said its technology cannot be used against US mobile phone numbers, though WhatsApp has disputed that claim in its lawsuit against NSO.

The Guardian has been told that federal investigators received further information about NSO technology in early 2019, including detailed information about how Pegasus works, ways the malware can self-destruct and become undetectable, and that it can automatically uninstall.

New revelations about the alleged hacking of Bezos’s phone have caught the attention of a handful of politicians in Washington who have sought more information about the alleged hack, including whether there was any evidence that Saudi Arabia had infected phones of any members of the Trump administration.

By Stephanie Kirchgaessner

Ralf Speth Jaguar Land Rover boss to step down in September

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 30th Jan 2020) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – The boss of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) (TAMO.NS) will step down from his role at the end of his contract term in September as Britain’s biggest carmaker shows signs of improvement after a torrid 2019 of job cuts, deep losses and falling sales.

Ralf Speth has led the company since 2010 during which it has pursued a major global expansion with new factories in China, Brazil and Slovakia putting it on course to make 1 million cars per year.

But sales ended last year at just over 550,000 vehicles as the firm was slower than some rivals in electrifying its line-up whilst large drops in diesel demand and a slump in China, the world’s biggest autos market, hit its performance.

JLR posted a 6% decline in 2019 sales but it has bounced back in China in recent months and overall company sales rose by 1.3% in December.

Speth will stay on as non-executive vice chairman at JLR and will remain on the board of Tata Sons, the parent group of Tata Motors which owns JLR, the firm said in a statement.

“A search committee has been formed which will work with me to identify a suitable successor in the coming months,” said Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran.

JLR posts third-quarter results as part of Tata Motors later on Thursday.

Reporting by Costas Pitas