BA stops selling short-haul tickets till August 8

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Tue , 2nd Aug 2022) London, UK —

British Airways has halted ticket sales on short-haul flights from Heathrow until August 8 following the London airport's decision to cap capacity and tackle widespread disruption and cancellations.

The IAG (ICAG.L)-owned airline said the sales suspension on domestic and European destinations was designed to allow existing customers to rebook flights when needed.


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Airlines and airports across Britain and Europe have struggled to cope with the rebound in post-lockdown travel, with many failing to recruit enough staff to handle check-ins and baggage handling.

Heathrow, like Amsterdam's Schiphol airport, has told airlines to limit the number of tickets they sell over the summer, after it capped the number of passengers flying from the hub at 100,000 a day to limit queues, baggage delays and cancellations.

Heathrow said last week that the cap had delivered a marked improvement in punctuality and baggage handling.


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“As a result of Heathrow's request to limit new bookings, we've decided to take responsible action and limit the available fares on some Heathrow services to help maximise rebooking options for existing customers, given the restrictions imposed on us and the ongoing challenges facing the entire aviation industry,” BA said in a statement.

Reporting by Kate Holton

 

FCA announces new guidelines for high-risk investment marketing

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Mon, 1st Aug 2022) London, Uk – –

The Financial Conduct Authority has finalised tougher rules for the marketing of high-risk investments.

Under the new rules, firms approving and issuing marketing must have the right expertise and those marketing some types of high-risk investments will have to do better checks to make sure those investments are well matched to consumers.


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Some incentives such as “refer a friend” bonuses will be banned, and business will also have to make risk warnings clearer and more prominent.

Sarah Pritchard, the FCA's executive director of markets, said: “We want people to be able to invest with confidence, understand the risks involved, and get the investments that are right for them which reflect their appetite for risk.

“Our new simplified risk warnings are designed to help consumers better understand the risks, albeit firms have a significant role to play too.

“Where we see products being marketed that don't contain the right risk warnings or are unclear, unfair or misleading, we will act.

“This is even more important now because increases in the cost of living could prompt people to chase higher investment returns which may prove risky.”

Appetite for risk

The FCA has been looking at ways to reduce the number of people investing in products that do not match their appetite for risk.

This follows concern that many of those who invest in high-risk products do not understand the risks involved, such as the possibility they could lose their money.

The new rules will not apply to cryptocurrency, however.


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The FCA said that rules will be published for this sector after the government confirms how it will be brought under the regulator's remit.

These rules are likely to be similar to those brought in for other high-risk investments.

Meanwhile, the FCA warned that cryptocurrency remains high risk and people should be prepared to lose all their money if they choose to invest.

 

The forced sale of Footasylum costs JD Sports millions of pounds

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 1st Aug  2022) London, Uk – –

Sportswear chain JD Sports has lost millions of pounds after being forced to sell Footasylum, three tumultuous years after buying the retailer.

JD Sports has offloaded Footasylum for £37.5m, far less than the £90m price it paid in 2019.

JD Sports was forced to sell the business after the takeover was blocked by the UK's competition watchdog.

It is being bought by private equity firm Aurelius, which owns Lloyds Pharmacy.


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The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had ruled the merger could lead to less choice and a “worse deal” for customers.

Earlier this year JD Sports and Footasylum were fined almost £4.7m by the CMA for sharing commercially sensitive information during its investigation. The boss of JD Sports, Peter Cowgill, resigned from the company in May after the fine.

JD admitted “inadvertently” breaking the rules over the sharing of commercially sensitive information.

However, it has described the decision to block the takeover as “inexplicable”.

In July 2021 Mr Cowgill was filmed meeting his counterpart at Footasylum, Barry Brown, at a car part near Bury in Greater Manchester, first revealed by in a report in the Sunday Times.

The CMA found that during two meetings on 5 July and 4 August 2021 the two bosses had exchanged commercially sensitive information and then failed to alert the regulator.

It said neither men could provide documentation around the meetings, with “no notes, no agendas, no emails and poor phone records, some of which were deleted before they could be given to the CMA”.

JD denied phone records had been deliberately deleted and accused the regulator of “inflammatory language”.

JD has more than 900 stores across 21 countries, selling brands such as Nike, Adidas and Puma.


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Footasylum, which has more than 65 stores across the UK, sells similar sportswear brands.

However, announcing the merger in 2019, JD said the two businesses would complement each other because its target audience is slightly younger than Footasylum's focus on 16 to 24-year-olds.

The two companies have a shared history – JD Sports co-founder David Makin established Footasylum in 2005.

15 Ways to Create Generational Wealth

Source: Alux

This Alux video we will be answering the following questions:

How to build generational wealth? What is generational wealth? How to become generationally wealthy? How to build multi-generational wealth? How to create wealth that lasts multiple generations? How does one create multiple-generation wealth? How to make sure your kids are rich? How to create wealth for your grandkids? What is the best generational wealth documentary? What is the best generational wealth motivational video?

Apple and Amazon see dip in profits but still defy expectations

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Fri, 29th July 2022) London, Uk – –

Tech giants Apple and Amazon saw dips in profits but still defied expectations as the US economy teeters on the edge of a recession.

Apple, the world's largest technology company, is dealing with manufacturing headaches and inflation pressures and saw its profit in the last quarter fall by 10%, while revenue was up 2%.


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The results came after the iPhone maker warned that its revenue would be depressed amid supply chain problems and pandemic-related shutdowns in China factories.

But the company said on Thursday that parts shortages are easing and that demand for iPhones is unceasing despite consumers tightening other spending, helping it top Wall Street expectations and forecast faster sales growth ahead.

The Silicon Valley giant's shares rose 3.5% after hours following the release of the results.

Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos' ecommerce giant Amazon reported its second consecutive quarterly loss but its revenue topped Wall Street expectations.


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The results came as the company attempts to navigate shifting consumer demand and higher costs, while curtailing the glut of warehouses it acquired during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It comes shortly after Amazon announced a price rise for its Prime subscription.

By Michael Drummond

IAG reports first profit since pandemic began

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 29th July 2022) London, Uk – –

British Airways owner IAG has swung back to profit for the first time since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, despite facing a “challenging” environment at Heathrow Airport.

The company said it had seen a significant increase in the number of flights and passengers it handled.

Operating profit for the second quarter hit £245m, compared with a loss of £809m in the same period last year.

But IAG also issued a warning about the state of the industry.


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Airlines and airports have faced significant disruption this year due to widespread worker shortages and industrial action.

“Our industry continues to face historic challenges due to the unprecedented scaling up in operations, especially in the UK where the operational challenges of Heathrow airport have been acute,” said Luis Gallego, IAG's chief executive.

The company – which also owns Iberia and Aer Lingus – said that these issues at Heathrow had forced British Airways to limit its capacity to 69.1% of pre-pandemic levels between April and June.

“We will continue working with the industry to address these issues as aviation emerges from its biggest crisis ever,” Mr Gallego said.

Between July and October, British Airways will ramp up its capacity to about 75%, IAG said.

It was the company's Iberia and Vueling brands that performed most strongly over the past three months, elevated by a robust demand for domestic flights within Spain, and routes to Latin America.

Last month, both were at higher levels than they were in 2019.

Mr Gallego said he hoped the airline would return to annual profitability this year, with demand showing no sign of weakening.

“In the second quarter we returned to profit for the first time since the start of the pandemic following a strong recovery in demand across all our airlines,” he said. “This result supports our outlook for a full year operating profit.”

“Our performance reflected a significant increase in capacity, load factor and yield compared to the first quarter.”

‘Bizarre'

British Airways has been forced to cancel nearly 30,000 flights this summer as it struggles with staff shortages and rebounding demand for air travel following the lifting of Covid restrictions.

This has been compounded by a lack of ground handling crew and ticketing agents at airports, many of whom were laid off during the pandemic and have not yet been replaced.


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A row broke out this week between Ryanair and Heathrow Airport, with the airline saying airports had not recruited enough staff to cater for the rebound in travellers, saying they “had one job to do to”

But Heathrow hit back at the criticism, labelling it as “bizarre”.

“Airports don't provide ground handling, that's provided by the airlines themselves. So this is like accusing us of not having enough pilots,” said the airport's chief executive John Holland-Kaye.

UK coal power plants to be on standby this winter by request of National Grid

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Thur, 28th July 2022) London, Uk – –

Users may also be paid to use less electricity, as country prepares for gas shortfalls across Europe

Coal power plants could be paid to generate more electricity, with consumers and businesses paid to use less, as the UK hunkers down for a winter of gas shortfalls across Europe caused by the standoff with Russia over the war in Ukraine.

In its early outlook forecasting Britain’s ability to keep the lights on over winter, the National Grid admitted there could be “tight periods” in early December, which would trigger a call for power plants to ramp up generation.


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While the grid expects to be able to maintain the buffer that prevents blackouts, it issued a warning about the potential impact of a shortfall in Russian gas supply into Europe.

It came as Moscow reduced flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, sending wholesale gas prices soaring and leading to predictions that household energy bills could hit £3,850 next year and remain above £3,500 into 2024.

The UK is much less dependent on Russian gas than European countries such as Germany but National Grid said shortfalls across Europe were likely to lead to “very high” prices for the gas that heats homes on cold days and generates electricity.

In preparation for turmoil in the energy markets, it has asked five coal power units to be available to supply power to the grid but not to the wider electricity market. It said EDF and Drax, which own four of the five, have already agreed to do so, but did not disclose the fifth.

The agreement follows government negotiations with French state-owned energy firm EDF, over its West Burton A plant in Nottinghamshire, as well as with Drax over its plant in Yorkshire.

National Grid is also looking at how to reduce demand, which could involve industrial users being paid to reduce their power usage.

It could also trigger a scheme trialled earlier this year under which customers of household energy supplier Octopus Energy would be paid to put off using the dishwasher or delay a laundry cycle until after peak demand times.

In addition, the electricity system operator will work with the owners of transmission networks to reduce maintenance outages, or time them to cause less disruption.


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Jess Ralston, senior analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) thinktank, said: “We may well get through the winter without major incident but the gas bill at the end will likely be extortionate.

“With calls for the £15bn winter energy package [to support domestic billpayers] to be expanded, the government will be kicking itself for not having invested more in energy efficiency over the years.

“The high cost of gas will be adding £2,000 to bills from October, but this could rise with Putin already turning down the flow to Germany.”

Reporting by Rob Davies

 

National Express report half-year profits increase as summer travel revives

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 28th July, 2022) London, UK —

British transport firm National Express Group (NEX.L) on Thursday reported a surge in its half-year profit on the back of rebound in summer travel demand from a slump during the coronavirus-led lockdowns last year.

London-listed shares in the school bus and coach operator jumped 8.5% to 194.2 pence in early trading.


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From people wary of using public transport over fear of contracting COVID-19 in the last two years, to rising fuel prices prompting travellers to use buses and trains, National Express expects demand to improve.

“The two particular pressing issues that we have in society right now are the cost of living and also the climate crisis,” Ignacio Garat, group chief executive, told Reuters.

“We are (a) part of the solution for both.”

The company expects short-term pressures in North America from staff shortages that have been exacerbated by wage inflation rates that are highest in the region.

The company said it sees some margin pressure until all contracts are renewed and driver vacancies are filled in the run-up to schools reopening next month.


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National Express' earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the six months ended June 30, rose 54.3% to 197.8 million pounds ($240.92 million), on revenue of 1.3 billion pounds, up 34%.

Earlier this year, National Express' attempt to buy Stagecoach , Britain's biggest bus and coach operator, hit a setback after a European fund trumped its 445 million pound bid with a higher proposal.

Reporting by Muhammed Husain and Eva Mathews

 

Women’s Sports Leagues and Crypto: An Overlooked Investment Opportunity?

(qlmbusinessnews.com via coindesk.com — Thur, 28th July 2022) London, Uk – –

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Fans of these leagues have a relatively high knowledge of cryptocurrencies, yet fewer crypto companies invest in female athletes and teams.

The crypto industry has turned to sports to educate the masses. Over the last few years, sponsorships in male sports leagues have popped up in large chunks. For example, soccer’s FIFA World Cup is sponsored by trading platform crypto.com, the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Golden State Warriors is sponsored by crypto exchange FTX and the National Football League’s (NFL) Dallas Cowboys is sponsored by financial services company blockchain.com.


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But while crypto companies have raced to grow their presence in male-dominated sports leagues, the space has not expanded as fast in the women's. Could this be because crypto is a male-dominated industry? Possibly. But by engaging with women’s leagues, an industry that is growing exponentially, the crypto economy also has enormous opportunity to educate new fanbases.

Women’s sports – an emerging target for investment?

In 2020, women’s sports globally received less than $1 billion in sponsorships, while $467 billion went towards men’s and mixed sports (including Olympic and Grand Slam tennis events). This enormous inequity is astounding, especially given the fact that women’s sports in the United States alone have enormous returns and active engagement from fans.

According to a Nielsen report, sponsorships in women’s sports have gone up by 146% since 2018, indicating that there is vast momentum and a dedicated audience following women’s leagues. Fans of women’s sports are also 25% more likely to buy sponsored products than fans of men’s sports, adding to a widespread sentiment that women’s sports fans are fiercely loyal to their favorite athletes and teams.


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These stats, combined with surveys showing that sports fans have a higher degree of understanding of what cryptocurrencies are, makes breaking into the female leagues that much more pertinent for the crypto industry. A poll from 2021 by the Morning Consult, showed that sports fans are twice as likely as non-sports fans to have some knowledge about Bitcoin or Ethereum, and three times as likely to say they are very familiar with the workings of the crypto ecosystem. Overall, 47% of respondents (who are sports fans) said they are very familiar with crypto, compared to 39% of U.S. adults and 23% of non-sports fans.

But when you break down the audiences and their awareness of the crypto industry, those that are loyal to “niche leagues,” such as women’s leagues, follow the crypto industry more intently than those who actively follow the big four leagues: the NBA, NFL, National Hockey League and Major League Baseball.

By Margaux Nijkerk

Lloyds set aside £377m for loan defaults as profits takes a hit

 

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Wed, 27th July 2022) London, Uk – –

The country's biggest mortgage lender commits to helping customers navigate the challenges ahead, as rising interest rates complicate the country's cost of living headache but bolster the bank's profitability.

Lloyds Banking Group has set aside £377m to cover a possible increase in loan defaults as interest rates rise in the tough economy.


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The bank, which includes Halifax in its stable of brands, revealed pre-tax profits of £3.7bn for the first six months of the year.

It was better than analysts had predicted, but down from the £3.9bn achieved in the same period last year.

Since then, soaring inflation has taken hold and the Bank of England has raised Bank rate five successive times since last December in a bid to tackle elements of the surge in prices.

A consequence of that effort is higher borrowing costs.

Millions of mortgage customers were immediately hit, with those on tracker and standard variable rate deals seeing their payments rise sharply, while those on fixed rates have also suffered at the end of their terms.

At the same time, there has been no let-up in inflation, which is currently at a 40-year high of 9.4% and predicted to breeze past 11% in the autumn, exacerbating the cost of living crisis.

The Bank said it was seeing increasing signs of customer caution, but was yet to see a rise in borrowers falling behind with repayments.

Despite its provision for the growing threat of loan defaults, Lloyds raised its guidance for 2022 as a whole – thanks to rising rates.

It raised forecasts on a key measure of profitability, return on tangible equity, to 13% from the figure above 11% that was expected in March.

Govt mulls 50-year mortgages

Shares – down almost 9% in the year to date – rose 5% at Wednesday's open in response.

Analysts also credited a 20% lift in the bank's dividend to 80p a share.

Chief executive Charlie Nunn told investors: “While the world has changed significantly since February, our strategic focus remains clear and disciplined.


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“Our strong financial performance demonstrates the resilience of our business model and customer relationships, and has enabled us to enhance guidance for 2022.

“Just as we remain well-placed to withstand the current macroeconomic uncertainty and continue to generate significant capital for our shareholders, so too do we remain committed to maintaining the support we give to our customers every day as they adapt to the challenges they face.”

 

McDonald’s cheeseburger price increase for the first time in 14 years

 

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Wed, 27th July 2022) London, Uk – –

McDonald's has put up the price of its cheeseburger for the first time in more than 14 years, due to growing cost pressures.

The fast food chain said its UK restaurants would be adding between 10p and 20p to a number of items.

The price of a cheeseburger has increased from 99p to £1.19.

Companies are facing increased costs for things like fuel, wages and ingredients, with prices rising at their fastest rate for 40 years.


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In an email to customers, McDonald's UK and Ireland chief executive Alistair Macrow said the company was facing “tough choices” about its prices.

“We understand that any price increases are not good news, but we have delayed and minimised these changes for as long as we could,” he said, adding that some prices were unaffected.

Some prices will continue to vary across different restaurants as some are operated by franchisees, who can set prices based on recommendations from McDonald's.

Other items that are increasing in price include breakfast meals, large coffees, McNugget share boxes and upgrades from medium to large meals, the company said.

If the price of a McDonald's cheeseburger had increased in line with inflation it would now cost £1.41.5

McDonald's has more than 36,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries.

On Tuesday, it said it was considering whether to add more discounted menu options because the increased cost of living, particularly in Europe, was leading to some lower-income customers buying cheaper items and fewer big combination meals.

It came as the company reported a jump in global sales of 9.7% for the three months to the end of June, compared with the same period last year.

The war in Ukraine has pushed up the cost of fuel and food, with UK inflation – the rate at which prices rise – hitting 9.4% in June, the highest level for more than 40 years.

Some firms are also having to increase wages to attract and retain staff, with job vacancies at near record highs. However, pay increases are not keeping up with the growing cost of living.


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Companies around the world are facing cost pressures, with other countries also affected by high inflation.

Amazon is the latest firm to announce it is increasing prices for customers due to higher costswith the price of its Prime subscription service rising by £1 a month from September.

KitKat maker Nestle, Marmite maker Unilever and bakery chain Greggs are among those which have already increased prices this year.

By Becky Morton

 

Amazon UK Prime subscription service to increase by £1 from September

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Tue, 26th July 2022) London, Uk – –

Monthly subscription to increase by 12.5% to £8.99 in latest sign of rising delivery costs

Amazon is to increase the price of its monthly Prime subscription service by 12.5% – or £1 – to £8.99 from September in the latest sign that delivery costs are rising.

The company said the cost of an annual Prime package, which includes unlimited deliveries for online shopping, access to its video and music streaming services and its Amazon Fresh grocery deliveries, would rise by more – 20%, or £16 – to £95, although this remains a discount on the monthly option.


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Amazon said the rise in fees, which will be implemented as members’ contracts come up for renewal from 15 September, was the first since 2014 and came after a series of improvements in its Prime service.

“We have increased the number of products available with fast unlimited Prime delivery, recently added ultra-fast fresh grocery delivery, and have significantly expanded our high-quality digital entertainment, including TV, movies, music, games, and books,” a spokesperson said.

They added that Prime Video had tripled the amount of original Amazon content since 2018, with series including The Boys and The Terminal List, and UK-produced shows such as Clarkson’s Farm and Backstage With Katherine RyanThe service has also added access to Premier League football and Autumn Nations rugby in the UK and will launch The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power series in September.

Half of all UK consumers over the aged of 16 – or about 27 million people – are thought to have access to Prime as the service rapidly expanded during the pandemic, when high-street retailers were forced to close for long periods.

More than a third of UK over-16s, about 19 million people, are estimated to be individual members, up from 31% or 15 million in 2019, according to the market research firm Mintel. Prime membership peaks among younger consumers, with almost two-thirds (64%) of 16-34s now having access to the service.

Prime delivery is the most used service, but the video streaming service grew the fastest during the pandemic, with 62% of members regularly using it in 2020, according to Mintel. In contrast, just 7% used the Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service.


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The price rise comes as online retailers and streaming services look for ways to offset inflation in delivery costs and growing difficulties with handling returned goods.

In March, Netflix said it was increasing the cost of its basic and standard plans by £1 a month to £6.99 and £10.99 respectively, while the premium tier will go up by £2 to £15.99. Apple Music is also increasing the cost of its student plan by £1 to £5.99, while the cost of Disney+ has risen by £2 a month to £7.99.

By Sarah Butler

KPMG escapes record fine over Carillion, Regenersis audit checks

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Tue, 26th July 2022) London, UK —

KPMG was fined 14.4 million pounds ($17.27 million) on Monday after the accounting firm admitted to providing false and misleading information to its regulator during spot checks on audits of construction firm Carillion and outsourcing firm Regenersis.

The Financial Reporting Council, the regulator involved, also ordered KPMG to appoint an independent reviewer into the firm's current Audit Quality Review (AQR) policies and procedures.


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KPMG would have been fined 20 million pounds had it not earned a discount for self-reporting the incidents, co-operating with the FRC and admitting to the misconduct, the FRC said.

Without the discount, the fine would have been the largest FRC fine ever, eclipsing Deloitte's 15 million pound penalty in September 2020 for an audit of software company Autonomy.

KPMG, one of the world's “Big Four” auditing firms, also paid 3.95 million pounds towards the costs of the FRC and Tribunal.

Five KPMG employees had challenged FRC allegations of misconduct relating to the audits, but an independent Tribunal found against them. A sixth employee settled hours before Tribunal hearings began in January.

The FRC had told the hearing that the former KPMG employees had “forged” and “manufactured” missing documents which had been requested by the regulator.

“The seriousness of the misconduct that we have found proved scarcely needs explanation,” the Tribunal said.

KPMG faced the same allegations as its employees because it is liable for their conduct.

Four of the five staff who took part in the Tribunal hearing were fined between 30,000 and 250,000 pounds, and banned from the profession for between seven and 10 years. The fifth person was severely reprimanded but escaped a fine.

“I accept the findings and sanctions of the tribunal in full,” said KPMG's chief executive in the UK, Jon Holt.


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Since the incidents, KPMG said it has worked hard and with complete transparency to the FRC, to assure itself that the behaviour of the individuals concerned does not reflect the wider culture of the firm, Holt said.

The FRC is still investigating KPMG's audit of Carillion, whose collapse sparked reviews on how to improve auditing standards.

By Huw Jones

Barclays snaps up stake in $2bn cryptocurrency firm Copper

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Mon, 25th July 2022) London, Uk – –

Copper, which is advised by Lord Hammond, the former chancellor, is raising funds from existing and new investors including the giant UK lender, Sky News learns.


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Barclays is taking a stake in Copper, one of the most prominent names in the fast-evolving cryptocurrency sector, even as the industry continues to be rocked by a swathe of bankruptcies.

Sky News has learnt that the UK-based bank is among a crop of new investors joining a funding round for Copper, which counts former chancellor Lord Hammond among its advisers.

City sources said Barclays was expected to invest a relatively modest sum in the millions of dollars as part of the round.

The fundraising is expected to be finalised within days.

Copper provides custody, prime broking and settlement services to institutional investors deploying money into crypto assets.

The company, founded by Dmitry Tokarev in 2018, has drawn investors from big names in the global venture capital sector, such as LocalGlobe, Dawn Capital and MMC Ventures.

A number of major market participants, including Three Arrows Capital and Celsius, have filed for bankruptcy in recent weeks, undermining confidence in the industry's previously breakneck growth.

Copper has also grown frustrated with the approach of UK financial regulators, prompting it to establish a hub in Switzerland instead.

Barclays and Copper declined to comment.

 

Embattled property giant Evergrande faces deadline after bosses quit

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 25th July 2022) London, Uk – –

Embattled Chinese real estate giant Evergrande is expected to deliver a preliminary restructuring plan this week, following the exit of two bosses.

The firm says its chief executive and finance head have resigned, after an internal probe found that they misused around $2bn (£1.7bn) in loans.

Evergrande has more than $300bn in liabilities and defaulted on its debts late last year.


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The crisis has spooked traders who fear contagion in China's property sector.

On Friday, Evergrande said it found that chief executive Xia Haijun and chief financial officer Pan Darong were involved in diverting 13.4bn yuan ($2bn; £1.7bn) in loans secured by its property services unit to the wider group.

The firm said in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that Mr Xia and Mr Pan had resigned because of their “involvement in the arrangement of the pledges”.

In a separate statement, it said the funds “were transferred and diverted back to the group via third parties and were used for the general operations of the group”.

Evergrande added that it was in talks with its property services unit over a repayment plan.

A $2.6bn deal to sell a majority stake in the unit to a rival developer fell through in October.

Evergrande, which is the world's most indebted property developer, had been struggling to make payments on its over $300bn of liabilities and missed a crucial repayment deadline on its offshore debt in December.

Its shares have fallen by more than 75% over the last year in Hong Kong and have been suspended from trading for months.

The company is scheduled to announce a preliminary plan to restructure its debts before next week.

China's property crisis is estimated to have wiped more than a trillion dollars off the value of the sector last year.

The very serious potential fallout from Evergrande collapsing has led some analysts to suggest that Beijing may step in.

On Monday, Japanese banking giant Nomura said “an increasing number of developers have failed to repay their debt and continue their construction works” since the Evergrande crisis.

Also on Monday, it was reported that China was planning to start a real estate fund to support more than a dozen property developers, including Evergrande.

The fund could be worth up to 300bn yuan, according to reports.

Home sales in China have fallen for 11 consecutive months, official data shows. That is the longest slump since China created a private property market in the late 1990s.

Several Chinese developers have halted the construction of homes that had already been sold, because of concerns over cash flow.

In recent weeks, some home buyers have threatened to stop paying their mortgages until the work restarts.


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More than 200 projects by at least 80 developers have been affected, according to the Shanghai-based E-house China Research and Development Institution.

The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission has pledged to help local governments in “guaranteeing the delivery of homes,” state media reported.

 

Why Companies Like Amazon Embrace Burning Waste as Part of a Growing Movement towards “zero landfill”

Source: CNBC

Burning waste to make energy is a $10 billion industry in the U.S., and the fastest growing part of the business is waste from big companies like Amazon, Subaru, Quest Diagnostics and American Airlines. They’re part of a growing corporate movement toward “zero landfill” as pressure mounts to reach sustainability requirements. CNBC got an inside look at a waste-to-energy plant where trash is incinerated to power 18,000 homes in northern California.

 


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Gas supply via Nord Stream 1 pipeline restarted to Europe by Russia

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Fri, 2 2nd July 2022) London, Uk – –

By

The pipeline restarts after the EU warns a “full cut-off” of Russian gas flows is a “likely scenario” for which the continent needs to be ready.

Moscow has allowed gas to flow through the biggest pipeline between Russia and Germany after it was cut off for 10 days – as the UK warned Vladimir Putin's forces were closing in on Ukraine's second biggest power plant.

The Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline has restarted after concerns Moscow would use its vast energy exports to push back against Western pressure over its invasion of Ukraine.


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Gas stopped flowing through the pipeline while it was undergoing annual maintenance, and while it has now resumed, the gas flow is expected to fall well short of full capacity.

Europe remains braced for possible further supply cuts during an economic tit-for-tat with the Kremlin.

Concerns that Russian supplies of gas sent through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline could be stopped by Moscow prompted the European Union to tell member states on Wednesday to cut gas usage by 15% until March as an emergency step.


ANALYSIS: By Adam Parsons

EUROPE'S RELIEF OVER NORD STREAM EXPOSES AN AWKWARD TRUTH

The reopening of Nord Stream will come as a great relief to many, not least the German government.

Europe's richest country is slowly weaning itself away from Russian gas, but that process will take time and a certain amount of ingenuity.

The question, though, is whether President Putin will allow such flexibility.

The Kremlin wants the huge amounts of money it gets from selling gas to Europe, which goes towards financing the war in Ukraine.

Switching off the Nord Stream tap would have big economic repercussions in both Germany and Russia so President Putin now has a curious balance to draw, between causing Europe pain and drawing out as much money as he can.

The European Commission is desperately trying to persuade its members to adopt a Plan B – measures to limit the use of energy and so end that dependence on Russian supplies.

But even if that's adopted (and no, that isn't guaranteed), it will take time.

The awkward truth is that, for the moment at least, Europe would struggle to cope if Russian pipelines, including Nord Stream, were turned off.

UK warns Russia is trying to capture key Ukrainian power plant

Meanwhile, the UK's Ministry of Defence has warned Russian forces are likely closing in on Ukraine's second biggest power plant at Vuhlehirska in Donetsk.

In its regular bulletin, British military intelligence said Russia is “prioritising the capture of critical national infrastructure, such as power plants”.

It added that Russia is probably attempting to break through at Vuhlehirska as “part of its efforts to regain momentum on the southern pincer of its advance towards the key cities of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk”.

Russia warns West not to supply Ukraine with weapons

The MoD's warning comes as Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Kremlin's goals had expanded during the five-month war.

Mr Lavrov told state news agency RIA Novosti on Wednesday that Russia's military “tasks” in Ukraine now go beyond the eastern Donbas region.

He also said Moscow's objectives will expand further if the West keeps supplying Kyiv with long-range weapons such as the US-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).

“That means the geographical tasks will extend still further from the current line,” he said, adding peace talks made no sense at the moment.

However, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov later told RIA that Moscow is not closing the door on talks with Kyiv despite Mr Lavrov's comments.

Russia has touched ‘every square metre of Luhansk'

On the battlefront, the Ukrainian military reported heavy and sometimes fatal Russian shelling amid what its says were largely failed attempts by Moscow's ground forces to advance in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions that make up the Donbas.

“In the Luhansk region, there is probably not a single square metre of land left untouched by Russian artillery,” Serhiy Gaidai, the regional governor said.

“Shelling is very intense. They stop only when the metal ‘gets tired'.”

In the previous 24 hours, Ukrainian forces said they had killed more than 100 Russian soldiers in the south and east and destroyed 17 vehicles, some of them armoured.

The Russian-installed administration in the partially occupied Ukrainian region of Zaporizhzhia said Ukraine had conducted a drone strike on a nuclear power


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Russia's invasion has killed thousands, displaced millions and flattened cities, particularly in Russian-speaking areas in
the east and southeast of Ukraine.

It has also raised global energy and food prices and increased fears of famine in poorer countries as Ukraine and Russia are both major grain producers.

The United States estimates that Russian casualties in Ukraine so far have reached around 15,000 killed and perhaps 45,000 wounded, CIA Director William Burns said on Wednesday.

 

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary urged UK government on ‘practical’ immigration approach

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 22nd July 2022) London, Uk – –

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has urged the UK government to take a more “practical, common sense” approach to post-Brexit policy, to allow more workers from Europe to fill vacancies.

Mr O'Leary said he could hire people from continental Europe for jobs that he cannot fill with British workers, but is unable to get visas for them.

Facilitating such visas would help ease disruption to air travel, he said.

The government said it wanted firms to invest in workers from the UK.

‘Bizarre situation'

Mr O'Leary said: “I can hire thousands of people in Portugal, in Italy, France, Germany at exactly the same wages that I'm paying in the UK and I just can't hire them in the UK at the moment.


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“And we have this bizarre situation at the moment that in the UK I can get visas to bring Moroccans to come in and work as cabin crew. But I can't get visas for Portuguese or Italians or Slovakian youngsters. We just need a bit of more common sense and a practical approach to how we implement Brexit,” he told BBC Radio 4.

He said enabling such visas would help ease the disruption currently being felt at some airports, and ease skill shortages in other areas.

“There are not enough people in the UK willing to do these jobs… particularly during peak periods of the summer and airports in particular. Airport handling staff and airport security staff are really struggling to recruit, particularly in the southeast, at airports like Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester.”

Mr O'Leary has made clear his disagreement with Brexit but says he respects the decision to leave the EU.

A government spokesperson said: “Leaving the EU enabled us to introduce a points-based immigration system and we want to see employers make long-term investments in the UK's domestic workforce, such as training, wage increases and better career options, instead of relying on labour from abroad.”

Industry disruption

Despite currently facing industrial disputes in France, Belgium and Spain over pay and conditions, Ryanair has suffered the least disruption and cancellations of major European carriers in recent months.

In the first six months of 2022, Ryanair cancelled 0.3% of flights, compared with British Airways' total of 3.5%, and Easyjet's 2.8%, according to air travel consultancy OAG.

Ryanair's chief claims that reflects the “strong balance sheet” the airline had going into Covid, which allowed the company to keep staff on, albeit on reduced pay, and maintain training at the height of the pandemic so that they were able to resume operations swiftly when restrictions were lifted.

Mr O'Leary believes relaxing restriction on movement of EU workers across industries facing skills shortages would keep costs lower and so keep prices down for consumers.

“People want good service, they want low prices. And we need a competitive economy for that. It is simply not acceptable to turn around to the vast majority of the British people and say, with nobody to pick or to harvest the food, ‘please pay 20% higher food prices.'”

Critics say that allowing for a wider pool of workers, however, keeps wages down.

And the Department for Transport has previously noted that there has been disruption in many countries due to staff shortages. “It is not obvious that reaching for the lever marked ‘more immigration' will solve the problem,” it said.


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The Ryanair boss concedes that some travellers are likely to face more disruption over the summer but says that should settle down after the peak period.

“I think everybody would be able to staff up and gear up on time as long as we don't have any adverse Covid developments.”

By Dharshini David

 

UK watchdog fines Pfizer, Flynn Pharma $84 mln for overcharging NHS

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 21st July 2022) London, UK —

Pfizer (PFE.N) and Flynn Pharma were fined a total of 70 million pounds ($84 million) on Thursday by Britain's antitrust watchdog for overcharging the National Health Services (NHS) for a life-saving epilepsy drug.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in 2016 had fined Pfizer and Flynn about 90 million pounds for inflating prices for Epanutin by as much as 2,600% to 67.50 pounds for a 100mg pack before the companies won a 2018 appeal against the penalty.


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The Competition Appeal Tribunal had referred the matter back to the CMA, which in August 2021 stuck to its view that the two firms broke the law.

In September 2012, Pfizer sold the UK distribution rights for Epanutin to Flynn. Before that, Pfizer was selling phenytoin sodium capsules to UK wholesalers and pharmacies.

Both Pfizer and Flynn Pharma said they intend to appeal the CMA decision.

“Surprised and disappointed at the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issuance of a further (second) Decision finding an abuse of competition law on the part of Flynn,” the company said in a statement emailed to Reuters.

Epanutin is a life-saving drug which is used to control a variety of epileptic conditions, or prevent seizures during or after brain surgery or severe head injury.

The regulator added that the firms have been overcharging for more than four years.


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It said that spending by Britain's NHS on the capsules, containing phenytoin sodium, jumped to about 50 million pounds in 2013 from about 2 million pounds a year earlier.

Reporting by Sinchita Mitra in Bengaluru