Former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn left Tokyo jail, on a $9 million bail

( via — Wed, 6th Mar 2019) London, UK —

TOKYO (Reuters) – Ousted Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn left prison on a $9 million bail on Wednesday, slipping past a throng of reporters in a blue cap and surgical mask, after vowing to mount a defence against financial misconduct charges that he has called “meritless”.

Surrounded by security guards and dressed in a workman’s uniform and glasses, Ghosn was virtually unrecognisable from his usual suited self as he left Tokyo Detention House, where he was confined to a small cell with no heating for more than 100 days.

The once-feted executive got into a small workvan parked just off the facility’s front entrance. Public broadcaster NHK later showed the vehicle exiting the facility grounds, where hundreds of journalists, photographers and TV crews have been camped, some even overnight.

Ghosn paid the 1 billion yen (£6.84 million) bail, among the highest ever in Japan, after the Tokyo District Court rejected a last-ditch appeal by prosecutors to keep him in jail.

Ghosn, also the former chairman of Renault and Mitsubishi Motors, has agreed to strict bail conditions and given assurances that he will remain in Tokyo, surrender his passport to his lawyer and submit to extensive surveillance.

He has agreed to set up cameras at the entrances and exits to his residence, and is prohibited from using the internet or sending and receiving text messages. Ghosn is also banned from communicating with parties involved in his case, and permitted computer access only at his lawyer’s office.

He faces charges of aggravated breach of trust and under-reporting his salary by about $82 million at Nissan for nearly a decade. If convicted on all charges, he faces a maximum jail sentence of 15 years, prosecutors have said.

“I am innocent and totally committed to vigorously defending myself in a fair trial against these meritless and unsubstantiated accusations,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

The finance minister of France welcomed Ghosn’s release, saying the executive would now be able to defend himself “with greater ease”. Ghosn holds a French citizenship.Slideshow (11 Images)


The release will allow Ghosn – the architect of Nissan’s automaking partnership with Renault and Mitsubishi – to meet his new legal team more frequently and build a defence ahead of trial, which could be several months away.

Last month Ghosn hired lawyer Junichiro Hironaka, nicknamed “the Razor” for his success at winning acquittals in several high-profile cases, to replace Motonari Otsuru who once ran the prosecutor’s office investigating him.

Hironaka’s appointment suggests a shift to a more aggressive defence strategy. He has already said that the charges against Ghosn should have been dealt as an internal company matter and that Japan was out of step with international norms by keeping his client in jail.

Ghosn granted bail after months in detention

The case has cast a harsh light on Japan’s criminal justice system, which allows suspects to be detained for long periods and prohibits defence lawyers from being present during interrogations that can last eight hours a day.

While the bail is a significant step, Ghosn still faces a criminal justice system with a conviction rate of 99.9 percent.

Credited with reviving Nissan in the early 2000s, Ghosn was one of the auto industry’s most powerful figures as head of the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance, whose combined sales rank it as one of the world’s biggest automakers.

At the time of his arrest, he had been seeking a full merger of the companies, an idea opposed by many Nissan executives.

However, his arrest has since muddied the outlook for the alliance, which is based on a web of cross-shareholding and operational integration.

($1 = 111.7800 yen)

Reporting by Tim Kelly and Naomi Tajitsu; Writing by Naomi Tajitsu and Chang-Ran Kim

Pay by cash in the UK is at risk of “falling apart” report warns

( via – – Wed, 6th Mar 2019) London, Uk – –

The system allowing people to use cash in the UK is at risk of “falling apart” and needs a new guarantee to ensure notes and coins can still be used.

A hard-hitting review by finance experts has concluded that market forces will not save cash for as long as people need it.

The report calls on the government and regulators to step in to ensure cash remains viable.

Suggestions include ensuring rural shops offer cash-back.

The report also said that essential services, such as utility and council bills, should still allow customers to pay in cash.

An independent body, funded by the banks, should be set up that would step in if local communities were running short of access to cash in shops and ATMs, the report said.

The research – called the Access to Cash Review – is authored by former financial ombudsman Natalie Ceeney and was paid for by cash machine network operator Link, but was independent from it. It took evidence from nearly 100 businesses and charities across the UK.

How quickly is cash use falling?

Cash use has been falling dramatically in recent years. In 2017, debit card use – driven by contactless payments – overtook the number of payments made in cash in the UK for the first time.

The report said that the current rate of decline would mean cash use would end in 2026.

However, it concluded that notes and coins would still be used in 15 years' time, but accounting for between 10% and 15% of transactions.

The demise of cash, if unchecked, would be driven primarily by retailers and other businesses refusing to accept cash owing to the cost of handling it.

‘My cashless pub is cheaper to run'

Mike Keen opened The Boot pub in Freston, near Ipswich, last year as a cashless business with no tills.

“There are a whole bunch of reasons. The [biggest] gain is management time,” he said, such as never having to cash up at the end of the day, drive to the bank and queue to pay it in, two or three times a week.

He said that saved the business 15 hours a week, and many thousands of pounds.

Insurance premiums had been lower as there was no cash on the premises, security was less of a problem, and the time taken to serve customers was much quicker, he said.

Presentational grey line

What is the problem with a cashless society?

Banknotes and coins are a necessity for eight million people, according to the review's interim findings published in December.

These include rural communities where alternative ways of paying are affected by poor broadband or mobile connectivity, and many people who have physical or mental health problems and therefore find it hard to use digital services.

The report also concludes that vulnerability in this area is generally the result of income, not old age.

“Poverty is the biggest indicator of cash dependency, not age,” the review concludes.

“There are worrying signs that our cash system is falling apart. ATM and bank branch closures are just the tip of the iceberg, underneath there is a huge infrastructure which is becoming increasingly unviable as cash use declines,” Ms Ceeney said. “If we sleepwalk into a cashless society, millions will be left behind.”

Presentational grey line

‘Survival' tougher without cash

Kev Jackson has been homeless and currently lives in temporary accommodation.

“Cash is easy because you know what you have got on you,” he said. “On a card – when you can't see your balance – it is easy to overspend. [Cash] is very good for budgeting.”

“A lot of people [on the streets] do not have bank accounts, so they only carry cash. If you can't spend cash in a shop, it is going to be difficult for them. They won't be able to survive.”

He said that he preferred using a card himself, but was concerned that technology left many people behind.

What should be done?

Evidence from Sweden, seen as much closer to a cashless society than the UK, suggested that infrastructure was needed before cash use declined beyond anyone's control.

The review suggested that an independent body was needed to oversee a guarantee that people need not travel too far to get access to cash.

Innovation should also be used to protect cash, such as:

  • Local shops offering cash-back to customers, rather than customers relying on ATMs
  • Small businesses given the opportunity to deposit cash in secure lockers or “smart” ATMs, rather than have to make a weekly trip to a bank branch
  • A “radical” change to the infrastructure behind cash, overseen by the Bank of England, to lower the cost and maintain free access for consumers

Britain's cash infrastructure costs around £5bn a year to run. It is paid for predominantly by the retail banks and run mostly by commercial operators.

The Bank of England's chief cashier, Sarah John, said it would call together key players in this sector to develop a system that would support lower levels of cash use and encourage innovation “to support cash as a viable means of payment for those who want to use it”.

What has already been done?

Consumer group Which? has called for a single regulator to be established with a statutory duty to protect access to cash and build a sustainable cash infrastructure for the UK.

However, a number of regulators already operate in the financial sector.

Eric Leenders, from UK Finance, which represents banks, said: “The finance industry is using a range of solutions to ensure cash can still be accessed including over the counter withdrawals through 11,500 Post Offices and cash-back from retailers, to investment in ATMs and mobile bank branches to reach more rural communities.

“We will continue to work with the review team, government, and regulators to take forward this important work.”

By Kevin Peachey Personal finance reporter

UK economy came close to flatlining in February amid Brexit uncertainty

( via – – Tue, 5th Mar 2019) London, Uk – –

Employment levels falling at fastest pace in almost nine years, survey finds

The UK economy came close to flatlining last month as Brexit uncertainty intensified and the global economy weakened, with employment levels falling at the fastest pace in almost nine years.

According to the latest snapshot of Britain’s services sector – which accounts for 80% of economic growth – businesses have begun to delay hiring staff against a backdrop of subdued demand and concerns about the economic outlook as the scheduled date of the UK’s departure from the EU draws nearer.

IHS Markit and the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply said that political uncertainty had encouraged delays to corporate spending in the largest sector of the UK economy, which includes financial firms, hotels, shops and restaurants.

Business optimism about the year ahead plunged to the lowest ever recorded by the survey of about 650 UK services firms, barring the height of the global financial crisis and the period immediately after the Brexit vote in July 2016.

The IHS Markit/Cips services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) registered 51.3 in February, up from a two-and-a-half-year low of 50.1 a month earlier, beating a gloomier forecast made by City economists for a reading of 49.9.

Although the reading was above the 50 mark separating growth from contraction, analysts warned the expansion in service sector activity was only marginal, with the biggest driver of UK growth heading for its weakest quarter since 2012.

Duncan Brock, the group director at Cips, said: “Once again this month, the lifeblood of the sector continued to leak away with Brexit indecision striking another blow to new orders and employment in February.

“Any hoped-for progress next month looks like it will be equally stifled, as services activity heads for its weakest quarter since late 2012.”

Theresa May’s further potential defeat over her Brexit plan amid the mounting political chaos in Westminster sapped companies’ confidence, with consequences for jobs and firms’ hiring plans.

Official figures have previously suggested that Brexit has done little to dent hiring, with employment rising to record highs last year and unemployment still at the lowest levels since the mid-1970s.

Economists believe companies have put on hold their capital investment – such as in new plant machinery or efficiency-boosting technology – to hire workers instead amid the political uncertainty.

The latest snapshot from the PMI, however, suggests that jobs growth has kicked into reverse. Private sector employment across the three biggest sectors of the economy – services, manufacturing and construction – fell at the fastest rate since September 2012. Firms said that a lack of new work to replace completed projects had contributed to more cautious recruitment strategies.

Thomas Pugh, a UK economist at the consultancy Capital Economics, said: “As long as Brexit uncertainty continues growth is unlikely to accelerate, but if a Brexit deal is agreed soon, growth will surely rise later this year.”

By Richard Partington

How Hugh Hefner Built The Playboy Empire making it one of the world’s Top Brands

Source: Business Casual

Playboy is an American men's lifestyle and entertainment magazine. History: it was founded in Chicago in 1953, by Hugh Hefner and his associates, and funded in part by a $1,000 loan from Hefner's mother. Notable for its centerfolds of nude and semi-nude models (Playmates), Playboy played an important role in the sexual revolution and remains one of the world's best-known brands.

Today it has grown into Playboy Enterprises, Inc., with a presence in nearly every medium. In addition to the flagship magazine in the United States, special nation-specific versions of Playboy are published worldwide. After a year-long removal of most nude photos in Playboy magazine, the March-April 2017 issue brought back nudity.

Elon Musk’s $100K Roadster Sent To Space on SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket

Source: Tech Insider

In February of 2018, Elon Musk launched his personal Tesla Roadster into space on SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket. A little more than a year later, the Roadster is still cruising around our solar system on its elliptical path around the Sun.

Theranos – Silicon Valley’s greatest failure

Source: ColdFusion

Theranos, what seemed like one of the most ground breaking companies of the 21st century ended up being one of Silicon Valley's greatest failures. How did Elizabeth Holmes manage to fool the world? In this video we find out the twisting rollercoaster of a story.

Government agree payment of £33m to Eurotunnel in the event of no-deal Brexit ferry case

( via – – Fri, 1st Mar 2019) London, Uk – –

The government will pay £33m to Eurotunnel in an agreement to settle a lawsuit over extra ferry services in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

In December, the Department for Transport (DfT) contracted three suppliers to provide additional freight capacity for lorries.

Eurotunnel said the contracts were handed out in a “secretive” way.

As part of the agreement, Eurotunnel has agreed to make some improvements to its terminal.

One of the firms awarded a contract, Seaborne Freight, has already had its deal cancelled after the Irish company backing it pulled out.

Shortly after it was awarded the contract, the BBC found out that Seaborne had no ships and had never run a ferry service.

‘Smooth supply'

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has been heavily criticised for the Seaborne deal, which would have been worth £13.8m.

In January, Eurotunnel wrote to Mr Grayling to complain that it had not been considered when the contracts were awarded.

It argued that unlike Seaborne, it has actually run a cross-Channel ferry service (MyFerryLink, which closed in 2015) and should have been approached.

In a statement accompanying the agreement, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “While it is disappointing that Eurotunnel chose to take legal action on contracts in place to ensure the smooth supply of vital medicines, I am pleased that this agreement will ensure the Channel Tunnel is ready for a post-Brexit world.”

Tesla launches long-awaited $35,000 Model 3 as stores close and sales move online

( via – – Fri, 1st Mar, 2019) London, Uk – –

Tesla has fulfilled its long awaited promise to start selling a $35,000 car, as it announced it would be closing stores and moving all sales online. 

The electric car company released a more affordable version of its Model 3 car for customers to order on its website last night, fulfilling a long-held commitment to make the car cheaper. 

Previously the most basic model available had cost $42,900 (£32,340), before factoring in tax incentives and fuel savings, but the company has said since the car's 2016 launch that it would eventually bring the price down to $35,000. 

“This is something we’ve been working on since we created the company, from the beginning this has been the goal,” said chief executive Elon Musk. “We’re incredibly excited to finally achieve this goal, it’s been insanely difficult.” 

The California-based firm also said it would be closing stores and moving to an online-only mode of sale, as well as extending the return policy to allow customers to keep the car for a week and drive up to 1,000 miles and still get a full refund. 

A limited number will stay open as customer information centres, galleries or showcases.

In the US it would be possible to buy a car on a mobile phone in one minute, said chief executive Elon Musk, adding: “It’s 2019, people want to buy things online”. 

He said some Tesla employees would lose their jobs as a result of the closures, adding that reducing the price of the car while keeping Tesla afloat had been “excruciatingly difficult”.

The company will also be “significantly increasing headcount” among service employees, he said, adding that the company's servicing department was reporting directly to him. 

US customers can order today and could get their car by  June, and it will be available for ordering outside the US in three to six months, Mr Musk added. Tesla recently launched the Model 3 in Europe and deliveries to the UK are due to start later this year.  

The cheapest available model will have a range of 220 miles, while an alternative $37,000 car will have 240 miles of range. 

Mr Musk said the company could release an even more affordable car in two to three years, but that the Model 3, Tesla's most affordable car, would not get any cheaper. 

Tesla turned a profit in the third and fourth quarters of last year, the first time it had done so in two years. Mr Musk said he did not expect the company to make a profit in the first quarter of this year. Shares fell 3.7pc in after-hours trading.

It began selling the Model S in 2012, followed by the Model X in 2015 and the Model 3 in 2017. 

The Models S and X will also get cheaper as a result of the shift online, Mr Musk said. 

By Olivia Rudgard

Aston Martin sets aside £30m to navigate any Brexit-related disruption

( via– Thur, 28th Feb 2019) London, Uk – –

The luxury carmaker says 2018 proved an “outstanding” year and it is on track to handle the UK's looming departure from the EU.

Aston Martin Lagonda has used its first annual results since its stock market debut to announce a £30m fund to help navigate any Brexit-related disruption.

The luxury carmaker, which listed on the London Stock Exchange last October, said its board had approved “plans for up to £30m of advanced working capital and/or operating expenses” linked to the UK's departure from the EU.

The decision marks the latest in a string of actions by the car industry in the run-up to the 29 March deadline – with the sector firmly opposed to a no-deal scenario.

Aston has made no secret of the fact its business is less exposed to the possibility of extra tariffs and supply disruption than its high volume rivals such as Nissan, Honda and Jaguar Land Rover.

All three have made headlines in recent weeks for investment decisions such as Honda's decision to shut its Swindon plant – though Brexit has only formed part of the story as weaknesses in the global economy have dominated.

The industry lobby group the SMMT separately reported on Thursday that UK car exports to China fell 72% in January.

Aston Martin – best known worldwide for its association with the James Bond movie franchise – said it had enjoyed sales growth across all regions in 2018 – including China.

It reported record revenue of £1.1bn – a rise of 25% on 2017 – though its bottom line was hit by a series of costs including £136m linked to its stock market listing.

The company achieved a pre-tax loss of £68.2m following profits of £85m the previous year.

It said of its Brexit preparations: “To date the company has spent a minimal amount (on racking and packaging) and has committed, but not spent, (around) £2m on revised supply chain routes.

“Whilst we are mindful of these external factors and the uncertain and more challenging external environment, particularly in the UK and Europe, we remain disciplined in our execution and maintain our guidance for financial year 2019, whilst also reconfirming our medium-term objectives”.

Shares were up to 13% lower in early trading – with the company losing a third of its market value since flotation.

The company said its expansion – including plans for its first sports utility vehicle, the DBX, were progressing well.

Chief executive Dr Andy Palmer said: “2018 was an outstanding year for Aston Martin Lagonda, delivering strong growth, with improving revenues, unit sales and adjusted profits.

“As the UK's only listed luxury automotive group, we have demonstrated our legitimacy in the global luxury market.

“Our well-defined expansion plans, that combine outstanding high-performance cars with iconic brand-status, are on track as we manage through the uncertainties and disruption impacting the wider auto industry.

“Given our progress on the Second Century plan – including completion of our new manufacturing plant at St Athan and our preparations for the DBX, we are confident that Aston Martin Lagonda will deliver another year of growth.

“Whilst we are mindful of the uncertain and more challenging external environment, particularly in the UK and Europe, we remain disciplined in our execution and maintain our guidance for financial year 2019, whilst also reconfirming our medium-term objectives.”

He later told the Reuters news agency that any delay to the Brexit process would be a “further annoyance” – adding: “You're holding that contingency stock for longer which means that your working capital is tied up for longer.

“More importantly, what you're doing is you're creating continued uncertainty,” he said.

By James Sillars, business reporter

Booker Prize finds new sponsor in billionaire Sir Michael Moritz

( via – – Thur, 28th Feb 2019) London, Uk – –

The Booker Prize will be funded by venture capitalist Sir Michael Moritz for the next five years after the Man Group, the previous sponsor, withdrew.

The prestigious literary award will be paid for by Crankstart, the charity run by Sir Michael and wife Harriet Heyman.

Welsh-born Sir Michael, who is based in San Francisco, is worth $3.4bn (£2.5bn), according to Forbes magazine.

But the prize will not bear his name – it will be known as The Booker Prize after 18 years as the Man Booker Prize.

Last year's £50,000 prize was won by Belfast writer Anna Burns for Milkman.

Sir Michael will also support The International Booker Prize.

He began his career as a journalist for Time magazine and wrote the first biography of Steve Jobs and Apple in 1984.

He went on to join Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, investing in companies including Google, LinkedIn and PayPal.

Harriet Heyman is a former writer for Life and The New York Times, and published a novel in 1989.

Sir Michael said: “Neither of us can imagine a day where we don't spend time reading a book. The Booker Prizes are ways of spreading the word about the insights, discoveries, pleasures and joy that spring from great fiction.

“Just like The Booker, I was born in Britain and before coming to America was reared on English literature. Harriet and I feel fortunate to be able to support prizes that together celebrate the best fiction in the world.”

The couple founded Crankstart in 2000 to support and organise scholarship funds for university students from low-income families.


By Will Gompertz, BBC arts editor

The corporate sponsorship market is notoriously difficult for fundraisers working in the arts sector. Brands aren't exactly queuing up to pour cash into exhibitions, fancy extensions, and annual prizes.

Those that do often don't hang around for long, and the more loyal can sometimes lead to negative publicity (such as BP) or strained relations.

With this in mind, the Booker Prize will be very pleased to have found a donor willing to make a major philanthropic gift without demanding his name be attached to the prize, nor – one imagines – instructing his marketing team to milk the relationship for all that it is worth.

Arts organisations across the country will be looking on enviously, and, I suspect, forming a queue to invite Sir Michael to lunch.

M&S and Ocado confirm deal to start home delivery service next year

( via – – Wed, 27th Feb 2019) London, Uk – –

Marks & Spencer and Ocado have confirmed a deal which will give the High Street retailer a home delivery service for the first time.

M&S will buy a 50% share of Ocado's retail business for £750m.

The joint venture will be called Ocado and will deliver M&S products from September 2020 at the latest, when Ocado's deal with Waitrose expires.

Under the deal Ocado will also continue to supply its own-label products and big name branded goods.

M&S will fund the deal by selling £600m of shares and by cutting its dividend payout to shareholders by 40%.

“We think we've paid a fair price,” said Steve Rowe, M&S chief executive.

“It's the only way we could have gone online within an immediately scalable, profitable and sustainable business,” he said.

He added that one third of M&S business would be online in the future.

M&S shareholders were sceptical – shares fell 8% following the announcement, while Ocado rose by 8%.

Neil Wilson, chief markets analyst at, questioned whether the value of a shop with M&S was big enough for online shopping.

“Basket sizes at M&S are extremely small relative to other larger supermarkets and significantly below the current Ocado minimum for delivery.

At the moment M&S shoppers spend an average of £13 on each shop, while Ocado average just over £100 per shop.

M&S said that part of the reason it has such a relatively low average spend was that customers could not access a wider range of products.

The company said the Ocado deal would offer their customers the ability to do a full shop online.

According to Mr Wilson, there is also a risk that shoppers will defect to Waitrose when the current arrangement with Ocado comes to an end.

“I would also query whether M&S can retain the current Ocado customer base who are used to getting Waitrose products. There is a high risk of customer leakage as consumers rotate to Waitrose's in-house delivery service,” he said.

However, Ocado founder and chief executive Tim Steiner brushed off that suggestion.

“Our customers have told us that they are looking forward to getting their M&S Percy Pig sweets', he said.

Mr Steiner told the BBC of the 50,000 products it currently sold, about 4,500 were Waitrose branded.

When the new joint venture is up and running these would be replaced by more than 4,500 M&S products, he added.

Mr Rowe claimed that current Ocado customers would benefit from the deal as Marks and Spencer products were on average cheaper than comparable Waitrose products.

The deal could also see some of Ocado's own brand products being stocked in M&S stores.

Commenting on the deal, Waitrose managing director Rob Collins said the supermarket chain had strengthened its own online business “significantly” and that it planned to double within five years.

Analysis: By Dominic O'Connell, Today business presenter

The two companies' share price reactions give a succinct verdict.

M&S was down nearly 9% in early trading; Ocado up 4%. Retail experts – and professional investors – think there is a lot more in this for Ocado than for M&S.

The latter is paying £750m for a half share in a division of Ocado that last year made just over £80m of trading profit. Shareholders will have to find £600m of the purchase price from their own pockets.

The high price explains some of investor misgivings, but there are bigger questions about the fit between the two.

M&S is a (relatively) upmarket convenience store, where the average basket price is just £13.

Ocado, thanks to its tie-up with Waitrose and its wide-range of own-label products, is a full-service grocery store where most customers are doing their weekly shop, not topping up.

Will M&S be able to push enough of its products through Ocado to justify the price, and how will Ocado customers react when its relationship with Waitrose comes to an end next year?

Archie Norman, M&S's wily chairman and chief strategist, might judge these criticisms short-sighted, and typical of the City's lack of long-term vision.

Having lagged behind on online shopping for years, M&S has been catapulted into the front ranks at a stroke.

The cost of the deal, Norman might argue, should be judged against the cost of the alternatives, and the cost of doing nothing.

Mark Carney – Bank of England likely to help UK economy after no-deal Brexit

( via — Tue, 26th Feb 2019) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said on Tuesday he expected the British central bank would provide more support for the economy in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Carney said the BoE’s interest-rate setters had stressed that their response to the shock of a no-deal Brexit would not be automatic.

“As my colleague Gertjan Vlieghe has noted, that does not necessarily mean that, in the event of a no-deal, no-transition scenario, either direction of policy is equally likely,” Carney said in an annual report to lawmakers.

“Given the exceptional circumstance associated with Brexit, I would expect the Committee to provide whatever monetary support it can consistent with the price stability remit given to the Committee by Parliament. But there are clearly limits to its ability to do so.”

Writing by William Schomberg

Simon Emeny Fuller’s pubs chief executive joins WH Smith board

( via – – Tue, 26th Feb 2019) London, Uk – –

The chief executive of Fuller's pubs has joined the board of WH Smith to sit as a non-executive director, the high street retailer announced this morning.

Simon Emeny, group chief executive of London brewery Fuller, Smith and Turner, will be joined by Greensill Capital chairman and former Citibank chief executive Maurice Thompson.

Current managing director of the WH Smith high street business Carl Cowling is the third new appointment to the board today.

WH Smith chairman Henry Staunton said: “We are delighted to welcome Simon and Maurice on to the board of WH Smith.

“Their combined retail and financial expertise will ensure we continue to be well positioned to invest in new opportunities and grow the business.

“Since joining WH Smith in 2014, Carl has made a significant contribution to the company, in both our travel and high street businesses.

“He will be a valuable addition to the board as we continue to deliver the strategies for each business and create value for shareholders.”

In January the retailer announced that sales were up six per cent over the Christmas period, with sales boosted 16 per cent in the firm's travel division.

The company's long-term strategy is to transform from a high street giant to a retailer expanding in travel hub markets such as airports and railway stations.

By Jessica Clark

Grant Cardone SUCCESS Motivation: How to Develop a MILLIONAIRE Mindset

Source: Evan Carmichael

More about Grant Cardone: He's internationally renowned business and sales expert. He's the author of 7 sales and business books. He has worked with companies like Google, Aflac, Toyota, GM, Ford and many more. He appears regularly on Fox News, CNBC, Fox Business, and contributes to He was named the #1 marketer to watch in 2017 by Forbes Magazine. He helps his followers and clients to make success their duty. He's the creator of customized sales training programs for Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurs. He's the author of New York Times bestseller book “If You're Not First, You're Last”. He captivates and motivates audiences with his engaging and entertaining speaking style. He's heavily involved in civic affairs and charitable organizations.

10 Trucks & Buses Of The Future You Have To See!

Source: Thansis 1997

Tesla Semi Truck : The Tesla Semi is an all-electric battery-powered Class 8 semi-trailer truck prototype which was unveiled on November 16, 2017 and planned for production in 2019 by Tesla, Inc. Volvo VNL Truck : The Volvo VNL is built for the needs of today’s—and tomorrow’s—long-haul trucking operations. The VNL delivers long-haul efficiency, along with premium comfort and amenities. Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 : This concept vehicle has ushered in a new era for the transport industry: it has gone into the history books as the world's first autonomously driving truck. Yet its futuristic concept is closer to reality than you think. Freightliner SuperTruck : After five years and $115 million of development, the Freightliner SuperTruck is Daimler's answer to a lofty challenge set by the Department Of Energy: “improve semi-truck fuel economy by at least 50 percent.” Mercedes-Benz Future Bus : What urban public transport will look like in the future is shown by the semi-automated city bus with CityPilot – it operates even more safely, efficiently and comfortably than conventional buses. Walmart Advanced Truck : Walmart showcased its futuristic truck at the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) in Louisville, Ky. The Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience is a tractor-trailer combination that features leading edge aerodynamics, an advanced turbine-powered range extending series hybrid powertrain and sophisticated control systems. WILLIE – Transparent LCD Bus : With nothing displayed on the side-elevation transparent LCD screens, there's not much differentiating the Willie from a traditional bus – except for its “organic” frame. Volvo Electric Bus : The Volvo Electric Bus is an integrally-constructed single-decker rigid bus and single-decker articulated bus, most commonly available as a hybrid electric bus named Volvo 7900 Hybrid or just Volvo 7900H.

How Huawei Went From A Small-Time Parts Reseller To A Homegrown Tech Giant

( via – – Sat, 23rd Feb, 2019) London, UK – –

Huawei has been rocked by political and legal turmoil at a time when it also happens to be poised to build the worldwide 5G revolution. Is the timing a coincidence, or a coordinated attempt to knock China's biggest company down a peg? This is the story of how Huawei went from a small-time parts reseller to the homegrown tech giant China always hoped for, and the west always feared.

Video by Henry Baker

Victoria Beckham On The Road To Launch Her Latest Collection In New York

Source: Victoria Beckham

Join me as I travel to New York to launch my #ReebokxVictoriaBeckham collection, celebrate female artists at the Old Masters preview event at Sotheby’s and chat all things fashion on Live with Kelly and Ryan. Click the links below to shop my exclusive travel edit with items from my #VBSS19 collection!

Barclays, chief executive Jes Staley pledges to return more money to shareholders

( via – – Thur, 21st Feb 2019) London, Uk – –

Bank reports flat profits and sets aside £150m to cover uncertainty over Brexit

The Barclays chief executive, Jes Staley, has promised to return more money to shareholders in an effort to fend off the attentions of the activist investor Edward Bramson, as the bank reported flat profits for 2018.

Pre-tax profits of £3.5bn were held back by litigation and conduct charges of £2.2bn for the year, while the bank also took a £150m charge to cover economic uncertainty over Brexit.

Staley has come under pressure in the past year after Bramson amassed a 5.5% stake in the bank through his Sherborne investment vehicle and called for a major change of strategic direction. Bramson wants to cut back Barclays’ investment bank to free up capital for more profitable activities.

Bramson is also agitating for a seat on the Barclays board. Top executives at Barclays will meet Bramson in March to discuss his views on the bank’s strategy for the first time. However, the Barclays board on Thursday wrote a unanimous letter to shareholders saying that Bramson’s request should be denied to maintain a “cohesive” board.

The Barclays boss said the 6.5p dividend for 2018 represented “excellent progress but not sufficient”.

Staley said: “We will use the strong capital generation of the bank to return a greater proportion of earnings to shareholders by way of dividends and to supplement those dividends with additional returns, including share buybacks. I am optimistic for our prospects to do more in 2019 and beyond.”

Barclays declined to give further details on the timing and size of any share buybacks, although Staley suggested the bank would be “prudent” while Brexit uncertainty persists.

The bank’s fixed income, currencies and commodities trading arm, a key part of the investment bank which Bramson wishes to shrink, earned £570m in the fourth quarter of the year. While that represented a 6% year-on-year fall, Barclays outperformed other European rivals, who saw double-digit declines in income amid market volatility.

Investors appeared to welcome the buyback plans. Shares in Barclays rose by 3.3% in morning trading on Thursday, the top riser on the FTSE 100, to reach 166p.

Gary Greenwood, a banking analyst at Shore Capital Markets, said: “It would appear that Barclays’ corporate and investment banking operations fared much better than its US rivals in the final quarter.”

The pressure of an “activist investor breathing down its neck and pressing for an alternative approach” would be likely to spur Barclays to deliver on its targets of increased profitability, Greenwood added.

Barclays group profit before tax excluding costs for fines was £5.7bn, an increase of 20% compared with 2017. Those litigation and conduct costs were inflated by a £400m provision for compensation for payment protection insurance (PPI) and a £1.4bn US fine in March for mortgage securities mis-selling. However, the bank hopes those costs will not recur.

Barclays’ £150m Brexit provision – in line with similar amounts set aside by HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland – was made to be “cautious and prudent”, Staley said on Bloomberg TV. Barclays has already gained a banking licence for an Irish subsidiary in preparation for Brexit, and has held more than 100 clinics with clients to help them get ready, amid continuing uncertainty.

Staley noted that the bank has so far seen few signs of a deterioration in credit quality, although customers were hoarding more cash in their accounts.

“People are clearly being increasingly cautious as we come to the final weeks – and hopefully not much longer – of uncertainty over Brexit,” he said.

Staley was paid a total of £3.4m in 2018, the same as in 2017, after the bank clawed back £500,000 of his 2016 bonus after he was censured and forced to pay a fine of £642,000 by the City regulator for trying to find out the identity of a whistleblower. The board also faced calls to fire Staley for the breach.

However, Staley still received a bonus of £1.1m for 2018.

HSBC profits fall below expectations in fourth quarter

( via – – Tue, 19th Feb, 2019) London, Uk – –

HSBC posted a 16 per cent annual profit rise but fell below expectations as market volatility hurt the bank in the final quarter.

Shares in the bank fell 3.3 per cent in early trading – the FTSE 100's sharpest faller – as it remained cautious on its outlook for 2019 due to Brexit uncertainty and the ongoing US-China trade war.

The figures

Pre-tax profit rose 16 per cent to $19.9bn (£15.4bn) for the full year, but was lower than analysts’ expectations of $22bn.

HSBC said revenue climbed to $53.8bn, a five per cent increase compared to 2017, driven by a rise in deposit revenue across its global businesses but particularly in Asia.

Return on tangible equity for shareholders rose to 8.6 per cent from 6.8 per cent the previous year.

But the bank’s adjusted jaws – a ratio measuring revenue against costs – was in the negative at -1.2 per cent.

Achieving positive jaws is seen as important for investors and banks as it shows that revenue growth is outpacing costs rates.

Why it’s interesting

HSBC blamed its failure to achieve “positive jaws” on market weakness in the fourth quarter – revenue fell eight per cent over the final three months of 2018 compared with the previous year.

The bank said: “Positive jaws remains an important discipline in delivering our financial targets and we remain committed to it in 2019.”

The world’s major banks have all so far been impacted by the volatility seen across global markets at the end of last year.

What HSBC said

Chief executive John Flint said: “These are good results that demonstrate progress against the plan that I outlined in June 2018.

“Profits and revenue were both up despite a challenging fourth quarter, and our return on tangible equity is significantly higher than in 2017.

“This is an encouraging first step towards meeting our return on tangible equity target of more than 11% by 2020.”

What analysts said

Head of markets at interactive investor, Richard Hunter said: “A tough fourth quarter took its toll on some of the numbers, while a slowing Chinese economy, partially fuelled by the ongoing trade spat with the US, has yet fully to wash through.

“As such, 2019 could begin to see some real impact in an Asian region whose reported profits contribute almost 90% of the group total.”

Steve Clayton, manager of Hargreaves Lansdown's select UK income shares fund, which holds a position in HSBC, said the results were “disappointing.”

He said: “HSBC has always been a bank built around facilitating international trade between Asia and the rest of the World.

“Today’s tariff spats between the US and China are hardly helpful and could begin to hurt the group’s customers in Asia and beyond.

He added: “These results are disappointing, but a bank that has just reported underlying annual profits of almost $22bn and grown income, controlled costs and raised its return on equity can hardly be described as in crisis.”

By Callum Keown