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Newspapers: The Times, Independent, FT, Telegraph, Guardian, Mail, Express, Herald 140717

The Times

Weak pound helps bring record tally of tourists: The weak pound and record numbers of Chinese tourists helped drive strong growth in overseas visits to Britain in the first three months of this year.

Digital tax payments put on hold for small businesses: The government has bowed to pressure from small business owners, politicians and campaigners and delayed contentious plans to force millions of small businesses to update the taxman four times a year instead of once.

Expanding budget airline Norwegian flies into trouble: The rapid expansion of Norwegian, the airline that is promising to bring a revolution of budget fares on transatlantic routes, is hitting the carrier hard as its latest half-year results revealed a sharp dive into the red.

Dirty cloud of emissions scandal deepens over Mercedes maker Daimler: Daimler was dragged deeper into the diesel emissions scandal after a document showed it may have sold more than a million manipulated vehicles in Europe and the U.S.

Linklaters suspends lawyer linked to ‘insider trading’: One of the City of London’s biggest law firms has suspended a U.S.-based lawyer after her husband was accused of insider trading based on information gleaned from her work on multibillion-dollar mergers.

Steady as she goes at defence specialist Babcock: Babcock said that a steady stream of new contracts had given the engineer a strong start to the year, suggesting that it was avoiding the pressure on public sector contracts that has brought warnings at its rivals Mitie and Carillion.

Telford Homes sees the profit in build-to-rent: The London-focused housebuilder Telford Homes said its focus on the burgeoning build-to-rent sector and the “chronic” need for new homes in the capital will help it deliver more than £40 million in profits next year and £50 million in 2019.

Opec deal flouted as rebels pump more oil: Some of the biggest oil producers have opened up the taps in the past month, undermining the push to cut supply, according to the latest assessment from the International Energy Agency.

Dunrobin castle distillery a towering ambition: A Highlands distillery company is looking to raise £5.5 million to help fund a new distillery and visitor centre in the grounds of 700-year-old Dunrobin castle.

The Independent

RBS share sale ‘was value for money for taxpayers despite £1.9 billion loss’: Taxpayers received “value for money” from the sale of Government-owned RBS shares in 2015, despite making a loss of close to £2 billion, according to an official watchdog.

National Grid accused of failing to live up to Paris climate accord: Campaigners have accused the National Grid of failing to live up to the Paris Agreement on climate change after it published a report about how energy supplies might develop in the future.

BoE should wind down its balance sheet early, says Ian McCafferty: A Bank of England policymaker has said that the central bank should “think about” selling down its £435 billion stock of assets, despite previous indications that any reduction in its balance sheet will not occur until interest rates have first been raised several times.

Tesco recalls chicken salad over fears it might cause food poisoning: Tesco has recalled two of its ready-made chicken salads, warning that they could contain bacteria that causes fever, diarrhoea and abdominal cramps.

U.K. housing market at its weakest since immediately after Brexit result: The housing market weakened again in June due to a step-up in political uncertainty, according to the latest survey of U.K. chartered surveyors.

U.K. service sector weakens further shops report slowing growth: The U.K. services sector, a key driver of U.K. economic growth, weakened further over the last quarter, according to a respected survey.

Morrisons commits to selling only British fresh meat: Retailer Morrisons has become the first of the U.K.’s major supermarkets to commit to making sure that all the fresh meat that it sells is British.

Hard Brexit could be ‘catastrophic’ for the City of London and cost 70,000 jobs, say experts: Leaving the European Single Market with no trade deal would be “catastrophic” for London and could result in the loss of 70,000 City jobs, a new report has warned.

Financial Times

Premier Oil boosts production ahead of refinancing: Premier Oil reported a significant increase in production in the first half of the year, heightening expectations that the London-listed oil producer will raise its full-year guidance at the end of the summer.

Sukuk market stalls after UAE issuer declares $700 million bond unlawful: The market for Islamic finance has stalled after a Middle Eastern energy company attempted to declare its bond issue unlawful, provoking a court battle.

Goldman Sachs relaxes dress code for tech staff: Goldman Sachs has ripped up its corporate dress code to allow technology and engineering staff to show up for work in “totally casual” clothes in a bid to keep up with hip tech companies.

Yellen signals Fed may relax controversial bank leverage rule: Janet Yellen has given the strongest signal yet that regulators are planning to relax a contentious financial safety standard for big banks that Executives have complained could perversely encourage them to take more risk.

EU regulator rejects ‘letterbox’ relocations after Brexit: London share and fixed income trading venues will have to set up extensive operations when they relocate activities to the EU after Brexit, Europe’s top financial market regulator has warned.

Cargill beefs up profits on growing appetite for meat: Cargill, the world’s largest agricultural commodities supplier, has raked in its highest annual profit in six years, with sales bolstered by growing global appetite for beef, chicken and other forms of protein.

Tata Steel paid Bosses bonuses as staff lost out on pensions: Tata Steel paid its top European managers loyalty bonuses totalling about £25 million after its U.K. workers accepted a pension cut to keep the British business alive.

Sports Direct buys 26% stake in Game Digital: Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct group has taken advantage of a recent sharp fall in shares to buy more than a quarter of video game retailer Game Digital, in a move Game is hoping will lead to a new partnership in the retail and growing esports markets.

Target counters U.S. retail gloom with upbeat outlook: Shares in Target, the Minneapolis-based group whose cheap-chic offerings have garnered a loyal following among middle-class shoppers, surged as it became one of the few U.S. retailers to raise — rather than cut — its guidance to investors.

Germany’s SAP to investigate South Africa kickback allegations: Germany’s SAP will investigate allegations that its South African office agreed kickbacks to a company controlled by the country’s controversial Gupta family, as Europe’s largest software maker became the latest international company to be drawn into South Africa’s biggest post-apartheid political scandal.

France to appeal against Google’s tax case win: The French government will appeal against a Paris court decision that Google did not have to pay more than €1.1 billion in back taxes, setting the tech company up for another legal fight in Europe weeks after Brussels imposed a record antitrust fine.

Delta’s third-quarter outlook falls short of expectations: U.S. investors were left disappointed on Thursday after Delta Air Lines, the country’s largest carrier by market value, issued third-quarter guidance that fell short of expectations.

Hopu named preferred bidder for Global Logistic Properties: An insider group headed by Chief Executive Ming Mei, including powerful Chinese investors, has been named the preferred bidder to take control of Singapore-based Global Logistic Properties.

Lex:

AstraZeneca: mystique: AstraZeneca has one of the latter herd. Pascal Soriot has run AstraZeneca since 2012. Reports on Thursday that he might move to Teva of Israel knocked more than 4 % off the former’s value. Rightly so. Mr. Soriot has done much for AstraZeneca.

 

IPOs: forlorn unicorns: Go public, they said. It will be fun. You get to ring a bell. Yet now look: the two most prominent U.S. initial public offerings of the year are already under water. Employees who had mentally spent their share proceeds have to downsize their dreams. Late-stage private investors, once proud of their VIP passes, are now wishing they were stuck with the plebs in the IPO queue.

Ceconomy: the name of the game: Corporate activity often results in odd company names. “Ceconomy” is such a non-word that Google auto-corrects it to “economy”. Dixons Carphone means little to those aged under 40, who might wonder what a “car phone” was. But combining these two groups would achieve more than just a better name.

Lombard:

Mike Ashley is certainly Game for a laugh: On Thursday, it emerged that Mike Ashley’s sportswear group had taken a 26 % stake in struggling video games retailer Game Digital — a development that led Game to anticipate “collaboration… . in the gaming, live events and rapidly growing esports markets.” Esports, for those not familiar, are those played on screens from a sitting position. So not sports at all. Unless one counts Formula 1. For which Sports Direct does not sell kit.

London’s market: open for business, or open for rent?: Money talks. Opening the London stock market to vast state-owned businesses such as Aramco of Saudi Arabia — the world’s biggest oil company — appeals financially and politically in a post-Brexit world. Now, the Financial Conduct Authority is bringing forward its consultation on introducing a new premium segment that would give such enterprises the cachet of a premium listing, while disabling some of the requirements that other premium-listed companies must adhere to.

The Daily Telegraph

Macron scolds Germany for profiting from Europe’s distress: French President Emmanuel Macron has issued a brutally-candid indictment of German economic policies, rebuking the country for benefiting from the woes of other euro countries and warning that the eurozone cannot survive on such foundations.

Southern Rail owner fined £13.4 million over delays: The operator of Southern Rail has been fined more than £13 million by the Department for Transport after 18 months of repeated disruption due to industrial action.

NAO nearly doubles size of loss on Government’s RBS stake sale: The Government’s only sale of Royal Bank of Scotland shares left the taxpayer nursing a bigger-than-expected £1.9 billion loss, according to calculations by the National Audit Office that cast even more doubt on the state’s ability to profit from its rescue of the lender.

Jaguar Land Rover changes up a gear with E-Pace launch: Jaguar Land Rover’s drive to take on larger rivals has moved up a gear with the official launch of its latest car, the E-Pace.

Spanish business leaders suggest U.K. could be global trade hub post-Brexit: The U.K. has the opportunity to become an independent global trading hub after Brexit, according to Spanish business leaders visiting London as part of the first state visit by Spain’s king in 30 years.

N Brown shares fall after £40 million hit on insurance products: Shares in N Brown fell by as much as 9% after the online fashion retailer said that it was facing a new £40 million hit after finding issues with a credit insurance product it sold to customers.

Vanguard Chief Bill McNabb to step down: The Chief Executive of Vanguard, Bill McNabb, said he will step down at the end of the year, adding now was “the right time for a new leader” as the American fund giant ramped up its global expansion.

The Questor Column:

This German property company offers growth and income – in euros:  we highlight a quirkier, and perhaps riskier, London-listed trust that focuses on a highly specialist market: residential property in Germany – Phoenix Spree Deutschland. The asset class is attractive. As in Britain, some German cities are experiencing rapid population growth and there is a chronic shortage of housing. But German housing is far cheaper than in Britain, France and elsewhere, both in real terms and on other measures including price relative to incomes. This is true even after significant German house price inflation in recent years. Ownership is becoming more fashionable. The company owns 130 properties, which comprise 2,800 residential apartments and 240 commercial premises. Three quarters of the assets are in Berlin. Prices are rising and so are rents. In most cases, Phoenix Spree’s managers buy apartment blocks, refurbish them and re-let them at far higher rents. The company has been going since 2007 but listed in London only in 2015. German property has been popular of late and demand for exposure is strong. The latest net asset value per share for Phoenix Spree Deutschland is €2.73 (243p) as of 2016 year-end. The share price of 290p translates into €3.27, suggesting shares are trading at a premium to net asset value of around 18%. That sounds very far from bargain territory. However, the underlying value of Phoenix Spree’s portfolio is growing staggeringly fast: it registered growth of 49.5% during 2016, its first full year listed on the main London market. Previous years’ growth was 16% (2015) and 5% (2014). If growth in 2017 has continued at its breakneck 2016 rate, ‘s share price – which looks rich on the €2.73 valuation – would in fact represent a discount. It is not a mainstream holding. But it could offer a handy way to diversify asset exposure and income. Questor says ‘Buy’.

The Guardian

U.K. public finances face twin threat from Brexit and downturn, says OBR: Britain’s public finances are in worse shape to withstand a recession than they were on the eve of the 2007 financial crash a decade ago and face the twin threat of a fresh downturn and Brexit, the Treasury’s independent forecaster has warned.

Rupert Murdoch will not offer new Sky deal to culture secretary: Rupert Murdoch will not look to strike a deal with the culture secretary, Karen Bradley, to make Sky News more independent and fast-track his £11.7 billion takeover of Sky.

Philip Morris waging global effort to hobble anti-smoking treaty, files show: Philip Morris, the multinational company best known for Marlboro cigarettes, has developed a corporate strategy to undermine a global treaty and fight tobacco regulation around the world, leaked documents reveal.

Electric cars to account for all new vehicle sales in Europe by 2035: All new cars sold in Europe will be electric within less than two decades, driven by government support, falling battery costs and economies of scale, a Dutch bank has predicted.

Uber stages retreat in Russia as it merges with rival Yandex: Uber is scaling back in Russia by spinning off its operations in the country to form a new company majority-owned by local rival Yandex.

Rise in credit card default rate adds to concerns over household finances: The number of people defaulting on their credit card bills and personal loans jumped in the three months to the end of June, according the Bank of England, underlining the pressure on household budgets as prices rise faster than wages.

Daily Mail

AstraZeneca sinks as rumours fly that Boss Pascal Soriot is set to quit for an Israeli rival: Rumours that AstraZeneca Chief Executive Pascal Soriot is about to jump ship and head to an Israeli rival led investors to fear the drug maker could become open to another takeover bid.

WPP Boss Sir Martin Sorrell goes on buying spree as he seeks to scoop up Europe’s top advert firms: Britain’s biggest advertising agency is buying companies in western Europe amid fears it will lose influence after Brexit.

The Axe man cometh for Panmure Gordon staff following Bob Diamond takeover: Staff at brokers Panmure Gordon, now controlled by Bob Diamond’s African-focused vehicle Atlas Merchant Capital, nervously await the arrival of new Chief Executive Ian Axe on Monday.

Brazilian flip-flop giant Havaianas sold for £850 million as its scandal-hit owners seek to pay off a £2.5 billion fine: Flip-flop firm Havaianas has been sold for £850million as its scandal-hit billionaire owners seek to pay off a £2.5 billion fine.

Burberry fat cats suffer shareholder revolt over multi-million-pound share awards: Burberry has suffered a shareholder revolt after nearly a third of investors voted against its pay policy at its annual general meeting.

Spanish train maker CAF to open new £30 million factory in South Wales creating 300 jobs: A leading Spanish train maker is opening a factory in Wales, creating 300 jobs. CAF is ploughing £30million into the plant at the Celtic Business Park in Newport, a former steelworks that is not far from the steel hub of Port Talbot.

Daily Express

Half of workers would consider working past state pension age: More than half of people planning to retire this year would consider, or already are, working past their state pension age, research has found.

Wimbledon and Strawberries – Sainsbury’s fruit and sparkling wine sales peak this week: Strawberries and Wimbledon – the love affair is stronger than ever as both peak this week. And now another player – sparkling wine – is on the scene too, according to Sainsbury’s.

Britain steps up battle to win biggest ever stock market listing of Saudi Arabia oil giant: Britain is set to tweak stock market rules in a move that’s hoped to sway Saudi Arabia into choosing London as the destination for the biggest ever company listing.

Germany and France join forces to swipe euro-clearing from U.K.: German and French lobbyists have joined forces in a fresh assault on London’s post-Brexit rights to process hundreds of billions of investment trades.

Amec Foster Wheeler and Wood Group shares slide amid corruption probe: Shares in FTSE 250 oil services rivals Amec Foster Wheeler and Wood Group slid by over 5% and 3% respectively as a corruption probe cast a shadow over their proposed merger.

JCB shrugs off shrinking construction equipment markets to lift annual profits: JCB shrugged off shrinking construction equipment markets to lift annual profits by more than a third.

The Scottish Herald

French energy giant EDF invests in 11 Scottish wind projects: The U.K. renewables arm of French energy giant EDF has ramped up its commitment to developing wind farms in Scotland.

Shetland field woes persist for Premier: Premier Oil has revealed it is still facing big challenges on a flagship oil field development West of Shetland although it is making good progress elsewhere in the North Sea.

North Ayrshire tees up closer trade links with U.S.A: North Ayrshire Council leaders aim to forge closer business links with the key U.S. market at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open which started at Dundonald Links.

Scotch whisky firm Inver House gets new Boss as Stevenson exits: Inver House Distillers has revealed that long-standing managing Director Graham Stevenson will leave the company in September after being named this week as part of the consortium which acquired the Glenallachie Distillery in Speyside.

Asos announces revenue increase driven by international sales: Online fashion retailer Asos has posted a jump in third quarter revenue, helped by a surge in international sales and investment in lower prices.

Aberdeen recovery observed in office deals: Office take up in Aberdeen in the first half of 2017 surged past the total take-up in 2016, in another sign of recovery.

The Scotsman

Hebridean Sea Salt goes into liquidation after table salt scandal: An artisan sea salt company which was found by food inspectors to contain “80 % imported table salt”, has gone into liquidation.

Big plans in store for Glasgow’s St Enoch centre: Glasgow’s St Enoch shopping centre is to gain a Vue cinema complex as part of a new multi-million development.

Lerwick harbour development a boost for Scotland’s fishing fleet: A multi-million-pound expansion of Lerwick Harbour was officially opened this week as part of a long-term strategy to attract investment to Shetland and consolidate its role as a hub for the fishing and energy industries.

Scottish distillery sold by Pernod Ricard: Chivas Brothers owner Pernod Ricard last night announced the sale of the Glenallachie Distillery to a consortium that involves whisky industry veteran Billy Walker.

City A.M.

Treasury Select Committee chair Nicky Morgan seeks a Brexit prioritising jobs over immigration: Nicky Morgan, newly-elected chair of the Treasury Select Committee, will be prioritising jobs as she scrutinises the government’s stance on Brexit in her new role.

Bone Daddies profits up 20 % on back of burgeoning London food scene: Hip London ramen chain Bone Daddies increased its profits and turnover last year, as the brand continues to grow its portfolio.

TfL to ramp up frequency of Elizabeth Line services and boost number of trains: More services will be run on the Elizabeth Line than originally planned, Transport for London (TfL) announced.

Gordon Bennett! No, Gordon Dadds: London is about to get its second listed law firm: Gordon Dadds is set to become London’s second listed law firm. Work Group has announced an £18.8 million reverse takeover deal to buy Gordon Dadds Group.

EE is creating 400 new jobs and giving customers Apple Music for free to celebrate: Britain’s largest mobile operator has unveiled plans to create 400 new retail jobs as part of a 100-store tie-up with Sainsbury’s and Argos.

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Disclaimer: Statements in this article should not be considered investment advice, which is best sought directly from a qualified professional.