Cheap car insurance is a thing of the past, says AA: Motor insurance premiums have risen for the first time since 2012, dealing a blow to drivers but providing a much-needed boost to the bottom lines of the big providers.
Advert pays off for FairFX: A marketing push that led to a dramatic increase in customers helped FairFX, the travel money and foreign exchange company, to produce a 40% jump in revenues to about £310 million in the first half.
No one threw ‘Libor-rigger’ Tom Hayes under the bus, court told: The prosecution in the trial of Tom Hayes, the first person to face a jury on Libor-rigging charges, said that the former trader had only himself to blame for finding himself on trial.
Verdict on ‘abuse’ of SMEs delayed again: The findings of a long-awaited Financial Conduct Authority report into Royal Bank of Scotland’s treatment of distressed business customers have been delayed for a third time.
LSE fines bank over missing trades: The London Stock Exchange has imposed its biggest fine in more than 15 years after an investigation found that an unnamed bank had failed to report millions of pounds of bond trades.
Barclays and SFO discuss deal over Qatar link: Barclays has held talks with the Serious Fraud Office about signing a possible settlement over a long-running investigation into its controversial dealings with Qatar at the height of the financial crisis in 2008.
Island’s £3 million windfall after plan fails: A wind farm developer is to pay out £3 million to an island community without a single turbine being built.
Hunter Boot puts some welly into finance: Hunter Boot, the maker of upmarket wellies sported by the likes of Stella McCartney, above, Kate Moss and Harry Styles, has hired a new Chief financial officer.
More will pay rent than own a mortgage by 2025: The number of people renting homes will overtake those with a mortgage in the next decade as the rise in Owner-occupation since the Second World War goes into reverse.
Make money from 65 million overseas viewers, BBC urged: More than 60 million people outside the U.K. have been exploiting internet loopholes to watch BBC iPlayer free of charge, according to research, suggesting that the corporation could make millions by charging overseas viewers in countries such as China.
LSE fines bank over missing trades: The London Stock Exchange has imposed its biggest fine in more than 15 years after an investigation found that an unnamed bank had failed to report millions of pounds of bond trades.
TomTom maps out road to its own recovery: TomTom, the €2.3 billion Dutch satellite navigation company, as good as admitted that it had taken a wrong turning when it unveiled profits down 71% in the second quarter of the year. It confessed that its navigation devices were continuing to be dropped in favour of smartphones.
Co-op takes on 1,000 staff to fight rivals: The Co-operative Group is to recruit up to 1,000 staff for its supermarkets as it prepares a fightback in the price war for groceries on the high street.
Accounting scandal forces mass resignations at Toshiba: The Boss of the venerable Japanese technology giant Toshiba has resigned in disgrace in the wake of one of the country’s biggest ever accounting scandals.
Royal Mail cuts costs to offset letter decline: The Boss of Royal Mail has vowed to keep cutting costs in the business, as letter posting continues to dwindle.
IG Group head quits months after Swiss franc chaos costs millions: The Chief Executive of IG Group has quit, months after the U.K.’s biggest spread betting company was badly shaken by the Swiss National Bank’s bombshell in currency markets.
Microsoft hit by $3.2 billion loss on Nokia smartphones: As Apple announced iPhone revenue was up 59% over the last year, Microsoft effectively admitted defeat in its bid to become a major player in the mobile phone market.
First Utility plans stock listing for early 2016: First Utility, the U.K.’s biggest independent energy supplier, is to appoint investment banks to handle a stock market flotation planned for early next year that could give it a market capitalisation of about £500 million.
Record BHP iron ore output beats forecasts: BHP Billiton reported record output in quarterly update but warned that it is set to book another sizeable write-down and has scaled back production expectations for the coming year.
Clean power subsidies to be reined back: Ministers are poised to announce plans to rein back subsidies for low-carbon energy amid warnings that they will overshoot the government’s own targets.
Petropavlovsk exploits rouble weakness to reduce operating costs: Petropavlovsk, the gold miner rescued by a rights issue this year, said the fall in the Russian rouble would help it cut operating costs as the sector battles the latest drop in the price of the precious metal.
NY regulator steps up Promontory probe: U.S. regulators are stepping up their investigation into Promontory Financial Group by taking depositions from several of the consultancy’s employees about its review of Iran-linked transactions for Standard Chartered, the U.K. bank.
Ex-Healthcare Locums’ finance Chief settles accounts scandal: The former Chief financial officer of Healthcare Locums, the staffing agency that suspended its shares in 2011 after discovering irregularities in its accounts, has settled with the U.K. accountancy watchdog.
Horizon raises offer for rival drugmaker Depomed: Horizon Pharma, the Irish drugmaker, sweetened its offer for smaller rival Depomed on Tuesday, as it steps up its effort to acquire the maker of treatments for conditions of the central nervous system.
Record fundraising bolster U.K.’s biotech challengers: As Immunocore scrambled to complete a $320 million private fundraising last week — the biggest of its kind by a European biotech company — a last-minute hitch threatened to hold up the deal.
Novartis Chief looks to blockbuster drugs to counter profits drop: Novartis’s Chief Executive has urged investors to look beyond the Swiss group’s disappointing second-quarter results and instead focus on its sales hopes for two blockbuster drug launches.
Petrobras prosecutors look overseas: An investigation into alleged corruption at Petrobras, the Brazilian state-owned oil company, is spreading internationally, with Portugal on Tuesday announcing that it will assist Brazil in the probe.
KKR snaps up most of Gestamp Solar: KKR has swooped on a Spanish solar power plant developer, in the renewable energy sector’s second large deal in two days.
German carmakers nearing deal for Nokia’s Here mapping arm: Nokia has entered into exclusive talks with three German carmakers over the sale of its high-definition maps unit as the manufacturers seek to gain a foothold in the technology.
Harley-Davidson hits headwinds of strong dollar: Harley-Davidson is putting the brakes on its motorbike shipments as the strong U.S. dollar and pricing cuts from rivals pressure the eponymous 112-year-old brand.
Lufthansa passenger jet in near-miss with drone: A reported near-collision between a drone and a Lufthansa jet with 108 passengers on board in Poland has revived concerns about unmanned aerial vehicles sharing airspace with commercial aircraft.
Slowing economy send Otis elevators on the way down in China: United Technologies was forced to push the down button on its expectations for this year’s profits after its soaring hopes of installing air conditioning and Otis lifts in Chinese skyscrapers were brought down to earth by a slowing economy.
U.S. coffee trend bodes ill for growers: Competition in the U.S. coffee market has intensified amid growing pressure from single-serve pods and premium beans, forcing big ground coffee companies to cut prices to try to lure back traditional customers.
Higher profits in Greece help PZ Cussons soften currency blow: PZ Cussons has managed to increase profits in crisis-hit Greece where it owns popular olive oil brand Minerva, which is a staple food there.
Zalando’s profitability suffers amid rapid expansion: Zalando, the German online fashion retailer, notched up another quarter of rapid expansion even as its profitability suffered.
Traffic acquisition costs hold back Yahoo: Yahoo increased revenue at the fastest rate for nine years in the second quarter, but the cost of acquiring traffic contributed to a swing to a net loss.
Rivals ask EU to probe Google’s role in advert technology market: Google is facing a new threat in its legal battle with Brussels, as its rivals ask regulators to probe the group’s dominance of the technology at the heart of the $60 billion market for online display advertising.
SAP does not intend to follow rivals in buying back stock: SAP sees no need to copy its U.S. rivals by buying back its own stock, as it reported quarterly revenues that exceeded analysts’ forecasts.
Coinbase’s Fred Ehrsam says bitcoin still seeks ‘killer app’: Bitcoin is still awaiting its “killer app” to catapult the virtual currency into the mainstream, but Fred Ehrsam has a guess as to what it might be: ending spam.
Huawei first-half smartphone revenues leap 87%: Huawei, the Chinese telecoms hardware maker, has unveiled an 87% surge in handset sales revenues in the first half of 2015 and says its consumer electronic business — primarily smartphones — now accounts for one third of its global revenues.
U.S. regulators set to clear $49 billion AT&T bid for DirecTV: U.S. regulators are expected to clear AT&T’s $49 billion acquisition of DirecTV in a major victory for the companies amid government scrutiny and scepticism over telecoms mergers.
Sky warns £12.5 billion takeover of EE is ‘highly damaging’: Sky has warned that the £12.5 billion takeover of mobile group EE by BT would be “highly damaging” to the telecoms market by making it too dominant.
Apple: still on top: Apple missed analysts’ estimates in its June quarters of 2012 and 2013. Three years ago investors — and customers — were waiting nervously for the next iPhone. Two years ago the company’s sales in China, its most important growth market, fell. Those were things worth worrying about. On Tuesday, Apple’s stock suffered a more serious adverse reaction than on either of those darker July afternoons, falling more than 7%. Profits and revenues beat consensus estimates. This time the worries are iPhone shipments that were a sliver below expectations and a slightly weaker-than-expected revenue target for the September quarter. Some investor wobble is to be expected. They own a different company than the Apple of two years ago, and their expectations are higher. The stock has doubled since then even after Tuesday’s sell-off. Tim Cook is firmly entrenched as Chief Executive. But the growth story is still intact. The iPhone remains a magical success story, with 47.5 million units sold in the last three months, up 35% year-on-year. Consumers are willing to pay significantly more for them, with the average selling price up $99, or 18%, in 12 months. China’s economy may be slowing, but so far it has done nothing to slow customer demand: revenue from the region rose 112% year-on-year to $13.2 billion. At that pace, it will outstrip the Americas as Apple’s biggest market in the next few months.
Man Group: ‘Rithm and blues: Amazon is an online bookseller. Rolls-Royce makes posh cars. And Man Group runs a hedge fund called AHL. Companies stay linked to the products that made them famous, even when those products no longer matter much. For Man, this is a problem. AHL is not exactly irrelevant to the group — AHL’s Diversified Fund accounts for 6% of its assets under management. But in 2008 that figure was nearer to 60%. And yet Man’s share price is still strongly linked to AHL Diversified. RBC Capital Markets puts the correlation at 98%. That has hurt the shares lately. AHL Diversified, a computer-driven fund, has been going through a rough patch. So its performance — and that of Man’s shares — has been weak. The latter are down 28% since April. At 12 times forecast earnings, they are just below the three-year average of 13. To make up that deficit, Man will have to show how diversification has changed things. It has certainly made plenty of acquisitions, the most recent being Numeric (which runs quantitative strategies) and NewSmith (an equities specialist). Well and good; but margins at the acquired companies will struggle to match those on some of the AHL-related products. In particular, Man manages structured products that charge fees of 500 basis points (against Man’s 2014 average fee of 131bp). But these products have a limited life, and new business is not being written. So although they account for a small amount of AUM, they represent a bigger proportion of profits — and are steadily becoming a smaller part of the overall mix. So Man has to sell a lot more of everything else to make up for the lost profits.
Zalando: growth model: Some fashions just click with the public. Consider online apparel, a $150 billion business worldwide. U.K.-listed Asos, founded in 2000, once controlled much of the market. Others have followed. Asos may be one of the earlier successes in this sector. It is not the largest. Germany’s Zalando, founded in 2008 and listed last year, has twice the market value. The two have different strategies. Asos, not content to sell in Europe, has big plans for the U.S., China and Australia. Zalando focuses on Europe. Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH) accounted for 43% of its sales last year. They also differ in how each accepts payment. In Zalando’s DACH regions, buyers prefer to pay their invoice after delivery, transferring money afterwards. Zalando handles its invoice system in-house. Asos, where it does offer this system, uses a third party to take on the credit risk. On Tuesday, Zalando said in a brief trading statement that its invoice system had higher than expected costs. It is not clear what this means. It could reflect higher returns, bad debts creeping up, or something else. Whatever the issue, management insists that it is temporary. Operating margins will be below previous targets — about 4%, well below last year. The shares dropped sharply.
U.K. biotechs dive into a deepening pool: The plumbing in British capital markets means that homegrown biotech businesses, even those spun out from the city of dreaming spires, are as likely to be showered in ice as gold. Life science start-ups have achieved billion-dollar valuations, but only by moving to Nasdaq or the Golden State, where venture capital funds have zillions and biotech valuations are at record highs. However, on Tuesday, Oxford Nanopore, the privately owned creator of the world’s smallest DNA sequencer, raised £70 million. Last week, Immunocore raised $320 million to develop a therapy for melanoma, without going near a public market or leaving Oxford. That is one of the largest private biotech fund raisings in the world and values the loss-maker at $1 billion. Most of the investors were in Europe where the temperature has been rising. Last year, new floats and venture capital funding for life sciences touched a decade high in the U.K. Ireland-based Malin, launched by former Executives of pharma group Elan last year and which put $80 million into Immunocore last week, is one of an expanding band of specialist funds.
Two banks, one problem: What is it about Barclays and Standard Chartered? The more you look, the more there seems to be a kind of yin-yang thing going on, writes Patrick Jenkins. Britain’s third and fifth biggest banks have little obviously in common. One is a U.K. retail lender with an investment bank on the side. The other is a retail and commercial bank with an emerging markets bent. But their stories seem intertwined these days. StanChart Chairman Sir John Peace recently ousted then Chief Executive Peter Sands, delighting investors. This month, Barclays’ Chairman John McFarlane ejected Antony Jenkins. Both banks are now likely to be rejigged thoroughly, with management shake-ups and mass job cuts. There are those echoing boardroom links, too. StanChart’s senior independent Director, Naguib Kheraj, is a former Barclays finance Director and the former subordinate of Bill Winters, when the new StanChart Chief was at JPMorgan. The current Barclays finance Director, Tushar Morzaria, was Mr Winters’ FD at JPMorgan’s investment bank. All of which will titillate committed City observers.
The Daily Telegraph
George Osborne: we will not backtrack on ring fence rules: George Osborne has insisted that he will not backtrack on plans to separate banks’ retail arms from their riskier investment banking operations.
U.K. deficit at lowest in seven years as tax receipts grow: Government borrowing last month hit its lowest level for any June since 2008, as the state’s books were improved by record-breaking tax receipts.
Hinkley Point nuclear plant: ‘very good prospect’ of go-ahead this year, says Amber Rudd: There is a “very good prospect” of a decision to build Britain’s first new nuclear plant finally being taken later this year, Amber Rudd, the energy secretary has said.
Billions wiped off Apple amid fears its popularity has peaked: Apple sold 47.5 million iPhones in the third quarter, up 35% on the same period last year but short of analysts’ expectations of 48.8 million.
Aman Resorts tries to ban co-Owner’s ally from all of its hotels: Aman Resorts has apparently tried to ban a key ally of one of its Owners from visiting any of its luxury hotels, intensifying a boardroom dispute at the hotelier ahead of a London court hearing later this year.
Greeks expect new bail-out talks to be agreed within weeks: The Greek government expects to strike a deal on a new €86 billion bail-out package within the next month, as parliamentarians are set to ratify a second set of controversial measures demanded by its creditors.
Vodafone brings European networks under close watch as Liberty deal talks rumble on: Vodafone Chief Executive Vittorio Colao has promoted the leaders of the company’s biggest European markets to his top table, even as the networks they run are at the centre of talks about a potential combination with Liberty Global.
Toshiba scandal sheds harsh light on Japan’s corporate governance: The Toshiba accounting scandal comes just six weeks after the introduction of a corporate governance code in Japan that was meant to pave the way to a more open dialogue between companies and shareholders.
Bank of England and FCA’s report on failure of HBOS suffers further delays: The long-awaited report into what went wrong at HBOS before it was rescued by Lloyds TSB during the 2008 banking crisis is facing further delays, it has been revealed as investigators admitted they need the permission of individuals criticised in the report before it can be published.
Local authority spending cuts help government to borrow less in June: Lower spending by local authorities provided George Osborne with a boost last month by cutting the amount the government needed to borrow to balance taxes and spending by almost £1 billion to its lowest June total in seven years. Official figures showed public sector net borrowing – the Treasury’s preferred measure of the deficit – stood at £9.4 billion in June, down £800 million on the same month in 2014.
Generation rent: the housing ladder starts to collapse for the under-40s: House price rises of 5% a year and a shortage of affordable homes are set to swell the ranks of “generation rent” over the next decade, so that by 2025 more than half of those under 40 will be living in properties owned by private landlords.
Chances of Greek bailout rest on MPs’ vote: Greek MPs will vote on Wednesday on two laws that could make or break the country’s prospects of an international bailout. Greece is poised to begin talks with its international creditors on a proposed €86 billion (£60 billion) bailout, but first the Greek parliament has to vote through two measures – a banking reform law and an overhaul of Greece’s civil code.
AO World gets boost ahead of shareholder meeting as improved U.K. sales performance lifts shares: AO World has seen its share price soar this morning after it reported strong first quarter sales figures ahead of its annual shareholder meeting later.
Eurostar defies striking French ferry workers and carries a record 2.8 million travellers during the early summer months: Striking French ferry workers have not stopped Channel Tunnel train operator Eurostar notching up record passenger numbers over the past few months.
Weak oil price, currency factors, and Nigeria violence threat hits profits at Imperial Leather soap manufacturer PZ Cussons: The tumbling oil price, a weak currency and the threat of violence in Nigeria has hit profits at the maker of Imperial Leather soap.
Rexam’s predator seeks to play down competition concerns as EU launches probe into drinks can makers’ takeover: The U.S. can making giant vying to buy British industrial champion Rexam has sought to play down fears that the deal will stifle competition and could lead to higher prices.
Luxury goods sales lag in the far east as Asian tourists flock to Europe and the U.K. to shop: Selling expensive wares – from watches to cognac and handbags to silk scarves – is getting tougher in Hong Kong and Macau but the latest data reveals Asian tourists are still flooding Europe and the U.K. to shop.
Thomas Cook and Club Med team up to share flights and improve sales in Europe: Thomas Cook and Club Med are looking into sharing flights as part of a new three-year partnership between the two holiday companies, both of which have the same Chinese shareholder.
The big name banks losing the most customers: Bank giant Barclays is losing customers in their droves as more people vote with their feet and switch provider, according to figures released.
Britons More likely to vote for EU exit after Greek deal leaves lefties in shock over cuts: The Greek debt crisis has made Britain far more likely to vote for an exit from the European Union because traditional Labour voters are shocked at the savage deal imposed on Athens, a leading City commentator has claimed.
Brits aboard fuel Eurostar: Eurostar carried a record 2.8 million passengers over the past quarter, up 3% on 2014, as a strong pound and a new service to the South of France boosted demand from British holidaymakers.
GVC stock up in Bwin bid ploy: Gaming group GVC could make a solo play for Bwin.party to trump rival 888’s £898.3 million agreed offer for the poker site.
The Scottish Herald
Scottish corporate insolvencies show year-on-year fall in Q2 but challenges remain: The number of corporate insolvencies in Scotland in the second quarter was down on the same period of last year but up on the preceding three months, an analysis has shown.
Glasgow wins biotechnology conference: Glasgow has won the bid to host Europe’s largest industrial biotechnology conference next year.
Scottish tidal energy industry in grant boost: The tidal energy industry has been boosted with a £700,000 award by Innovate U.K. to two marine projects, one of them involving Scotland’s centres of excellence.
Bank backs Ayrshire waste treatment plant: HSBC is backing a recycling and recovery plant under construction in Ayrshire which is expected to create 10 jobs when it opens later this year.
Recruitment firm sees post-election confidence in economy: Search Consultancy, the recruitment group with a strong Scottish presence, has reported a £2.9 million improvement in profits for 2014 as it swung back into the black.
Intertek works to bridge the testing gap: Testing and inspection specialist Intertek has won a contract to provide corrosion monitoring equipment and software for the new Queensferry Crossing.
Retail gap widens between Scotland and U.K.: Scotland’s high streets are under pressure, new figures suggest, with industry Bosses warning of a “significant” gap emerging between consumer confidence north and south of the Border.
SNP MP asks about second indyref ‘contingency plans’: An SNP MP has asked the Scottish Secretary if he has any “contingency plans” in case a second independence referendum is held after next year’s Holyrood elections.
Experts say Scotland stands to lose more from Evel: Scotland stands to lose more as a result of controversial plans to bring in English votes for English legislation, experts have warned.
George Osborne wants £20 billion more austerity cuts: The Scottish Government is set to lose an estimated £1 billion from its budget after George Osborne announced a new wave of austerity in a full departmental spending review.
Prestwick Airport losses double since bailout: Losses have almost doubled at troubled Prestwick Airport while the size of the taxpayer bailout handed to it by Scottish Ministers has rocketed and could rise further next year.
No end in sight for generation rent: The?plight?of Britain’s generation of renters was laid bare this morning, as new figures showed that those in the private rental sector could outnumber mortgage-holders in a decade.
S&P upgrades Greek credit rating ahead of vote: Standard & Poor’s upgraded its foreign and local currency long-term sovereign credit ratings on Greece to CCC+ from CCC-, and said the outlook for the country is stable.
Carney points to rate hike at the turn of this year: The Bank of England will need to decide around the turn of the year whether the time is right to start to raise interest rates from their current record low, its governor Mark Carney said.
U.K. tech firm crosses the Atlantic to buy-up U.S. internet TV rival: Internet TV provider Amino agreed a $73 million (£46.7 million) deal to purchase its leading U.S. rival, Entone.
British home transactions jump in June: The housing market picked up pace in June as both buyers and sellers returned to the market after shaking off uncertainty from the General Election.
Arbuthnot warns over higher bank tax: Challenger bank Arbuthnot Banking Group warned higher taxes on bank profits will hurt lending to the real economy
Rothesay Life racks up biggest buy-in of 2015 with new £1.6 billion deal: Insurance firm Rothesay Life has completed a £1.6 billion bulk annuity deal with the Civil Aviation Authority Pensions Scheme (CAAPS), the second largest buy-in ever secured by a U.K. pension scheme.
Stricter visa rules to give firms headache amid skills shortage: Proposed changes to rules governing who can work in the U.K. threaten to exacerbate the skills shortage facing employers, the head of a major recruiting body has warned.
Experian sells its business intelligence arm FootFall to U.S. firm Tyco for £38.5 million: Global information services firm Experian announced that it had divested itself of retail intelligence business FootFall for £38.5 million to Tyco.
Cable & Wireless revenue up on broadband growth: Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC), the telecoms group active in the Caribbean and Latin America, said demand for broadband and video helped it grow in the first quarter, as mobile revenue stalled.