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Daily News Roundup: Thursday, 10th May 2018

Posted: 10th May 2018

BANKING

Virgin Money offer highlights testing times for challenger banks

The FT’s Martin Arnold paints CYBG’s offer for Virgin Money as indicative of the sector’s current battles against higher costs and disruption from digital services. Elsewhere, it is reported that Virgin Money suffered a 15% shareholder vote against executive pay at its annual meeting yesterday.

Upbeat start to the year for Provident Financial

Provident Financial has reported a strong start to the year, noting in a trading update that: “Each of the group's three businesses have started 2018 with positive momentum”. The group noted that customer numbers were 24% higher than this time last year even though lending criteria had been tightened.

Loan book growth leads to gains for Onesavings

Onesavings has posted a positive update on its outlook for the year, resulting in its share price rising 2%. Chief executive Andy Golding commented: “Our lending and retail savings franchises remain strong and, given current levels of applications in our core buy-to-let and commercial businesses, we are confident that we can deliver at least mid-teens net loan book growth this year”.

First Eagle Lab in Sheffield from Barclays

Barclays Bank and Sheffield-based Kollider are to launch a new facility designed to help entrepreneurs expand their firms, after striking a deal to start the first Barclays Eagle Lab in the city.

INTERNATIONAL

Record profit on asset sales for Irish banks

The Irish Central Bank saw a record profit of €2.6bn (£2.3bn) last year, with €2.1bn transferred to the state to help reduce the national debt. Capital gains from a range of assets acquired during the country’s banking crisis contributed to the figures.

Guidelines to be set on money-laundering

New, stricter guidelines are likely to be set by the Central Bank of Cyprus on anti-money laundering requirements as early as next week, after the US Treasury threatened to ban the island’s entire banking system from transacting in US dollars four years ago.

AUTOMOTIVE

Jaguar Land Rover sales increase

UK sales for Jaguar Land Rover increased more than 25% last month, compared to a weak 2017, despite reports that the firm would make 1,000 staff redundant after a fall in March sales.

BMW recalls over 300k vehicles

BMW is taking back 312,000 vehicles, including the BMW 1 Series, the 3 Series, the Z4 and X1 petrol and diesel models made between March 2007 and August 2011, after a BBC investigation found they were in danger of cutting out completely.

Morgan racing towards electric future

Operating profit at luxury British sports car maker Morgan Motors climbed to £3m last year, the highest in its history amid ongoing preparations for an electric vehicle-powered future. Car sales rose from 707 to 751, with revenues climbing 18% to £35.6m, another record.

FINANCIAL SERVICES

Lloyd’s ban on NRA underwriting

Lloyd's has banned its syndicates from writing business for the National Rifle Association in the US, after regulators in the country said an NRA-branded insurance scheme was unlawful. Lloyd's commented: “The Lloyd's Corporation has given very careful consideration as to whether syndicates at Lloyd's should continue to insure programmes offered, marketed, endorsed or otherwise made available through the National Rifle Association of America.”

Asset managers double spending on new data in hunt for edge

New research by AlternativeData has revealed that investment groups have spent $373m on data sets and new employees to parse them in the past two years, up 60% on 2016.

Bond trading: technology finally disrupts a $50tn market

Robin Wigglesworth and Joe Rennison explore how fixed income is shifting towards electronic trading on exchanges, with AI taking over the corporate, municipal and the emerging market debt sectors next.

Alpha collapse leaves cabbies scrambling

Danish insurance company Alpha has gone bust, leaving London cab drivers scrambling to reinsure. Alpha, which ran Cover My Cab and Protector, among others, filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday, immediately terminating all existing policies.

South Korea divestment for Carlyle

Carlyle has sold ADT Caps to SK Telecom and a Macquarie fund for $2.8bn, the biggest exit from a private equity investment in South Korea in over four years.

HEALTHCARE

Alliance Pharma extends Venture Life partnership

Alliance Pharma, which produces more than 90 different healthcare products, including lip balm brand Lypsyl, has expanded its manufacturing contract with self-care product manufacturer Venture Life. Alliance will give Venture Life at least €1.6m (£1.4m) per year until December 31 2025.

LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY

Wetherspoons urges government to ditch taxes on non-EU imports

Wetherspoons chief executive Tim Martin has called on the government to eliminate taxes on imports of non-EU food and drink, while also supporting Britain’s departure from the EU customs union. He said of the latter: “This will enable parliament to eliminate taxes on non-EU food and drink imports, reducing prices in the shops, which will immediately improve living standards”.

Tui half-year results cruising

Revenue at Tui increased 7.2% to €6.81bn (£5.96bn) in the first half, up from €6.35bn the previous year. The travel firm posted a loss of €159m in underlying earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITDA), up from a €230m loss the previous year, but highlighted its cruising business as a particular improving sector.

MANUFACTURING

Marshalls sees rising revenues

Marshalls has enjoyed a 10% revenue increase in the first four months of the year, to £149m, up from £135m in the same period last year. The UK building material manufacturing firm estimated that the impact of recent poor weather resulted in a sales reduction of around £9m.

MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT

Vodafone to buy Liberty Global European assets

Vodafone has agreed to pay €18.4bn (£16.1bn) for the majority of US cable giant and Virgin Media-owner Liberty Global's European assets. It is Vodafone's biggest deal since its £112bn takeover of Germany's Mannesmann in 2000, and will help its mobile, cable television and broadband services across Europe.

REAL ESTATE

Capital housing market at weakest level since crisis

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has said that 65% more of its members in London reported that house prices fell, rather than rose, last month, a higher figure than at any time since February 2009. Analysts noted that foreign investors and landlords have been deterred by Brexit uncertainty and extra property taxes.

St Modwen to sell off retail assets

St Modwen is set to sell off a tranche of its retail portfolio. Mark Allan, chief executive at St Modwen, said the company will focus on “assets with better structural growth characteristics”. As well as the Wembley Central shopping centre in London, the UK property group has agreed to sell the 220,000 sq ft Longbridge Shopping Park in Birmingham to Zurich Assurance for £53.6m.

HS2 compensation costs at £1.6bn

Compensation for landowners and businesses that have been affected by the development of the first phase of HS2 has reached £1.6bn, spent over a seven-year period from 2011/12 until this financial year. It is understood the figure is in line with expectations. However, ministers did not reveal the total property costs as it may affect claims for settlements for property acquisitions.

RETAIL

Opcapita tables bid for Homebase

Opcapita, the former owner of Comet, is believed to have bid to buy Homebase, after investment bank Lazard was appointed by owner Wesfarmers to search for potential buyers.

Shares in Burberry fall 6% as Frère sells out

After its biggest shareholder, Albert Frère’s Groupe Bruxelles Lambert sold its stake for nearly £500m, shares in Burberry fell 6.1% or 114.5p, to 1770p.

ECONOMY

Interest rate rise “a long shot”

The Bank of England will most likely hold interest rates at 0.5% today, experts have suggested, as slow economic growth continues.

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