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Daily News Roundup: Thursday, 19th July 2018

Posted: 19th July 2018


Close Brothers increases loan book

Close Brothers said it increased its loan book as its commercial and property finance businesses grew, while its net interest margin held largely steady. The lender said there was no significant change to its bad debt ratio in the eleven months to June end when compared with the first half and its 11-month net interest margin of 8% was broadly consistent with the last financial year. Close Brothers said the loan book at its banking division rose 6.6% to £7.3bn as at 30 June. Total client assets at Close Brothers' asset management arm rose 8% to £12bn at the end of June.

High street challenge from Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs is preparing to challenge the British banking market with the launch of a UK consumer arm, to be named Marcus after the firm's founder Marcus Goldman. The scheme is already operational in the US with some £16.7bn of deposits and 15m customers.

Lloyds loses mortgage market share as HSBC and RBS rise

According to new data published today, with RBS, HSBC and other challengers gaining market share, Lloyds’ dominance of the UK mortgage market slipped in 2017. That lender’s market share fell from 22.1% to 21.2% of mortgage balances outstanding last year.


Cabot Square exits LDF in £150m deal

Cabot Square has sold small business funder LDF to White Oak Global Advisors for £150m. Cabot Square partner Richard McDougall commented: “LDF, and other lenders like it, have played an important role in increasing funding to the overlooked SME sector. It is an area of the market that has really suffered from a shortage of finance since the credit crunch.”

Private equity lobby unafraid

The British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association has downplayed the potential fallout from Brexit, saying the sector is more likely to be disrupted by technology.


Morgan Stanley caps buoyant Wall St earnings season

Morgan Stanley reported a 39% increase in quarterly profits with $2.4bn of net income for the second quarter, as revenue exceeded $10bn for only the third time in its history.

Danske Bank drops 9% after pledge to forfeit money laundering gains

Danske Bank has pledged to forfeit money laundering gains from its non-resident business in Estonia, which generated gross income of about DKr1.5bn ($230m).

Paschi case denial from former Deutsche executive

Former Deutsche Bank executive Michele Foresti has denied claims that as part of a scheme to help Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena conceal losses, he manipulated the firm's indexes.

Raiffeisen CEO to step down following regulatory probe

Patrik Gisel, CEO of Raiffeisen, is to step down at the end of the year to help protect the bank’s reputation following a scandal surrounding his predecessor.


Driverless car start-up raises $500m

Driverless car start-up Zoox has raised $500m in new funding as it prepares to challenge larger rivals Alphabet's Waymo and GM's Cruise.


Easyjet enjoys strong quarter

Easyjet said it expected profit before tax of between £550m and £590m for the full-year, having previously guided at £530m to £580m. The budget airline said revenue in the quarter to 30th June increased by 14% to £1.6bn. Passenger numbers reached 24.4m and revenue per seat was up 4.8%.


Watchdog orders pension trustees to shop around

Mercer, Willis Towers Watson and Aon have avoided a forced break-up of their businesses after the Competition and Markets Authority stopped short of recommending a significant overhaul of the investment consultancy sector. However, the watchdog ordered all pension schemes to run a competitive tender, rather than just hand the mandate to their existing investment consultant. It also suggested that some schemes might be paying 24% more than they needed for the services.

Elliott acquires Alpine stake

Elliott Management has acquired just over 5% of Alpine Electronics in a deal that has prompted concerns about the commitment to governance reform of corporate Japan.


Novartis exceeds expectations under new leadership

Novartis increased sales and core profits faster than expected in the second quarter under new chief executive Vas Narasimhan.


Gaucho chain to appoint administrators

About 1,500 jobs are at risk after the Gaucho restaurant chain said it intended to appoint administrators. Advisors to the business had been trying to find a buyer for the 16 restaurants and its sister chain, Cau. However, high debt levels and a complex legal structure meant it had been unable to find an "agreed, solvent solution", a spokesperson said.

Old Mutual backing for Secret Escapes

Holiday discount firm Secret Escapes has raised £52m in funding from Old Mutual, taking the total equity raised by the firm to over £150m. Alex Saint, chief executive and founder, stated: "Clearly, if an IPO is the route we plan to go down, Old Mutual's experience will be invaluable".


British Steel to invest in Scunthorpe steelworks

British Steel is to increase investment at its Scunthorpe steelworks as it revealed its turnaround plan is "firmly on track". The company said annual turnover rose by £200m to £1.4bn. EBITDA were almost 50% higher at £68m, however the figure excludes a £47m hit from a problem with a blast furnace, which the company is trying to claim against insurance.


UK house price growth in May cools to lowest rate since 2013

House prices rose at their slowest annual rate since 2013 in May, continuing the slowdown seen since the UK voted to leave the EU. The ONS said that average UK house prices rose 3% in the year to May, the slowest annual rate since August 2013, compared to 3.5% in April. The average house price in the UK was unchanged from April at £226,000, and stood at £479,000 in London, the most expensive region. The average fell 0.4% in the capital, while rising 6.3% in the East Midlands and 5% in the West Midlands. In the North East they were up 1.3%, in Scotland 4.9%, and 1% in Wales.


Hotel Chocolat to meet forecasts

Hotel Chocolat said revenue was £116m in the year to July 1. Prior to the update analysts were on average forecasting a 2017-18 pre-tax profit of £12.7m, up from £11.2m in 2016-17.


Summer clothing sales hold back inflation

Inflation remained at 2.4% for the third month in a row in June, according to the Office for National Statistics, after clothing prices fell. The Consumer Price Index measure of inflation had been expected to rise to 2.6%, with deflation in clothes and games, toys and hobbies pulling back the overall level. The ONS's preferred measure of inflation which includes housing costs, CPIH, also remained steady, at an annual rate of 2.3%. There had been expectations that the Bank of England would raise interest rates in August; however, Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce, said the case for a rate rise now looks "very weak". Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at, also said an increase looks less likely.


European Investment Bank reform called for

With tension rising over the role of the European Investment Bank after Brexit, seven EU governments are calling for reform of the operations and governance of the organisation.

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