Banks yet to sign up to fraud code
Research by Which? shows that a number of UK banks have not signed up to a voluntary code to help protect against payment scams, with the consumer group describing the findings as “incredibly concerning.". The study shows that of 27 banks and building societies, customers at 12 – including Clydesdale Bank, Bank of Ireland, Post Office Money, Yorkshire Bank, Monzo, Citibank, Tesco Bank, Co-op Bank and Virgin Money - were not covered by the code which was launched in May and seeks to make it easier to reclaim money taken via authorised push payment fraud. Which? noted that £434 is lost every minute to bank transfer fraud. Its analysis shows that of £228.4m stolen through such scams last year, just £42.3m was recovered. Trade body UK Finance commented: “The payment service providers which have signed up represent over 85% of authorised push payments. The Lending Standards Board is working with others in preparation for them to join.”
Lloyds forced to take £21m hit on loan for failed college
Lloyds Banking Group last year wrote down its exposure to private equity-owned GSM London, a for-profit London college which collapsed last week, waiving £21m in long-term lending.
Permira Funds to buy drug contract manufacturer
Permira Funds is to buy drug contract development and manufacturing company Cambrex Corp for about $2bn. The deal, an all-cash offer of $60 per Cambrex share, represents a 47% premium to the stock's close on Tuesday. Including debt, the deal is valued at around $2.4bn.
Low interest rates hit European lenders
Italy’s UniCredit, Germany’s Commerzbank and Dutch bank ABN Amro have warned that their earnings could take a hit from what Citi analyst Ronit Ghose describes as “an increasingly negative interest rate environment."
Commerzbank warns on ‘ambitious’ expectations
Commerzbank has posted net profits of €271m (£249m) for the second quarter of 2019, boosted by an almost 80% drop in its tax bill. Revenue dipped to €2.13bn, from €2.18bn a year earlier, and Germany’s second-largest lender acknowledged that its previous target of a slight year-on-year increase in net income was now “ambitious”.
Brics lender aims to shift from dollar funding
The New Development Bank will look to almost double its lending to $16bn this year. The lender also plans to shift its loan book from the US dollar.
IT failure hits BA
An IT glitch caused at least 117 British Airways flights to be cancelled at Heathrow Airport, with 10 cancelled at Gatwick. The issue also saw more than 200 other flights to be delayed. The issue meant BA had to revert to using manual systems for check-in.
Ryanair pilots vote for strike action
Ryanair pilots have voted to strike in a row over pay and conditions, with the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) saying walkouts will take place from 22-23 August and 2-4 September. Balpa said 72% of its members at Ryanair had taken part in the ballot, with 80% of those supporting strike action. Ryanair pointed out that only 50% of its UK pilots are Balpa members and of these, 57% voted in favour of industrial action.
Hargreaves Lansdown bosses give up bonuses
Hargreaves Lansdown executives are to waive their bonuses after round 300,000 customers saw their savings frozen in Neil Woodford’s suspended fund. Hargreaves' chief executive Chris Hill, CFO Philip Johnson, CIO Lee Gardhouse and research director Mark Dampier will take no bonus for 2019. The Telegraph reports that bosses at Hargreaves will restate their call for Mr Woodford to drop his management fee for as long as the fund remains suspended.
Standard Life Aberdeen outflows slow
Standard Life Aberdeen has posted a 5% rise in assets under management for the first half of the year, to £577.5bn, up from £551.5bn at the end of last year, and adjusted pre-tax profits of £280m, down from £311m for the same period last year. Net outflows hit £15.9bn in the period, following the same pattern seen in the recent results of many asset managers, though the sum still represents an improvement on the £24bn of outflows it saw in the second half of 2018.
Legal & General turns in solid performance
Legal & General is confident over the “enormous opportunity” for its growing UK pensions market. The insurer revealed a 12% rise in profit before tax, year-on-year, to hit £1bn in the six months to June. Operating profit rose 11% to £1bn, up from 2018’s £909m, though group debt hit £108m, up £11m on last year, on total borrowings of £4.1bn.
Investec deal approved
Investec has received full regulatory approval for the proposed spin-off and separate listing of its asset management unit, which it is likely to complete in Q1 2020.
LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY
Profits at bookmaker Flutter knocked by higher taxes
Flutter, the owner of Paddy Power and Betfair, saw revenues of £1.02bn in the six months to the end of June. The 18% year-on-year climb comes as online revenues rose 8% and US market growth hit 148%.
Germany sees production slump
German industrial production fell 5.2% year-on-year in June, marking the biggest drop since 2009, with output down 1.5% month-on-month.
Pagegroup boosts profits
Recruitment firm Pagegroup increased revenue by 9.2% in the first half of the year, to £820.5m from £751.6m in 2018, and gross profit was up by 9.5% to £433.5m - from £396m in the first six months of 2018. Pagegroup stressed that Brexit uncertainty had however continued to weaken decision making from clients and candidates at a senior level, and noted that challenging markets in China and the UK dragged fee earner headcount down 1.3% to 6,035.
House prices dip 0.2% in July
UK house prices slipped 0.2% month-on-month in July, according to Halifax's latest figures, hitting an average of £236,120. Year-on-year, values are up 4.1%, with a 0.4% climb in the May to July quarter compared with the February to April period. Elsewhere, HMRC figures show that the number of home sales fell 16.5% year-on-year in June, with 84,490 properties sold, while Bank of England data shows that the number of mortgage approvals rose to 66,440 in June, a total 793 up on that seen in May.
Rates cut as downturn fears persist
Central banks are cutting interest rates as fears grow of an economic downturn amid concerns about slowing growth rates and weak inflation. New Zealand, India and Thailand have announced cuts that exceed forecasts, while the US Federal Reserve has made its first cut since the financial crisis. Australia’s central bank this week decided to hold its rate at a record low, while the Bank of England last week held its base rate at 0.75%.
Plenty of pennies
The Treasury last year deemed that the country’s supply of copper coins was adequate, ordering no new 1p or 2p coins from the Royal Mint for the first time since 1972 and 1984 respectively. There are around 10.5bn 1ps in circulation, plus 6.3bn 2ps