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Daily News Roundup: Wednesday, 11th July 2018

Posted: 11th July 2018


Bank of Cyprus offloads UK arm

The Bank of Cyprus has agreed to sell its UK banking operations to a consortium of investors in a £103m deal. The UK operation, which has 70,000 retail and 5,000 business customers, will be rebranded to be called Cynergy Bank. The consortium includes Pradip Dhamecha, co-owner of a London and Midlands cash and carry business, Balbinder Sohal, chairman of the property investor Seven Capital, and John Coulter and Ann Jones, the brother and sister team behind the Stockport jewellers Warren James.

Further IT problems at TSB

TSB customers were unable to access their bank accounts online and via mobile yesterday morning. The bank said the issue, which followed an update to its mobile app, has now been resolved and apologised for the problems.

Atom Bank provides business support

Challenger bank Atom has turned its hand to business support, announcing it will help start-up firms in the north east of England by giving them access to a community of other entrepreneurs and technology specialists.


Deutsche Bank turns to Cerberus for advice

Deutsche Bank’s CEO Christian Sewing has hired New York-based private equity firm Cerberus as an adviser. A source close to the German bank said Cerberus’ focus would be on where the lender should make cutbacks. The FT notes that Cerberus will be restricted in buying or selling Deutsche’s shares while advising the management board.

Morgan Stanley promotes Ted Pick

Morgan Stanley has promoted Ted Pick to head its trading and investment banking businesses. The move is part of a broader executive shuffle that also seen Franck Petitgas move from co-head of investment banking to head of Morgan Stanley's international business. The FT notes that the moves show that Morgan Stanley is smoothing its line of succession to CEO James Gorman.

Room to grow for Société Générale

Frédéric Oudéa, the CEO of Société Générale, has said he sees potential for more “incremental” acquisitions in Europe for the French bank, mainly in corporate and investment banking. He said: “I believe corporate and investment banking within ten years will benefit the most from the banking union and the capital markets.” Last week the bank agreed to buy part of Commerzbank’s market activities.


Tesla to build electric-car plant in China

Tesla has reached an agreement with Chinese authorities to open a new electric car production plant in Shanghai, its first outside the US, chief executive Elon Musk has announced.


Airbus backs May on Chequers deal

Airbus boss Tom Enders has backed Theresa May’s Chequers policy – and called on the EU to show pragmatism to secure a trade deal. He said that the new approach - in which the UK will agree to a common rulebook on goods in order to secure frictionless trade - “appears to show that the government are going in the right direction”. He added: “We are not shy to request that Brussels and our other home countries are similarly pragmatic and fair.”


Construction sector battles on

The UK construction sector saw month-on-month output rise 2.9% in May, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, fuelled by growth in private housing repair and maintenance work, which were up 7.3%. The sector endured its third consecutive decline in May however, with output falling 1.7% in the quarter to May compared with the previous three months, on the back of a drop in new work, which fell 2.5%.

Kier Group to sell non-core assets

With average month-end net debt climbing to around £375m, construction firm Kier Group plans to sell its non-core assets as part of a wider cost-savings programme. Its construction and services order books have increased to over £10bn, Kier noted, providing a 90% secured revenue position in these businesses for 2019.


TP Icap issues profit warning

TP Icap has warned that it faces an extra £10m in costs this year, due to challenges such as Brexit and the new Mifid II regime. The broker also cut the estimated savings from the merger between Tullett Prebon and Icap from £100m to £75m. In a further development, the company sacked CEO John Phizackerley. Chairman Rupert Robson said it was clear that a change of leadership was required to execute the company’s medium-term growth strategy.


Takeda gets US nod for Shire deal

Japanese drugmaker Takeda has received unconditional clearance from the United States' Federal Trade Commission for its planned $62bn (£47bn) takeover of London-listed Shire.


Savoy owner’s losses climb to £83m as debt and terror take toll

The Savoy Hotel Limited, hit by debt and terrorist attacks in London, has revealed widening losses of £83m in the year to December 2017, up from £61m a year earlier.


Facebook is facing £500,000 fine from ICO

The Information Commissioner’s Office is planning to fine Facebook £500,000 over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which would be its biggest ever penalty. In addition, the regulator said it intended to bring a criminal action against Cambridge Analytica’s defunct parent company SCL Elections. It also said Aggregate IQ - which worked with the Vote Leave campaign - must stop processing UK citizens’ data.

Sorrell wins MediaMonks battle

Sir Martin Sorrell's S4 Capital has pipped WPP to broker a deal to buy Dutch digital production company MediaMonks for around €300m (£266m).


Brexit boosts professionals’ wages

The run up to Brexit has led to a jump in wages for professionals of about 3%, as demand grows for skilled workers. Recruitment consultancy Robert Walters said a spike in demand for lawyers, accountants and IT professionals at both British and continental European companies has resulted in wage inflation and an increase in the number of permanent contracts signed.

Augusta raises £150m for expansion

Litigation funder Augusta has completed a £150m financing round to fund larger disputes and expand into jurisdictions including Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, Europe, Bermuda and Cayman. Managing director Robert Hanna said: “This financing represents a major milestone for Augusta. We have an attractive pipeline of new cases and a current portfolio which is maturing well.”


Sainsbury’s lines up new chairman

Sainsbury’s is set to name Martin Scicluna, the chairman of RSA, as its new chairman ahead of the £15bn merger with Asda. Mr Scicluna has previously worked at Lloyds Banking Group and Worldpay.


Royal Wedding lifts economy

Britain's economy accelerated in May following the disruption caused by severe snowfalls earlier in the year, according to the latest data from the ONS. In its first monthly GDP report, the ONS estimated that GDP expanded by 0.3% in the month, up from a 0.2% rate in April. Manufacturing grew by 0.4%, following the 1.3% dip in April. Services expanded by 0.3%, down from the 0.4% recorded in April. Rob Kent-Smith, of the ONS, said: “Retailing, computer programming and legal services all performed strongly in the three months to May while house building and manufacturing both contracted. Services, in particular, grew robustly in May with retailers enjoying a double boost from the warm weather and the royal wedding. Construction also saw a return to growth after a weak couple of months.” Separately, the ONS reported that the UK trade deficit widened to £8.3bn in the three months to May, up £5bn on the previous quarter.

JPMorgan issues bleak warning on Brexit damage

JPMorgan Chase boss Jamie Dimon has warned that the UK economy could suffer such a significant downturn after it leaves the EU that it “will impact on global growth".


British bankers happiest with bonuses

Bankers at UK investment houses are the happiest with their bonuses, according to a new survey by pay benchmarking firm Emolument, which suggests finance workers in Europe and the US are not so ebullient. RBS, HSBC and Barclays topped the poll, though Thomas Drewry, co-founder at Emolument, noted: “Employees have limited tools to gauge the fairness of their bonuses, so they rely on the data that is within their reach: their company's results and their previous bonus.” The least happy bankers were at Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and BNP Paribas, where more than half said they were dissatisfied.

Serious data breaches cost £263m

Data compiled by IBM has revealed that the cost of data breaches to businesses globally has risen 6.4% in the last year, with the average total cost of a major breach reaching £263m. In the UK alone, the total cost of an average data breach - sitting in the region of between 2,500 to 100,000 records lost - has increased 8.1% in the last year to £2.69m. The news comes as Gallagher, the insurance broker, reported that 27% of large companies in the UK have fallen victim to a cyber-attack or data breach in the last year.

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