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Daily News Roundup: Wednesday, 18th July 2018

Posted: 18th July 2018


Profits grow at Arbuthnot with new specialist lending arm announced

A 40% increase in profits has been announced by Arbuthnot Banking Group, with profit before tax of £3.5m in the first six months of this year, from £2.5m in 2017. The firm declared that it is to a create a new specialist lending arm to further increase profitability.

Post-Brexit EU subsidiaries for Lloyds

Three separate subsidiaries will be operated by Lloyds Banking Group after Britain leaves the EU, with each requiring its own licences and capital reserves. No significant job moves are expected.

Claire Calmejane leaves Lloyds

Claire Calmejane, who oversaw Lloyds Banking Group’s digital transformation programme, has joined Société Générale as its chief innovation officer, reporting directly to chief executive Frédéric Oudéa.


Carlyle to raise $4bn fund for oil and gas investment

Private equity group Carlyle aims to raise a $4bn fund to invest in oil and gas outside the US, looking at opportunities in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia.

Funds raise money at quickest pace in 12 years

Although there are fewer active funds, private equity groups are raising money at the fastest rate in over a decade, according to data firm Pitchbook.


Goldman profit surge as Blankfein to step down

Lloyd Blankfein is to step down as chief executive of Goldman Sachs in September, with successor David Solomon in place as the bank reported a 44% increase in quarterly profits. Despite this, shares fell more than 1%. The Mail’s Alex Brummer says Goldman’s decision not to split the CEO and Chairman roles as Lloyd Blankfein departs the bank puts too much responsibility and risk in the hands of one person. Brummer says that “if the past should have taught the Goldman partners anything it is that it needs to strengthen its governance and improve on an unprincipled, bonus-driven culture.”

Ex-Barclays boss to advise Fannie Mae on new technology

Antony Jenkins, former chief executive of Barclays, has taken a seat on the board of American mortgage lender Fannie Mae, which was badly affected by the financial crisis.

Freezing order for Promsvyazbank

High Court judge Mrs Justice Cockerill has issued a freezing order against €11m and $15.6m of assets held by the former owners of Russian bank Promsvyazbank, which collapsed last year.


UK cars sales down amid EU increases

The European Automobile Manufacturers Association has revealed that new car registrations increased by 5.2% across the EU in June, to nearly 1.6m vehicles. By contrast, Britain posted a decline of 3.5%. This follows repeated warnings from UK industry bodies about catastrophic consequences if the country leaves the EU customs union.


Aerospace exports to increase

Data from Wyelands Bank and the Global Trade Review has found that aerospace is Britain’s second fastest-growing export sector, set to grow 3.7% annually until 2021.


Public outsourcing deals booming for builders

The government's spend on outsourcing contracts hit £3bn in the same quarter which saw Carillion collapse, according to public tenders researcher Tussell, with Capita winning the largest number (59) of contracts. Building firm Wates was the biggest winner however, helped by an £800m housing contract win in Havering, while housebuilder Taylor Wimpey scored £202m in contracts and Kier £163m.


Revolut reveals money laundering concerns

Fintech Revolut has revealed that it has called in both the National Crime Agency and the Financial Conduct Authority over the last few months over suspected money laundering on its system. A spokesperson for Revolut, which has almost 80 full-time staff working on compliance issues, said: "We're really proud that, through a combination of humans and machine-learning technology, we are able to swiftly detect any suspicious behaviour, take the appropriate action and keep Revolut free of financial crime."

Card fees dampen holiday spirit

Banks are charging British holidaymakers £1bn a year for using credit and debit cards while abroad, with consumers being urged to apply for cards with zero charges. Figures from the lenders reveal that UK travellers spend a total of more than £32bn annually overseas. However, a spokeswoman for UK Finance defended cards as an "extremely safe, flexible and cost-effective way to pay". She noted: "If you do not get what you paid for, if the goods or services turn out to be faulty or you are a victim of card fraud, you will get your money back".

Survey finds bearish trend among fund managers

A survey has found that as expectations of improved profits decline and investors turn away from equity allocations over global trade war concerns, fund managers are becoming increasingly bearish.


Johnson & Johnson results top view fuelled by pharma strength

Johnson & Johnson has revealed revenues of $20.8bn for the second quarter, with a strong pharmaceuticals performance thanks to higher sales of its drugs for immune disorders and cancer.


Shares in Greene King drop 6% after analyst brands group a ‘value trap’

Analysts at Berenberg have branded Greene King a “value trap” for not taking advantage of "one of the best periods for the pub trade in recent history".


Concern over competition as Netflix misses targets

Following a fall in its share price as subscriber numbers decrease, Netflix is competing with Walt Disney for the title of the world’s most valuable media group.


Financial Reporting Council fines reach record high

Accountancy firms in Britain have come under increasing scrutiny from the Financial Reporting Council, with pressure on the ‘Big Four’ companies increasing. These firms received over 90% of the total fines issued.


Retail restructurings eat away at British Land rents

British Land reported yesterday that since the start of April 2017, the company voluntary arrangements used by such retailers as New Look, Carpetright and Mothercare, have cost its retail business the equivalent of 1.6% of the total group contracted rent.


Poundworld closes more stores and cuts jobs

Poundworld’s administrators are to close a further 40 stores, a move that will see 531 jobs lost. The closures, which are set to see stores shut on July 24, mean a total of 145 of Poundworld’s 335 branches have been closed since the firm collapsed last month, with 1,897 staff losing their jobs. Administrators say talks with a number of potential bidders over “a potential sale of part, or parts, of the remaining business" are ongoing. The Telegraph notes that private equity firms, Poundworld’s founder Chris Edwards and Poundland founder Steven Smith have expressed an interest, yet no deal is yet in place.

Asda plans to close packing centre

Asda is considering closing a home delivery packing centre in North London. Simon Gregg, Asda’s vice president of grocery home shopping, said the retailer has entered a consultation process with colleagues on proposals to close Enfield Home Shopping Centre, which provides home delivery services to around 4,500 customers per week. The move could put 261 jobs at risk but Asda says it would redeploy some staff to nearby stores.

M&S cuts ties with Big Six for new energy branding

Marks & Spencer has announced a new partnership with challenger Octopus Energy, as it cuts ties with the Big Six energy providers.

Walmart teams with Microsoft

Walmart has entered into a five-year strategic partnership with Microsoft that will see it tap into the tech firm’s artificial intelligence, machine learning and data platforms in a bid to drive innovation and better compete with Amazon.


Barcelona chasing €1bn income goal

La Liga side Barcelona has scored a club-record €910m income for the 2017-18 season, on the back of the world record £200.6m sale of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain. The club plans to make €1bn by 2021.


Slow wage growth stunts rate rise prospects

Average weekly UK earnings increased by 2.5% in the three months to May, according to data from the ONS, slowing slightly from the prior month's 2.6% reading and casting doubt on a potential Bank of England interest rate rise. The UK unemployment rate held at 4.2%, a four-decade low, while the employment rate rose by 137,000 people to 75.7%, its highest ever recorded.

Bank of England warns of hefty Brexit hit

Bank of England governor Mark Carney has warned of a "material event" for interest rates and "big economic consequences" should the UK leave the EU without a deal.

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