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Daily News Roundup: Wednesday, 1st May 2019

Posted: 1st May 2019


Santander UK profits fall 35%

Santander UK’s profits fell by more than a third in the first quarter, with the bank warning of a deterioration in economic growth due to “ongoing Brexit uncertainty”. Chief executive Nathan Bostock said a “highly competitive” mortgage market, an uncertain economic environment and regulatory pressures weighed on the bank in the first quarter, with pre-tax profits down 35% on a year ago to £270m. Underlying pre-tax profits fell 13% to £352m in the first quarter. The slump hit Spanish owner Banco Santander, where profits for the period fell 10% to €1.84bn.

Free cash machines disappearing fast

Free-to-use cash machines have been disappearing at a rapid rate across the UK, according to a study by Which? The consumer group found nearly 1,700 machines started charging for withdrawals in the first three months of the year, with the majority starting to charge in March. Cardtronics, which runs most of those, and fellow provider NoteMachine are both likely to charge at more machines, meaning the UK could lose 13% of its free ATMs in only a few months.

Dozens banks £3.8m

Challenger banking startup Dozens has closed a crowdfunding round of more than £3.8m on Seedrs. The round takes the startup's total funding to £10m.


KKR reaps benefits of restructuring as earnings top view

KKR has said its decision to become a corporation and ditch its partnership structure has attracted more mutual funds and index trackers as investors.


Trump sues banks to stop release of financial records

Donald Trump has sued Deutsche Bank and Capital One in a bid to stop them handing over his financial records to Congress. The lawsuit was filed after Democrat-led committees issued subpoenas for information on his finances. The president’s three eldest children and the Trump Organisation joined the lawsuit, which argues there are no legitimate grounds for investigating his business affairs.

Standard Chartered plans billion-dollar buyback

Standard Chartered is planning to buy back up to $1bn (£777m) of its shares for the first time in at least two decades. It unveiled the plan after making profits of £952m in the first three months of 2019, up 5% on a year earlier. The move also comes just weeks after the bank promised to pay $947m to US agencies to settle allegations that it helped Iran and other sanctioned countries launder money.

Money laundering scandal takes toll on Nordic banks

Profits at Danske Bank and Nordea have dropped more than a quarter amid the continuing fallout of a massive money-laundering scandal and slowing economies.

JP Morgan backing miner’s Yorkshire project

JP Morgan will provide a $2.5bn revolving credit facility for Sirius Minerals as the miner continues with its project to build a massive fertiliser mine under the North York Moors.

Chase criticised for 'mocking' tweet

Chase has been criticised after sending a tweet “mocking” customers' spending habits. The US bank appeared to chastise consumers who question their low bank balances but buy take-away coffee and short taxi rides.


JLR to build new Land Rover in Slovakia

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) will build its next-generation Land Rover Defender 4x4 in Slovakia rather than the UK. The Defender model was built at the firm's Solihull factory near Birmingham until 2016. However, JLR says it plans "significant investment" at Solihull to support the production of its next generation of Range Rover and Land Rover models.


Airbus set to beat Boeing

Airbus is poised to overtake Boeing this year to become the world’s leading manufacturer of commercial aeroplanes for the first time in nearly a decade.


CMA gives green light to $2.2bn PayPal-iZettle merger

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has provisionally approved Paypal’s $2.2bn (£1.7bn) takeover of payments firm iZettle. The CMA called in Paypal’s takeover of the Swedish payments firm on the day the deal completed last September, and the two companies have remained separate as a result. The watchdog is expected to issue a final verdict in mid-June after consulting on its provisional ruling.

Mastercard beats expectations

Mastercard has exceeded Wall Street’s first-quarter forecasts following growth in online spending and a strong retail sales performance in March. The company said that it had processed 23.8bn transactions worth nearly $1.5trn in the first quarter. First-quarter profit climbed to $1.9bn, from $1.5bn a year ago, as revenue rose to $3.9bn from $3.6bn.

Redress scheme accused of misleading investors in LCF mini-bonds scandal

Retail bondholders who bought “mini-bonds” from London Capital & Finance have accused the Financial Services Compensation Scheme of giving misleading information over the level of protection.

Admiral acquires Acierto

Admiral Group has acquired Spanish digital broker Acierto in partnership with insurer Mapfre SA and private equity firm Oakley Capital. Admiral will retain majority ownership with Mapfre, while Oakley will hold a minority stake alongside management.

Catlin founder launches new insurer

Stephen Catlin has launched a new insurer, four years after the $4.1bn (£3.14bn) sale of his eponymous company. Mr Catlin will be chair and chief executive of the new insurer, called Convex.

Wealth managers report rise in AUM

Jupiter's assets under management rose by £1.4bn in the first quarter of 2019, driven by market movements which offset net outflows of £482m. Meanwhile, St James's Place has seen overall funds under management rise by 8.3% to a record £103.5bn at the end of the first quarter, as a result of inflows and positive investment returns.

Just Group chief departs

Just Group is losing Rodney Cook, its chief executive of nine years. David Richardson, deputy chief executive of the retirement financial services firm, will fill the role on a temporary basis.


Four Seasons collapses

Four Seasons Health Care has fallen into administration following months of uncertainty over its debts. The care home company, nominally owned by Terra Firma but under the effective control of H/2 Capital, houses 17,000 elderly patients and employs 20,000 staff.


Whitbread profits plunge

Premier Inn owner Whitbread says profits have fallen 40% since the £3.9bn sale of its Costa coffee chain to Coca-Cola last year. Profit before tax was £260m in its 2019 financial year, down from £436m last year.


iPhone sales drop at record pace

Sales of Apple's iPhones fell at their steepest-ever rate during the three months to the end of March but are showing signs of stabilising. The technology giant said revenue from the iPhone dropped by 17% to $31bn. However, Apple chief executive Tim Cook said sales were stronger towards the end of the quarter.

UK advertising spend hits $24bn

A report by the Advertising Association (AA) and Warc shows UK ad spend hit almost £24bn last year. Search and online display advertising pulled in almost £12bn in 2018.


Record Help to Buy lending reached in 2018

The government lent a record £3.4bn to housebuyers using the Help to Buy scheme last year. HtB lending rose by more than £500m on the year with increases across all regions in England, and the average property bought using the scheme in 2018 cost £291,820, up from £280,679 in 2017. Just over 80% of households benefiting from HtB last year were first-time buyers, and the remainder were existing homeowners moving.

Countrywide blames Brexit for sales slowdown

Countrywide has blamed Brexit uncertainty for a slowdown in the UK property market, as it posted a 3% fall in income during the first three months of this year. In a trading update on Tuesday morning, the estate agent said its underlying profits would fall by about £5m in the six months to June.


Sainsbury’s sales slip amid merger chaos

Sainsbury’s suffered a 1.2% year-on-year fall in sales in the 12 weeks to April 21st, making it the only major supermarket operator to record sliding sales this year. The figures will place even greater pressure on CEO Mike Coupe following the collapse of the firm’s merger with Asda.


EU bosses lose confidence in UK economy

European business chiefs have said the interminable bickering over Brexit has led to a fall in confidence in the UK economy, a new report by Credit Suisse has revealed. Over 65% of European business leaders said the political wrangling had made them less likely to invest in Britain.

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