Zopa enters ‘buy now, pay later’ market
Zopa has become the latest provider to offer customers “buy now, pay later” options. The digital bank pledged to prioritise “transparency and customer protection” amid concerns from regulators and consumer groups that such services risk increasing debt problems. Zopa said the UK market is worth about £6bn and that it would offer a “simple and fair option” for spreading the cost of purchases worth between £250 and £30,000 “that may take a customer months or years to save up for”.
Biffa shares rise on buyout offer news
Biffa has received a possible buyout offer from US private equity firm Energy Capital Partners that values the waste management company at about £1.36bn. Sky’s Ian King points out that Biffa is the latest in a long line of UK companies to have attracted the attention of private equity investors, reflecting the pound's ongoing weakness.
Australia's central bank raises rates by 50 bps
Australia's central bank raised interest rates 50 basis points to 0.85% on Tuesday, surprising banks which had predicted a 0.25% increase. Treasurer Jim Chalmers predicted more rate hikes, saying inflation in Australia would worsen. Westpac said it will pass on the increase in full to new and existing borrowers on variable rates but the country’s other big three banks have not yet responded.
Citigroup to hire 3,000 in Asia expansion
Citigroup’s Asia Pacific chief executive has revealed the bank intends to hire 3,000 new staff for its institutional business in the region over the next couple of years. Peter Babej said: "We're talking about real meat on the bones on growing our business across Asia.” Hong Kong and Singapore would be a key focus of the 3,000 additional headcount for the unit, Babej said.
Deutsche’s Berlin hub draws staff from Russia
Deutsche Bank is growing its technology Berlin hub as hundreds of workers at the bank’s centres in Russia relocate. "Growing our presence in Berlin will attract talent," said Bernd Leukert, a board member who oversees technology.
Heathrow chief warns of 18 months of aviation industry disruption
The boss of Heathrow has warned that it will take 12 to 18 months for the aviation sector to fully recover capacity. Speaking after passengers experienced severe disruption due to last-minute cancellations, John Holland-Kaye said: "What we saw in some airports in the UK over the past few weeks is that supply and demand were out of balance - we need to make sure we are planning much better."
Apple launches buy now, pay later credit offering
Apple has launched its own “buy now, pay later” product in a challenge to market leaders Klarna and Affirm. The iPhone maker’s Apple Pay Later service will allow users in the US to pay for purchases in four instalments over six weeks without being charged interest or other fees. Shares in Affirm, a US buy now pay later company, fell by 5% as Apple announced the feature. Klarna, which was valued at $46bn (£37bn) last year, is reportedly seeking to raise funds at a much reduced $30bn valuation.
LV= names new chair after failed Bain takeover
LV= has appointed Simon Moore as chair. He takes over from Alan Cook, who stepped down earlier this year following the insurer’s botched sale to US private equity company Bain Capital. Moore has 30 years of experience in the financial services industry, including at Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays, Chase Manhattan, and the CBI.
UK care homes face soaring insurance premiums, charity warns
Care England has warned that soaring insurance premiums for care homes, on top of rising energy and staffing costs, risks putting many out of business.
Satellite Vu to provide climate data to UK property market
Infrared imaging specialist Satellite Vu has signed a deal to provide climate data to the UK property market. Buildings contribute some 40% to the world’s total emissions, making real estate a key target in the country’s net zero ambitions. The partnership with Landmark Information Group, which works with some of the UK’s largest housebuilders, follows a deal with SpaceX. Satellite Vu’s data is set to be distributed across Landmark’s customer network to test, validate and market. The London-based satellite firm, which hopes to become the world’s thermometer from space, will have their first constellation of heat sensing satellites launched into orbit aboard a Falcon 9 rocket in early 2023.
CMA says JD Sports, Elite and Rangers fixed shirt prices
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has alleged that JD Sports and Elite Sports, along with Rangers Football Club, colluded to keep prices of Rangers-branded replica kits high. Michael Grenfell, the executive director of enforcement at the CMA, said: “We don't hesitate to take action when we have concerns that companies may be working together to keep costs up. Football fans are well known for their loyalty towards their teams. We are concerned that, in this case, Elite, JD Sports and, to some extent, Rangers, may have colluded to keep prices high, so that the two retailers could pocket more money for themselves at the expense of fans.” JD Sports said it will make a provision of around £2m to cover any fine from the CMA and legal costs in its annual results for the year to January 29th.
Cost-of-living pressures hurt services outlook
New data from the S&P Global/CIPS purchasing managers' index (PMI) show growth fell in Britain last month. The PMI score for the manufacturing and services sectors fell from 58.2 in April to 53.1 in May, its lowest level in 16 months. “Service providers are increasingly concerned about the near-term business outlook, with price resistance among consumers and escalating cost-of-living pressures set to dampen spending during the second half of 2022,” Tim Moore, economics director at S&P Global said. “Growth expectations have dropped each month since the invasion of Ukraine.”
World Bank warns of recession risk
Countries around the world are facing recession as the Ukraine war hits economies already rocked by the Covid pandemic, the World Bank has warned. Less developed countries in Europe and east Asia face a "major recession", it said. "The war in Ukraine, lockdowns in China, supply-chain disruptions, and the risk of stagflation are hammering growth. For many countries, recession will be hard to avoid," World Bank President David Malpass said.