May 25, 2022

Shell consultant quits and accuses firm of 'extreme harms'

A safety consultant at oil and gas giant Shell has stopped working for the firm, as she accused its top executives of failing to protect the environment. In response, Shell reaffirmed its aim to become carbon neutral by 2050.This week, Ms Dennett said she had emailed executives and 1,400 employees and contractors at Shell to detail her intentions to leave the firm. "Because, contrary to Shell's public expressions around 'net zero', they are not winding down on oil and gas, but planning to...

May 25, 2022

M&S warns consumer squeeze will hit profit growth

Retailer Marks and Spencer has warned that the financial squeeze on UK consumers will hit its profit growth this year. Sales growth at the venture will be in the "Mid-single digits" this year, down from the 10 per cent it had previously indicated, as rising energy costs take their toll. The lower-than-expected profits from Ocado, the absence of £102mn of Russian sales and a lack of relief on business rates in the UK meant M&S has started the current financial year at a "Lower adjusted profit...

May 25, 2022

Volkswagen to pay out £193m in 'dieselgate' settlement

Volkswagen is to pay a total of £193m to more than 90,000 UK drivers after it settled a High Court claim over the installation of emissions cheating devices in its vehicles. The use of "Defeat devices" meant that Volkswagen's cars were certified as conforming to EU pollution standards when, in reality, they were emitting up to 40 times the legally permitted amount of nitrogen dioxide. The claim, which lawyers said would have been the biggest ever brought by a group of consumers in the UK, was...

May 25, 2022

Dyson working on home robots

The company has announced plans to create a major robotics centre at its facility at Hullavington Airfield, in Wiltshire, that will work on new types of domestic robot. Founded in the UK, the company is now headquartered in Singapore. Dyson says it is investing heavily in developing new technology - and half of the 2,000 people to have joined the company this year are engineers, scientists or coders. The company revealed glimpses of some of its work, in a video at the International Conference...

May 25, 2022

Peter Cowgill to leave JD Sports after governance review

JD Sports executive chair Peter Cowgill is to leave the retailer immediately after an 18-year tenure during which its value has soared. The company said the shake-up was a "Consequence of an ongoing review of its internal governance and controls". Cowgill previously ran an accountancy firm that audited JD Sports before joining the business as finance director in 1996. He has run JD Sports without a chief executive since Barry Bown left the business in 2014, but has always insisted that...

May 24, 2022

Love Island's eBay styling could change second-hand buying habits

Love Island's decision to dress contestants in second hand clothes from eBay could spark a change in viewers' shopping habits, fashion experts say. The show had attracted criticism from sustainability advocates for promoting fast fashion with previous sponsors like Missguided and I Saw It First. Ms Binns, a fashion buying and sustainability consultant, said promoting second hand clothing on the popular TV show would make viewers think and shop differently. Famous for the many outfit changes...

May 24, 2022

Airbnb to quit China as lockdowns restrict tourism

The company is expected to instead focus on Chinese residents travelling abroad to other destinations. Chinese travellers heading abroad had tripled in less than a decade, reaching 155 million journeys in 2019, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. Some 25 million guests have booked stays there through the online home rental company. A source familiar with the company's decision said the domestic rental operation for travellers visiting China had been complicated and...

May 24, 2022

The HSBC banker suspended for speaking his mind

Last week Stuart Kirk, HSBC Asset Management's global head of responsible investing and a former FT journalist, told a room full of people who had gathered to talk about ESG concerns that they should ignore "Unsubstantiated, shrill hyperbole" about climate change. On Sunday the FT's Owen Walker revealed that Kirk had been suspended as a result of his bluntly delivered presentation at the FT Moral Money Summit, titled "Why investors need not worry about climate risk". Chipmaker Broadcom is in...

May 24, 2022

Why climate change angst is not just an HSBC issue

Banks take hugely varying approaches in their commitments to tackling climate change. A talk entitled "Why investors need not worry about climate risk" from an HSBC executive hints at disharmony in the ranks. Climate change is a bigger business risk for the bank than for some of its UK rivals. Kirk might be right that climate risk is too far in the future to matter for investors in many companies when you look narrowly at valuations, or for HSBC if you look at the average length of one of its...

May 24, 2022

UK banks face up to £225bn in climate-related credit losses, stress test finds

UK banks and insurers that fail to manage the risks associated with climate change could suffer a 10-15 per cent hit to their annual profits, the Bank of England warned on Tuesday. The results of the regulator's inaugural "Climate stress test" indicated that banks could incur up to £225bn in credit losses by 2050, while insurers' asset values could fall 15 per cent under a worst-case scenario. The analysis suggested that the losses would be "Absorbable for banks and insurers, without a...

May 23, 2022

HSBC suspends banker over 'nut job' climate comments, say reports

HSBC has reportedly suspended a senior executive who accused central bankers and other officials of exaggerating the financial risks of climate change. HSBC came under pressure to sack Mr Kirk after he gave the presentation entitled "Why investors need not worry about climate risk" at an FT conference on Thursday. Since the speech, senior HSBC executives have spoken out about the comments. On Monday, HSBC declined to comment to the BBC on reports that Mr Kirk had been suspended. "HSBC Asset...

May 23, 2022

Starbucks to quit Russia but pay six months' wages

Starbucks Corp is withdrawing its brand from Russia after 15 years, the latest Western corporation to quit the country after the war in Ukraine. The coffee chain said it would wind down its business in Russia, after suspending operations there in March. Starbucks entered Russia in 2007 and had grown to include 130 coffee shops, owned and operated by a licensee. It did not give details of the financial impact of the decision, but said it would continue to pay nearly 2,000 staff at Starbucks...

May 22, 2022

Eni plans €2.5bn UK investment as calls for energy windfall tax grow

Italian oil major Eni plans to spend at least €2.5bn in the UK over the next four years as the government demands oil and gas companies significantly increase investment in Britain's energy system or face a windfall tax on their soaring profits. UK chancellor Rishi Sunak is coming under increasing pressure from MPs to impose a windfall tax on energy groups to help households struggling with soaring energy bills. Eni told the Financial Times: "In line with OEUK we believe that it would be best...

May 22, 2022

HSBC suspends banker over climate change comments

Senior HSBC executives have distanced themselves from comments on the financial risks of climate change made by the global head of responsible investing at the bank's asset management division. Chief executive Noel Quinn and Nuno Matos, head of HSBC's wealth and personal banking business, criticised comments made by Stuart Kirk in which he accused central bankers and policymakers of overstating the risks in an attempt to "Out-hyperbole the next guy". "They are inconsistent with HSBC's...

May 20, 2022

M&C Saatchi agrees £310mn takeover by Next Fifteen

M&C Saatchi has agreed a £310mn takeover by Next Fifteen, days after the advertising group rejected a lower "Hostile" offer from the investment vehicle of its largest shareholder Vin Murria. "Bringing M&C Saatchi into the Next Fifteen group provides us with a step change in our scale and global reach," he added. MacLennan, M&C's chief executive, has backed the tie-up with Next Fifteen, describing it as a "Powerful accelerator" for the group's next phase of growth. Davis, a former Imperial...

May 19, 2022

M&S warns online sales tax will damage High Street

Marks & Spencer has written to the chancellor warning that an online sales tax would damage the High Street. M&S believes a new online tax would "Punish" the very retailers it plans to support and leave them less money to invest in High Street stores. "Introducing an additional tax on retail - already overburdened - will simply mean retailers cut their cloth accordingly," he said. The Treasury has been sounding out the retail industry on an online sales tax since February saying it is keen to...

May 19, 2022

Leaky Gucci and Adidas 'sun umbrella' sparks China outcry

A parasol set to be sold in China by top western brands Gucci and Adidas for 11,100 yuan is causing an outcry for not keeping out the rain. One user called the parasol "a very big but useless fashion statement". The parasol is set to be released on 7 June as part of a new collection by luxury brand Gucci and sportswear giant Adidas. A Gucci spokesperson told Beijing-based magazine Caijing that the product was "Not recommended for use as an everyday umbrella". Last year, sales of luxury goods...

May 19, 2022

Royal Mail warns it will put prices up again

The prices of parcels and stamps are likely to rise again as Royal Mail tries to cover higher costs, including wages, energy and fuel expenses. Royal Mail said it was also continuing to change the business to cope better as its parcel business becomes more important than letter delivery. Parcel deliveries have continued to increase since the pandemic. Simon Thompson, chief executive of Royal Mail, said: "As we emerge from the pandemic, the need to accelerate the transformation of our...

May 19, 2022

Royal Mail warns of price increases to combat rising inflation

Royal Mail has said there is a "More urgent" need for the company to adapt to changing consumer behaviour after the pandemic as it reported a slide in profits and warned it would lift prices to counter the effects of climbing inflation. Royal Mail said in a statement on Thursday that it would seek to "Mitigate" the impact of higher costs through "Price increases and growth initiatives". Shares in Royal Mail were down more than 13 per cent in lunchtime trade in London amid a broader market...

May 19, 2022

National Grid defends move to limit UK LNG imports

The chief executive of National Grid has defended the company's decision to limit imports of liquefied natural gas arriving on the UK's west coast, despite coming under fire from energy companies including Germany's RWE. The FTSE 100 company last month applied to Britain's energy regulator to limit LNG capacity arriving at facilities in south Wales over fears Britain's national gas network could become overwhelmed. More LNG has been arriving at facilities in south Wales to be exported to...

May 19, 2022

Twitter steps up Ukraine misinformation fight

Twitter has said it plans to put misleading tweets from official accounts about the Ukraine war behind warning notices. Twitter has limited content from more than 300 Russian government accounts, including President Vladimir Putin. Under the company's new "Crisis" policies, Twitter will prioritise labelling false posts from accounts with wide reach, like state media or political figures, while preserving them for "Accountability" reasons. Users will be required to click through the warning...

May 19, 2022

THG rejects £2bn bid as Candy weighs up online retailer

THG has rejected a £2.07bn bid from two investment companies, as a venture capital firm controlled by property tycoon Nick Candy also said it was exploring an offer for the beauty and nutrition online retailer. THG has been hit by a string of setbacks since its initial public offering in 2020, with its share price tumbling from a peak of almost 800p to 116p. The company, which sells nutrition and beauty products online and markets its technology and logistics expertise to consumer goods...

May 18, 2022

Tesco shopper's plea to bring back till staff

Ms McCarthy, from Brentford in West London, said she began her campaign after visiting the Tesco Extra in Osterley where she said three quarters of the tills were self-service. "These new tills are not accessible for people who don't have credit cards and can only use cash or those with little confidence to use these self-service card-only tills - myself included," she wrote on her Change.org page. Some customers have complained that self-service tills are slower than staffed ones despite...

May 18, 2022

Netflix cuts 150 US-based jobs after losing subscribers

Netflix said the job losses were due to the slump in the company's revenue. In its earnings report last month, the company also said the war in Ukraine and the decision to raise its prices in the US had cost it subscribers. Pulling out of the Russian market alone had cost the service 700,000 members, it revealed. Along with job losses, the company is also cutting content and pulling back on its own creations. The company says it's looking at a cheaper, ad-based model and also planning on...

May 18, 2022

Aviva chief Blanc says sexist investor comments could prompt wider AGM rethink

Aviva's chief executive said the outcry following sexist remarks made at the UK insurer's general meeting showed the episode had "Struck a chord with many people" and might prompt others to consider how they run their own AGMs. A social media post made by Amanda Blanc condemning the sexist remarks has been viewed more than 1mn times. Blanc, Aviva's first female chief executive and a government champion for Women in Finance, said there were too few women in senior positions in the financial...

May 18, 2022

Barclays doubles stake in Australian investment bank Barrenjoey

Barclays has doubled its stake in Barrenjoey to almost 20 per cent after it paid A$75mn for new shares in the Australian investment bank that is rapidly expanding its financial services range. Barrenjoey, which means "Young kangaroo", was launched in 2020 and backed by Australian fund manager Magellan and Barclays. Barclays' capital injection means it will own 18.2 per cent of Barrenjoey, up from an initial 9.9 per cent, to give the Australian bank a valuation of A$750mn. "Our strategic...

May 18, 2022

Premier Foods boosted by rise in home cooking as inflation bites

Premier Foods said inflation was making more people eat at home and use its Homepride and Sharwood's cooking sauces, providing a further boost after the UK company prospered in the pandemic. Alex Whitehouse, chief executive, said: "Over the last year, we again saw market share gains across both our grocery and sweet treats businesses versus two years ago, and in recent weeks we've actually seen those market share gains strengthen further." Sales were still below the levels of a year earlier...

May 18, 2022

Next months will be tough as prices rise - Sunak

Rishi Sunak is to warn that the next few months "Will be tough" after it was revealed prices are rising at the fastest rate for 40 years. UK inflation, the rate at which prices rise, jumped to 9% in the 12 months to April, up from 7% in March. A higher energy price cap - which is the maximum price per unit that suppliers can charge customers - kicked in last month, meaning homes using a typical amount of gas and electricity are now paying £1,971 per year on average. Fuel prices have also...

May 17, 2022

Tesco gives £6.6m to pig producers following plea

Image source, Shaun Whitmore/BBC. UK pig farmers have welcomed a decision by Tesco, their biggest customer, to pay an extra £6.6m to pork producers. Tesco said its support between March and August would amount to £10m.The NPA warned four out of five pig producers could go out of business within a year unless Tesco paid more. Dominic Morrey, Tesco Fresh commercial director, said: "We know there is more to do, and we will be working with suppliers, farmers and the wider industry to drive more...

May 17, 2022

Vodafone targets deals as it warns on inflation hit

Vodafone said it is targeting deals in the European telecoms market as the FTSE 100 group warned that inflation would be a drag on its performance this year. The UK-based telecoms group forecast adjusted ebitda of between €15bn and €15.5bn for the 12 months to the end of March 2023, short of analysts' consensus of €15.6bn. Vodafone said it would generate €5.3bn of free cash flow, down from €5.4bn last year. "The current macroeconomic climate presents specific challenges, particularly...