Jul 26, 2021

Ryanair reports loss but nudges up passenger number forecasts

For the quarter ended June, Ryanair posted an after-tax loss of €272.6m, which was slightly better than the €283m consensus forecast. The airline said it expected to fly between 90m and 100m passengers in its financial year to March, up from earlier guidance of 80m to 100m. Management expects passenger numbers to improve rapidly from 5m in June to 9m in July and 10m in August. Ryanair reiterated to expect either break-even or small loss in the current year. Heathrow posted a half year pre-tax...

Jul 26, 2021

Amazon Bitcoin job ad boosts cryptocurrency surge

The price of some cryptocurrencies has surged, after retailer Amazon revealed it was hiring an expert in the field. Amazon has not confirmed any plans to accept cryptocurrency payments, despite the speculation. The job advert has been widely reported by cryptocurrency enthusiast sites, and London's City AM newspaper quoted an unnamed source as saying Amazon was "Definitely" pursuing Bitcoin payments in the near future. "We believe the future will be built on new technologies that enable...

Jul 26, 2021

Tesco Bank to close all its current accounts

Tesco Bank has said it will close all of its current accounts because most customers are no longer using them. The bank has estimated only 12% of its current accounts are being used by customers as their primary account. Options include customers moving to a new current account provider via the Current Account Switching Service or moving their balance to a Tesco Bank savings account. The bank said it had asked customers who choose not to switch to a new current account to move any regular...

Jul 26, 2021

Jaguar Land Rover owner Tata Motors feels chip shortage strain

Jaguar Land Rover owner Tata Motors says it is still feeling the strain of the global semiconductor shortage, but car sales are recovering after the pandemic. JLR, which brings in most of the group's revenue, saw sales rise 68% year-on-year. Thierry Bolloré, JLR chief executive, said the environment continued to remain "Challenging". In April, JLR temporarily halted production at its two main factories in the UK because of the lack of chips. In February, Jaguar Land Rover announced that its...

Jul 23, 2021

Twitter and Snap add users as restrictions ease

Social media firms Twitter and Snap are continuing to add users even as pandemic restrictions ease. Twitter reported it passed the 200 million mark for daily active users who view adverts on its platform in the same period, up 11% year-on-year. The company was still $152m in the red, down from $326m in net losses for the same period in 2020.Meanwhile, micro-blogging site Twitter said sales rose 74% year-on-year to $1.19bn, generating a profit of $65.7m for the company. "As we enter the second...

Jul 23, 2021

Zuckerberg wants Facebook to become online 'metaverse'

Mark Zuckerberg has laid out his vision to transform Facebook from a social media network into a "Metaverse company" in the next five years. A metaverse is an online world where people can game, work and communicate in a virtual environment, often using VR headsets. The Facebook CEO described it as "An embodied internet where instead of just viewing content - you are in it". Facebook has invested heavily in virtual reality, spending $2bn on acquiring Oculus, which develops its VR products....

Jul 22, 2021

British Gas profits more than double after colder first half

Profits at Britain's biggest energy supplier British Gas more than doubled in the first half of the year as colder weather prompted homeowners to reach for their heating controls, but customer numbers fell 2 per cent as households balked at higher bills. Adjusted operating profit at British Gas, the jewel in the crown of the FTSE 250 business Centrica, jumped to £172m in the six months to June 30, up from £78m a year ago despite losing 114,000 customers during the period. Centrica credited...

Jul 22, 2021

Twitter trials upvote and downvote buttons

Some iOS Twitter users will see up and down votes on comments as parts of research "To understand the types of replies you find relevant", the social network says. Twitter said downvotes will not be visible to other users and will not change the order of replies. Twitter's interest in methods for users to downvote or dislike had already been trailed last year by product lead Kayvon Beykpour who tweeted it was something "We're exploring". Cody Elam, a user researcher at Twitter, tweeted that...

Jul 22, 2021

Post Office scandal: Postmasters to get up to £100,000

Subpostmasters wrongly convicted of offences during the Horizon scandal will receive up to £100,000.

Jul 22, 2021

Unilever faces biggest cost rises in a decade, warns chief executive

Soaring costs for raw materials, packaging and transport have hit profitability at Unilever despite price rises from the UK's biggest consumer goods maker. The UK mixers maker Fever-Tree said on Tuesday it expected a hit to full-year margins from rising costs. Unilever had previously targeted an operating margin of 20 per cent, but Pitkethly said it was no longer aiming for this figure after coming close to it last year, instead simply aiming to increase profits faster than sales. "We had...

Jul 22, 2021

Bankers and advisers to collect £300m from planned Morrisons takeover

Bankers, financiers and other advisers are set to collect roughly £300m in fees from the planned £9.5bn acquisition of UK grocery chain Wm Morrison by a private equity consortium led by US fund Fortress Investment. Morrisons, which traces its origins back to a Bradford market stall in 1899, expected to incur £49m of costs, mostly fees to advisers Rothschild and brokers Shore Capital and Jefferies. The terms of Fortress's bid do not require Morrisons to pay a break fee if it recommends a rival...

Jul 22, 2021

Commerzbank takes €200m hit from botched IT project

Commerzbank is taking a hit of more than €200m from a botched IT outsourcing project in the latest blow to the ambitious cost-cutting plans of chief executive Manfred Knof. Commerzbank said the deal would generate "Clear cost benefits" but did not disclose any financial details. Shares in Commerzbank lost 1 per cent in afternoon trading and are down 20 per cent since early June. Commerzbank said last month that it was provisioning a mid-double digit euro sum to cover the cost of reversing...

Jul 22, 2021

Major websites hit by global outage

Many popular websites fell offline on Thursday in a widespread global outage of service. Affected services included Airbnb, UPS, HSBC bank, British Airways and the PlayStation network used for online games. One popular DNS provider, Akamai, reported "An emerging issue" with its Edge DNS service. Previously it said the issue had been a "Partial outage" - and some users reported being able to access some compromised services in different regions. Gaming services including Steam, Call of Duty,...

Jul 22, 2021

Coronavirus latest: Houston and Philadelphia recommend indoor mask wearing

Tunisia's president has placed the military in charge of managing the response to the coronavirus pandemic. New York City will require workers in city-run hospitals and clinics to either get vaccinated against Covid-19 or take a weekly test, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. Workers "Must show proof" they have been vaccinated, while de Blasio said he hoped the weekly testing rule would encourage more health workers to get vaccinated. The existing ban on trips deemed non-essential was due to expire...

Jul 21, 2021

Netflix to include mobile games for subscribers

Netflix has confirmed that it will include video games as part of subscription packages at no extra cost. In a letter to investors, it said it was in the early stages of expanding into games and those for mobile would be added to the platform first. "The time is right to learn more about how our members value games," it said on Tuesday. Netflix shares dipped in after-hours trading after it missed a target on subscriptions. Netflix has recently announced a number of moves in order to aid its...

Jul 21, 2021

Upbeat Next lifts profits guidance, pays special dividend and repays business...

Netflix loses 430,000 subscribers and Martin Wolf urges central banks to embrace cryptocurrencies

Jul 21, 2021

Next raises profit and sales forecast as lockdown savings are unleashed

Full-price sales at the fashion retailer in the 11 weeks to July 17 were up 18 per cent on the same period two years ago, before the pandemic struck. As a result, the company expects annual sales to grow by 6 per cent, double its previous estimate. The chain attributed the surge in sales to pent-up demand, especially given the continued difficulty in taking overseas holidays, warm weather at the end of May and into June and the unleashing of lockdown savings. Adult clothing sales fell 6 per...

Jul 21, 2021

Royal Mail parcel volumes fall as shops reopen

Royal Mail has reported a drop in parcel volumes in the UK compared with last year but insisted that the market will remain stronger than before the pandemic because of a permanent shift in shopping habits. "We are starting to see evidence that the domestic parcel market is rebasing to a higher level than pre-pandemic, as consumers continue to shop online," said Keith Williams, chair of Royal Mail. That drop contributed to a 13 per cent fall in overall parcel volumes for Royal Mail in the...

Jul 21, 2021

Next shoppers splurge on summer clothes as weather heats up

Next.Next has seen a summer sales boost as warmer weather persuaded shoppers to dip into lockdown savings to splash out on new clothes. The retailer saw strong online sales, up 44% compared with two years ago. The UK sales performance of its online fashion label business, which sells other brands, increased by 64%. Its own-brand clothes sales were up by 28% and online sales overseas also rose by 61%.The company has given back £29m of business rate relief to the government. A senior equity...

Jul 21, 2021

'Catastrophic' backlog at driving licence body, warns union

Mark Serwotka, head of the Public and Commercial Services union, said if staff were allowed to work from home the backlog could be reduced. Mr Serwotka said there had been 643 Covid cases and one fatality at the DVLA during the course of the pandemic and that there are serious risks to staff's health and safety because of its actions. The union want more staff to be able to work from home to be able to allow for better social distancing in the offices and to allow those isolating at home to...

Jul 21, 2021

BP: Lorry driver shortages closing some sites temporarily

Lorry driver shortages are causing temporary fuel supply issues at some of BP's petrol stations. "Our supply chain has been impacted by the industry-wide driver shortages across the UK, and was exacerbated by the temporary closure of our Hemel Hempstead fuel distribution terminal last week because of necessary Covid-19 isolations amongst staff. The terminal is now operating as normal once again." Previously, a temporary extension of lorry drivers' working hours was met with backlash from the...

Jul 21, 2021

Straight-talking Next offers few certainties but wins on clarity

Next invites the question at least once a quarter with market communications that are models of clarity. Surface calm risks underplaying Next's dramatic and potentially messy process of reinvention. Online accounts for more than half of Next's group sales yet its estate has hardly changed in a decade. The hunt for online growth draws Next into unfamiliar territory. Though management quality alone can justify Next's valuation premium to UK peers, at about 14 times upgraded earnings...

Jul 21, 2021

British man arrested in Spain over Twitter hack

AFP/REUTERS. Spanish police have arrested a 22-year-old UK citizen in connection with the hacking of 130 high-profile Twitter accounts, including those of Elon Musk, Barack Obama and Kanye West.The hacked accounts tweeted followers, encouraging them to join a Bitcoin scam, in July last year. Also charged with hacking TikTok and Snapchat, Joseph O'Connor faces charges including three counts of conspiracy to intentionally access a computer without authorisation and obtaining information from a...

Jul 20, 2021

National Grid faces being stripped of energy system management role

Under the proposals, the roles carried out by the National Grid Electricity System Operator - the part of the utility that matches electricity supply and demand and avoids blackouts - would be transferred to an independent body. Ministers are considering giving the new organisation key responsibilities for gas, including long-term forecasting and strategic network planning, although National Grid would retain an over-aching role operating the national gas system. National Grid's role in the...

Jul 20, 2021

Apollo drops plans to launch rival bid for Morrisons

Apollo Global Management is in talks to join forces with Fortress Investment group over the recommended offer for Wm Morrison, Britain's fourth-largest supermarket chain. A trio of private investment groups led by SoftBank-owned Fortress this month struck a £9.5bn deal to acquire the supermarket chain. Apollo had said it was also looking at Morrisons, sparking the possibility of a bidding war for the supermarket. On Tuesday Apollo said it was no longer considering its own offer but was...

Jul 20, 2021

Prospect of Morrisons bidding war recedes

The prospect of a bidding war for UK supermarket Morrisons has receded with the withdrawal of one potential suitor. US investment firm Apollo, which was considering making an offer, has now changed its mind. The supermarket group's directors are recommending acceptance. The takeover battle for Morrisons began last month, when New York private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice made a proposed £5.5bn bid, which was rejected. Last year, Apollo lost out on buying Asda, the UK's third-largest...

Jul 20, 2021

China says Microsoft hacking accusations fabricated by US and allies

China has slammed "Groundless" claims that it carried out a major cyber-attack against tech giant Microsoft. A group of Western countries had accused China of hacking Microsoft Exchange - a popular email platform used by companies worldwide. On Monday, New Zealand joined the group of countries including the UK, US and Australia in blaming Chinese state-sponsored actors for "Malicious cyber activity" in the country, including the Microsoft attack. Microsoft blamed a Chinese cyber-espionage...

Jul 20, 2021

US private equity group Apollo joins Fortress to bid for Morrisons

The deal came two weeks after the Bradford-based group said it had rejected an unsolicited 230p-a-share approach from the private equity group Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, which has yet to formally drop its interest. Passenger numbers totalled 3m in the quarter, generating group revenue of £212.9m against headline costs of £531.2m. With customers booking closer to departure, easyJet was unable to offer any financial targets for the remainder of the year. For the first half Fevertree posted...

Jul 20, 2021

Twitter suspends Marjorie Taylor Greene over 'misleading' Covid posts

Twitter has temporarily suspended Republican lawmaker Marjorie Taylor Greene for posting "Misleading" information about coronavirus. Ms Greene was suspended from Twitter in April, but the company later rescinded the ban, saying it was a mistake caused by its automated moderation system. Last week, Democratic President Joe Biden urged social media firms to take more action against the spread of false information on their platforms about coronavirus and vaccines. Twitter has repeatedly banned...

Jul 20, 2021

HMV backs High Street with plans for 10 new stores

Music and entertainment retailer HMV has said it is looking to open 10 new stores this year as it continues to put its faith in High Street stores. Its former London landmark store on Oxford Street closed along with many others after HMV fell into administration more than two years ago. HMV. Mr Putman said HMV's online business had done well throughout the pandemic, helping to offset the loss of sales in stores. "Our online business - very similar to most retailers - doubled, tripled...