Capita rights issue gets 97pc take-up raising £681m

Capita has raised £681m through a rights issue with almost all its investors backing the company’s plan to pay down debt and plug its pension deficit. Capita announced plans to raise £701m through the rights issue in April as part of an ambitious plan to turn the company around. The issue of one billion new…

Cancelled horse races cause GVC’s betting shops to stumble

A host of cancelled horse races due to adverse weather caused GVC’s betting shops to stumble at the start of this year but the might of its online business more than countered the impact. Boss Kenny Alexander said that in the first 20 weeks of the year, the group’s high street shops, which it acquired in…

SSE boss warns challenges will continue as profits slump 40pc

The boss of SSE has warned it will continue to face “complex challenges” this year after its annual profits fell by almost 40pc. Slumping earnings in the energy giant’s transmission and distribution arms were the main cause of the drop after it spent more on capital investment, offsetting higher profits in its retail arm. The energy giant…

Apple wins $539m in damages from Samsung in patent case

Apple has been awarded $539m (£400m) in damages from Samsung, in the latest round of a bitter patent battle that began seven years.  The amount is almost half that which Silicon Valley smartphone giant Apple had been seeking from Samsung for its infringement of five patents with phones it sold back in 2010 and 2011, but significantly more than…

MailOnline hit as Facebook switches its focus off news

Facebook’s retreat from news has brought to an end years of rapid expansion by DMGT’s celebrity-fuelled website MailOnline and prompted investors to question the publisher’s growth prospects. DMGT revealed that MailOnline revenues increased by just £1m in the first half of its financial year, to £61m. The number of visitors to the website was down…

Deutsche Bank blasted by investors at spiky AGM

Deutsche Bank faced a fresh crisis today as angry shareholders denounced its top team, just as the German lender announced thousands of job cuts in a bid to reboot its faltering turnaround. City jobs are in the firing line after chief executive Christian Sewing laid out plans to cut the bank’s headcount to “well below”…

Sale Sharks rugby club owners take control of Cotton Traders

The owner of Sale Sharks rugby club has struck a deal to seize control of clothing retailer Cotton Traders. Investment fund CorpAcq has snapped up a majority stake in the 30-year-old firm from founders, and former England rugby players, Fran Cotton and Steve Smith. The undisclosed swoop will help bankroll plans to bolster its online…

US launches criminal probe into Bitcoin price manipulation 

Officials in the US have opened a criminal investigation into whether traders are manipulating the price of Bitcoin and other digital currencies.  The Justice Department is said to be looking into techniques used to bump up prices including spoofing, in which traders flood the market with fake orders that are never fulfilled and wash trading,…

Electra up for sale after shake-up engineered by activist Bramson 

Private equity group Electra has put itself up for sale just two months after notorious corporate raider Edward Bramson stepped down as chief executive. Electra – which is still 29.9pc owned by Mr Bramson’s investment vehicle Sherborne – said it had already received expressions of interest from buyers looking to snap up some of its assets, but not the…

Rusal boss and seven directors quit as sanctions take their toll 

The chief executive and half the board of Rusal have quit as the aluminium producer battles to escape punishing US sanctions that could cripple its business. The company, which is 48pc owned by oligarch Oleg Deripaska, announced the departures of boss Alexandra Bouriko and seven directors. Evgeny Nikitin, head of its aluminium division, will act…

Facebook refuses to compensate users after Cambridge Analytica data scandal

Facebook has refused to compensate European users who were caught up in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The social network admitted that the incident, in which the personal information of 87 million people was harvested and sold to a political campaign agency, was “clearly a breach of trust”. However, as no bank account details, credit card information or national…

Wizz Air boss warns airfares could rise as costs mount

The boss of Wizz Air has warned it may have to put up prices to counter rising costs such as higher oil prices and pay hikes for staff.  József Váradi said Wizz’s average fares had fallen for the past five years but that current cost pressures “could mean our fares — and those in the…

Mediclinic swings to loss after massive writedowns

FTSE 100 healthcare company Mediclinic has plunged to a loss after taking a huge hit on its stake in Spire Healthcare and a charge to its Swiss business. The South African company posted losses before tax of £479m in the year to March 31, compared to profits of £307m the prior year. It was chief executive Danie Meintjes’s…

Covent Garden owner Capco looks to split itself in two

Property company Capital & Counties (Capco) is considering splitting its Covent Garden estate and its residential development at Earls Court into two separately listed companies. The split would enable the Covent Garden division, which Capco said had been valued at £2.5bn, to focus on prime central London retail. Meanwhile a new company created around the Earls…

Beast from the East blows B&Q sales off course

DIY chain B&Q has suffered a near-double digit sales fall after Britain’s cold snap meant it had to temporarily close stores and it faced tough competition in an «uncertain» UK market. Sales at B&Q tumbled 8.8pc to £828m in the three months to April, as freak weather from the «Beast from the East»  battered the high…

Pub owner Young’s shrugs off high street ‘doom and gloom’

Pub owner Young’s has shrugged off «doom and gloom» around consumer spending and Brexit with another year of sales growth and an increase to its dividend.  Chief executive Patrick Dardis cheered what he called “industry-leading” sales growth of 6.2pc, with turnover hitting £279.3m in the year to April 2. Like-for-like revenue, measuring sites open more…

Uber makes first profit after selling foreign businesses

Uber has reported the first profit in its history after selling its businesses in Russia and south-east Asia, although the company’s day-to-day operations remain lossmaking. The American ride-hailing app, the most lossmaking private company in technology history, said it made a $2.5bn (£1.9bn) profit in the first quarter of 2018. However, the surplus was only…

TalkTalk suffers the costs of turnaround plan

TalkTalk has swung into the red after absorbing a string of turnaround costs, while revealing its cut-price packages had lured back customers over the last year. The operator posted a pre-tax losses of £73m in the year to March 31, compared with profits of £70m the previous year, dragged down by £119m of turnaround costs….

City jobs under threat as Deutsche Bank swings axe

Germany’s struggling Deutsche Bank has confirmed it will slash thousands of jobs as it reshapes its stock trading business and tries to limit costs. The bank said on Thursday it would cut its workforce from 97,000 to «well below» 90,000. It said the reductions were already «under way.» The redundancies will be focused in the German…

Comcast ‘considering’ challenge to Murdoch deal with Disney

Comcast chief Brian Roberts has laid down the gauntlet to Rupert Murdoch by declaring an audacious bid to disrupt the mogul’s exit from global entertainment. Comcast announced it is “considering, and is in advanced stages of preparing” a challenge to Mr Murdoch’s deal with Disney. It heralds open warfare among some of the world’s most…

Topshop posts £10.9m loss as it grapples with tough retail environment

Topshop is the latest retailer to have taken a battering from tough conditions on the high street after posting a multi-million pound loss in its last financial year. The retailer, whose parent company Arcadia Group is owned by Sir Philip Green and includes both Topshop and Topman, made a £10.9m loss in the year to August 2017, compared with a £59.4m profit the…

Severn Trent unveils £100m spending plans

Water utility Severn Trent is preparing to splash out on a £100m investment programme that will include leak-detecting robots, after earning financial rewards from the industry regulator for beating its delivery targets.  The raft of spending will include upgrades to the pipes and pumps used by the FTSE 100 water company to serve 4.4m customers in…

Beast from the East boosts Zoopla owner ahead of takeover

Cold weather at the start of the year sent more people to price comparison websites as they hunted for better deals for their energy bills, according to the company behind property website Zoopla. ZPG reported that revenue for its comparison websites, which include USwitch, jumped 32pc to £82m in the six months to March 31…

Jaguar Land Rover profits slide on shrinking diesel demand

Record sales at Jaguar Land Rover have failed to turn into higher profits as rising investment costs put the brakes on the car maker’s performance. On the 10th anniversary since its acquisition by India’s Tata, the Coventry-based company posted a 6pc rise in annual revenues to £25.8bn on the back of retail sales that rose…

Hollywood Bowl halves debt as customer numbers rise

Hollywood Bowl has halved its debt pile thanks to a rise in the number of customers through its doors. Chief executive Stephen Burns said bowlers were also spending more money per game, which boosted sales and allowed it to slash debt by nearly half from £13.5m to £7.2m in the first half of its financial year. The company’s…

Dairy Crest raises £70m to expand cheese production

Dairy Crest is to spend £85m expanding its creamery in Cornwall, where it makes its Cathedral City and Davidstow brands, to keep up with growing demand for cheese from customers around the world. The investment over the next five years will boost Dairy Crest’s production capacity from 54,000 tonnes of cheese a year to 77,000…

Barclays and Standard Chartered merger speculation gets a cool reception

The City has questioned the rationale of any mega-merger between Barclays and FTSE 100 banking rival Standard Chartered, following speculation that Barclays was considering merger options. Top bosses at Barclays, including chairman John McFarlane, have “kicked around” suggestions of possible tie-ups with rival lenders as part of its response to pressure from activist investor Edward Bramson, according to a…

Babcock shrugs off outsourcing worries to deliver record profits

Engineering outsourcer Babcock International has allayed concerns it could be the next Carillion by hitting its financial targets. The company, which counts the Ministry of Defence as its biggest customer, had seen its share price fall until recently as speculation grew that it could face the same troubles as outsourcers such as Carillion, Capita and…

M&S profits plunge on store closure costs

Marks & Spencer has unveiled another year of falling profits as the high street giant counts the cost of its transformation programme. The retailer reported a 62.1pc fall in pre-tax profit to £66.8m in the year to March 31 as it was dragged down by £321.1m in costs linked to a store closure programme. Chief executive…

Data protection fines hit record last year as GDPR deadline looms

UK organisations were handed a record £4.2m in data protection fines last year, up nearly a million pounds from the previous year. As new GDPR laws will see companies risk even larger fines for failing compliance, analysis finds that last year the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) dealt 54 financial penalties in total for breaching current…

City watchdog tells banks to uncover ‘dirty money’ with robots and AI

The City watchdog has urged banks to track down criminals with artificial intelligence and machine learning rather than just throwing cash at the problem to «show willing» or appear virtuous.   In a message that comes a day after the foreign affairs select committee said the Government «cannot afford to turn a blind eye» to criminals using London to launder ill-gotten funds, the Financial Conduct…

Tesco Direct to close, putting 500 jobs at risk

Tesco has announced that it is closing its non-food website Tesco Direct, putting around 500 jobs at risk. The e-commerce website which sells clothing, homewares and electricals, was launched in 2006 as the supermarket giant’s attempt to take on Amazon and Argos. However, the retailer said that «despite its best efforts, there is no route to profitability for…

Homeserve UK boss to step down as profits jump 25pc

The UK boss of Homeserve, which provides home emergency insurance cover and repairs, is to step down, as the business reports growing success in its overseas markets. Martin Bennett will leave his role later this year having worked for the company for 15 years, nine of which were as a member of the board. Reporting…

China to cut car import tariffs as trade war fears recede

China will cut car import duties from 25pc to 15pc as the prospect of a trade war with the US fades. The world’s largest car market will lower the import tariffs from July 1, following threats from Donald Trump of retaliatory action. The US President had complained that Chinese-made cars coming into America faced only…

Shell boss hit by shareholder revolt over £8m pay

The boss of Royal Dutch Shell has suffered a bruising shareholder revolt after more than a quarter of its investors voted against his multi-million euro payout for last year. Ben Van Beurden pocketed €8.9m (£7.8m) for 2017 after trebling the company’s profits to $12.1bn (£9bn) as the oil giant staged an impressive recovery from a…

Samsung to create 120 jobs in Cambridge AI hub

Samsung is to open a new artificial intelligence laboratory in Cambridge where the Korean giant plans to focus on projects such as emotion recognition to medical prediction. The technology company says the centre will bring 120 jobs to the UK as it expands its research and development workforce in the country from 250 to 400 people. The company…

Landlord Shaftesbury hails resilient West End shopping

London’s West End has so far managed to ride out the current turmoil on Britain’s high streets because brands still want a presence in the centre of the capital, landlord Shaftesbury has said. The British high street is suffering as a number of retailers report falling profits, with some seeking to reduce their store numbers…

Deutsche Bank chair Paul Achleitner faces investor revolt

Investment manager Hermes has piled further pressure on Deutsche Bank chairman Paul Achleitner ahead of a crunch vote on his future at the lender’s annual general meeting this week. The beleaguered banking giant is facing a potential investor revolt after a torrid year in which it posted a third consecutive loss and ousted its chief…

Nationwide warns of ‘intense competition’ as profits slide

Nationwide Building Society has posted a fall in profits as mortgage lending slumped by a third, with the lender blaming “intense competition” in the market. The UK’s largest building society reported a 7pc drop in pre-tax profits to £977m for the year to April 4, down from £1.05bn the previous year. It was Nationwide’s second consecutive…

Pets at Home boss vows to return profits to growth

The boss of Pets at Home has vowed to return the business to profitable growth, as the retailer reported a profit slump in the year to March 29. Pets at Home posted a 12.3pc drop in underlying pre-tax profit to £84.5m and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of £123.3m — down from £130.5m the previous year….

Galliford Try warns bad weather will add to cost of Aberdeen road project

Construction and housing company Galliford Try is facing higher bills to build Aberdeen’s troubled ring road after bad weather caused delays. The construction of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route was a joint venture between Galliford Try, Balfour Beatty and Carillion, but when the latter collapsed in January, the remaining two partners were left to finish the…

M&S confirms 14 more shops to be axed taking total to over 100

Marks & Spencer has announced that it will shut another 14 stores affecting 1,000 jobs as part of a radical restructuring programme that will result in 100 shops closing their doors. The latest tranche of store closures comes as the retailer’s chief executive Steve Rowe embarks on a five-year plan to turn around the business as it battles to reverse…

Halfords’ shares skid as it warns profits will be flat this year

Investors knocked almost a tenth off the value of Halfords’ shares after the bike and car parts retailer warned its profits were unlikely to grow this year. The retailer plans to invest more in its services arm and make better use of customer data, adding this would hold profits back in the coming year. It came as it revealed a…

Global Ports strikes deal to run Havana’s cruise ship port

Global Ports Holding has landed a 15-year deal to operate a cruise ship port in Havana, as it hopes to cash in on partially thawed relations between Cuba and the US. London-listed GPH’s management contract will also see it work with Cuba’s authorities to help develop new cruise ship terminals in the port. Havana’s port has…

DFS boss steps aside after eight years

The boss of furniture seller DFS will stand down in November after eight years at the helm. Ian Filby, who led the retailer through its March 2015 IPO, will be replaced by the company’s chief operating officer Tim Stacey. The pair previously worked together at Alliance Boots, where Mr Filby was trading director and Mr…

Outgoing chairman warns BP over further executive pay tinkering

BP’s outgoing chairman has warned against further tinkering with pay packages for senior executives if it is to attract top talent. In a parting shot at BP’s annual general meeting Carl-Henric Svanberg appeared to criticise the committee’s decision to cut the pay packet of BP boss Bob Dudley by $3.4m. Under the group’s pay policy Mr Dudley could…

Aston Martin gears up for flotation but sales slip as new cars launched

Aston Martin has taken a hit from sterling’s fluctuating value caused by uncertainty over Brexit, with headline profits at the luxury car maker halving in the first quarter. Pre-tax profit dropped almost 50pc compared to the last time round on a statutory basis to £2.8m as sterling’s weakness hit the Gaydon-based business. Stripping out currency…

World’s largest battery and car-charging network planned for UK

The world’s largest battery and vehicle-charging network could roll out across British roads through a new £1.6bn scheme due to start in Southampton next year. A brand new energy start-up has won the backing of a UK institutional investor, green energy multi-millionaire and National Grid for fresh plans to dot the UK with grid-scale 50MW…

Nokia smartphone maker HMD raises $100m

After the surprise success of its re-born Nokia phones, HMD Global has secured a $1bn (£750m) valuation following a year of sales capitalising on consumer nostalgia for the Nokia brand and its iconic phones of the early 2000s. Finland-based HMD secured $100m in new funding, giving the two-year-old start-up a much sought-after «unicorn» valuation, where a company is worth more than…

City watchdog bans finance boss of firm owned by couple dubbed ‘vampires of debt’

The former finance boss of a collapsed debt management company that was used by a couple to fund their luxurious lifestyle has been banned from the City.  Adrian and Christine Whitehurst, dubbed the «vampires of debt», set up First Step Finance in 2007 with the promise of helping struggling families control their debts. The firm went bust in 2014 with over £7m missing from customer funds.  The…

Hyundai backs off restructuring in win for activist investor Elliott

South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Group has shelved a controversial restructuring plan in a victory for a group of rebel shareholders including feared activist investor Elliott Management. The shake-up — which was due to be put to an investor vote next week — would have given the son of Hyundai’s chairman greater control of the business….

M&S bolsters its board with two new directors ahead of crunch results 

Marks & Spencer has bolstered its board with two new non-executive directors ahead of crunch results this week in which it is expected to reveal plans to close more stores. Katie Bickerstaffe, formerly UK and Ireland boss of electricals seller Dixons Carphone, and Pip McCrostie, who previously led accounting giant EY’s corporate finance business, will…

US regulators finally approve potential blockbuster drug for AstraZeneca

US regulators have given the green light to a crucial drug in AstraZeneca’s pipeline, two years after blocking approval because of concerns over the way it was manufactured, sending shares in the company up by nearly 2pc in morning trading. Approval for Lokelma, which helps patients with hyperkalaemia, a condition typically associated with chronic kidney disease and chronic heart failure, was important for…

Ryanair shrugs off pilot shortage chaos to post soaring profits

Ryanair shrugged off a pilot shortage that led to thousands of cancelled flights to post a surge in annual profits and revenues. Costs, excluding fuel, rose as the no-frills airline was forced to hand out compensation to passengers affected by the cancellations last autumn, and increase wages after cutting a new deal with pilots, while fares…

Sky narrows focus on virtual reality with third technology hub

Sky is narrowing its focus on virtual reality with the launch of a new technology hub on its west London campus. The media giant will today unveil plans to create a 70,000 square foot site on its UK headquarters, its third tech centre in Europe. The space will house engineers and software developers focusing on new products in areas such…

Data protection watchdog ready to ‘look behind scenes’ at Facebook’s source code 

The data protection watchdog will this week be granted fresh powers that will allow it to access Facebook’s secretive source code, to ensure it is compliant with new data protection law. From Friday, the Information Commissioner’s Office will have the power to inspect a private company’s intellectual property through algorithm audits, to see that computer…

Shell urged to resist calls to fall into line with Paris climate accord

Britain’s largest shareholder advisory groups have called on investors in Royal Dutch Shell to reject growing demands for the oil giant to take full responsibility for its impact on the environment. Shell faces a binding shareholder vote tomorrow to decide whether to adopt rigorous accountability standards to bring its operations into line with the Paris climate agreement. Glass…

Steiner earns £110m bonus following Ocado-Kroger tie-up

Ocado deliveries will soon include the largest ever executive bonus for the boss of a London-listed company, and a multi-million pound surprise windfall for its chairman. Tim Steiner, Ocado’s co-founder and major shareholder, will pocket a bonus totalling £110m for last year after the online grocer’s share price surged following its tie-up with US supermarket…

Flat-sharing social network bags £1m from investors

A fledgling flat-sharing social network has raised £1m from new and existing investors in just four weeks as its popularity among the growing “generation rent” accelerates. Ideal Flatmate, founded by Tom Gatzen and Rob Imonikhe, secured some of the cash from lead investor David Pollock, an estate agency veteran who founded his own north London…

China investment cuts tobacco giant’s cigarette dependence

British American Tobacco has made its first outside investment as it steps up the search for cutting-edge technology that could help it to reduce its reliance on cigarettes and other traditional smoking products. The FTSE 100 company has backed a Chinese investment fund that seeks out early-stage technology firms in a bid to help them…

Global alliance puts carbon capture back on the agenda

The first major international initiative to galvanise technology that traps carbon emissions before they reach the atmosphere will be unveiled this week by some of the world’s largest polluters. The annual Clean Energy Ministerial will play host to the new global co-operation plan to develop carbon capture and storage (CCS) to clean up the emissions…

Marks and Spencer slump raises FTSE relegation fears

Marks & Spencer is bracing for a second straight year of falling profits and a potential relegation from the FTSE 100 index as biting retail conditions hit food and clothing sales. The high street staple will reveal a 7pc fall in pre-tax profits to £572.6m, and a meagre 1pc revenue rise to £10.7bn, when it…

Governance chief continues Standard Life Aberdeen exodus

A senior City executive tasked with holding UK boardrooms to account is the latest person to leave Standard Life Aberdeen following its £11bn merger last summer.  Paul Lee, head of corporate governance for Standard Life Aberdeen’s funds arm, will stand down next month after more than three years in the role.  His decision is linked…

Blackstone checks out of Hilton after 11 years

After holding an interest in Hilton Worldwide for nearly 11 years, private equity firm Blackstone Group has decided to exit the hotel chain operator by selling its about 5.8pc stake.  The sale of 15.8 million shares would generate about $1.32bn (£980m), based on Hilton’s Thursday close at $83.30. Hilton said today it will not receive any proceeds…

BMW launches another huge recall over fire risk fears

BMW has been forced to issue another massive recall of cars in UK, over fears they could catch fire. The problem relates to wiring connecting the battery and the fan, and is thought to affect almost 300,000 vehicles in the UK. It is the second major recall the German car maker has had to issue…

GlaxoSmithKline faces fresh whistleblower allegations

GlaxoSmithKline is facing fresh criticism over the way it treats whistleblowers after a lawsuit was filed by a former senior technical lead claiming he was harassed and wrongfully dismissed after repeatedly warning over issues with the pharmaceutical giant’s computer fleet. The case, filed in the US, piles more pressure on Glaxo to review its policy for whistleblowers, after…

Sanctions-hit Oleg Deripaska quits boards of EN+ and Rusal

Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska has quit the boards of EN+ and its subsidiary Rusal in a bid to free the companies from crippling US sanctions. Mr Deripaska had agreed to cede control of EN+ to help the company escape sanctions imposed by Donald Trump’s administration that severely limit its ability to do business. Under a…

City big hitters to probe ‘toothless’ UK audit watchdog FRC

The Government has picked a team of City big hitters to lead a probe into the UK’s audit watchdog just days after a damning report into the collapse of Carillion pointed to major failures in the market.  Former Treasury official Sir John Kingman, a key figure during the financial crisis and the chairman of Legal & General, was chosen to…

Carpetright kick-starts £60m share placing to bankroll restructuring

Struggling retailer Carpetright has launched a £60m fundraising to help rescue the business from its precarious financial position. The flooring-to-beds company has issued a slew of new shares at 28p each, marking a 16pc discount on its closing share price of 33.25p on May 17. The share sale will be used to bankroll the firm’s costly overhaul…

AstraZeneca may face pay revolt as sales disappoint

Drugs giant AstraZeneca was bracing for a revolt over its boss’s pay on Friday morning as it revealed a disappointing drop in revenues.   Sales of its Crestor drug, which is used to combat the build up of cholesterol, slumped 38pc to $389m (£288m), below analyst estimated of $452m, as it struggled against competition from…

Shipping giant Maersk to abandon Iran as threat of sanctions grows

Shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk has said it will stop working in Iran as the international fallout over the collapse of the country’s nuclear deal grows. Soren Skou, chief executive of the company which is the world’s largest container shipping line, said he would abide by sanctions imposed on the Gulf nation. “With the sanctions the…

National Grid bet on US energy pays off despite winter storms

National Grid’s bet on the US market has paid off for its dividend hungry investors despite fears over the winter storms which battered the energy network operator late last year. The FTSE 100 group’s shareholders took fright after a series of hurricanes wiped £140m from their profits, but they are now in line for higher…

Foxtons feels the squeeze in challenging London market

Foxtons is heading for a year of sliding profits as a slowdown in the London property market continues to weigh on its performance. In a gloomy trading update ahead of its annual general meeting today, Foxtons said revenues had dropped 14.7pc in the first three months of the year, to £28.7m. The company blamed a…

Asda notches up four consecutive quarters of sales growth

Supermarket giant Asda has rung up its fourth consecutive quarter of sales growth, shrugging off the tough retail climate as it gears up for a proposed £15bn merger with Sainsbury’s. Britain’s third biggest grocer clocked a 3.4pc rise in like-for-like sales during the first three months of the year. Stripping out the impact of Easter, which…

Allied Healthcare thrown lifeline by creditors with rescue deal

Allied Healthcare, one of the UK’s biggest providers of in-home care for elderly and vulnerable people, has been thrown a lifeline by its creditors as it battles rising costs. The company, which has almost 9,000 staff caring for 13,500 people and works with 150 health authorities across the UK, has secured a company voluntary arrangement (CVA)…

WannaCry fever pays off for cyber security giant Sophos

The ransomware attack on the NHS and new data protection laws helped cap a buoyant year for cybersecurity company Sophos. The FTSE 250 technology company reported a 22pc growth in billings — an indicator of future revenues — to $768.6m (£582m) for the year ending March 31. Sophos reported a 20pc increase in adjusted operating…

Countryside to build modular factory to ramp up production

Countryside Properties is pressing ahead with plans to build its own modular housing factory in a bid to drive its growth, as it increasingly focuses on building affordable homes for rent. The company will invest £6m in a new timber frame factory in Warrington which is expected to build around 1,500 homes a year. It…

Plunge in apprentice numbers highlights fears over quality of training

A fresh plunge in the number of people starting apprenticeships and growing concerns about the quality of training have sparked further criticism of a shake-up of the system. New figures from the Department for Education revealed a 25pc plunge in the number of people starting apprenticeships. Just 232,700 apprenticeships were begun between the start of…

Royal Mail predicts decline in letter volumes as data rules hit

Royal Mail has warned that new European data laws could reduce the number of letters being sent, as its British business failed to increase revenue last year. The company said that the impact of the new General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into effect on May 25, meant it expected its decline in addressed letters…

Ocado strikes ‘transformational’ deal with US giant Kroger

Ocado will build as many as 20 robotic warehouses in the United States as part of a landmark deal with US supermarket giant Kroger that will significantly accelerate its plans to become a global supplier of white-label online shopping technology. Kroger, which is second only to Walmart in terms of US market share, with revenues…

Mothercare swings axe on 50 stores and brings back ousted boss

Mothercare is to swing the axe on 50 underperforming stores and re-hire the chief executive it sacked just weeks ago as part of a wide-ranging shake-up. The closures, which will result in hundreds of job losses, will be carried out through a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) — a move which allows companies to close loss-making…

Nissan takes first solo steps into solar power

Nissan has accelerated its drive into the electricity sector with the roll out of its first home energy system without the backing of a traditional utility. The Japanese car-maker is striking out on its own with the sale of a stand-alone solar, storage and vehicle charging system following partnerships with E.On and Ovo Energy earlier…

Focus on small businesses helps boost Speedy Hire’s turnaround

A renewed focus on small businesses has boosted Speedy Hire’s turnaround plan, pushing profits up 25pc in the last 12 months. The company enacted a turnaround plan in September 2015 after two volatile years during which it lost its chief executive, issued a string of profit warnings and weathered a row with an influential shareholder…

Mitchells and Butlers battered by snowy weather and rising costs

Pub group Mitchells & Butlers suffered at the hands of the ‘Beast of the East’ weather front in March, with boss Phil Urban estimating that the inclement conditions took £12m of potential sales off its top line. Rising costs also took their toll, pushing the company’s pre-tax profits down 8pc to £69m for the six months…

Crest Nicholson shares slip as it warns on margins

Crest Nicholson has warned that its margins will be squeezed by flat house prices and rising business costs, prompting investors to send the housebuilder’s shares down 13pc. The company said that, while it had enjoyed “strong growth in revenues and housing unit numbers in the first six months of 2018… generally flat pricing against a…

Arts Club to follow rival private members clubs in expanding overseas

A private members club whose founders include Charles Dickens and Anthony Trollope is planning to expand overseas, opening its first sites outside London in a «multi-million dollar investment». The Arts Club said it would be opening a 23,000 square foot members club in Dubai next year, and another site in Los Angeles the following year. It is also planning…

Blistering report from MPs slams Big Four over ‘rotten culture’ at Carillion

The Competition and Markets Authority must consider breaking up the so-called Big Four accountancy firms over their involvement in the “rotten corporate culture” at Carillion, MPs have said in a blistering report about the company’s collapse. The final report from the select committee investigating Carillion’s failure earlier this year paints a damning picture of “recklessness,…

Norway leads on carbon capture with fresh funding

The Norwegian government has revived plans to develop technology which can capture and store carbon emissions from factory flues with a pledge to invest almost €30m (£26m) in a pair of new demonstration projects. The funding could lay the groundwork for a Europe-wide boom in carbon capture and storage (CCS) which will require strong international…

Twitter update hides tweets posted by trolls

Twitter is turning to a new tactic in the company’s long-running battle against internet trolls: hiding their posts from view. The US social network, which has spent years coming under fire for failing to delete abusive messages, will not display tweets from users who have exhibited certain «troll-like» characteristics. This includes people who have repeatedly tweeted at users who do…

Podcast app Audioboom faces collapse

Audioboom, the British podcasting app funded by the property developer Nick Candy, faces collapse within weeks after failing to secure the funds for a proposed purchase of a US rival. The Aim-listed company called off the £134m reverse takeover of Triton Digital yesterday after admitting that it had not been able to complete a planned…

Premier Foods hails return to form as squeezed consumers eat in

Mr Kipling cake maker Premier Foods has racked up its highest sales growth for five years, bolstered by squeezed consumers opting to eat at home.   The group behind Angel Delight and Batchelors Super Noodles rang up a 3.6pc rise in revenues to £819.2m for the year ending in March. That was underpinned by its tie-ups…

Landsec grows cautious in ‘subdued’ London property market

Property company Landsec has scaled back its speculative development programme amid concerns that the London office market has slowed in a wider “subdued” property market. Chief executive Rob Noel said he expected the rest of this year to be slower for the company as the UK nears the date when it will leave the European…

Hargreaves Lansdown reaps benefits after Barclays glitch

Bristol-based investment shop Hargreaves Lansdown is still luring in angry Barclays’ customers impacted by the banking giant’s botched switchover last summer.  The FTSE 100 broker told investors on Tuesday that it added 60,000 new clients and £3.3bn worth of new business to its books in the year to April 30. It said this was partly due to a continuation…

Taylor Wimpey to step up house building as demand soars

Taylor Wimpey has promised to increase production and use more of its short-term land bank as the market for housebuilding improves. The company wants to reduce the amount of time it holds land to between four and four and a half years, a year less than currently, as a result of a stronger land market that…

Vodafone boss Vittorio Colao steps down after 10 years in charge

Vodafone boss Vittorio Colao will step down in October after 10 years at the helm of the world’s second-largest mobile operator. Mr Colao, who previously ran Vodafone’s Italian business before being appointed chief executive in 2008, will be replaced by the FTSE 100 firm’s chief financial officer Nick Read. The news came as Vodafone revealed…

Trump defends U-turn on Chinese telecoms giant ZTE 

Donald Trump has defended his decision to offer an olive branch to Chinese telecoms equipment maker ZTE, which last month was banned from buying US components, saying the company is a big buyer of parts from American companies. Writing on Twitter, the US President said ZTE «buys a big percentage of individual parts from US…

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