Good morning! Here’s what you need to know on Thursday.
1. Marks & Spencer is closing its London distribution centre, putting 380 jobs at risk, after disappointing Christmas trading figures.The move, part of the chief executive Steve Rowe’s five-year turnaround plan, will see the high street retailer exit its Neasden site in the north of the capital and transfer the work to other sites.
2. Société Générale has been ordered to hand back a €2.2 billion tax credit that the bank obtained after the biggest rogue trading scandal in France’s history. It said it would fight the tax office in the courts to keep the money, the Times reports. The row comes a decade after Jérôme Kerviel, now 41, lost €4.9 billion through unauthorised gambles on the futures market while working as a trader for Société Générale.
3. Taxpayers will be forced to hand over nearly £200bn to contractors under private finance deals for at least 25 years, according to a report by Whitehall’s spending watchdog cited in the Guardian.In the wake of the collapse of public service provider Carillion, the National Audit Office found little evidence that government investment in more than 700 existing public-private projects has delivered financial benefits.
4. Apple said it will bring hundreds of billions of overseas dollars back to the US, pay about $US38 billion (£27 billion) in taxes on the money and spend tens of billions on domestic jobs, manufacturing and data centres in the coming years, according to a Bloomberg report. The iPhone maker plans capital expenditures of $US30bn in the US over five years and will create 20,000 new jobs at existing sites and a new campus it intends to open, the Cupertino, California-based company said Wednesday in a statement.
5. Informa investors balked at the price the company plans to pay for rival trade show organiser UBM amid scepticism over the cost savings and cross-selling benefits the long-rumoured merger will bring, the Telegraph reported. The terms of the proposed takeover, announced today, value UBM at £4.5bn including debt, a level criticised by City analysts as “very full.”
6.The first hostile takeover of a FTSE 100 company in a decade was under way yesterday after Melrose, the acquisitive London-quoted £4.5 billion conglomerate, formally tabled a £7.4 billion bid for GKN, the Times reports.GKN, one of the largest and oldest engineering groups in Britain, immediately rejected the bid, which valued its shares at 430.1p each.
7. The government’s flagship policy to help millennials buy homes is having almost no impact, according to a monthly survey by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.The survey found that 86% of respondents reported no response from first-time buyers following changes to Stamp Duty, the purchase tax levied on new homes, that were introduced by Chancellor Philip Hammond in November.
8. Deutsche Bank plans to move hundreds of staff out of London as a result of Brexit rather than the thousands first feared, a senior executive has said. It is the latest global lender to roll back on suggestions of an exodus from the City caused by Britain’s departure from the European Union.
9. The Carillion director who chaired its audit committee for six years is under mounting pressure to quit the board of Victrex, the listed polymer manufacturer, Sky reported. Sky News has learnt that a number of leading institutional investors plan to write to the board of Victrex to demand Andrew Dougal’s resignation unless he steps down voluntarily in the coming weeks.
10. HSBC used credit derivatives to reduce its lending exposure to Carillion as early as 2015, with the investors who bought them now facing losses after the UK construction company entered into liquidation this week, the FT reported. The bank packaged the derivatives into a $US5bn so-called “synthetic securitisation” at the end of 2015, which allowed HSBC to offset the risk associated with 152 loans made mainly to UK companies.
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