HS2 Seeks Guarantee On Crisis Hit Carillion

Newspaper Summary

The Times

Private equity firms join forces in bid for Unilever’s spreads: Unilever’s sale of its £6 billion spreads division looks set to begin in earnest after two of America’s biggest private equity firms teamed up to make an offer.

Profits go sharply into reverse at General Motors: General Motors’ retreat from Europe and other international markets has knocked nearly $500 million off its quarterly profit.

Trump’s about turn on Yellen: Janet Yellen is in the running to serve a second term as chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, President Trump said, completing a remarkable reversal of his position on the campaign trail last year.

Slowdown in U.S. shale boosts oil price: Oil prices rose more than 4% amid signs that the rebound in American shale production might be slowing.

Mitsubishi and HICL land wind farm contract: A consortium of Mitsubishi Corporation and HICL Infrastructure Company Limited has been provisionally awarded a 20-year contract to own and operate the power cables to the new Burbo Bank Extension offshore wind farm

Sage Group looks to the cloud with acquisition of Intacct: Britain’s largest quoted technology company has agreed to buy an independent North American cloud-based financial software provider in a deal that it hopes will enable it to “win in the U.S. and in the cloud”.

Headhunter beats bar on move to rival: A doyenne of City headhunters has won a legal battle against her former employer over a non-compete clause only days before it was due to be lifted.

Croda leaves investors cold: One of the world’s biggest speciality chemical companies may have announced a rise in first-half profits and sales, but it still failed to impress the City.

Mediclinic Boss exits at tricky time: The Chief Executive of a private hospitals group listed on the FTSE 100 is planning to leave just as the business is struggling to integrate a big acquisition.

The Independent

John Lewis, BBC and Sony seen as best quality brands in the U.K.: John Lewis has topped a U.K. ranking of consumer perceptions of quality and reputation, followed by BBC iPlayer and Sony.

BMW didn’t get government reassurance ahead of Oxford Mini decision: German carmaker BMW has announced plans to build an electric Mini at its plant in Oxford, but said that it hadn’t received any reassurances from the Government over post-Brexit trading arrangements before making the decision.

Guardian Media Group slashes losses to over a third: The publisher of the Guardian and Observer newspapers announced on Tuesday that it had slashed losses by over a third over the last financial year, thanks in part to a growing number of membership subscriptions and one off contributions form readers.

Amazon announces major London expansion and ramps up video streaming: Amazon plans to massively expand the number of people it employs in research and development across London – a powerful endorsement of the capital’s booming tech sector despite the economy being steeped in uncertainty ahead of Britain’s departure from the EU.

World’s ‘most useless airport’ finally gets scheduled flight: The £285 million airport dubbed “the world’s most useless” is finally going to get a scheduled flight – but no-one knows when, nor how much flights will cost.

India won’t allow self-driving cars, says Minister: Self-driving cars could soon replace traditional human-guided models, but in one of the world’s most populous countries it may take some time before the technology becomes mainstream.

Google parent company sales jump 21% but profits hit by EU fine: Alphabet reported a 21% jump in quarterly revenue on Monday, maintaining a growth rate that is rarely seen among companies its size and suggesting the big sales gains enjoyed recently by the other internet firms are not done yet.

Domino’s profits boosted by chocolate pizza and new stores: Domino’s recorded a more than 9% increase in profit for the six months to the end of June, helped by the launch of a chocolate-covered pizza and the opening of 40 new stores – despite deep economic uncertainty.

Tanzania hands Acacia Mining $190 billion bill for unpaid taxes: Tanzania has issued a notice demanding $190 billion in unpaid taxes, penalties and interest from Acacia Mining, the gold mining company said on Monday, adding it did not believe it owed the money.

Michael Kors snaps up Jimmy Choo in multimillion pound deal: Retailer Michael Kors has agreed to buy luxury shoemaker Jimmy Choo for £921 million ($1.2 billion), snapping up the brand launched in the east end of London and made famous by celebrity fans including Princess Diana.

The Daily Telegraph

Metro Bank launches £280 million fundraise as lending growth accelerates: Metro Bank tabled plans to raise up to £278 million through a share issue after experiencing “strong and accelerating organic lending growth”, which had propelled it to its fourth straight quarterly profit.

Npower teams up with Allianz to power home services push: Big Six energy supplier Npower could soon insure its customers boilers and central heating systems through a new partnership with German insurance giant Allianz.

Virgin Money Chief hits back at ‘overblown’ market reaction to house price warning: The Boss of Virgin Money has hit back at the market reaction to the FTSE 250 company’s first-half results, with shares in the group tumbling after it warned of “areas of weakness” in the U.K. housing market.

Merck faces cancer drugs setback ahead of rival AstraZeneca’s landmark trial results: U.S. drugs giant Merck & Co has suffered a rare setback for its leading immuno-oncology drug Keytruda, as investors nervously await the outcome of a landmark trial for a similar cancer drug by Britain’s AstraZeneca.

Carillion’s risky road shows the short, sharp shocks of building for the long term: The Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route was billed as a “major infrastructure project that will significantly ¬improve travel in north east Scotland”. But, for Carillion at least, it has turned out to be a major headache that significantly hurt its finances.

The Questor Column:

All things being equal, slip in Parity’s share price looks like buying opportunity: A slide in the share price of Parity may present risk-tolerant, small-company investors with a chance to take a stake in the consultancy and recruitment specialist after a trading statement earlier this month (July 17) showed that debt continues to fall as the firm repositions its business. Better still, management is sweating the balance sheet to wring cash out of it. Last year, net debt borrowings came down from £7.4 million to £4.4 million, and by the end of June this figure had reached just £2.3 million. A pension deficit of £1.8 million comes on top of those liabilities, but the lower the debt goes, the lower the risks presented by the stock and the higher its share price could potentially go. Parity trades on a forward-earnings multiple of less than 10 for 2017. In addition, Parity’s £10.3 million market cap could start to look low, compared with its upwards of £90 million in annual sales, if margins rise and profits start to advance smartly. Questor says ‘Speculative Buy’.

Update: Cineworld: Cinema group Cineworld is due to report interim results on Aug 10, and there is a chance they will not make for great viewing, given the hot summer and how a number of film releases have done poorly. A slip in Cineworld’s share price this spring should already reflect weak box office figures, and the FTSE 250 firm’s strong long-term competitive position in the U.K. and growth potential overseas mean it would be unwise to judge it on six months of trading. Questor says ‘Buy’.

The Guardian

Victims of ground rent scandal demand action on existing abuses: Victims of the ground rents scandal are demanding Ministers go further in tackling unfair abuses of the leasehold system, amid claims that as many as 100,000 existing homeowners remain trapped in properties that are “unsellable”.

Noel Edmonds increases compensation claim for HBOS fraud to £300 million: Noel Edmonds has increased his compensation claim against Lloyds Banking Group to £300 million after he fell victim to fraud at the hands of former HBOS Reading staff.

Britain to ban sale of all diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040: As part of a government strategy to improve air quality, Britain is to ban all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 amid fears that rising levels of nitrogen oxide pose a major risk to public health.

Ed Sheeran fever helps drive rise of more than 10% in U.K. music sales: The popularity of Ed Sheeran, elevated by the launch of his latest album, Divide, and his headline Glastonbury spot, helped drive total U.K. music sales 11.2% higher to £564 million in the first half of 2017.

Netherlands and U.K. are biggest channels for corporate tax avoidance: Almost 40% of corporate investments channelled away from authorities and into tax havens travel through the U.K. or the Netherlands, according to a study of the ownership structures of 98 million firms.

Quarter of personal loan applicants ‘seeking half their annual salary’: Households in the U.K. are increasingly relying on borrowed money with one in four people seeking a loan applying for at least half of their annual income, according to new figures that will add to worries about Britain’s mounting personal debt burden.

BMW pledges to build new e-Mini at U.K. car plant: A fully electric version of the Mini is to be built in the U.K., giving a huge boost to the British car industry and relief to the government as it pursues an exit from the European Union.

Sport and sunshine fuel surge in U.K. supermarket alcohol sales: Britons have downed £158 million more alcohol in the last three months compared with 2016, as they enjoyed sunny weather and a string of major sporting events including Wimbledon, the British and Irish Lions rugby tour and the British Grand Prix.

Daily Mail

Pubs on the rise as sun brings out the drinkers with strong results from Fuller Smith & Turner and Revolution Bars: Revolution, which runs 68 cocktail and rum bars, said the recent terrorist attacks in London and Manchester had failed to put off punters, with year-on-year sales over the period to July 1 jumping 9.2% to £130.4 million.

Banks could be forced to come clean over security breaches: Banks will be forced to come clean over major security breaches and cyber-attacks under rules proposed by the City watchdog.

Fever-Tree shares just keep on fizzing to hit record high as profits double to £24 million: Shares in Fever-Tree soared nearly 18% as the nation’s thirst for premium tonic showed little sign of abating.

Hobbits help Games Workshop shares soar 10% as Bosses say profits are likely to beat expectations: Shares soared at Games Workshop as Bosses said profits were likely to beat expectations. They rose more than 10% or 137p to 1469p as the miniature wargaming manufacturer said trading over the latest quarter had been way ahead of the same period last year.

Provident Financial plunged into crisis as Senior Executive quit and profits collapse: The crisis at Britain’s biggest doorstep lender deepened as a senior Executive quit and profits collapsed.

McDonald’s serves up biggest sales rise for more than five years in major boost for its British Boss: McDonald’s has clocked up its biggest rise in sales for more than five years in a major boost for its British Boss. The American fast food chain smashed analyst expectations for quarterly sales.

Daily Express

Demand for Detectagas carbon monoxide checker reveals safety concerns post Grenfell: Just pushing the test button to check the battery and electronic circuit isn’t enough, warns safety expert John Stones, Founder of Gas Safe Europe, a British manufacturer of aerosol kits that test the testers.

Munich-based IFO says German business is booming and yet Germany economy in slowdown: German businesses are “euphoric” and are set to brush off the effects of both Brexit and Donald Trump, a Munich-based institution declared - putting it at odds with the latest economic indicators.

Bargain-hunting families turn to Lidl and Aldi as popularity of cheap supermarkets soars: British families were offered a break from steep increases in food prices, as the popularity of discounters continues to surge, industry data has revealed.

Saudi Arabia slashes oil exports in desperate bid to rescue crumbling economy: Saudi Arabia has promised new measures in a desperate bid to drive up worldwide oil prices, as the kingdom becomes increasingly desperate for income.

Ryanair Boss faces tough competition as budget airline Alitalia’s numbers rise: Fears over a deeper and longer airfares war across Europe sent airline shares into a tailspin as Ryanair signalled price cuts of up to 9%.

Debt-ridden families a ticking time bomb for everyone in Britain, Bank of England warns: British families loading up on large levels of debt pose a huge danger to “everyone else” in the economy, the Bank of England has warned.

Cryptocurrency soars after fears of crash wobble market: Bitcoin prices have bounced back as miners back a new mechanism designed to solve the cryptocurrency’s scaling issue. Here is the latest news, prices and live updates.

The Scottish Herald

Manufacturing orders and employment jump: The Scottish manufacturing sector enjoyed its fastest growth in new orders since October 1973 in the latest three months, and increased employment at the sharpest pace on record, a survey has shown.

Minimum alcohol pricing threatens global trade, court hears: The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) may have been vilified for stalling the Scottish Government’s bid to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol but, the organisation argued in the Supreme Court this week, it is as committed as the Government to finding a way of reducing problem drinking.

Entrepreneurs Encouraged to Shoot for the Moon with New Academy: Three of the U.K.’s most successful entrepreneurial figures have joined forces to launch the next generation business accelerator – Moonshot Academy.

Actor finds inspiration in Scottish social enterprise: Hollywood star Michael Sheen has given his backing to Edinburgh-based social enterprise Our Power after learning more about the energy company’s plan to eradicate fuel poverty on a visit to the company.

Eden Mill strikes £1.1 million deal to supply gin and cocktails to Aldi: Eden Mill, the St Andrews-based distillery and brewery, will see its revenue bolstered by £1.1 million after signing a supply agreement with supermarket chain Aldi.

The Scotsman

Standard Life-Aberdeen merger cleared by City watchdogs: The £11 billion merger of Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management (AAM) has been given the green light by the U.K.’s financial regulators.

BrewDog exploring options for first Australian brewery: Fresh from appointing a managing Director for its U.S. arm, craft beer maker BrewDog has named its “top dog” for Australia as it eyes possible sites for its first brewery Down Under.

Goals teams up with Manchester City owner in U.S. venture: Goals Soccer Centres is creating a joint venture with the owner of Manchester City to accelerate the growth of its five-a-side football brand in North America.

Domino’s to let customers order pizza with Amazon Echo: Domino’s Pizza has inked an agreement with Amazon Echo that will enable voice ordering for customers as it looks to boost slowing sales growth.

Grocery giant Asda plays down B&M takeover speculation: Senior Asda sources have played down speculation that the supermarket giant owned by Walmart of the U.S. is weighing a £4.4 billion takeover offer for U.K. discount retailer B&M.

Care home firm creating 90 jobs in Edinburgh expansion: A Scottish healthcare group is creating 90 jobs with the launch of its latest home in the capital.

City A.M.

Elliott Advisors ramps up its row with BHP Billiton with a billboard campaign in Australia that pokes fun at the company’s slogan: Elliott Advisors, the activist investor stirring up shareholders at companies around the world, has stepped up a campaign against BHP Billiton.

Caterpillar share price jumps after bulldozing expectations and upping forecasts: Caterpillar, the world’s largest construction equipment firm, walloped expectations and raised annual forecasts for the second time this year.

Michelin has a roadmap (financial not geographical) and it says it is on it plus it reckons the analysts got their sums wrong: French tyre giant Michelin revealed a fall in operating profits during the first half of 2017, missing analyst expectations.

John Lewis gives rare boost to fashion sector with double-digit clothing sales: John Lewis achieved double-digit growth in clothing sales last month, giving a rare boost to the struggling fashion sector.

Royal Dutch Shell is among companies looking to snap up $5 billion Asian renewables firm Equis Energy: Royal Dutch Shell is among several companies said to be bidding for Asian renewable energy giant Equis Energy.

Asian markets drive growth at fine wine merchant BI: Wine trader BI raised a glass to a 43% increase in revenues during the first half, as demand for premium alcohols shot up in Asia.


In the Papers - John Lewis, McDonald’s, Ryanair, BMW