LSBF Blog | Global Matters – LSBF

LSBF Blog - Global Matters

Every FTSE 100 board now includes a woman after Glencore appointment

June 30 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Topic: News

Glencore has become the last FTSE 100 company to finally add a woman to its board.

Patrice Merrin’s appointment to the board of Glencore Plc may not have meant much on its own, but in the wider context of the struggle to improve female representation in the business world, it marks a watershed moment.

On 26 June, the mining company finally bowed to years of pressure when it appointed Ms Merrin, who becomes the first woman to sit on the company’s board. In doing so, it brought in a new era in which every single company in the FTSE 100 now has at least one woman at the top.

It says something about how far the campaign for female representation has come that Glencore had acquired a bad reputation for its male-dominated management structure.

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London Stock Exchange confirms $2.7 billion Russell Investments deal

Russell Investments is about to be acquired by the London Stock Exchange for $2.7 billion.

The London Stock Exchange Group has finally agreed to acquire Russell Investments in a huge $2.7 billion (£1.59 billion) deal, subject to shareholder and regulatory approval.

On 26 June, the exchange said it was planning to carry out the major deal with assistance from a $1.6 billion rights issue as part of a plan to break into the huge US capital markets, taking over Russell from life insurer Northwestern Mutual.

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UK consumer morale hits nine-year high

June 30 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

Morale among UK consumers is at a new record high, according to a GfK poll.

Consumer morale in the UK is at its highest level in nine years, a new poll from research company GfK has found.

Its monthly consumer confidence index rose to +1 in June, up from zero in in the previous month and the highest rate since March 2005. A Reuters poll forecast suggested the figure could have been as high as +2, but the figures continue an upward trend that points towards growing confidence in the UK economy.

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Relationships between businesses key to success, says report

Businesses need to form relationships effectively if they are to succeed, according to a new report.

Strong links between organisations have often been seen as an important element of successful partnerships. But according to a new report, effective relationships between individuals within companies are a vital element of success in modern business.

The Tomorrow’s Relationships report has been compiled by business thinktank Tomorrow’s Company in partnership with KPMG, Linklaters, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and Chartered Institute of Professional Development (CIPD).

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Business magnate Warren Buffett ‘not buying Coca-Cola’

June 26 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

A brief flurry of concern emerged when rumours suggested that Warren Buffett could buy out Coca-Cola, but he claims not to be interested.

Warren Buffett has an established reputation as a major investor, and he isn’t new to going after large targets. But when Coca-Cola shareholder David Winters said last week that he was concerned Mr Buffett would mount a takeover bid for the giant company, more than a few eyebrows were raised among analysts.

The rumours emerged last week when Mr Winters told Fox Business Network that he suspected Mr Buffett, whose investment company Berkshire Hathaway owns nine per cent of the drinks giant, and 3G Capital might work together to take Coca-Cola private. He added that he had written a letter to the board warning them off such a move, reminding them that they have a “duty to all shareholders”.

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Climate change could cost US businesses billions every year

June 26 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

A new report has set out the potential negative business consequences of climate change in the US.

Climate change has been a difficult issue for many businesses, caught between a dependence on fossil fuels and the demand for more sustainable ways of operating. A new report compiled by political and business figures from the US has highlighted the potential cost to companies of failing to take action.

The bipartisan Risky Business report uses what it describes as a “standard risk-assessment approach” to identify the potential consequences of inaction on key areas. It focuses on damage to coastal areas from increased storm surge and rising sea levels, changes to agricultural production that will come from an altered climate, and how higher temperatures will affect public health and the productivity of the US workforce.

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50,000 customer strong Islamic Bank of Britain seeks to expand its business

June 25 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

With a new chief executive and profit in mind, Islamic Bank of Britain is looking to expand its products and services to attract new customers.

Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB) is the only sharia-compliant retail bank in the UK, and with over 50,000 customers, it has enjoyed a level of success. But with a new chief executive on board, it is seeking to broaden its target audience by expanding the products and services it is owed.

Sultan Choudhury, who was announced as the new chief executive on 23 June, told Reuters that the bank is planning to grow its commercial property business as part of a plan to increase its profitability.

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England’s World Cup exit: How does it affect businesses?

An early World Cup exit can spell trouble for a country’s businesses.

There may be three lions on the shirt, but England fans are certainly not roaring. Uruguay and Italy left the national team outclassed and Roy Hodgson’s squad will not be making it out of the group stages. The dull draw with Costa Rica on 24 June was the last chance English fans will get for at least two years to wave their St. George flags at a major international football tournament.

But the disappointment will not only be felt among the fans – businesses around the world are likely to notice the difference too.

Companies will feel the loss in different ways. For example, if less well-known teams make it into the later stages of the tournament, there’s a risk that some viewers will lose interest and not bother tuning in – and that could mean that advertisers who paid a premium for prime slots may not see the return on investment they expected.

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Green Investment Bank to raise £1 billion for offshore wind farms

The Green Investment Bank plans to launch £1 billion to encourage private investors to support UK offshore wind farms.

The UK’s state-funded Green Investment Bank (GIB) has said that it plans to raise £1 billion for a fund that will encourage private investors to back offshore wind farms around the UK.

GIB says that it is looking for strategic investors to work with on a long-term basis to participate in the capital raising exercise, with the proceeds being used to purchase stakes in a number of operational offshore wind projects. The new fund will be managed by a subsidiary of GIB that will seek permission from the Financial Conduct Authority to be considered a regulated fund manager.

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Sainsbury’s takes on discount supermarkets by bringing Netto back

June 24 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Sainsbury’s is entering the discount grocery market in a joint venture with Danish brand Netto.

Sainsbury’s has been attracting criticism recently for not doing enough to protect its market share from the rising tide of the discount supermarkets. Under pressure from Waitrose at the top end of the market and being squeezed by discount brands at the bottom, sales have been suffering in recent months.

As part of a plan to secure its place, the supermarket is stepping into Aldi and Lidl’s territory – by teaming up with Danish discounter Netto.

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CBI study highlights language skill shortage in Britain

June 24 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

A serious lack of language skills could hinder businesses’ growth intentions, according to the Confederation of British Industry.

Businesses are looking to break into new and high-potential markets around the world, but a new study suggeststhat they may be held back by a shortage of talent with the right language skills.

The latest Education and Skills Survey from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and Pearson shows that nearly two out of three businesses that responded said there was a need for foreign language skills within their organisation.

Although the full details of the study have not been published yet, CBI says that figure could well grow as firms become more interested in exports, especially given the government’s recent moves to rebalance the economy in favour of international trade.

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General Electric looks set to win prized Alstom energy deal

The bidding war for Alstom’s energy assets appears to be over, and General Electric is the winner.

The long-running bidding war to take control of French industrial giant Alstom’s energy assets has ended – and General Electric (GE) is the winner.

On 22 June, BBC News reported that Alstom’s board had voted unanimously to accept an offer from the US firm worth as much as $16.8 billion (£9.9 billion). Although it still needs to be approved by both Alstom’s employee representatives and regulatory bodies, it certainly looks as though the bid will go through.

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Lloyds sells bigger stake in ‘oversubscribed’ TSB IPO

June 23 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Lloyds has had to sell more of its stake in TSB than anticipated in a highly successful IPO.

Lloyds Banking Group has actually had to sell a bigger stake in TSB than it originally planned after a huge wave of interest for the bank’s initial public offering (IPO) in the London Stock Exchange.

The bank’s flotation was as many as 10 times oversubscribed, as institutional investors and members of the public all sought to secure a stake in one of the UK’s newest challenger banks. Overall, Lloyds has sold a stake of 35 per cent in the bank on 20 June – despite having intended to sell off a quarter of the company. After the success of this flotation, the next share sale could even take place as early as September.

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Alstom energy assets ignite heavyweight bidding war

A number of big companies are competing to take over French firm Alstom’s energy assets.

Alstom is one of France’s top industrial companies, so the idea of a foreign takeover was always going to be sensitive for both the government and large sections of the public. But as the fierce bidding war to acquire it has heated up, even president François Hollande has found himself getting more closely involved.

The French government is expected to decide on its preferred bidder at some point this weekend, and executives at the company have until Monday to decide between the competing bids of US firm General Electric (GE) and the joint bid of German giant Siemens and Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

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Finance, tech and creative industries set to drive London growth

The tech and creative industries will be crucial to London’s future growth, according to a new CBI report.

Businesses are optimistic about London’s growth prospects over the next five years, saying that the key industries to keep the city thriving will be technology, the creative industries and the city’s ever-popular professional services and finance sectors.

The latest London Business Survey from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) shows that nearly seven out of ten firms said the technology and creative industries would be key to the continued economic growth of the capital in the next five years. Another 65 per cent said that professional services would be an important driver of growth, while 62 per cent said the same of the financial services industry.

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UK and China celebrate huge new trade deals worth over £14 billion

June 20 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

China and the UK have signed trade deals worth billions during the Chinese premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Britain.

The UK has been anxious to tap into China as a crucial export market in recent years, and trade between Britain and the world’s second-largest economy has been building on its existing strengths.

During the visit of Chinese premier Li Keqiang to the UK this week, the two nations have signed a succession of trade deals with a collective value of more than £14 billion.

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China growth slowdown is a sign of consolidation, not decline, says report

June 19 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

ICAEW has published a new report which shows that slowing economic growth in China represents a period of consolidation.

Growth in China may be slowing down but it is “not something we should be too worried about”, according to a new report from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW).

Economic Insights: Greater China was produced for the organisation by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), and finds that this year could be the first in which China officially misses its headline economic growth target. However, the gap will still be fairly small.

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YouTube confirms launch of paid music service

June 19 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

YouTube is launching a paid music service in a move designed to challenge companies like Spotify.

YouTube has become hugely influential in the music industry, with growing numbers of hit songs from artists who established a fanbase through the video streaming site. But now, Reuters reports that the firm has finally confirmed that it will be launching its own paid music service to rival firms such as Spotify and Pandora.

The Google-owned company has announced that it is partnering with “hundreds of major and independent” labels, to put together the streaming service.

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Study reveals shortage of female professionals in British IT industry

June 19 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

The UK IT industry is still suffering from a serious lack of female talent, a new report has found.

The high number of budding technology companies in the UK has made it a hotbed for IT expertise – but it is also suffering from a talent shortage in a number of crucial disciplines. Now a new report has indicated that increasing the representation of women in the industry is an important way of redressing the balance.

According to the Women in IT Scorecard from the British Computer Society (BCS), the Chartered Institute for IT, and e-skills UK, fewer than one in six of the UK’s 1,129,000 IT specialists are female. Interestingly, that figure actually rises slightly to 19 per cent in the devolved countries of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Of more than 750,000 working specifically within the IT sector across the UK, the figure increases marginally to 20 per cent.

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General Motors recalls 3 million more vehicles

June 18 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

General Motors has suffered huge losses in both money and reputation over technical problems with millions of vehicles – and today, another three million have been recalled.

General Motors (GM) has had a bad few weeks to say the least. Millions of the US manufacturer’s vehicles have been recalled so far this year – and yesterday (17 June), the financial and reputational losses have grown even further with news that another three million cars will have to be recalled.

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Kenya aims for African record $2 billion bond sale

June 18 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Kenya has broken African records by raising $2 billion from global investors in its debut bond sale.

Kenya has raised as much as $2 billion (£1.18 billion) from institutional investors on its debut in the sovereign bond market, the Financial Times reports – the biggest ever debut for an African nation.

High levels of demand from investors such as pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and insurance companies all came together to propel Kenya to its success – and with investors having placed orders for over four times more than the government eventually raised, it seems that risk appetite in the world’s markets is bouncing back.

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London: Financial technology capital of the world

London has become the world’s premier financial technology hub. What makes the city so attractive for the sector?

London has been an established centre of information and knowledge for hundreds of years, and its bustling finance centre is an established feature in global markets. In recent years, its blossoming technology sector has begun to make an even greater impression on the global scene, as well as making a huge contribution to the economy.

Perhaps then it is no surprise that a new report shows it is also the financial technology (fintech) centre of the world.

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#StartupSpotlight: Affordable private healthcare for all in the heart of London

June 17 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

In this week’s StartUp Spotlight, we speak with Alya Marquardt, MD of Harley Street Health Centre group, which provides affordable private medical service with all tests and examinations done onsite for the patients’ convenience.

 

Elevator Pitch:

Harley Street Health Centre provides affordable private healthcare including immediate access to experienced GP and medical testing as well as a range of corporate services.

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Talent shortage in the City of London boosts salaries

June 17 ,2014 | by Sarah Parkin

New figures from Morgan McKinley show that salaries are rising in the City due to a talent shortage.

Several new studies have recently shown that hiring is picking up across the UK, and the finance sector is performing particularly strongly. But now, a new study from recruiter Morgan McKinley has found that the employment market is becoming even more favourable for finance professionals.

In its latest London Employment Monitor the company found that the number of financial services jobs in London rose by a substantial 15 per cent in May compared to the same month last year.

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London could gain billions from booming digital tech sector

A new study has found that London’s booming digital tech sector could contribute billions to the capital’s economy.

London has long been known as a major finance centre, but in recent years another industry has taken root there to give the capital’s economy a considerable boost.

According to a new report by Oxford Economics for promotional body London and Partners, the sector could make a massive contribution in terms of both economic activity and jobs. Details of the study have not yet been released, with only one page of key findings having been published so far.

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