THE ECONOMIC MONITOR - U.K.
Next lift H1 profits rise
U.K. clothing retailer
has announced its firsthalf results with 12 percent rise in its net profit.Next reported the net profit of 155 million pounds($241 million) and revenue growth of 5 percent at1.59 billion pounds. The group reported growth inits catalog business, with addition of new space inits retail arm but announced 1.5 percent fall incomparable sales during the period. Pretax profitrose 15 percent to 213.3 million pounds, in linewith the group's guidance, and lifted its interim dividend by 6 pence a share to25 pence. For the year as a whole, the company expects Next brand sales to bebetween flat and 2% higher than a year earlier.
SSE launches ‘iplan’
Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE)
has announced the nationwide launch
of a smart energy kit called „iplan‟. The kit enables customers to track their en-
ergy use in real time and provides archived information on energy usage.
, Energy Supply Director of SSE said, “The development
of new products is central to success in Britain's competitive energy supply mar-ket. The iplan will transform the amount of information that customers haveabout their energy consumption, by giving them a user-friendly presentation of
energy data at their individual level.”
Resolution adds AXA men to board
has made a number of manage-ment changes after completing the £2.75 bil-lion acquisition of French insurer
lifeinsurance businesses.The firm keeps
as boss of Friends Provident. Matthews will be joined onthe board of Resolution unit Friends ProvidentHoldings by former AXA men
. Hynam becomes executive director of operations, while therole of chief financial officer will be split between Parsons, as executive director of finance, and ex-Friends CFO
who‟s now responsible for strategy,
capital and risk. Graham Harvey and
have been brought overfrom AXA to lead market facing business units covering individuals and corpo-rate.
STM profits take off
hopes the surge in half-year profits following a reorganisation and pro-gramme of cost-cuts has brought its terrible run of form to an end.The company, which helps individuals and businesses with tax, legal, trust andpensions needs, bumped up pre-tax profit to £679,000 in the first six months of 2010 from £182,000 a year ago. It generated £3.45 million, more than 70% of total group revenue, during the period, up from £2.46 million last time.
Terra Firma is set for EMI buy out dispute trial
private equity firm
Terra Firma Capital
has been granted the rightto take
to trial over the advice it gave on the acquisition of musiccompany
. Terra Firma acquired EMI in 2007 and it argues that Citigroupinflated the price of EMI by not revealing to Terra Firma that it was the only bid-der.
BP's North Sea record under scrutiny
safety record in the North Sea has come under more scrutiny after publica-tion of a letter from the
Health and Safety Executive
that criticised four of the
firm‟s installations for oil spill procedures in 2009.The inspectorate also said that BP “did not appear to identify the significance of issues raised by the complainant once they were put to you by HSE”. BP replied
to the HSE that its processes had been reviewed and improved by November.
Jobless claims rise in August, first time since Jan
The number of workers claiming jobless benefits increased by 2,300 to 1.4663million in August, according to the data from Office for National Statistics. It isfirst monthly rise since January. Economists had expected a fall of 5,000. Personsclaiming benefits was 4.5% of the workforce, unchanged from July. The
for the three months ending in July was 7.8%, down from7.9% in the previous three months. Unemployment fell by 8,000 over the quarterto 2.47 million, the ONS said. Average earnings, excluding bonuses, over the May-July period rose at an annual rate of 1.8%.
Monetary policy is the best tool: King
Bank of England
said thegovernment had no choice and had to cut the deficit. Heemphasized on monetary policy being the best tool tomanage the economy. In his speech to a meeting of the
Trades Union Congress
in Manchester, he said vaguepromises by the government to reduce the deficit wouldnot have been enough. King said since monetary policycan be changed in either direction every month, it is the best tool for managingthe economy in the short run.
China closely watches BHP's bid for Potash
Ministry of Commerce
will closely watch the
's bid for
. According to China ministry spokesman Yao Jian the dealbetween the two big firms will draw global attention and impact China. Theministry will review BHP's bid for Potash if a formal application gets submitted.
FDA delays AstraZeneca's drug Ticagrelor
AstraZeneca today announced that the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration
hasincreased the time span for the review of anti-clotting drug ticagrelor (trademarkname Brilinta). The FDA has delayed the Prescription Drug User Fee Act datefrom September 16 to December 16. AstraZeneca would continue to workclosely with the agency on this matter. Ticagrelor is under regulatory review innine territories around the world, including the EU, Canada and Brazil.
Uncomfortably high inflation at the moment: David
Bank of England
said that inflation is uncomfortablyhigh at the moment. The BoE wants further loosening of the monetary policy, if recovering economy falters but high inflation has led one policymaker,
, to vote for a rise in interest rates from a record low of 0.5 percent.
Green growth may boost U.K. economy
Britain's plan on new low-carbon programme for the development of wind farmsand promotion of green jobs will lead to the growth of the economy by 1.5 to 2percent, according to the energy and climate minister. Investment to build windturbines and green deal to insulate homes will offset the fiscal tightening. Nextmonth government will provide details of austerity measures with many depart-ments to help cut a record budget deficit of 11 percent of GDP.
EU sets news rules for short-selling
European Union has set out new rules to curb short-selling as it tries to tighten
its grip on the activities it partly blames for aggravating the Eurozone‟s financial
crisis. In future, firms will have to tell EU regulators about significant short posi-tions in any stock or European government bond, while authorities will have thepower to temporarily ban short selling in exceptional circumstances. Naked short-selling will face even tighter rules. Greater disclosure will also be required forfirms that short European sovereign bonds, with a requirement to give details of positions in bonds insurance or credit default swaps. The
today said it wants to create “a harmonised framework for coordinatedaction at the European level.” The Commission also said in future it will require
trades in over-the-counter derivatives to be reported with standard contractscleared through a central counterparty. The proposal mirrors new US guidelinesand is designed to enable regulators to measure counterparty risk and the expo-sure of firms at any one time.