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Wednesday Update

DB Live: Inflation; Caltech; Logan Energy; Asos; Galliford Try

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9pm; Kanye files presidential papers

Kanye West

Rap star Kanye West has filed papers with the Federal Election Commission as a first step toward running for president in November.

West 43, declared he will be running for the BDY Party, which he says stands for the Birthday Party.

The move follows reports that he was not serious about the plan after announcing his interest last month.

He has yet to fill out a Statement of Candidacy, a more important form that would prove he has raised or spent more than $5,000 in campaign activity and would trigger immediate candidacy status under federal campaign finance law.

His wife, the influencer Kim Kardashian, tweeted her support for his decision.

5pm: Guardian job cuts

Guardian Media Group is cutting 180 jobs, or 12% of its workforce, to avoid “unsustainable losses” in the years ahead.

Full story here

4.45pm: London closes higher

The FTSE 100 index closed higher as traders grew optimistic over a potential coronavirus vaccine.

London’s index of leading shares closed up almost 113 points, or 1.83%, at 6,292.

1.30pm: First Minister’s briefing

Nicola Sturgeon gave a curt response to a question about businessman Jim McColl’s criticism of government ministers for lacking business experience.

Full story here

Comment

12.15pm: Blackford and Johnson clash

Ian Blackford Commons

In the Commons, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, pictured, accused the Prime Minister of creating a new bureaucratic body that would oversee powers over food standards and agriculture held by the Scottish government.

Boris Johnson replied that the UK government is returning more than 70 powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. He said Mr Blackford’s party would be happy to hand these powers back to Brussels bureaucrats who are neither elected, nor accountable.

Comment: Time to calm down over power grab

11.45am: Disney shuts store

Disney is permanently closing its merchandise store in the Gyle shopping centre, Edinburgh.

9.45am: Hydrogen fuel project

Bill Ireland

Hydrogen tech firm, Logan Energy, based in Edinburgh, is to deliver a unique production and refuelling unit that uses an electrolyser to turn water into hydrogen transport fuel.

Through the £1 million project, led by Cheshire East Council and Storengy UK, the fuel will be used by two waste disposal trucks which have been converted to run on hydrogen specifically for the project.

The company, headed by Bill Ireland, pictured, is involved in zero emission projects across Europe, notably in Northern Ireland where its technology will be used to refuel hydrogen buses, and in Tenerife where it is producing hydrogen from seawater to power the local transport fleet.

9.30am: India reinstates lockdown

India has ordered 375 million people back into lockdown as another record spike in coronavirus cases struck the country.

Officials announced 29,429 new cases this morning, taking the total to 936,181.

8.15am: London opens higher

The FTSE 100 opened higher as investors grew hopeful about a coronavirus vaccine.

London’s blue-chip index rose by 54.18 points (0.88%) to 6,233.93

8am: Review of CGT

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has called for a review of capital gains tax as the Treasury looks at ways to claw back money spent propping up businesses.

Full story here

7.15am: Inflation rises

Money - own pic

UK inflation came in a 0.6% in June, slightly higher than expected as non-essential shops reopened.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows prices ticked up from 0.5% in May.

Analysts had expected inflation to drop to 0.4%.

7.05am: Caltech lifted

Caltech Lifts says it will add more staff to the 20 it currently employs if it secures work from a new public sector bidding round.

It is one of 27 UK firms to have won the right to bid for an estimated £65 million of public sector contracts in a UK 2020-24 lifts procurement framework.

It is the first time the Dundee-based firm has won a place on the UK-wide framework.

Winning firms will deliver design, installation, refurbishment and the servicing/maintenance of lifts to a range of organisations.

CB Technology sets goal

Livingston-based electronic manufacturing services company CB Technology is setting an ambitious revenue target of £25 million by 2025.

Revenue rose by 31% in the year to 31 March to £10.67m, with profits soaring by 64% to £1.35m. 

CB Technology has grown its headcount from 47 in 2018 to 71 at present, and has introduced more efficient production methods, including cellular, flow and lean manufacturing techniques.

Turnover has more than trebled since 2015 when Maven Capital Partners, the Glasgow-based private equity house, backed a management buy-in (MBI) at the West Lothian business.

7am: ASOS upbeat

Online trader ASOS expects its FY20 pre-tax profit to be towards the top end of market expectations, despite material incremental Covid-19 costs, supported by rigorous performance management and continued removal of non-strategic cost.

Group sales for the four months to the end of June are up 10% to £1.014bn with a steady improvement throughout the period.

Nick Beighton, CEO, said: “We have learnt a lot and adapted quickly, and ASOS finishes the period with improved underlying profitability. While we remain cautious about the consumer impact of Covid-19 looking forward, we are on track to deliver strong year-on-year profit growth and to return to positive free cash flow for the full-year .”

Burberry hit

Q1 sales were “severely impacted” by the drop in luxury demand from COVID-19 and the company expects it will take time to return to pre-crisis levels.

However, sales growth improved in June, declining by about 20% compared to a 45% decline for the total quarter.

The company said it will further streamline its office-based functions and improve retail efficiency in certain geographies outside the UK.

Dixons Carphone

Dixons Carphone saw its profits for the year fall by more than half and below its guidance.

For 12 months ended 2 May, the consumer electricals retailer reported an adjusted pre-tax profit of £166m, against £339m in the prior year, while revenue fell 3% to £10.2bn.

Galliford Try – strong orders

The construction company said it has a strong order book, up 10% at £3.2bn (2019: £2.9bn) with 90% of revenue for the new financial year secured (2019: 88%) and an encouraging pipeline in chosen sectors.

Among new work is £100m of education facilities including the £42m National Manufacturing Institute Scotland for the University of Strathclyde, and the new £54m women’s national prison facility at Cornton Vale, Stirling.

The company said it remains a well-capitalised business, with net cash balances at 30 June 2020 of £195m.

Bill Hocking, chief executive, said: “I am confident about the future for the business. The impact of the global pandemic in the UK continues to be uncertain but innovative ways of working, better use of technology and improving efficiencies have been successfully embedded in our business in response to the crisis.”

Today’s agenda

* Lockdown: Hairdressers and barbers, bars and restaurants, cinemas, tourist attractions, places of worship and childcare settings can now all reopen in Scotland.

* Scottish Water has begun the hunt for regional contractors to deliver £500m of repairs and upgrade work to its water and sewerage network. The work packages cover reactive, low value, non-complex operational and capital investment projects, from 2021-2027

* A £4bn cut in VAT has come into force, allowing firms in the food, drink and hospitality sectors to slash prices.

* Chancellor Rishi Sunak faces the Commons Treasury Committee

Today’s top Daily Business stories

Skyscanner cuts fifth of workforce as travel slumps

Huawei 5G ban delves deep into UK telco network

Vattenfall unveils more wind farms in ‘green energy hub’



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