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Friday Update

DB Live: Care homes sold; Sainsbury lifted by investor


5.30pm: Amal Clooney quits over Market Bill

Amal Clooney has resigned as the UK’s envoy on press freedom over the government’s willingness to break international law over Brexit.

The human rights lawyer, who is married to actor George Clooney, said it was “lamentable” for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to be contemplating overriding the Brexit agreement he signed last year.

She said she could not tell others to honour legal obligations when the UK “declares it does not intend to do so itself”.

4.45pm: FTSE lower

The FTSE 100 closed down around 42 points at 6,007. Over the week as a whole, it shed around 0.41%.

Midcap FTSE 250 also lost ground, giving up over 159 points at 17,578.

1.05pm: FM says we are at ‘critical point’

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has called for Downing Street to organise a Cobra meeting to discuss what she said is the most critical point in tackling coronavirus since March.

She warns: “I’m giving people advance notice that we are likely to see some very difficult decisions over the coming days”

12.10pm: Care homes sold

Care homes owners Shiraz and Indumati Lakhani have sold nine Scottish facilities in a £47.5m leaseback deal that will allow daughter Sharifa to continue running the business.

Impact Healthcare takes ownership from Holmes Care Group of homes in Glasgow, Stirlingshire, Renfrewshire, Aberdeen, West Lothian, Inverclyde, and Ayrshire.

Ms Lakhani said the deal will allow the family to continually invest in the homes while remaining a family-run business.

“This long-term arrangement will see us continue to operate all of the homes, and is great news for residents, their families and our team,” she said.

11.45am: Watt store sold

Former Watt Brothers department store in Glasgow has been acquired by bus tycoons Sandy and James Easdale who are looking at options for the art deco gem that may cost £20 million.

Full story here

10.30am: Fraud crackdown

The UK’s register of company information will be reformed to clamp down on fraud and money laundering, the government has announced today.

Under the plans, directors will not be able to be appointed until their identity has been verified by Companies House.

Full story here

10am: Billionaire boosts Sainsbury’s

Sainsbury's Local

Supermarket group Sainsbury’s rose 2% to 195.9p in early trade on the LSE after a Czech-based billionaire became its fourth-largest shareholder.

Daniel Kretinsky, the president of football club AC Sparta Prague, has built a 3.05% stake in the grocer worth £130m.

Mr Kretinsky is the chief executive and 94% owner of Energetický, the largest energy group in Central Europe.

It is not clear what his plan is for Sainsbury’s but there is speculation he may be pushing for changes to boost its value, the Daily Mail reported.

8.15am: London slips on virus worries

The FTSE 100 fell 33.76 points (0.56%) to 6,016.16 as investors weighed up growing concern over coronavirus and lukewarm responses to stimulate the recovery.

7am: Fewer coins minted

The Royal Mint has no plans to make new 2p or £2 coins for the next 10 years. A decade ago cash was used in six out of 10 transactions but by 2019 it was used in fewer than three in 10 purchases.

The National Audit Office said the coronavirus outbreak may have accelerated the trend towards a cashless society.

Royal Mint has slashed coin-making by 65% as stocks of every coin in circulation are exceeding targets. There are now 26 times more £2 coins than the public needs, with excess coins worth around £89million.

Space and People CEO stands down

Retail space marketing group SpaceandPeople said chief executive and co-founder Matthew Bending has retired to concentrate on “other opportunities” and will be succeeded by chief operating officer Nancy Cullen – the Glasgow-based firm’s other cofounder.

Chairman George Watt said: “I would like to thank Matthew for his immense contribution to the group over the past twenty years, including the expansion of the business into Germany and for steering the group through the recent challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I am also delighted that Nancy Cullen is taking over the role of Chief Executive Officer at such an important time for the group. She has immense knowledge of the business and the commercialisation industry and will be integral to the continued future success of the business.”

Retail rebounds

high street shopping at Easter

Sales across the UK extended gains last month, as parts of the sector enjoyed a much faster rebound than most of the economy, official figures showed.

Sales volumes rose by 0.8% in August compared with a year earlier they were up 2.8%, against forecasts of 3% annual growth.

The data contrasts with figures from the Scottish Retail Consortium / KPMG which showed sales fell in August for the sixth month in a row.

EasyJet hires CFO


EasyJet has appointed Kenton Jarvis as chief financial officer, replacing Andrew Findlay who, as previously announced, will be leaving the airline.

Mr Jarvis is currently CEO of Aviation, and Business Improvement Director – Markets, at TUI Group.

He was previously the Finance Director of Airtours Holidays and held a number of commercial finance roles at Adidas, prior to which he qualified as a chartered accountant with PwC.

London Stock Exchange talks

London Stock Exchange has begun exclusive talks with Euronext on a sale of Borsa Italiana after reviewing a group of competing bids for the Milan stock exchange.

Today’s agenda

Lockdown restrictions tightened in northeast England

Today’s top Daily Business headlines

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