Monday Update

DB Live: PM’s Covid tiers; hoteliers fight ban; BA CEO

4.30pm: London closes lower

The FTSE 100 spent the day in and out of positive territory before closing 15.27 points (0.25%) lower at 6,001.38 as investors turned negative on the latest restrictions (see below).

4.15pm: Restrictions relief

Retailers in England have escaped any further measures to clamp down on cornonavirus infections after the prime minister this afternoon unveiled his new three-tier system of Covid restrictions.

British Chambers of Commerce director General Adam Marshall said businesses were unhappy at the way businesses were being expected to close at short notice with no clear strategy.

“Firms have put hard work and precious cash into making their businesses Covid-secure, and must be allowed to operate unless there is overwhelming and clear evidence to the contrary,” he said. “Businesses cannot be subjected to a rollercoaster of stop-start restrictions with no end in sight.

“Speculation and rumour have badly eroded trust between Westminster, local government, and our businesses communities.”

However, a group of English pub and night club owners have put on hold plans to mount a legal challenge after the UK government announced that hospitality and entertainment venues would only close in Merseyside.

Stores in Scotland were told last week they would need to re-impose the two-metre distancing rule.


8.15am: Hoteliers urge FM to change alcohol ban

The owners and senior managers of more than 100 Scottish hotels have signed a letter to the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, urging immediate changes to new Covid-19 measures introduced last Friday.

Jill Chalmers, the managing director of Glenapp Castle in Ayrshire, who is spearheading the group’s action, says: “Not being able to sell alcohol in public areas to hotel residents in Scotland negatively impacts their stay and future guests are already starting to cancel their bookings.

“If there is no change, we have no doubt that we will suffer deeper losses. We are talking about trying to survive, not about profitability. Without this small change in your policy, there will be thousands more job losses in the coming month.”

8am: London opens lower

Despite a higher close for markets in Asia, the FTSE 100 opened down 13.12 points (0.22%) at 6,003.53 as investors chewed over new covid-19 restrictions. Liverpool city region is expected to be the first area in the north of England to be affected.

British Airways pic

7am: BA owner unveils changes

Alex Cruz, British Airways chairman and chief executive, is to step down as chief executive and will be replaced by Sean Doyle, Aer Lingus chairman and chief executive.

Mr Cruz will remain the airline’s non-executive chairman.

The moves are among a number of executive changes announced by parent group International Airlines Group (IAG) with immediate effect. 

IAG chief executive, Luis Gallego, said: “We’re navigating the worst crisis faced in our industry and I’m confident these internal promotions will ensure IAG is well placed to emerge in a strong position.

“I want to thank Alex for all that he has done at British Airways. He worked tirelessly to modernise the airline in the years leading up to the celebration of its 100th anniversary. Since then, he has led the airline through a particularly demanding period and has secured restructuring agreements with the vast majority of employees.

“Sean Doyle has extensive experience at British Airways having worked there for 20 years before moving to head Aer Lingus nearly two years ago where he has done an excellent job. I am confident that will continue at British Airways.”

Petrofac CEO to leave

Petrofac has announced that Ayman Asfari has decided to retire as group chief executive at the end of the year and will be replaced by Sami Iskander.

Full story here

Heathrow appeal

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye says the UK government needs to speed up its testing programme for air passengers in order to support the recovery as well as the livelihoods of those in the aviation industry.

His statement accompanied new data from the airport showing a drop in traffic during September, with a loss of 5.5 million passengers over the course of the month.

Just over 1.2 million passengers travelled through Heathrow last month – a decrease of 82 per cent compared to 2019.

Scotgold placing

Scotgold Resources, the gold exploration company, has raised £3 million from a placing of shares to accelerate plans to double production at its Loch Lomond mine.

Full story here


China stocks extended their rally on Monday as investors cheered Beijing’s latest policy support for equities.

The CSI300 index rose 2.4% while the Shanghai Composite Index advanced 2.3%.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index added 2%.

Today’s top Daily Business headlines

Scotland’s growth is weakest of any part of the UK

Firms told: ‘take action now’ before EU transition ends

Third of unionists wavering over independence

Shamed Covid MP Ferrier refuses to resign

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