Morning Financial Press Review
Paul Kettle
AM Press Round-Up -2 min read
06:12, 15th April 2019

Below are the key morning headlines from today’s papers, featuring the Financial Times, The Times, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail & more - see the full Press section here.

Potash miner Emmerson (EML) FOLLOW is close to inking a supply deal that could be worth as much as £4.4 billion over the next 20 years. It has signed an initial agreement to provide a global fertiliser trader with all of the product from its Morocco-based mine for the next five years. But the Mail understands it is in discussions to provide all of its potash to the international firm, which it has not named, for the next two decades. Emmerson listed on the London Stock Exchange last year and has a current market value of £24 million.

Heat is on bosses’ bonuses at Domino’s Pizza. Bonuses at Domino’s Pizza Group (DOM) FOLLOW have put in the spotlight after the chain cut payout targets. Influential proxy advisers, who guide some of the world’s biggest institutional investors, have raised concerns on plans to reduce earnings figures that trigger share awards to bosses. Glass Lewis urged Domino’s to drop the changes without “a more thorough and convincing explanation” but suggested shareholders vote for the remuneration report. PIRC opposes Domino’s pay, labelling as “excessive” a maximum bonus for David Wild, chief executive, of more than three times annual salary. It also wants share awards deferred for at least two years.

BAT boss Richard Burrows gets coded message to go. Chairman under threat from new governance rules. British American Tobacco (BATS) FOLLOW is under pressure to replace its long-serving chairman to comply with new corporate governance rules. Richard Burrows, 73, has been BAT’s chairman since November 2009. The corporate governance code, published in July 2018 and applying to accounting periods from January, states that “the chair should not remain in post beyond nine years from the date of their first appointment to the board”. However, to “facilitate effective succession planning”, it says that the period can be extended for a “limited time, particularly in those cases where the chair was an existing non-executive director on appointment. A clear explanation should be provided.”

An ally of tracksuits tycoon Mike Ashley last night emerged as one of the big winners from the demise of Debenhams (DEB) FOLLOW. City sources said Crispin Odey, who has previously backed the Sports Direct boss in boardroom disputes, made £30million after shorting Debenhams stock before the chain crashed into administration last week. Odey, one of the Square Mile’s most daring hedge fund managers, made millions shorting British banks in the run-up to the financial crisis and in subsequent government bail-outs in 2008. Odey is a shareholder in Ashley’s Sports Direct International (SPD) FOLLOW with a stake of almost 2.5%.

Costa sale brings Whitbread job cuts. Whitbread (WTB)FOLLOW  is expected to cut more than 100 head-office jobs as a result of its sale of Costa Coffee to the Coca-Cola Company for £3.9 billion. The FTSE 100 leisure group, which is returning £2.5 billion of the proceeds to shareholders, is understood to have launched a consultation process involving almost 10% of the employees at its head office in Dunstable, Bedfordshire. Some are being offered alternative jobs within the business. A source close to Whitbread, which has 35,000 employees, said that the consultation was expected to be concluded this month, although up to ten people had already left the company. None of the executive committee is thought to be affected.

Brewin Dolphin Holdings (BRW)FOLLOW  is in talks over the acquisition of Investec (INVP)FOLLOW  wealth management business in Ireland in a deal worth an estimated €60 million. The business is understood to have attracted interest from Allied Irish Banks, Bank of Ireland and Rathbones, another City wealth manager, before Brewin Dolphin was granted a period of exclusivity to negotiate a deal. Brewin Dolphin confirmed that it was “in exclusive discussions with Investec in relation to this possible acquisition”

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