Morning Financial Press Review 03/12/19
Paul Kettle
AM Press Round-Up -3 mins read
06:27, 3rd December 2019

Below are the key morning press headlines, featuring the The Times, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail & more - see the full Press section here.

The fashion retailer Ted Baker (TED) FOLLOW is at the centre of an accounting scandal after the company discovered that the inventory valuation on its balance sheet had been overstated by between £20 million and £25 million. It has appointed the law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to undertake a comprehensive review and will also appoint independent auditors. KPMG has audited Ted Baker’s accounts since 2000. The discovery comes a month after the arrival of Rachel Osborne, 54, the former chief financial officer at Debenhams. She took over as finance chief at Ted Baker from Charles Anderson, 49, who left to join Mulberry after 17 years at the company.

The chairman of Amigo Holdings (AMGO)FOLLOW , Britain’s biggest guarantor loans provider, and one of its top executives have sold shares worth more than £1.6 million in the troubled company despite a slump in its stock price. Yesterday Amigo Holdings disclosed that Stephan Wilcke, its chairman, had offloaded 1.8 million shares, equivalent to 15% of his stake in the business, in sales worth £1.15 million to cover a personal tax liability. Naynesh Patel, chief analytics officer, has also sold stock worth about £460,000 for the same purpose. The disposals, which took place after Amigo reported half-year results last week, come as the lender’s shares languish near their all-time low.

Ocado’s aggressive expansion of its robots and software business has split the City after it announced another £500m fundraising to fuel growth. The firm has launched a bond sale to pay for building automated warehouses, which it has sold to supermarket chains worldwide as they fight off the likes of Amazon. This £500m debt issue spooked traders, sending shares down to 1214p, as analysts disagreed over whether Ocado Group (OCDO) FOLLOW would have been better off relying on cash from shareholders instead. The company tapped investors for £143.2m last year. Bruno Monteyne, of Bernstein, said: “As a shareholder you would not want that investment program to be funded by equity.

Former Eddie Stobart Logistics (ESL) FOLLOW boss Andrew Tinkler has launched a stinging attack on the troubled trucking company’s biggest investor, calling it a “hypocrite” and blaming it for a strategy that has taken the firm to the brink. Mr Tinkler hit out at a rescue deal led by Isle of Man-based investor DBay Advisors, backed by Eddie Stobart’s board, which is due to be put to a shareholder vote on Friday. Late last week the company warned it would run out of cash if investors snubbed the DBay approach. Shares have been suspended since August, when the firm uncovered a major error in its accounts. Mr Tinkler has lodged a rival offer though investment vehicle TVFB and provided further details on Monday.

A key backer of Just Eat (JE.)  FOLLOWmerger with Dutch peer has said it will switch sides to backing hostile suitor Prosus for a £1.5bn sweetener. Cat Rock Capital Management, a major investor in both Just Eat and, said it was “deeply disappointed” with Prosus’s unsolicited 710p-a-share approach and more money is needed. It wants the offer hiked to 925p per share, valuing the business at £6.5bn. Just Eat and agreed to merge in July after a campaign led by Connecticut-based activist Cat Rock, which claimed a tie-up was essential to secuure the British firm’s future.

The BT Group (BT.A) FOLLOW chief executive’s £8m pay package could be slashed in a major overhaul. The amount 52-year-old Philip Jansen can receive at the telecoms group is dictated by a 2017 regime that includes performance-related share payouts. But this could be replaced with a restricted shares scheme that pays out less, a company spokesman confirmed. At the moment Jansen’s annual package can reach a maximum of £8.3m. This includes a £1.1m salary, an annual bonus of up to 240% of that, an incentive share plan (ISP) bonus worth up to 400% and pension contributions worth 15%. Based on his salary, which was fixed for five years on his appointment in February, the ISP figure is capped at £4.4m. It is paid in shares, with the total based on three years’ performance, and they must be held for a further two years after they have vested.

Sirius Minerals (SXX) FOLLOW shares slid despite an upbeat broker note from house broker Shore Capital. In an analysis of Sirius’s latest restructuring plan, Shore said the company could get by with raising £310m, rather than the previously mooted £460m, to finish its fertiliser mine under the North York Moors.


Disclaimer & Declaration of Interest

The information, investment views and recommendations in this article are provided for general information purposes only. Nothing in this article should be construed as a solicitation to buy or sell any financial product relating to any companies under discussion or to engage in or refrain from doing so or engaging in any other transaction. Any opinions or comments are made to the best of the knowledge and belief of the writer but no responsibility is accepted for actions based on such opinions or comments. Vox Markets may receive payment from companies mentioned for enhanced profiling or publication presence. The writer may or may not hold investments in the companies under discussion.

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