The Guardian 11/03/19 | Vox Markets

The Guardian 11/03/19

British citizens who own shares in Ryanair Holdings (RYA) will be barred from buying more stock, voting on company resolutions or attending annual shareholder meetings if a no-deal Brexit goes ahead, the Dublin-based carrier said on Monday. EU regulations require that airlines flying under a European licence must be majority-owned and controlled by shareholders from the trading bloc. Ryanair said that to comply with these regulations it would have to restrict the rights of British shareholders, who control about 20% of the company’s stock, to bring them into line with other non-EU investors. It said this would reduce the risk that the proportion of its shares held by EU nationals falls from around 55% to below half.

Superdry (SDRY) is calling on shareholders to reject co-founder Julian Dunkerton’s bid to get back on the board, arguing in a strongly worded statement that the former chief executive’s return would be “extremely damaging” to the business. The struggling fashion brand, which has posted a series of profit warnings, said it would hold a shareholder meeting on 2 April in London, following a demand from Dunkerton and James Holder, who together founded the firm in 2003. The company strongly urged shareholders to oppose the return of Dunkerton, who stepped back from the business a year ago. His plan also involves installing Peter Williams, the chairman of online fashion retailer Boohoo, as a non-executive director. In a thinly veiled threat, Superdry said Dunkerton’s return would damage morale and lead to the departure of key personnel, including board members.

Ethiopian Airlines have joined carriers in China and the Cayman Islands that have suspended the use of Boeing 737 Max 8 jets in the wake of a crash that killed all 157 people. On Sunday, Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302, on its way to Nairobi from Addis Ababa, crashed six minutes after take-off. It ploughed into a field near Tulu Fara village outside the town of Bishoftu, some 60km (40 miles) southeast of the Ethiopian capital. The disaster was the second involving the new aircraft in the last four months. In October, a Lion Air plane crashed into the sea off the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, killing all 189 onboard. “Following the tragic accident of ET 302 … Ethiopian Airlines has decided to ground all B-737-8 MAX fleet effective yesterday, March 10, until further notice,” the state-owned carrier said in a statement released on Twitter on Monday. “Although we don’t yet know the cause of the accident, we have to decide to ground the particular fleet as an extra safety precaution,” said the airline, which is Africa’s largest.

Deutsche Bank has begun tentative merger talks with rival Commerzbank, which would create Europe’s second biggest bank behind HSBC and fend off unwanted potential bidders such as French giant BNP Paribas. Reports in Germany’s Welt am Sonntag suggest that the banks have come under political pressure to consider a merger and avert a foreign takeover of Commerzbank, much the smaller partner in any deal. Deutsche is regarded as a bank of global importance, but has been plagued by three years of losses, boardroom battles, money laundering issues and its role as the biggest lender to the Trump business empire. Despite Germany’s industrial dominance in Europe, it has only one bank in the continent’s top 20, and Berlin is understood to be keen to create a larger national champion. The combination of the two banks mean that Deutsche, currently fifth biggest, and Commerzbank, currently 23rd, will become Europe’s second biggest bank and only marginally behind HSBC.

The freak February heatwave provided rare cheer for the struggling UK pub trade as Britons sought out beer gardens to soak up the sunshine. The monthly snapshot of trading at major chains, including All Bar One, Yates and Chef & Brewer, recorded growth of 1.4% at pubs open for more than one year. Bars focused on serving drinks rather than meals were the strongest performers, with London out-performing the rest of Britain, according to the Coffer Peach business tracker. “The mini-heatwave towards the end of the month certainly boosted pub trading, and also helped restaurant sales, as people enjoyed the unseasonal sunshine,” said Karl Chessell, director of consultancy CGA which produces the tracker based on sales data from 51 pub and restaurant groups with a combined turnover of more than £9bn. The picture was less sunny, however, for restaurateurs with chain restaurants – a sample that includes Pizza Express and Carluccio’s – suffering a 1.7% decline, as Britons cut back on meals out. Last week the owner of the Giraffe and Ed’s Easy Diner chains said it was shutting 27 restaurants, in the latest round of closures in the so-called casual dining crunch that halted a period of rapid expansion.


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