Standard Chartered (STAN) faces a high-profile court battle that will lay bare allegations it helped facilitate deadly attacks on British and US troops.¬†The 166-year-old bank is accused of helping companies connected to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and enabling the pariah state to sidestep sanctions.¬†The Mail on Sunday revealed the impending legal battle earlier this year and a court hearing over a potentially embarrassing whistleblowing claim for compensation under US law is expected in the coming months.¬†Briton Julian Knight, a former senior figure at Standard Chartered, has agreed to go public for the first time after years of legal battles in the US hit the bank with fines of nearly $2 billion (¬£1.6 billion).¬†The former RAF pilot told of his reaction when he first realised the bank was breaking sanctions: ‘I was angry.¬†‘I served in the military for eight years and I was taught that terrorists were bad people yet here was a British bank allowing Iran to circumnavigate sanctions.’
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) is making aggressive price cuts in an attempt to win back customers, it has been claimed.¬†Analysis of Kantar data by Barclays suggested that 46.2% of Morrisons’ revenues in the 12 weeks to August 11 came from discounted goods. This compared with the sector average of 32.3% and was 5.3 percentage points higher than any other retailer.¬†A sharp rise in promotions at Britain’s fourth largest supermarket comes amid warnings that it is vulnerable to a foreign takeover, with a slump in its share price and the weak pound making it a target.
City sources said Premier Foods (PFD) had appointed Wall Street bank Morgan Stanley to run a ‘strategic review’ under pressure from activist investors. Its share price has nearly halved since directors rejected a 65p-a-share takeover bid from America’s McCormick in 2016.¬†Last month, Premier Foods announced a boardroom shake-up following a nine-month search for a chief executive.¬†It named the head of its UK arm, Alex Whitehouse, 50, as its new chief executive, and appointed Colin Day, a former Reckitt Benckiser finance director, as its new chairman.¬†Premier Foods looked at selling its Ambrosia rice pudding brand, but abandoned the sale in February after failing to get a good price from bidders.¬†A spokesman said: ‘The strategic review is ongoing and we will update the market when it is completed.’
The ¬£900m deal to save Thomas Cook Group (TCG) has been threatened by a row over pensions.¬†Trustees of the travel company’s retirement scheme have demanded reassurances that annual contributions of ¬£25m will continue, amid a takeover being mounted by China’s Fosun and creditors. The pension trustees could withhold backing if funding assurances are not received.¬†Thomas Cook’s board is meeting on Wednesday to discuss the crisis.
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) has slashed the price of a pint of beer in a bid to demonstrate the benefits of Brexit.¬†The pub chain, run by Brexiteer Tim Martin, has cut the cost for a pint of Ruddles ale by an average of 20p across almost all of its 1,000 watering holes.¬†Martin said it was an example of how leaving the customs union with the EU could reduce prices.¬†He said: ‘Provided we leave the Customs Union on October 31, the Government can end these protectionist tariffs, which will reduce prices in supermarkets and pubs.¬†In order to illustrate this point, Wetherspoon has decided to reduce the price of Ruddles bitter, brewed by Greene King.’
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MIDAS SHARE TIPS UPDATE: Bricks are in short supply in the UK and brickmaker Michelmersh Brick Holdings (MBH) is on the rise.¬†¬†Midas verdict: Michelmersh is a well-managed firm, with a clear growth strategy focused on making premium bricks, improving efficiency and nurturing relationships with the people who matter.¬†The company is not immune to economic shocks but it has shown resilience in the past and can do so again, if need be. At 95p, the shares are a strong hold.