Morrisons bosses waive third of bonus. The boss of Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) has waived more than a third of his bonus despite the Bradford-based supermarket booking its third straight year of a jump in sales and profits. David Potts, who has led the grocer since 2015, had been eligible to a maximum bonus of £1.7m – worth 200pc of his £850,000 salary – but is giving up £598,000 of his bonus after waiving his personal entitlement. Morrisons’ annual report reveals that Mr Potts and Trevor Strain, finance boss, have waived their bonus entitlements “taking into consideration the overall performance, such as the lower increase in incremental profit from wholesale, services, interest and online”.
Aston Martin falls to a loss at start of the year. Aston Martin Holdings (AML) swung to a loss in the first quarter of 2019 after a disastrous set of annual results last year as the sports car maker geared to launch its new SUV range. The company reported a pre-tax loss of £17.3m against a £2.8m profit the year before. Revenues rose 6% to £196m on the back of a 10pc rise in output. Costs relating to its initial public offering (IPO) last year continued to weigh on the luxury car manufacturer’s bottom line. Investment in its new DBX range – Aston’s first SUV – and the construction of a new factory in Wales to build the model caused operating costs to balloon 41pc to £85m.
British Land takes £600m hit as retail property values tank. British Land Company (BLND) became the latest victim of the turmoil engulfing the nation’s high streets as the sharpest slump in the value of its properties since the financial crisis dragged it down to a full-year loss. The FTSE 100 landlord, which owns Sheffield’s giant Meadowhall shopping centre and the Broadgate office complex in the City of London, fell to a £319m loss in the 12 months to March, compared with a £501m profit last year. Chris Grigg, chief executive, said it had leased more space to retailers than at any time in the past five years and that sales and footfall at some of its sites had begun to bounce back.
MPs accuse Lloyds of ‘boundless greed’ ahead of shareholder meeting. MPs have accused Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) of “boundless greed” for failing to roll back chief Antonio Horta-Osório’s retirement pot ahead of tomorrow’s shareholder meeting. The bank is at risk of a shareholder rebellion at its AGM on Thursday after a number of groups including Pirc, the shareholder advisory firm, told investors to oppose the bank’s remuneration report due to the “excessive” ratio of CEO to staff pay. However ISS and Glass Lewis have told investors to back the deal. Ahead of the vote Frank Field, chairman of the Commons work and pensions committee, accused the bank of “feverish desperation and boundless greed”.
Brexit inertia will be felt in years to come, warns CYBG boss. Brexit uncertainty and a weak housing market could threaten the health of the economy in years to come, the boss of Britain’s sixth biggest bank has warned. David Duffy, who runs CYBG (CYBG), sounded a warning about the long-term impact of Brexit uncertainty just as the bank celebrated a “resilient” set of results which sent shares soaring. “Brexit breeds uncertainty and that means people don’t make decisions or [they] postpone them. If you don’t know what’s going to happen from one week to the next it’s very hard to place those long-term bets, so naturally you get inertia,” he said. “What’s happening now will hit the economy in the next couple of years.”
Quiet time at the box office casts a pall over Cineworld Group (CINE). Cineworld’s sales dropped at the start of 2019 as the world’s second largest cinema chain complained of a fall in the number of blockbuster hits compared to last year. Worldwide sales slumped 9.5% in the four months to May, while the UK revenue was down 11pc as a subdued period for film releases contrasted with last year’s bumper slate that included Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War. Mooky Greidinger, chief executive, said the results were of “no surprise” as “the comparative period in 2018 was extremely strong”. Mr Greidinger said that Avengers: Endgame, which was released towards the end of the trading period, was the “real strength in this year’s slate”.
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) seeks Boeing compensation as 737 Max bill spirals. Europe’s biggest travel agent Tui will wait until the end of the month before deciding whether to abandon flying Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft over the summer and implement costly contingency plans. Boss Fritz Joussen confirmed on Wednesday that the Anglo-German company had opened talks with Boeing over compensation. Tui’s order for 72 of the aircraft has been put on ice while aviation authorities consider whether 737 Max planes should be allowed to fly again.
Jeremy Corbyn draws up plans to seize control of UK’s energy with sweeping nationalisation of networks. Jeremy Corbyn has drawn up plans to take control of Britain’s energy networks in a multi-billion pound power-grab modelled on the nationalisation of Northern Rock. A leaked Labour party document has revealed plans for a swift and sweeping renationalisation of the country’s £62bn energy networks at a price decided by Parliament. The blueprint, seen by the Telegraph, lays bare for the first time Mr Corbyn’s plan to bring all energy network companies under public ownership “immediately” following a Labour election win. The party is planning to employ the same legislative tools used to nationalise Northern Rock in order to justify naming its own price for the companies.
Number of EU workers in the UK hits record high as unemployment falls to lowest in 44 years. The number of EU nationals working in the UK hit a record high in the three months to March as the jobs market ignored political turmoil to create more positions. It came as unemployment fell to 3.8%, the lowest level since the end of 1974. Almost 2.4m citizens of other EU nations now work in the country, a rise of more than 100,000 compared to the final three months of 2018. That more than reverses the outflow, nicknamed the ‘Brexodus’, from late 2017 to September 2018. The number of workers from outside the EU also increased, the Office for National Statistics said, rising by 22,000 on the quarter and 80,000 on the year to more than 1.3m.
Vodafone Group (VOD) woes force tricky about-turn as dividend cut by 40%. There has been no honeymoon for Nick Read since he took over at the helm of Vodafone in October. After steering the company through the back end of a “challenging year”, the former finance chief was forced on Tuesday to take action no boss of the mobile giant has had to take in nearly three decades. Following an unbroken run of increases, one of the stock market’s biggest and most dependable dividends was finally ended with a cut of 40%. Coming only six months after Vodafone rejected pressure from the City to curb the payout, it signalled a tricky about-turn for the new chief executive to execute.
Ei Group toasts shareholders with payout promise. Pub operator EI Group (EIG) has pledged more payouts to shareholders despite continuing to be buffeted by cost pressures. Boss Simon Townsend announced half of available cash flow would be handed to investors in future. In addition, £30m would be added to the company’s share buyback programme, it was announced on Tuesday. Britain’s biggest network for pubs said half-year revenue had risen 7pc to £353m. Pre-tax profit fell from £45m to £13m, however, as Ei Group suffered losses from a recent disposal of pubs. Nevertheless, Mr Townsend was in bullish mood about the trading performance.
Blow for Metro Bank (MTRO) as third adviser tells shareholders to vote against founder Vernon Hill. Another influential advisory group has told Metro Bank’s shareholders to vote against founder Vernon Hill’s re-election next week as the troubled lender fights to restore its reputation. Pensions Investment Research Consultants (Pirc), the powerful shareholder group, has become the latest to voice concerns about Mr Hill’s seat as chairman after a major accounting blunder left investors nursing heavy losses. “As a founder of the company, there are concerns of excessive concentration of power being given to one individual at the head of the company,” Pirc argued.