Sunday Business (London, England)

Financial UK newspaper now turned into a magazine called The Business. It provides news and analysis of global business and finance.

Articles from September 30, 2001

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A GOOD reputation is not always an asset in money circles. It is because the City of London and its finance houses are so tightly regulated that criminals and terrorists are so eager to launder their dirty cash in Britain. Once the money is cleaned...
Actors Star in Recruitment Role
IT IS often difficult for sales- and marketing-led companies to recruit the right people for canvassing jobs which are often seen as difficult, demanding and unrewarding. It is, however, necessary for these people to make an instant impression,...
A High-Rise Refuge in Hong Kong
T ERRORIST attacks on the US and the ensuing global un-certainty have hit most economies and markets. But there are signs that investors are seeking refuge in Hong Kong's high-dividend property companies which, in some instances, offer capital preservation...
Aladdin Files for Chapter 11 Help
THE Aladdin casino in Las Vegas, in which London Clubs International has a 40% stake, has filed for Chapter 11 protection from bankruptcy. The casino will stay open while a financial rescue package is put together, based on fresh funding from its...
A Worst Decision Is, in Many Ways, Impossible to Name
a worst decision is, in many ways, impossible to name. However bad something seems at the time, you always learn from it and, therefore, all decisions are beneficial in the end. I suppose the most questionably wise thing I did was to decide to...
Banks Could Be Liable over 'Dirty Money'
BRITISH banks and finance houses could face compensation claims of millions of pounds for damaging the reputations of customers wrongly reported to the authorities as suspected money-launderers. Andrew Clark, head of UK investigations at accountancy...
Berlin Acts to End Corporate Confidence Trick
T HE problems with verisimilitude on German stock markets may soon be greatly reduced, giving investors here hope that the stocks they buy may not be subject to manipulation through mendacious statements. A court in Augsburg ruled last week against...
Bertelsmann's Pile of Cash Makes British Rivals Quake
R IGHT now, Thomas Middelhoff - head of a business that spans Elvis Presley's records, Channel 5 and its porn films, with the world's biggest publisher, Random House, thrown in - is making his rivals anxious. The chairman and chief executive...
BHB under Fire over Betting Levy
A GOVERNMENT expert on horseracing has criticised Peter Savill, chairman of the British Horseracing Board, for his refusal to negotiate with bookmakers on the amount of money bookies give to the sport. Tax-free betting will be introduced on Saturday,...
Big Car Dealers Back on Track
CAR dealer stocks have experienced strong valuations in line with a bumper market for new cars this year. But investors may need to seek out the bigger dealer groups ahead of a market slowdown and a reshuffle of distribution networks next year. ...
Boardrooms Fear Banks' Behaviour
I T was a great week for share prices in general - one of the best on record - but a dreadful one for any company loaded with debt. Thus two former FTSE 100 high-flyers, Marconi and Colt Telecom (both of which have now disappeared below the radar...
Brave Investors Find Bargains in Minnow Stocks
BARGAIN hunters can still find potential superstar companies among the ranks of Aim - but they should do their homework first and be aware of the risks involved. Those brave enough to plough their money into these young, ambitious organisations...
Bringing Queensberry Rules to Bear on Bin Laden
H OW intriguing to see Ambrose Carey in the news over the American terrorism business, talking about his sister, who is married to Osama bin Laden's brother, Kalid, and before that was married to another brother who died in an air crash (many years...
Brown's Prized War Chest Looks Set to Become a Relic
P OOR Gordon Brown. It is hard not to feel for him at this time of loss. A few weeks ago he was the proud custodian of a budget war chest, preserved and revered like some priceless Louis XIV artefact. Here was a unique treasure to be stroked and...
BT on Charm Offensive
B ritish Telecom is to embark on a costly nationwide advertising campaign to persuade private inves- tors to approve the proposed demerger of its mobile phone business, MmO2. The move follows some concern that many individual shareholders may...
BT Shareholders Should Have Received the Formal Documents Outlining the Proposed Demerger of the Mobile Phone Business within the Past Week
BT shareholders should have received the formal documents outlining the proposed demerger of the mobile phone business within the past week. Two companies will be created by the demerger, BT Group - which comprises the rump of the company's wholesale...
Bunzl Bores Its Way Back into FTSE Jungle
R EMEMBER when Bunzl was nicknamed Bungle? Well, it may come as a surprise that the former paper and packaging group that was best known in the 1980s for messing up acquisitions is on the threshold of re-entering the FTSE 100. Indeed, as of Friday,...
Business across Manhattan Takes the Fallout
B Y comparison to what many New Yorkers have suffered during the past two weeks, Michael Ottavi, the manager of a downturn Manhattan antique furniture shop, is lucky. Ottavi, a Vietnam veteran, survived the terrorist attacks that toppled the...
Business Must Place the War on a Financial Footing
T he war against terrorism will be fought on military, diplomatic, intelligence and financial fronts. The first three will not be the direct responsibility of business, but the financial front most certainly will be, particularly for banks and other...
Carry on with Your Pension
PENSION investors hoping to make use of carry back/carry forward rules have until 31 January 2002 to complete their tax returns - not today, as many wrongly believe. Self-assessment has extend- ed the dates for carry forward/ carry back, causing...
Channel 4 Is Accountable and Competitive
I T is tempting to dismiss David Elstein's broadside against Channel 4 in last week's paper as the latest outbreak of a nasty case of stuck-record syndrome, were it not for the fact that he is gradually changing his tune. This is the fourth time...
Cleaning Up after a Slump
A s the first whispers reached the City that hygiene services group Rentokil Initial would miss its annual targets after years of soaraway success, the response was swift and brutal. The company, which had enjoyed 17 years of 20% growth rates...
Companies Take to Aim despite Uncertain Times
WHILE today's uncertain economic climate hardly makes it an ideal time to come to market, a string of companies has taken the plunge over the past month. London Stock Exchange research shows that four companies have been admitted since 11 September,...
Comrades Become Friends
A NEW British super-union yesterday fell in with some of its traditional industrial rivals by adopting a trendy corporate name - Amicus, which is Latin for friend. Leaders of the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union (AEEU) and the Manufacturing,...
Crossed Wires in Hi-Techlink for Police
Emergency service communications have moved a long way from the police telephone boxes beloved of Doctor Who fans, but a new radio system that is about to be adopted by police forces up and down the country is beset with controversy. A trial of...
Disney Chief Seeks New Theme to Regain Sparkle
W ALT Disney's chairman, Michael Eisner, faces an uphill task if he is to turn around the group's fortunes as it continues to struggle with falling profits and a low share price. Company watchers in Los Angeles say that while Eisner's position...
Even on the Brink of War, CNN Never Takes Its Eye off That Swiftly Moving News Ball, as Good Old Gus Hedges at Drop the Dead Donkey Would Say
Even on the brink of war, CNN never takes its eye off that swiftly moving news ball, as good old Gus Hedges at Drop The Dead Donkey would say. The cable news service has lodged a formal application for camera access to the Shipman Inquiry, which will...
FOR Those of a More Optimistic Frame of Mind, This Has Been an Encouraging Week
FOR those of a more optimistic frame of mind, this has been an encouraging week. While the big question of the scale and nature of escalation remains unanswered, arguably the risks of an "unwise" retaliation have receded with time. Recent weakness...
Fund Performance U-Turn from FSAis Finally Laid to Rest
I AM delighted to see that the City watchdog has seen sense. In a graceful U-turn, the Financial Services Authority has backed down on its plan to ban the use of past performance figures when advertising investment funds to the public. Unveiling...
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G ORDON Brown will warn tomorrow that Britain is not immune to the global economic slowdown fast gathering momentum in the wake of the terror attacks on America. The chancellor will deliver a stark message to the Labour party conference, which...
Government Hovers in the Wings at Air NZ
AIR New Zealand's future hangs in the balance this weekend amid speculation that a NZ$850m ([pound]235m) rescue package has failed and the New Zealand government is poised to take control. The troubled carrier last week asked the New Zealand Stock...
Grand Prix Gives Corporate Prospects a Spin
POWER, passion and profit are the high-octane mix that will drive today's Indianapolis Grand Prix for millions of fans around the world. For around two hours, $2bn worth of high-performance Formula One racing cars will thunder around the Motor Speed-...
Green Funds Keep Pace with Peers
U K ethical funds have taken a battering along with their mainstream competitors. But advocates of "green" investing say these funds are at no more of a disadvantage than their peers in current stock market conditions. For many years, ethical...
Heavyweight Battle for Web Domination
A FASCINATING battle is about to break out - and the prize for the winner is you. In yet another step in its march to world domination, Microsoft is set to take on America's number one internet company, AOL Time Warner, for the hearts and wallets...
How to Invest for Your Family
The new tax regime for personal pensions introduced in April offers attractive tax-planning opportunities for the wealthier investor because it breaks the traditional link between earnings and pension contributions. For the first time, investors can...
Informa: Facing an Uncertain Future
INFORMA has been feeling the squeeze both as a result of the telecoms slowdown and the recent terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, coupled with rising tension in the Middle East. Although some brokers insist shares in the B2B information services...
Insider Trading Probe
Insider trading probe FIVE people have been arrested and released on police bail as part of a Serious Fraud Office investigation into alleged insider dealing involving a security printer. At least two are alleged to have passed money to the printer...
Investment Product Roundup
Henderson Isa/Pep Henderson Global Investors has launched the Managed Income Isa/Pep, which aims to yield a relatively high rate of income while minimising the risk to capital. The discretionary managed portfolio invests across a range of Henderson...
INVESTORS Are Wrestling with Risk Premia Analyses, and High Levels of Uncertainty Are All the Talk
INVESTORS are wrestling with risk premia analyses, and high levels of uncertainty are all the talk. However, all that really matters is that investors are prepared to pay less for a financial return that is relatively uncertain or far in the future...
Is Stakeholder Right for You?
A S the 8 October deadline approaches for employers to install a stakeholder pension scheme, it is timely to consider whether this is what individuals without pension provision really need. Stakeholders will be offered mainly by employers who...
It's All Down to the Consumer
B ritish consumer confidence is ebbing away, increasing the chances that the Bank of England monetary policy committee will agree to cut interest rates when it meets on Wednesday and Thursday. After economists' complaints of "recession-mongering"...
ITV Digital: Our Key to the Multi-Channel Age
I T IS always disappointing when good people set out to grab the headlines with a few glib and ill-considered remarks. This past week, Zenith Media suggested that ITV should close ITV Digital and focus on the main channel. Well, Zenith is a...
Keep an Eye on the Conference Sideshows
he watched on television as the world changed forever before his eyes. The press were handed the speech, but the words were not delivered as the prime minister and his coterie of advisers dashed to the station to catch the train to London. In...
Keeping Faith in a Nervous US Market
D OUG Johnson, vice-president and director of asset all-ocation services at Prudential Ins-urance Company of America, which has about $366bn in assets under management, is remarkably bullish on global equities and on the US market in particular....
Lib Dems Don't Deserve to Get Taken Seriously
E ANY thanks to the readers who have written in with suggestions for charities that might benefit from the winnings from my 25-1 bet, taken out last April, that Iain Duncan Smith would become Tory leader. Now I think I have found another bet: the...
Liffe's Future in US Hands
W ITHIN hours of Liffe revealing it has rec-eived takeover approaches, its two US venture capital backers gained the right to lift their stake to almost 40% - sufficient to determine who wins the City's futures market auction. When the two private-equity...
Lloyd's Bill Expected to Be $9.5Bn
T HE total insurance claim to be handled by Lloyd's of London from the terrorist attacks in the United States will be at least $9.5bn - five times greater than the net figure announced by the market last week. The size of the gross claim has...
Look out for Tax Trap When Buying Homes Abroad
BUYING property abroad can be a minefield if you fail to take proper legal advice. Succession planning, inheritance tax laws and whether you should write a will in the country of purchase, will vary from one jurisdiction to another. France, where...
Loyalists killDublin Journalist
Loyalists killDublin journalist Loyalists in Northern Ireland have claimed responsibility for shooting dead Martin O'Hagan, an investigative journalist for the Dublin-based Sunday World newspaper. In a statement, the Red Hand Defenders said it had...
Making Liffe Easier for Private Investors
LIFFE, London's future and options exchange, has launched a programme to give private investors easier access to equity futures and options - the derivative products renowned for their high risks, but potentially lucrative rewards. Its centrepiece...
Marconi Misery Deepens as Shares Are Worth 'Zero'
J UST when Marconi thought the market's opinion could not get any worse, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein delivered the ultimate blow. On Tuesday, Per Lindberg, the bearish Dresdner analyst, said Marconi shares - once worth [pound]20bn - now had...
Marconi Seeks New Advisers
MARCONI, the beleaguered telecom equipment giant, is seeking to replace its financial advisers, the investment banks Credit Suisse First Boston and UBS Warburg, after the slump in its shares. The two banks advised on the 1999 acquisitions of Fore...
Master of the Financial Universe
T HIS has been an unusual week in the markets. Share prices rose every day. Stock markets had been falling steadily since the start of last year, but the terrorist attacks in America put prices into free fall and, with a self-fulfilling circularity,...
Monday
Monday The national minimum wage - for employees over 22 years of age - is set to rise to [pound]4.10 from [pound]3.70. The concept of a minimum wage in Britain was introduced soon after Labour came to power in 1997 as part of its drive towards...
Muddy Water
Muddy water Sir - Keith Mason, director of regulatory finance for Ofwat, says in his letter(23 September) "although it is not for the regulators to determine the capital structure of companies (that is for companies management to decide), there...
National Express Threatens to Sue Union over Guards
NATIONAL Express has threatened to sue the Rail, Maritime & Transport Union (RMT) for [pound]4m in a dispute over the removal of guards from trains on the Southend-to-London line. The service, known as C2C, brings thousands of commuters to the...
Norwegian Tycoon Moves Closer Tocapturing Kvaerner
HE owns a 200ft yacht, a power boat racing team, and Wimbledon football club, but Norwegian billionaire Kjell Inge Rokke is on the verge of taking perhaps the biggest prize of all, Scandinavian industrial giant Kvaerner. Last week the shipping,...
One Way of Getting into the Movies
E NIGMA, the second world war code-breaking tale which marks Mick Jagger's first foray into film production and stars Kate Winslet, reaches our screens this weekend thanks in part to the backing of a group of high net worth individuals. Financial...
On the Scent of a Good Trail
It was Danish pharmacist Georg Neumann's discovery - almost 100 years ago - of a bacteria strain that killed rats and mice which eventually led to the formation of the global pest-control giant, Rentokil Initial. The ratin bacterium, as he called...
Overseas Events Increase Chances of UK Rate Cuts
T HE UK economy has been an oasis of stability, with growth averaging between 2.5% and 3% in the past few years. But events overseas are taking their toll on the manufacturing sector. With consumer spending set to weaken amid an impending slowdown...
Pay-Offs Soar by 40% on Last Year
PAY-OFFS to directors of Britain's biggest companies have soared by more than 40%, according to a new survey. A report to be published tomorrow by business information company Hemscott will show that compensation payments to directors of FTSE 350...
Peace Party Lacks Courage
T HE weasel words of the peaceniks were given their first collective outing last week at the Liberal Democrat conference in Bournemouth, where the first vague outlines of a British "peace party" began to take shape. We can expect the forces of appeasement...
Picking the Best of the New Venture Capital Trusts
enture capital trusts are lauded by many financial planners as a sound means of controlling capital gains tax as well as generating returns. But with a raft of launches coming up, which sort of fund should you choose? Venture capitalists invest...
'Pitch Doctors' Put Your Company in Good Health
S ales team lacklustre? Losing far more pitches than you win? New business just not coming through fast enough? If your company is in a critical condition, you had better call the "pitch doctor". Every organisation needs to sell to stay alive,...
Premier Pakistandrilling Plan Hit
PREMIER Oil faces a fresh legal challenge this week over controversial plans to drill for gas in Pakistan's oldest national park. Local environmental groups and Friends Of The Earth are angry about the proposals and have petitioned a Karachi court...
PRESIDENT George Bush's Crackdown on Terrorism Finances Has Been Boosted by a UN Security Council Resolution Passed Late on Friday
PRESIDENT George Bush's crackdown on terrorism finances has been boosted by a UN security council resolution passed late on Friday. The council unanimously approved a US proposal to freeze the finances of terrorist suspects and their military and...
Push for Lawyers to Monitor Clients
EURO MPs meet on Wednesday to discuss whether to ditch a revision of European Union laws on money-laundering. The new legislation would bring the rest of the EU up to the stricter standards already in place in the United Kingdom, but has been blocked...
Quiet Texan Is Thrust into the Limelight
After just four months in the job, William Farish, the US Ambassador to Britain has been catapulted into the limelight by the terror strikes on his country. The hang-dog features of the 62-year-old Texan have appeared at each memorial service in...
Railways in Turmoil over Safety Plans
S AFETY measures demanded by the Cullen inquiry into the 1999 Ladbroke Grove crash threaten to halt vital upgrades of Britain's rail network, according to the Strategic Rail Authority. The SRA used an industry forum set up to discuss rail protection...
Resurge Can Turn Failure into Success
I N the second quarter of this year, almost 11,000 British companies went into liquidation. For many, the work of a lifetime, as well as the livelihoods of thousands of people, was consigned to the pile of businesses marked as failures. Many...
Rugby's European Shield Has the Portfolios Running Scared
T his weekend has seen the launch of Europe's rugby union championships, the Heineken Cup for the top-performing teams of last season and the European Shield for the also-rans. The two tournaments provide fertile spread-betting opportunities. ...
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S MALL companies have seen [pound]800m wiped off their value by a combination of the terrorist attacks on America and the generally gloomy outlook on world stock markets. The Alternative Investment Market has fallen by 14% since the atrocity...
Safety Fears as Air-Traffic Control Faces Cuts
THE group of airlines running Britain's air-traffic control network wants to reduce costs by [pound]60m over the next 18 months, management have told staff. The carriers, which include British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, BMI British Midland and Easyjet,...
Schneider Hitch A Panel of Competition Experts Recommended That the European Commission Block a Plan by Henri Lachmann, Chairman of French Electrical Goods Company Schneider Electric, to Merge with Rival Legrand to Create a European Giant in Low-Voltage Products
Schneider hitch A panel of competition experts recommended that the European Commission block a plan by Henri Lachmann, chairman of French electrical goods company Schneider Electric, to merge with rival Legrand to create a European giant in low-voltage...
Schrsder's Coalition under Threat
T HE impact of the terrorist attacks in the US is being felt across the world, but in Berlin the reverberations have highlighted the tensions in chancellor Gerhard Schrsder's ruling coalition of Social Democrats and Greens. Schrsder is due to...
SEB Bid Set to Spark Moulinex Break-Up
THOUSANDS of workers are expected to lose their jobs at Moulinex-Brandt over the next few weeks after its domestic arch rival, SEB, put in a last-minute bid on Friday for the company, which for years has been one of France's leading manufacturers....
Sectors Feel the Pinch as Spenders Stay Cautious
Aviation THE aviation industry has experienced arguably the worst three weeks in its peacetime history. But reports of consumer and business confidence from across the transport sector have been mixed. British Airways said last week it had seen...
Shortfall in Payments for Retirement
T he National Association of Pension Funds delivered a robust warning last week that a growing number of occupational pension schemes are skirting too close to their minimum solvency margins. Pundits leapt to blame the funding crisis on the fall...
Slow Decline of High-Street Champion
S OME people bought everything at Marks & Spencer and some would buy nothing, but everyone has their theory about the retailer. When the rise and fall of Marconi or Invensys is written, few will care, but for M&S -EMarks to its former fans...
Something to Cuddle Up to in a Bear Market
M ILLIONS of children across the world have reason to be grateful to the German toy designer, Richard Steiff, even though it is doubtful any will have heard of his name. In the world of soft toys, however, Steiff has few equals. Ever since he...
Soros May Have the Last Laugh
T HERE is no love lost between George Soros and Malaysia's prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad. The hedge fund manager extraordinaire-turned-philanthropist accuses Mahathir of running a corrupt and repressive regime to keep his cronies wealthy. The...
Taking Advice Pays Off
INVESTORS who sought advice on their investments would have fared significantly better from last year's falling stock market than those who dealt for themselves, a private client investment management and stockbroking survey shows. Although it is...
The Leader Now above Party Politics
T HERE is normally enough leftover paper from discarded drafts of the conference speech to wallpaper a large house, says Matthew Taylor, a former speechwriter for Tony Blair. This year, much of the energy that usually goes into the set-piece...
The Next Profit Warning Must Be from UK PLC
O F ALL the profits warnings being dribbled out, there is one finance director yet to speak. Gordon Brown has still to tell us that UK plc can no longer meet its targets. The FSA watchdog on Friday told UK companies not to delay their profit...
THE Recent Sell-Off in the Market Has Created Interesting Buying Opportunities in Quality- Growth Companies
THE recent sell-off in the market has created interesting buying opportunities in quality- growth companies. One such example is Ask Central, which operates a chain of restaurants throughout the UK. The group's outlets, which include Ask and Zizzi,...
Tracker Funds Miss Index Returns by Miles
U K tracker funds have lost up to 25.8% more than the index they are supposed to mirror over five years, despite the fact they are marketed on their ability to replicate accurately an index. FTSE All Share trackers, in particular, have substantially...
Two into Three Won't Go
W HEN even Carlton, one of the two ailing companies which currently dominate ITV, has to reassure investors that it is fully funded, then clearly commerical television's problems must be truly disturbing. Carlton, which along with Granada accounts...
UK Councils Face [Pounds Sterling]7bn Rubbish Bill
L OCAL authorities will have to spend up to [pound]7bn if they are to meet European Union targets to reduce the amount of waste dumped in landfill sites. Ultimately, council tax payers may end up footing the bill, according to an Ernst &...
Virgin Rival 'Forced to Cut Back'
NATIONAL Express says it is being forced to slash services in its key Central Trains franchise because of changes made to timetables for Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Rail business. Central Trains services, which run through Birmingham to Cardiff,...
Wales: The New Silicon Valleys
VISITORS to Wales famously find a welcome in the valleys. These days, it is particularly so for technology start-up companies. In a bid to move to a post-industrial future, the Welsh Development Agency has granted [pound]50m to a scheme called the...
War Stocks Rally Ahead of Defence Review
DEFENCE stocks are poised for another turbulent week after today's release of a major congressional review of America's defence and intelligence needs. The expectation of a war in the Middle East and the need for a generational change in America's...
Waste Group Proves There's Brass in Muck
WHERE the average man in the street sees rubbish bags, Nigel Sandy sees bags of money. The chief executive of Waste Recycling Group admits he is obsessed with what happens to the nation's waste. "I'm a bit of an anorak," he says. "I am never...
Your Stakeholder Pension Guide
I N JUST over a week, every company in the UK with more than five employees must, by law, provide a stakeholder pension for its workers. From 8 October, anyone failing to comply with this new law faces a [pound]50,000 fine. So how do you go about...