The chancellor and the business secretary thanked dozens of senior figures from FTSE 100 companies last night for their stark warnings over the impact of a no-deal Brexit. In a conference call, Philip Hammond and Greg Clark urged the business leaders and big lobby groups to back the draft withdrawal agreement. (The Times £)
Britain’s business community should publicly support the Brexit deal agreed by Theresa May’s Cabinet despite its “imperfections”, two of her most senior ministers have urged captains of industry (Sky News). Hammond told more than 100 senior people from finance and industry on a conference call that it was very important to hear them being supportive of the prime minister’s deal in the coming days (The Financial Times £).
The pound rallied after the Prime Minister announced she had the backing of the cabinet for her Brexit withdrawal plan. The pound reached $1.30 following the announcement, having fallen to $1.28 in mid-afternoon. (The BBC)
UK inflation was unchanged at 2.4% in October after a rise in the cost of petrol and utility bills was offset by falling food prices (The Guardian). Inflation remained unchanged at 2.4% last month with the cost of living increase held back by falls in the prices of clothes, official figures show (Sky News).
The independent proxy advisory firm ISS is recommending that Campbell Soup shareholders vote in favour of activist investor Dan Loeb’s bid to appoint five directors to the soupmaker’s board. (The Financial Times £)
Big supermarkets are producing billions of single-use plastic bags each year despite charges that are designed to reduce their use by the public. (The Guardian)
Property investor British Land plunged to a half-year loss as gains in its London-focused office portfolio failed to make up for the falling value of its retail properties, which include Sheffield’s Meadowhall shopping centre (The Telegraph). Meadowhall shopping centre owner British Land swung to a £42million loss in the six months to the end of September as the retail sector struggles (The Daily Mail).
Coca-Cola has scaled back its UK Christmas truck tour after opposition from local authorities and fresh demands from health bodies for it to stop handing out free sugary drinks. (The Guardian)
Britain’s department stores suffered another battering yesterday as Sports Direct announced the closure of four more House of Fraser stores while shares in Debenhams slumped by more than a fifth amid fresh fears for the company’s future. (The Times £)
The Times (£) highlights the modest share buying activist of Unilever CFO Graeme Pitkethly, who buys three or four shares a month. “It turns out that the share purchases relate to Unilever’s share incentive plan, under which an employee can contribute up to £150 each month from their pre-tax income. It is tempting to ask why he bothers, although I guess such careful stewardship of his finances is a positive for a finance directors.”
JAB needs more than cosmetic improvement at Coty, writes the FT. “A new flagship store in New York’s Times Square is the latest attempt to revive Covergirl… The success or failure will help determine the future of the cosmetics group that owns Covergirl — Coty — and affect the reputation of its controlling shareholder, JAB Holdings.” (The Financial Times £)
Two American investors in The Restaurant Group have called on the company to pull out of the £559m acquisition of Wagamama, claiming that it is “overly risky and expensive” (The Times £). wo US activist investors have attacked The Restaurant Group’s takeover of Wagamama, claiming it will “destroy shareholder value” (The Telegraph).
Since winning the cod wars between 1958 and 1976 the white demersal fish native to the Atlantic has been one of Iceland’s most important exports, and the UK one of its biggest consumers. “The huge growth in tourism since 2000 – and therefore in the number of passenger flights – has meant that Iceland has been able to export an increasing amount of fresh fish (most boat journeys are too long to keep the fish from going off).” (The Financial Times £)