This week’s news includes; Trump’s metal tariffs, Visa card crisis, Deutsche Bank’s woeful week, PUBG sues Fortnite
Below are our top 10 stories that you need to know about. Be sure to check our twitter page and Facebook page for regular posts of important headlines. Get all the important stories and insights straight into your inbox by subscribing to our mailing list here.
Opinion articles of the week:
- Legal Cheek – ‘I’m a former magic circle lawyer with 20 years’ experience in legal education — this is how to secure a training contract’.
- E Financial Careers “What I learned working with Millennials at Morgan Stanley & Goldman Sachs”
- CNN “George Soros is worried about another financial crisis”
- City A.M Morgan Stanley CEO calls Soros’s prediction of a global crisis ‘ridiculous’
- Bloomberg “Forget Uber’s model. Airbnb is going it alone in the battle over China”
Donald Trump has imposed steel and aluminium tariffs on the EU, Canada and Mexico. The exemptions previously afforded to the three trading partners have now lapsed. These tariffs impose 25% and 10% tariffs on imported steel and aluminium respectively. This affects over £5 billion of EU exports.
The EU, Canada and Mexico were all quick to condemn the measures. At the G7 conference last week, they warned Trump was starting a trade war and they would retort with their own tariffs in a matter of days, if the tariffs were not removed. The EU has proposed tariffs affecting $7.5 billion worth of US exports. Ironically, the US is the world’s largest steel importer, with over $29 billion worth of imports in 2017. Mexico and Canada are the primary exporters of steel to the US. (BBC News)
Sky News looks closer at the implications and reactions to the tariffs.
2.VISA CARD CRISIS
Visa’s card systems crashed on Friday, creating payment chaos across Europe. Massive queues built up in shops and outlets nationwide as customers were unable to pay for products by card. This led to many heated situations as staff could not explain why payments were not going through. Visa claims there was no evidence that unauthorised access or an attack had taken place. It recognised that it had fallen “well-short” of its reliability goal.
Payments through Visa’s systems make up £1 in every £3 spent throughout the UK. The systems were restored later on Friday but the problems created are significant. In many transactions customers’ funds were withdrawn from their accounts but not received by the vendor. In some instances this ran into thousands of pounds. While systems are running, this saga is far from over. (BBC News)
3.DEUTSCHE BANK TROUBLES
It has been a rough week for Deutsche Bank. The US Federal Reserve identified Deutsche Bank as a “troubled” bank last week. This condition requires the bank to obtain approval from the Fed to hire and fire new US executives. Shares in the bank crashed 7% last Thursday to an all time low in response to the news. On Friday, Standard and Poor downgraded Deutsche Bank’s credit rating was downgraded from A- to BBB+. S&P was not confident that Deutsche could quickly return to profitability. This rating will affect the cost of borrowing for the bank. The BBB+ rating is 3 ratings below of its European counterparts, such as UBS who have an A+ S&P rating. (The Guardian)
Deutsche Bank is now also facing criminal charges in Australia, along with ANZ and Citigroup. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission have brought charges relating to the sale of A$2.5 billion worth of ANZ shares in 2015. The ACCC claimed the three banks collaborated to increase profits, rather than compete against each other, constituting cartel behaviour. (BBC News)
The new boss Christian Sewing has said he is “sick and tired” of all the negative news about Deutsche Bank. He released an internal memo assuring staff that the bank is financially stable and is moving forward. Two weeks ago, he announced 7,000 job cuts globally, to bring their headcount below 90,000.
4.RBS FAVOURS RENEWABLE FUNDIING
RBS will no longer provide finance to particular oil and gas projects. The bank will not offer funding for Arctic oil projects, oil sands projects, new coal power stations or thermal coal mines. It will also limit financing for mining and electricity companies who generate over 40% of revenue from coal. This is a reduction from the previous limit of 65%. This forms part of its drive towards the promotion of renewable energy sources. 90% of RBS’ energy currently comes from renewable sources. (City A.M)
5.KRISPY KREME OWNER BUYS PRET
JAB Holdings will acquire Pret A Manger for an estimated £1.5 billion. Each of Pret’s 12,000 workers will receive a £1,000 bonus once the deal is complete. Pret was founded in 1986 and now has 530 stores and annually turns over nearly £900m. The sandwich chain has been owned by Bridgepoint since 2008 after a £350m acquisition. JAB Holdings is an investment vehicle owned by the Reimann family. The company controls packaged brands such as Kenco and Douwe Egberts, as well as chains Krispy Kreme, Peet’s and Espresso House. (BBC News)
6. VIRGIN TEAMS UP WITH UBER
Virgin Trains has struck a deal with Uber which will encourage passengers to book taxis to stations when they travel. Customers can opt to receive texts with reminders to book Uber taxis to the station. Passengers will also receive 50% off their first Uber journey. This service is now in a two week trial period and feedback will be provided after the trial. The trial period will cover passengers travelling to/from Euston from/to Birmingham New Street. It is expected to roll out nationwide within the next few months. (City A.M)
7. PUBG SUES FORTNITE
The makers of PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds (PUBG) have sued epic games for copying its features. Epic Games is the maker of hit game Fortnite. The case was filed in South Korea and PUBG was applied for an injunction against Epic games. Both games are huge 100 player “last man standing” style battles. In the games, 100 players parachute onto an island, collect weapons and eliminate others until they are the last person or squad alive. In Fortnite however, players can also collect materials to build defences (i.e. forts).
Fortnite has broken the record for number of people playing at once. It reached a staggering 3.4 million players on its servers at once. The previous record of 3.3 million was held by PUBG.
PUBG was released in March 2017, while Fornite’s 100 player Battle Royale mode was not released until September 2017. Fornite is free to play yet the makers are raking in $200 million a month. PUBG on the other hand, has reached sales of $1.3 billion but user growth is waning. There is no doubt that these two games have taken the sector by storm. Whether this legal case will have a significant impact on either game remains to be seen. (BBC News)
8. OCADO ENTERS FTSE 100
Ocado will enter the FTSE 100 for the first time in June. The FTSE 100 is a stock exchange index comprised of the UK’s 100 largest companies. Ocado’s promotion followed a 40% hike in share price after it struck a deal with US grocer Kroger. GVC Holdings owner of Ladbrokes Coral will also join Ocado in promotion to the FTSE 100. G4S and Mediclinic international will both be demoted to the FTSE 250. The index is reviewed on a quarterly basis and this reshuffle takes place on June 18.
Ocado’s boss claimed the promotion indicated “the old economy giving way to the new”. M&S however, is in real danger of falling out of the index. Two weeks ago, M&S announced plans to close 100 stores and investors are getting jittery. M&S’s share price has fallen 10% in the past month. The company predates the FTSE so this would be the first time in its history that it has fallen out of the index.
9. DIXON CARPHONE CLOSURES
Dixons Carphone has announced it will be closing nearly 1 in 6 stores. The company has issued a profit warning for next year due to declining sales. It expects an £82 million fall in pre-profits to £300m. Many consumers are not upgrading as often as they used to and this has notably impacted sales. Carphone Dixon will close 92 of it’s 650 stores. The closures are a pre-emptive measure to cut costs and balance the books. This is in contrast to many retailers like Mothercare and New Look who have had to close stores as part of a CVA. Dixon Carphone’s share prices crashed by 20% in response to the news. (The Independent)
10.POUNDLAND V THAMESLINK
Poundland threatened legal action against Thameslink trains over a tweet made by the train service provider. A customer complained Thameslink about numerous cancelled trains. The customer wrote “ Why, Ambassador @TLRailUK, with this fine service you are really spoiling us,” referencing a Fererro Rocher advert from the 1990s. Thameslink then replied: “Very sorry. Appreciate at the moment the service is less Ferrero Rocher and more Poundland cooking chocolate.”
Poundland then responded with a full statement, claiming Thameslink was “taking the chocolate biscuit” and had “no right to use our name to describe poor service”. They continued “we served 8 million customers last week and didn’t have to close any stores due to leaves on the roof, the wrong kind of rain or a shortage of managers.” Poundland quickly apologised and deleted the tweet. Check out City A.M for the full statement.