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Out Of The Industry

Who are the villains of the British Steel crisis? | Nils Pratley

The government has been dithering for years, Brexit remains uncertain, and its owners a worry

Choose your villain in the British Steel crisis. The government has dithered for years about the future of steelmaking in the UK and has stumbled from one crisis to another. Or blame the unresolved Brexit pantomime in Westminster. Or point to the company’s private equity owner, Greybull Capital, whose past calamities include Monarch Airlines and electricals chain Comet.

There’s truth in all versions. Let’s start with the government since ministers offered a bizarre spectacle on Monday when they unveiled their shiny new “steel charter”, a pledge to increase the amount of UK steel used in national infrastructure projects. The aim is worthy, many would agree, but the fanfare seemed to belong to a parallel universe. What use is a charter for the future if the immediate threat is to a large plant in Scunthorpe and 5,000 jobs?

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Source: The Guardian

Ryanair loses altitude but O'Leary retains his cheek | Nils Pratley

Last year’s 13% profit margin was pedestrian by Ryanair’s standards

It was cheeky of Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary to declare that full-year profits of €1.02bn (£0.9bn), down 29%, were “as previously guided”. He updates his guidance every few months so that, by the time of the big reveal, it’s hard to miss. The past year still included two profits warnings, let’s not forget.

Related: Ryanair profits slide due to lower fares and Brexit uncertainty

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Source: The Guardian

Deutsche Bank staff saw suspicious Trump and Kushner activity – report

  • New York Times releases explosive report on Russia-linked bank
  • Employee says ‘nothing happened’ after she raised concerns

Several financial moves by legal entities controlled by Donald Trump and Jared Kushner between 2016 and 2017 triggered suspicious activity alerts inside Deutsche Bank, a major lender to the Trump family, according to a report in the New York Times.

Related: No holds Barred: Trump and his troops push for imperial presidency

Related: Mitt Romney won’t back Justin Amash in call for Trump impeachment

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Source: The Guardian

Metro Bank cuts ties with design firm owned by founder's wife

Challenger bank’s £25m of work given to InterArch raised conflict of interest questions

Metro Bank has severed links with the architecture firm owned by the wife of its chairman amid criticism over £25m worth of payments made by the lender to the business.

The move came as the challenger bank, which clinched a £375m fundraising this week, seeks to improve its corporate reputation after a major accounting error.

Related: Metro Bank got there eventually, but this story is not over yet

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Source: The Guardian

Thomas Cook shares 'worthless' after Citigroup warning

Wall Street bank advises investors to sell shares in tour operator

Thomas Cook’s shares plunged by 40% on Friday, their biggest drop since the firm nearly collapsed in 2011, after a high-profile City analyst said the company’s shares had no value.

Wall Street bank Citigroup produced a research note advising investors to sell shares in the 178-year-old tour operator, which reported a £1.5bn loss earlier this week, citing a drop in holiday bookings due to Brexit uncertainty.

Thomas Cook owes its name to a humble and deeply religious 32-year-old cabinet-maker who, one June morning in 1841, hiked the 15 miles from his home in Market Harborough to Leicester, to attend a temperance meeting.

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Source: The Guardian

Fundraising call by Metro Bank raises £375m in three hours

Figure was raised from the £350m originally sought due to investor interest, bank says

Metro Bank has raised £375m from a fundraising call that will strengthen its balance sheet. The bank hopes the move will quash rumours about its financial health that caused customers to pull cash last weekend.

A Metro Bank spokeswoman confirmed the lender had closed its share placing early on Thursday evening, less than three hours after it started.

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Source: The Guardian

Metro Bank got there eventually, but this story is not over yet

The bank has undergone a confidence-shaking saga and its chairman must surely go

In July last year Metro Bank didn’t have to break sweat to raise £300m from investors. It got its money at £34.22 a share, close to the prevailing market price.

This year’s exercise has been excruciating. The need for £350m was announced at the end of February, weeks after the confidence-shaking saga in which Metro confessed it had placed £900m of loans in the wrong risk bracket. It has taken almost three months to get to Thursday’s position: confirmation that the placing of new shares is under way. The placing price of 500p was ugly, and the advisers’ fees may be more so.

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Source: The Guardian

The Guardian view on Richer Sounds: mutual benefits | Editorial

By handing over the retail chain to staff, its founder Julian Richer is showing that there are fairer ways to run a business – and to pass it on

Seekers for an alternative and more equitable model of how to do business this week struck gold. Julian Richer, owner of Richer Sounds, has at the age of 60 announced a succession plan that involves handing control of his hi-fi and TV retail chain to its 531 employees. Not only is Mr Richer, who founded the business when he was 19, selling 60% of his shares to a John Lewis-style trust that will hold them on behalf of the workforce, he is rewarding staff with bonuses funded out of the £9.2m he makes from the sale. Employees will receive £1,000 for each year they have worked for him: a total of £3.5m.

This won’t come as any great surprise to watchers of Mr Richer, who set out his business philosophy – that a contented, well-treated workforce offers a route to long-term success – in a 2001 book. But when insecurity and low pay have become the norm for so many workers, amid spiralling inequality caused by skyrocketing pay at the top and a growing gig economy at the bottom, the announcement is a timely reminder that it doesn’t have to be this way. Social responsibility can be more than a side project for businesses. It is possible to make money at the same time as developing a sense of obligation to employees that is not limited to paying them well.

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Source: The Guardian

UK banks fined €1bn by EU for rigging foreign exchange market

European commission says decision shows ‘collusive behaviour will not be tolerated’

Five banks including Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland have been fined a total of more than €1bn (£875m) by the European Union for rigging the multitrillion-dollar foreign exchange market.

The European commission said the banks, which also include Citigroup, JP Morgan and MUFG (Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group), formed two cartels to manipulate the spot foreign exchange market for 11 currencies, including the US dollar, the euro and the pound.

Related: It’s a bit rich of bankers to criticise the spending habits of millennials | Zoe Williams

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Source: The Guardian

Tax authorities mount raids on 19 German banks and homes

Investigation is linked to Panama Papers and part of money laundering allegations

Eleven banks and eight private homes and offices across Germany have been raided by police and tax investigators as part of a wide-ranging investigation into tax evasion.

The raids, which began at dawn on Wednesday and went on into the afternoon, were part of the same investigation started last November over money laundering allegations linked to the so-called Panama Papers scandal, alleged to involve Deutsche Bank.

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Source: The Guardian