Company News Reporter, London
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Dec 5, 2014

Balfour rejects 1 billion pound John Laing Fund offer for public-private assets

LONDON (Reuters) – British infrastructure group Balfour Beatty (BALF.L: Quote, Profile, Research) has rejected a 1 billion pound offer from John Laing Infrastructure Fund (JLIF) for assets it operates in partnership with government, saying the price was too low.

The offer comes amid troubled times at Balfour, which has issued a string of profit warnings, and been forced to fend off takeover approaches from rival Carillion (CLLN.L: Quote, Profile, Research).

Dec 2, 2014

Regulator Ofcom snubs Royal Mail’s competition concerns

LONDON (Reuters) – Royal Mail’s hopes of being shielded from a new rival were dashed on Tuesday when Britain’s postal regulator Ofcom said it would not overhaul rules for direct mail delivery.

Royal Mail, required by law to deliver Britain’s mail six days a week at uniform prices, had claimed delivery services by Whistl jeopardised its own as the rival could focus on densely populated, profitable, easy to serve areas.

Nov 23, 2014

Gambling companies step up efforts to sway addiction debate

LONDON, Nov 23 (Reuters) – On the websites of Britain’s
bookmakers gamblers can bet around the clock on anything from
soccer in Azerbaijan to financial market fluctuations, while
others in betting shops feed high-stake machines that can devour
300 pounds ($470) a minute.

This anywhere, anytime gambling culture has changed the face
of the industry over the past 15 years and brought fresh
temptations to those who struggle to prevent a harmless flutter
from becoming a dangerous addiction.

Nov 19, 2014

UK pub firms hit by move to curb power over tenants

LONDON, Nov 19 (Reuters) – British pub groups suffered on
Wednesday after lawmakers backed a move to hand publicans more
control over where they buy beer, hitting shares and raising
questions over the structure of the industry.

Shares in Enterprise Inns and Punch Taverns,
owners of more than 9,000 British pubs, tumbled as investors
reacted to bill changes announced on Tuesday, which the
companies fear could lead to job losses and closures.

Nov 19, 2014

Amazon delivers blow to UK Royal Mail growth prospects

LONDON, Nov 19 (Reuters) – Online retail giant Amazon’s
own delivery service will more than halve the growth
potential for Royal Mail’s parcels business, the former
state-owned British company said on Wednesday, sending its
shares lower.

Parcels make up half of Royal Mail’s turnover and the
development of online shopping has made them central to the
company’s prospects when letter volumes are in decline.

Nov 19, 2014

MPs give pub tenants free choice of beer

LONDON (Reuters) – MPs on Tuesday voted to give people who lease pubs from big companies more freedom about where they buy their beer, overturning government plans for industry reforms.

Almost half of Britain’s 50,000 pubs are run by tenants under “beer-tie” agreements, which mean they buy beer from the firm that holds their lease at above market prices in return for subsidised rent or other benefits. Some publicans have claimed unfair treatment and very low earnings from such deals.

Nov 18, 2014

British lawmakers give pub tenants free choice of beer

LONDON, Nov 18 (Reuters) – British lawmakers on Tuesday
voted to give people who lease pubs from big companies more
freedom about where they buy their beer, overturning government
plans for industry reforms.

Almost half of Britain’s 50,000 pubs are run by tenants
under “beer-tie” agreements, which mean they buy beer from the
firm that holds their lease at above market prices in return for
subsidised rent or other benefits. Some publicans have claimed
unfair treatment and very low earnings from such deals.

Nov 18, 2014

Manchester United revenues fall on Champions League absence

LONDON, Nov 18 (Reuters) – English Premier League club Manchester United posted a 10 percent fall in first quarter revenue as the absence of lucrative Champions League soccer this season took its toll.

United, currently seventh in the table and still struggling with what has been a dismal transition since Alex Ferguson retired as manager in May 2013, said total revenue fell to 88.7 million pounds ($139 million) in the three months to Sept. 30.

Nov 14, 2014

Serco chastened by costly lesson in outsourcing risk

LONDON, Nov 14 (Reuters) – From broken Australian Navy
boats, to hotel bills for UK asylum seekers, the costs have
piled up for Serco, a pioneer of an outsourcing boom
that promised lucrative returns but has proved a far riskier
business than many thought.

The persistent payouts, combined with scandals over
government contracts in Britain, have battered profits and
exposed flaws in the way Serco won and operated business,
resulting in the most disastrous spell in its 85 years.

Nov 13, 2014

JD Sports seeks cuts in store rents for ailing fashion arm Bank

LONDON, Nov 13 (Reuters) – UK retailer JD Sports is
asking landlords to reduce rents on some of its Bank stores as
it seeks to cut costs at its loss-making fashion division.

Executive Chairman Peter Cowgill said it had now approached
landlords to seek a switch to turnover-based rents on around 25
of its Bank stores out of a total of just over 80.

    • About Neil

      "I'm a company news reporter covering the retail and leisure sectors. Based in London I write on everything from the big retailers to fashion chains, hotels, drinks firms, pubs and coffee shops. I've previously covered the outsourcing sector and before that worked on Reuters sport for three years. You can follow me on Twitter @ReutersMaidment"
      Joined Reuters:
      2008
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