Morning business round-up: EU debates board quotas

What made the business news in Asia and Europe this morning? Here's our daily business round-up:

Market Data

Last Updated at 04:38 ET

Market index Current value Trend Variation % variation
Dow Jones 18053.71 Up 23.50 0.13%
Nasdaq 4806.86 Up 33.39 0.70%
S&P 500 2088.77 Up 6.89 0.33%
FTSE 100 6620.63 Up 10.70 0.16%
Dax 9844.69 Down -77.42 -0.78%
BBC Global 30 7827.75 Down -1.79 -0.02%

EU commissioners are due to debate proposals that would force quotas for women on corporate boards.

EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding is in favour of the proposals to make it mandatory for companies to reserve 40% of seats for women, but several countries, including the UK, are opposed to it.

Eurotunnel has reported a rise in passenger numbers over summer, the period that included the Olympic Games.

The company, which operates the Channel Tunnel and runs Le Shuttle vehicle train, said revenue rose 13% to 274.6m euros ($358m; £224m) in the third quarter from the same period last year

India's Kingfisher Airlines has offered to pay three months of salary to its striking employees in an effort to restart its operations.

The staff, who have not been paid for seven months, went on a strike three weeks ago, grounding aircraft.

And also in Asia, the world's fourth-largest steel maker Posco has cut its sales forecast as Europe's debt crisis and slowing growth in China continue to hurt demand.

The South Korean firm forecast sales of 36.3tn won ($33bn; £22bn) for the current financial year, down from its previous estimate of 37.5tn won.

In the UK, Arm Holdings, whose computer chip technology powers Apple and Samsung smartphones, has posted a 22% rise in quarterly profits to £68.1m.

Shares in Arm, which said in a statement that it had a record order book, rose 2.7% in morning trading.

Business headlines

An advertising campaign featuring Olympic stars Mo Farah and Usain Bolt helped Virgin Media boost the number of new cable customers. Revenue was up 2.8% to £1.03bn for the three months.

Mulberry, which is famous for its leather bags, has seen its shares sink by more than a quarter after the luxury goods firm issued a profit warning.

Slower-than-expected international sales growth and falling wholesale revenues meant this year's profits will be lower than last year's, it said.

The latest Business Daily podcast from the BBC World Service asks, do computers cause instability in financial markets? A growing share of financial market trading is being done electronically and automatically and it was blamed for what's called the Flash Crash in New York in 2010. Can regulators do anything about it? And should they?

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Business stories

RSS

Business Live

  1.  
    09:25: Lord King BBC Radio 4

    Was light-touch regulation to blame for the banking crisis in the UK? Lord King says he doesn't think the reason the banks are still not lending to one another is because of tighter regulation that came in following the financial crisis. Instead, he suggests, it's more about psychology. There is more fear about the credit-worthiness of other banks than there was before the crisis, he argues. That's not something that is easy to change, he adds. The amount by which the banks were leveraged before the crisis was "absurdly high and should have been much, much lower," he admits. But, Lord King says, the Bank of England didn't have regulatory responsibility for that sort of thing.

     
  2.  
    09:11: Lord King BBC Radio 4

    "I worked very hard to make sure there were moments of laughter," Lord King says of the financial crisis and his relationship with his colleagues during the crisis. But he adds, more seriously: "I don't think you can go back and say could any one country on its own has found a way through the crisis."

     
  3.  
    09:04: Network Rail
    Railway workers on the tracks outside King's Cross, London on 27th December 2014

    Louise Ellman, the Labour MP, who chairs the Commons Transport Select, is not happy with Network Rail's engineering over-runs that led to Kings Cross and Paddington stations being closed for longer than expected at the weekend. "If Network Rail decide to close part of the system down at a busy time of year, they have to be absolutely sure it's going to work as planned and it is going to re-open as planned," she tells the Today day programme. But she declines to criticise the Network Rail chief executive for being on holiday while the work was going on.

     
  4.  
    08:48: Ben Bernanke BBC Radio 4
    A red phone

    A bit more from Mr Bernanke. He tells the Today programme that during the crisis, the mornings would start with a conference call with six or eight people sat around a "red phone sitting on a coffee table". There was a "certain emergency feeling to everything that was happening every day," he adds. No mention of batphones though.

     
  5.  
    08:37: Ben Bernanke BBC Radio 4

    Mr Bernanke adds that there were one or two US Fed meetings that were "extremely exciting". He cites the October 2008 meeting which followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the meeting of the G7 nations where he and Lord King "tore up the communique' and really rolled up our sleeves and thought about what we were going to do." He adds: "That was a tremendously important meeting."

     
  6.  
    08:32: Ben Bernanke BBC Radio 4
    Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernank

    Lord King has interviewed Ben Bernanke for the Today programme and they discuss the financial crisis of 2008 in which they both played a pivotal role. In a rare human moment for a central banker, Mr Bernanke tells Lord King that most US Federal Reserve meetings, while they get lots of attention, are "deadly boring". He adds: "They are very scripted and the staff do most of the work and they write the the communique' in advance of the decision making."

     
  7.  
    08:26: City Link BBC Radio 4

    More from Mr Moulton on Today: "In the intervening 18 months it [City Link] would have paid a fortune to the government in PAYE, value added tax and the like. The government will be a net beneficiary of Better Capital's investment in this company he added," he stressed. Mr Moulton added that he had lost £2m of his own money due to the City Link collapse.

     
  8.  
    08:20: City Link BBC Radio 4

    Mr Moulton, speaking to Today, points out that City Link could in fact have been closed down 18 months ago when his firm Better Capital bought it for just £1. He denies that the taxpayer will suffer because the government will now have to pay the workers' redundancy payments. "The taxpayer has certainly made an enormous amount of money out of private equity companies and their trading and success," he says.

     
  9.  
    08:07: City Link BBC Radio 4

    Jon Moulton of Better Capital, the investment firm that owns City Link, defends his firm's ownership of the now closed City Link. "We chased every possible way to save this company," he tells Today. He says the company had simply failed, and that delaying the closure over Christmas had not been an option, as trading while insolvent was a criminal offence. Could the affair have been better handled? "Not particularly, no," he says.

     
  10.  
    07:56: Network Rail boss
    Network Rail boss Robin Gisby

    The Network Rail boss who presided over what is being dubbed the Christmas trains fiasco will not receive a "golden goodbye" bonus of £371,000. Robin Gisby will leave his post as managing director of network operations early next year, a spokeswoman for Network Rail said. Mr Gisby is leaving the company at the end of February. But the decision to withhold his bonus is not linked to the overrunning engineering work at Kings Cross and chaos that ensued at the weekend.

     
  11.  
    07:43: Russian economy

    The Reuters news agency reports that Russia's economic output (as measured by gross domestic product) shrank by 0.5% in the year to November. This is the first time the economy has shrunk since since October 2009 and reflects the effects of international economic sanctions and the falling oil price.

     
  12.  
    07:29: Eurozone crisis BBC Radio 4

    Marie Diron, the senior vice president at rating agency Moody's tells Today that the probability that Greece will leave the euro is pretty small compared to 2011. She says the euro itself has remained pretty resilient to crisis events citing the failure of a Portuguese bank last year as one example. "Saying the height of the crisis is behind us does not mean that everything will be smooth from now on," she says. Eurozone growth will be weak this year and deflation, or very low inflation, remains a big risk this year too.

     
  13.  
    07:15: City Link
    A Citylink worker and van

    Better Capital explains that it had tried to sell the business but failed, and pulled the plug on the loss-making firm because keeping it going would have meant throwing good money after bad. "In light of continued substantial losses, City Link could not continue as a going concern, which resulted in the appointment of Ernst & Young as administrators on 24 December 2014," it says.

     
  14.  
    City Link 07:08: Breaking News

    Better Capital has been explaining itself in a statement just issued to stock market investors. It says: "Unfortunately the appointment of an administrator was leaked to the media ahead of the intended announcement. The directors very much regret the impact on the employees of City Link receiving such bad news on Christmas Day." So it seems the Christmas day announcement was not intended.

     
  15.  
    06:57: City Link
    Jon Moulton

    Jon Moulton, the man whose private investment firm Better Capital owned - and is now shutting - City Link, is going to explain himself. He's fronting up on the Today programme on Radio 4 at 07:50 to explain why he decided to close the courier business. He's been quoted in the FT as saying he explored "every possible way" to keep the firm going, and that he lost several million pounds of his own money.

     
  16.  
    06:50: Lord King BBC Radio 4
    Mervyn King, former governor of the Bank of England

    Lord King is on the Today programme. He's talking about the financial crisis and how he and US Federal Reserve president Ben Bernanke responded to it. He says the biggest problem both men had was explaining to people that they were taking measures that were "quite exceptional to try to prevent something terrible happening." He also suggests quantitative easing - buying government bonds - was not an unusual policy measure but that it hadn't been used for a very long time. Bank of England governors had spent the post war period trying to prevent money growing too quickly in the economy, "now we were trying to stop it falling and trying to inject money into the economy," he says

     
  17.  
    06:40: The Interview

    Sony appear to be trumpeting the fact that The Interview (hated by North Koreans) has become the most downloaded new film yet produced by the company. The controversial comedy was downloaded two million times between the 24th and 27th December, taking nearly £10m. Is that a lot to shout about?

     
  18.  
    06:27: Greece Radio 5 live
    Members of the Greek cabinet with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras

    The Greek parliament is to make a third and final attempt to elect a new president. On Wake Up to Money, Constantine Michalos, chairman of the Athens Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said he expected the vote to fail, automatically triggering a swift general election. "It looks increasingly unlikely, if not impossible, that the government will succeed in getting a positive Parliamentary presidential vote," he said. "The choice that the Greek people will be called upon to make in a few weeks time is the possibility of an instant death, because we've heard the main opposition, and the economic policy they will follow, which is totally opposite to the one the eurozone has been dictating over the last four and a half years."

     
  19.  
    06:13: Eurostar ban?

    The Daily Mail has a report today that Eurostar has banned a passenger for life after "kicking him off a train" for complaining about the strength of his cup of tea. Daniel Confino, a financial expert who the newspaper says was instrumental in saving the foundering Eurotunnel project in the 1990s, now intends to have the ban ruled illegal at the High Court. He ordered two teas at £2.20 each - and asked for an extra bag so he could have a strong cuppa. But when he was charged £2.20 just for the third tea bag, he complained.

     
  20.  
    06:03: Lord King BBC Radio 4

    Lord Mervyn King, the former governor of the Bank of England has a new job - for just one day. He is the guest editor of the Today programme on Radio 4. And his big interviewee is Ben Bernanke, who was his counterpart as head of the US Federal Reserve during the great banking crisis a few years ago. Will they admit to any failings? Find out just after 08:00.

     
  21.  
    06:02: Good morning Ian Pollock Business reporter, BBC News

    Welcome back to the digital coal face. We hope you have enjoyed your Christmas holiday so far. If you would like to get in touch with us you can do so via email at bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or on twitter @bbcbusiness.

     
  22.  
    06:01: Mathew West Business Reporter

    Morning folks. Former Bank of England governor Lord King is guest editing the Today programme. Greece holds a crucial presidential vote, which could have implications for its International Monetary Fund (IMF)/European Union (EU) bailout. And the search continues for the missing Air Asia flight QZ8501. So plenty to digest this morning. Stay with us.

     

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.