22 April 2014 Last updated at 05:55

Business Live: Tuesday 22 April 2014

    06:00: Ben Morris Business Reporter

    Good morning. The Easter weekend is an important few days for the retail industry and the first indication is that this year was a bit disappointing. Stay with the Business live page.

    06:00: Joe Miller Business Reporter

    Good morning. You can contact us throughout the morning by tweeting @BBCBusiness or emailing bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk

    EASTER SHOPPING 06:02: Radio 5 live

    Consumers are still being "cautious" and "conservative", Diane Wehrle, from research firm Springboard, tells Wake Up to Money. That's reflected in their footfall figures for the Easter weekend. Springboard measures how many shoppers were on the streets, rather than sales. On Good Friday, footfall was down 7.6% and Saturday traffic was down 8.7%, compared with last year. There was a rebound on Monday.

    CO-OP GROUP 06:04:
    Kamal Ahmed

    Our business editor Kamal Ahmed is in the office very early this morning, promising developments on the Co-op story. He's going to let the Business live page know what's going on shortly, so stay with us.


    The internet video streaming firm (surely there's a more elegant term?) Netflix, has reported record profits of $53m for the first three months of 2014. The company now has a total global membership of almost 50 million. Good news for shareholders, but perhaps less so for new subscribers - Netflix says it is considering a price increase.

    JAPAN'S EARNINGS 06:13: BBC World News

    A smiley Rico Hizon is checking in from Singapore on World Business Report to talk Asian markets - particularly Japan's upcoming earnings season. Last year, the country's markets had a stellar season, this year, Rico says, analysts are "optimistic" but "more cautious" due to the sales tax hike, which was recently implemented.

    NETFLIX RESULTS 06:20: Radio 5 live

    Rivals take note. Netflix is talking about "spending billions on original content", says analyst Ben Hammersley. They also conduct very clever analysis of exactly what their viewers want, he tells Wake Up to Money.

    RUSSIA 06:24:
    Russian flags

    Just months after the heady spending on Sochi 2014, Russia could be heading for recession. The economy contracted by around 0.5% in the first three months of this year, and worried investors have been pulling out of the country since the start of the Ukraine crisis. Russia's Finance Minister is warning the economy may not see any growth in 2014.


    We're witnessing the "beginning of the biggest revamp of China's state sector since late 1990s", according to this enlightening Reuters analysis. China's 113 central government-controlled conglomerates have borrowed 18 trillion yuan (£1.72tn) between 2008 and 2013, the writers inform us.

    STRONG STERLING 06:39: BBC Radio 4

    The pound has gained 10% in value over the last year - against not just the dollar but a basket of currencies. Cornelia Meyer, the markets guest on Today, says a currency is a bit like a country's share price, and the rise of sterling shows that "George Osborne's austerity measures seem to have worked". But, she says, it's not good news for the manufacturing sector or exporters.

    THE GREEK DIVIDE 06:45: BBC Radio 4

    Business Live has recently been reporting on the rush for Greek bonds, and how the country, which until not very long ago couldn't get small change off passers-by, seems to be finding it very easy to borrow money. But Prof Yanis Varoufakis from the University of Athens tells Today the real economy "remains in the doldrums". "Business activity is heavily subdued and employment is at an all time low," he says.

    EASTER SHOPPING 06:49: Radio 5 live

    Edward Cooke, director of policy at the British Council of Shopping Centres, is on 5 live. He comments on those footfall figures that suggest the number of shoppers fell this Easter compared to last year. He thinks the "overall picture is probably more optimistic" than those figures suggest.


    GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Novartis have been busy. Together they are creating a consumer healthcare business, which GSK will control. GSK is also buying the vaccines business of Novartis for $5.25bn. Finally, GSK is selling its cancer drugs and related research business to Novartis for $16bn. GSK shareholders will share a payout worth £4bn.

    CO-OP BANK 07:03: Breaking News Kamal Ahmed BBC Business editor

    As promised, Kamal has some news on the near collapse of Co-operative Bank. A major report into the failings will blame poor governance at the organisation. The report by Sir Christopher Kelly will also say the ill-fated takeover of the Britannia Building Society sowed the seeds of the failure of the bank. Kamal says the report's findings will be challenged by former members of the Co-op board.

    CO-OP BANK 07:11: BBC Radio 4

    The Kelly report into the failure of Co-op Bank will be "scathing about governance", Kamal tells the Today programme. It will blame the takeovers of Somerfield supermarkets and Britannia, and the attempted takeover of Lloyds.

    SAVING WHISKY 07:19: BBC Radio 4

    The French spend twelve times as much on Whisky as on Cognac. As Justin Rowlatt reports, the global appetite for Scotch has boomed over the past years, and the export industry is now worth £4bn a year to Scotland's economy. Being part of the EU has helped that growth, says the Scottish Whisky Association.

    HEADLINES Breaking News
    • Co-op Bank report will blame poor governance
    • Novartis spends $16bn on GSK cancer unit
    • UK business lending still negative, says BOE
    CO-OP BANK 07:36: Radio 5 live

    Business editor Kamal Ahmed is back, this time on Radio 5 live. He says Sir Christopher Kelly's report into Co-op Bank is important as it comes ahead of the Group's annual meeting on 17 May. Members - all 8 million of them - will be able to vote on whether the group's governance should be changed.


    One of China's largest state-owned airlines, Air China, says it's net profit could be revised down by as much as 65% compared with last year. It blames a weakening yuan, just as the country's biggest airline, China Southern Airlines, did last week. Chinese carriers typically finance the purchase of aircraft in US dollars, so a stronger dollar raises their debt burden.

    MANY HAPPY RETURNS Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    tweets: "Card Factory to float on stock market; 700 stores: year to Jan, 285m cards sold, £327m revenue"

    BOTOX BID 07:48:
    Bottle, pills

    The maker of Botox, Allergan, is the target of a takeover bid worth more than $50bn, according to the front page of today's Financial Times. Well known investor Bill Ackman has teamed up with Valeant Pharmaceuticals to make the bid, according to the FT.

    Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook

    "Privacy is of the utmost concern and importance and concern to Facebook", says Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, in a BBC interview. When the company personalises adverts, it does it without sharing private data with advertisers, Ms Sandberg says.

    MCDONALD'S 08:12:

    Breakfast is a serious business for McDonald's, accounting for 25% of US sales, but rivals are encroaching on the fast food chain's morning market, says the Wall Street Journal. Taco Bell, White Castle, Dunkin Donuts and even Starbucks are getting in on the act, after McDonald's started offering free coffee to attract customers in the early hours.

    IS THE UK MENDING FAST ENOUGH? 08:21: Via Blog Robert Peston Economics editor

    blogs: "Although the UK's finances are improving, if you believe there is something of a housing bubble here and that interest rates are set to rise sooner rather than later, then you would fear that Britain's balance sheet is perhaps not being strengthened fast enough."

    PHARMA SHARES 08:26:
    AstraZeneca office

    Fact and speculation are driving pharmaceutical shares this morning. AstraZeneca shares are up 8%, after an unconfirmed report over the weekend that Pfizer has approached the firm with a takeover bid. GlaxoSmithKline shares are 4% higher after it agreed to sell its cancer unit to Novartis for $16bn. Novartis shares are up 2.6%.


    Personal injury experts National Accident Helpline, perhaps best known for their ubiquitous "injured at work?" adverts, are planning to float on the London Stock Exchange. The listing is worth £100m, according to the Telegraph.

    MARKET UPDATE 08:45:

    A healthy start for shares in London. Shares in pharmaceutical firms are driving the FTSE 100 higher. It is up almost 0.8%. A similar story in Frankfurt where Merck is up 2.7% and is leading the Dax index higher. The Cac-40 is 0.6% higher.

    BOEING ORDER 09:00:

    China's Shandong Airlines has said it placed an order for 50 Boeing 737 aircraft, worth $4.6bn (£2.7bn). The order still needs to be approved by the Chinese government. The 737 is Boeing's best-selling plane, with more than 7,500 jets already delivered.

    INDIAN MINES 09:06:

    India's Supreme Court has lifted a ban on iron ore mining in the western state of Goa, but limited extraction to 20m tonnes a year. All 90 iron ore mines in Goa were shut down after a government-backed inquiry in 2012 alleged they were illegal and lacked environmental permission to operate. It estimated the state lost nearly $6bn (£3.75bn) due to illegal mining.

    COLT GROUP 09:13:

    Shares in Colt Group, which provides telecoms services for companies, have plunged almost 10%. The company is withdrawing from most of its contracts to provide voice telephone services over the next few months. It expects sales in that business to fall by 175m euros (£213m; $242m). The company also warned that profits this year will be 5% to 10% below expectations.

    FORD Via Twitter Sally Bundock Presenter, World Business Report

    tweets: "Keep an eye on Ford. It's expected to confirm Mark Fields will take over from Alan Mulally as CEO before year end."

    MOYES GOES Via Twitter Adam Parsons Business Correspondent

    tweets: "The Glazers decided this. The Man Utd board looks good, but simply doesn't have the power to act independently."

    LONDON RETAIL 09:25:
    London's West End

    Retail sales in London's West End were up 2.4% last month. That's according to the New West End Company, which represents 600 retailers on Bond St, Oxford St and Regent St. It also said footfall for the three shopping streets increased by 4.0% in March.


    The Guardian seems to think that Barclays will announce it is selling its commodities trading arm later today. The bank won't comment at the moment, but we will bring you more as we have it.

    MOYES GOES 09:43:

    As we wait to see how Manchester United's shares (listed in New York) react to David Moyes' departure, a reminder that the club has seen a boom in income. It posted second quarter revenues of £122.9m in February, and new sponsorship deals with the likes of Unilever and Fuji TV also helped to fill the coffers. However, the club still has £356.6m worth of debt.


    The Bank of England's quarterly Trends in Lending report is out. It says lending to UK businesses remained negative in the three months to February. However mortgage approvals continued to rise, and access to credit has become easier for business of all sizes. You can read the full report here.


    This graph, from the Bank of England, shows how lending to UK businesses is slowly increasing, but is nowhere near the pre-crisis levels. But, the Bank says, the chart does not reflect that lending to small and medium businesses has been stronger than overall lending.

    MARKET UPDATE 10:14:

    Pharmaceutical firms continue to lead the FTSE 100 higher, the index is now up 0.9%. AstraZeneca shares are up 8%, after an unconfirmed report over the weekend that Pfizer has approached the firm with a takeover bid. GlaxoSmithKline shares are 6% higher after it agreed to sell its cancer unit to Novartis for $16bn. Elsewhere in Europe the Dax is up almost 1% and the Cac 40 is 0.6% higher.

    DODGY GOODS 10:24:
    Dangerous chainsaw seized by trading standards

    The National Trading Standards Board has been detailing the goods it has seized for being counterfeit or just plain dangerous. "Lethal" chainsaws and dangerous toy dolls were among more than a million unsafe goods that have been seized at the UK's ports and borders. Unsafe light fittings and gas heaters were also among the items intercepted.

    CHINA SOIL Linda Yueh Chief business correspondent

    tweets: "One fifth of #China's soil contaminated: 16.1% of China's soil and 19.4% of its arable land showed contamination"

    Mining union protest

    Bosses from South Africa's biggest producers of platinum are meeting union leaders on Tuesday. It's another effort to end a damaging strike, which is one of the longest and most costly in the nation's history. The 13-week strike has hit Anglo American, Impala Platinum and Lonmin.

    FRACKING 10:49:

    Whitehall sources have told BBC political correspondent Iain Watson that an Infrastructure Bill - to be included in the next Queen's speech - will 'clarify' the law on fracking. Recent newspaper reports have suggested that the law could be changed to allow fracking on private land without the landowner's permission.

    CHINA MOBILE 11:00:
    Shanghai station

    China Mobile has reported a 9.5% drop in first quarter net profit to 25.24bn ($4bn; £2.4bn). With 781 million customers, it may be the world's biggest mobile services provider, but profits have been eroded by competition from online providers of messaging and call services.

    BOLIVIA WAGES 11:14:

    Bolivia's President Evo Morales has announced the minimum wage will rise by 20%. He also said basic salaries would go up by 10%. The increase is well above inflation, which was 6.5% in 2013. Bolivia's gross domestic product tripled to $27bn in 2012, according to the World Bank.

    EUROPE'S GAS 11:30:

    Reuters reports that Russia's prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, says talk of Europe importing gas from the US in order to reduce reliance on Russian exports is just a "bluff". Regardless of his assertion, there are several bureaucratic hurdles to overcome before the US can start shipping the fuel.

    Via Twitter Simon Gompertz Personal finance correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: "Anyone been asked odd questions by a mortgage adviser when applying for a loan recently?"

    LISTEN AGAIN 11:47: World Service

    Business Daily looks into the claims that traders at some of the world's biggest banks have been rigging the foreign exchange market - where the values of currencies are set. The programme hears from financial litigation lawyer Daniel Spendlove, who says if the allegations are proven, the resulting fines could run into billions.

    CO-OP BANK 12:03: Via Blog Kamal Ahmed BBC Business editor

    blogs: "Sir Christopher's report is likely to split those who read it, particularly former members of the Britannia who feel that they have been unfairly blamed for all the ills at the bank and the group."

    PHILIPS DIMS 12:19:
    Philips Boss

    The world's biggest lighting company, Philips, has issued a profit warning after net profit fell 15% in the first three months of the year. The Dutch company blamed the strong euro for making its products more expensive and difficult to sell overseas. But chief executive Frans van Houten says the firm "is not losing market share", and he remains "very optimistic".

    BRENT OIL 12:28:

    The pricing benchmark for two-thirds of the world's crude oil supplies, Brent Oil, is in urgent need of reform, the Telegraph reports. Dwindling supply and rigging scares are cited by the Consilience Energy Advisory Group as the main concerns. You can read the full report here (for £150).


    Defence company Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon's largest supplier, has reported a 23% rise in net earnings for the first quarter of 2014, bringing it to $933m. The company, which makes the F-35 fighter jet, satellites and coastal warships, also repurchased 7 million shares for $1.1bn. However net sales decreased by 4%.

    SMALL PRINT 12:44:

    Our personal finance reporter, Kevin Peachey, has been looking at the insurers who decide that car insurance policy small print needs to run to more than 30,000 words. That's longer than George Orwell's Animal Farm.

    Sochi Olympics

    The biggest provider of cable TV in the US, Comcast, added 24,000 customers for its TV services in the first quarter. It's the second quarter of gains, after several months of losing subscribers. Comcast has proposed a merger with Time Warner Cable, which has attracted criticism for the size of the combined company. Revenues at its NBC Universal division were up almost 30%, helped by advertising generated by the Sochi Olympics.

    Harley Davidson, Milwauke

    Harley-Davidson has posted stronger than expected profits in the first quarter. It reported a net income of $266m (£158m). Harley dealers sold 57,415 motorcycles in the first quarter. Sales outside the US jumped 11% to 21,685.

    12:59: Joe Miller Business Reporter

    That's all from Business Live for today. Join us tomorrow, when the Office for National Statistics will publish the March numbers on public finances.


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