11 August 2014 Last updated at 05:24

Business Live: Monday 11 August 2014

    05:58: Ben Morris Business Reporter

    Welcome to a new week. It feels a little early to be thinking about wine, but a bidding war has broken out for Australian wine firm, Treasury Wine Estates, the owner of Lindeman's and Wolf Blass among others. More on that later, say with us.

    05:59: Nick Edser, Business Reporter

    Good morning. Get in touch with us via email at bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or on twitter @BBCBusiness.

    ENERGY BILLS 06:00: Radio 5 live

    Wake Up to Money leads with the news that five former energy regulators have blamed price increases in our gas and electricity bills on the current industry regulator Ofgem. Stephen Littlechild - a former head of the electricity regulator - told the programme that changes made by Ofgem "seem to be restricting competition". He said that in trying to simplify the market, Ofgem had reduced the number of deals on offer and "customers are less interested in shopping around".

    RURAL CRIME 06:06: Radio 5 live
    Tractor, Staffordshire

    "Big gates, warnings signs, lights," should be installed by farmers to help deter thieves according to Tim Price, rural affairs specialist at NFU Mutual. A report from his organisation says that the theft of farm equipment is rising. A second-hand combine harvester can fetch £180,000, a good tractor £75,000, according to presenter Mickey Clark on Wake Up to Money (who seems to know a lot about such things).

    MARKET UPDATE 06:15:

    Overnight in Japan, the benchmark Nikkei share index has regained some of the sharp losses seen on Friday, when it fell 3%. It's currently up more than 300 points, or 2%, at 15,080. The rally was triggered by hopes that tensions in Ukraine are easing and by a weakening in the value of the yen.

    WINE BID 06:20: Radio 5 live
    Penfolds wine

    Private equity investors have been closely watching Treasury Wine Estates since it was spun off from Fosters in 2011, BBC Business Reporter, Sharanjit Leyl tells Wake Up to Money. The owner of the Penfolds and Rosemount brands has been approached by a second private equity firm about a potential takeover - no word yet on who that is. Last week KKR raised its offer by 10% to $3.14bn.

    PORK 06:26:
    A pig

    Russia imports 90% of the pork it consumes from Brazil or Canada, says James Leavesly of Midland Pig Producers on Wake Up to Money. Russia's ban on western food imports last week has already caused pork prices to fall he says. For British farmers that could hamper their ability to invest, according to Mr Leavesly.

    ONLINE SHOPPING 06:34: BBC Breakfast
    Ben Thompson

    It's been 20 years since the first online transaction and to mark that on Breakfast, Ben Thompson has been despatched to a vast John Lewis warehouse in Milton Keynes. He tells us that the first thing bought online in the US was a Sting CD and challenges us to name the album.

    RUSSIAN ECONOMY 06:40: BBC Radio 4

    Amid the rows over sanctions the Today programme considers the health of Russia's economy. Dr Richard Connolly from Birmingham University says growth has dropped sharply from rates of 7% prior to 2008, and Russia could enter recession this year. He says the slowdown in oil price increases means the Russian government has not been able to raise spending as much as it would have done in the past.


    "Savers to pay inheritance tax while they are still living", reads a headline on the front page of the Daily Telegraph. Ministers want to prevent wealthy people from using complicated schemes to reduce the amount of inheritance tax they have to pay, it says. Under new plans HMRC would like to have the power to make people pay the tax up front, according to the article.

    Trudie Styler and Sting

    Ben Thompson on Breakfast is at a giant John Lewis warehouse in Milton Keynes. He asked us to name the Sting CD that was the first product to be sold online in the US. Presenter Bill Turnbull has the answer: "Ten Summoner's Tales". Perhaps Bill was that first shopper, who knows?


    Construction firm Balfour Beatty has rejected a further merger proposal from rival Carillion. Balfour said on 31 July that it had ended talks with Carillion, but it now says a revised plan was put forward on 3 August. However, Balfour says it concluded the new proposal contained "significant risks" and was not in the best interest of shareholders.

    Heathrow Terminal 2

    Heathrow airport had its busiest ever month in July when 6.97 million passengers travelled through the airport. That's an increase of 0.5% on July 2013. The airport also recorded its busiest ever single day - 27 July - when 239,928 people passed through its terminals.

    WAGE GROWTH 07:29: BBC Radio 4

    The benefits of the recovery are yet to be seen in the bank accounts of many workers with pay rises remaining weak, according to a survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). Mark Beatson, CIPD chief economist, tells Today productivity remains a problem. As a result, even if employers wanted to pay more they would not be able to afford to, he says.

    FRACKING 07:38: BBC Radio 4

    A report on the economic impact of fracking for shale gas is being criticised because parts of it have been redacted, the Today programme tells us. It speaks to Green Party MP Caroline Lucas who says the report would be "comical if it wasn't so serious", as so much of it has been blacked out.

    RURAL CRIME 07:54: Radio 5 live

    "We had a tractor stolen a few years ago," says Roy Limbrick a Gloucestershire farmer on Radio 5 live. The tractor ended up in northern Cyprus he said. Part of the problem is that on some models of tractors, one key will work on lots of vehicles. However, Mr Limbrick says that livestock theft is even worse than having machinery taken.

    MARKET UPDATE 08:01:
    People looking at Nikkei index

    As mentioned earlier, Japan's Nikkei share index has been having a good day, making up much of the ground it lost on Friday. It's now closed up 2.4% at 15,130.52 - the biggest rise for four months. Analysts cited a weakening of the yen as the key factor behind the rebound - a strong yen can be damaging for Japanese exporters.

    Supporters of Recep Tayyip Erdogan

    The Turkish lira has strengthened a little against the dollar this morning. That follows the victory of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey's first presidential election. Investors are keen to see who will be appointed prime minister and who will be in charge of finance.

    HOME BUYING 08:29:
    For sale signs

    How long did you spend looking at your home before you bought it? A survey by insurer Aviva says house buyers spent an average of just 33 minutes looking at a property last year. The strong market means buyers are having to make "snap decisions" on what is likely to be the biggest purchase of their lives, it says.

    MARKET UPDATE 08:43:

    Hopes that tensions in Ukraine could be easing have helped stock markets to make a good start to the week. So far in Europe:

    • The FTSE 100 is up 32.98 points at 6,600.34
    • In Germany, the Dax is 86.75 points higher at 9,096.07
    • France's Cac 40 index has risen 20.59 points to 4,168.40.
    EDF HQ, Paris

    EDF Energy is taking three of its nuclear reactors in Britain offline over the next two days. The company will inspect a reactors at Heysham and two at Hartlepool, after a defect was found at a similar EDF plant, the company said.

    Empty wine bottles

    "More patronising nonsense from MPs," is how Angela Harbutt describes a call for clearer health warnings on alcohol. She has campaigned against warnings on cigarette packaging too. The All Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Misuse says such labels are necessary to inform consumers about the risks of excessive drinking. Tracey Crouch who is chair of that group dismissed Ms Harbutt's comments as a "rant" on Radio 5 live.

    Balfour Beatty worker

    Balfour Beatty shares have risen 1.3% after it revealed earlier this morning it had rejected a further merger approach from Carillion. Balfour is unhappy that Carillion wants to stop the planned sale of Balfour's US business Parsons Brinckerhoff. Balfour also released half-year results, showing that underlying pre-tax profits fell to £22m from £47m a year earlier.


    Despite tighter lending requirements, lending to first-time buyers and home movers remained at similar income multiples in June, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Overall mortgage lending grew 6% in June to £17.9bn. That's up 20% on June 2013. The CML says there were 28,600 first-time buyer loans in June, up 19% on last year.

    ONLINE SHOPPING 09:56: BBC Radio 4

    It's 20 years since the first secure online purchase took place. Consumers' expectations have been "transformed" by online shopping, James Roper, chairman of online retail association IMRG, tells the Today programme. But he adds that we're only about a third of the way towards a mature e-commerce industry, with years and years of development ahead.

    HYPE CYCLE Via Twitter Rory Cellan-Jones Technology correspondent
    Gartner hype cycle

    tweets: "Gartner's Hype Cycle shows Internet of Things at peak hype, speech recognition through other side and making money"

    For Sale sign

    "More gentle dampener than hard brake," is how Paul Smee, director general of the Council of Mortgage Lenders, has described the impact of tighter mortgage lending requirements on the housing market. Under the Mortgage Market Review, which came in at the end of April, lenders must ask borrowers questions about their spending habits, to see if they can afford repayments.

    Via Twitter Kamal Ahmed BBC Business editor

    tweets: "In July, consumers spent 3.5% more on their debit and credit cards than same time last year - Barclays UK Spending Trends report"


    National Grid has told the BBC that there are currently no implications regarding the UK's power supply as a result of EDF's plans to take three nuclear reactors offline. EDF says the reactors will be offline for about eight weeks.

    SMALL DATA 10:50:
    HMS Queen Elizabeth

    Hypothetically, would the loss of an expensive piece of military kit - an aircraft carrier say - hit the UK economy. That's the question considered by BBC stats guru Anthony Reuben as he looks at how changes to the treatment of military weapons will affect the way the UK's gross domestic product (GDP) is calculated.

    MARKET UPDATE 11:02:

    European stock markets are still having a strong, but according to Alastair McCaig, market analyst at IG, "a healthy dose of cynicism still exists". With some key economic data due from the eurozone due later in the week, "traders are enjoying the bounce but are fearful of its longevity", he says.

    WINE BID 11:14: BBC World News
    Stephen Skelton

    Oversupply is the main problem facing the Australian wine industry, wine expert Stephen Skelton tells BBC World Business Report. He expects the winner of the battle to buy Treasury Wine Estates - the firm behind the Penfolds and Rosemount brands - to reduce the size of the vineyards it owns.


    HMRC has commented on that Daily Telegraph front page story saying there are plans to introduce pre-death inheritance tax payments. HMRC says only a small minority of wealthy individuals who are "actively seeking to avoid" the tax would be affected by a plan for accelerated payments. No final decisions have been taken HMRC says.

    Via Twitter Dave Lee, BBC Technology Reporter

    tweets: "Why becoming a hacker is a fabulous career choice - my TV report from Def Con in Las Vegas"

    German parliament

    "Should we be worried about the German economy?" the Financial Times asks today. It quotes research from Deutsche Bank which has cut its forecast for Germany this year to 1.5%. Tensions with Russia are not helping, the article says.

    AMAZON DISNEY 12:15:
    Elle Fanning, Angelina Jolie

    A dispute has erupted between Amazon and Disney according to the Wall Street Journal. Amazon is not accepting pre-orders of upcoming Disney DVDs, including Captain America: The Winter's Soldier and Maleficent (starring Elle Fanning and Angelina Jolie). It is a tactic Amazon has used in the past while negotiating with suppliers, the article says.

    Land Rover

    Strong sales of Jaguar and Land Rover cars have enabled India's Tata Motors to report much stronger-than-expected profits. Net profit for the April-to-June quarter jumped to 53.98bn rupees ($882.3m; £526m) from 17.68bn rupees a year earlier.

    AUDI CHINA 12:38:
    Audi hybrid

    Audi will accept punishment from Chinese authorities for breaking anti-monopoly laws, according to news agency AFP. China has been investigating the luxury car sector for more than two years. Audi says it is improving management at its dealer network, according to AFP.

    MARKET UPDATE 12:47:

    The markets have made a strong start to the week, rising steadily as the morning has progressed, although some analysts are warning the rebound may not last long.

    • The FTSE 100 is up 53.53 points at 6,620.68
    • Germany's Dax index is now 145.25, or 1.6%, higher at 9,154.57
    • In France, the Cac 40 has risen 37.16 points to 4,184.97.

    Early indications are that stocks on Wall Street will rise when trading gets under way in the US.

    Rapper 50 cent

    If you want to boost your confidence before an interview listen to the US rapper 50 cent, in particular a track called "In Da Club". That's according to an article in the Times today. It quotes research from Northwest University, Illinois which found that people who listened to that song felt "powerful and dominant". In case you have an interview today, here's that 50 cent track.

    12:59: Ben Morris Business Reporter

    That's it for today, we'll be back tomorrow morning from 06:00. Feel free to drop in.


Join the discussion

  • Send us an SMS to 61124

Comment here

The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published.
Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.

Terms and conditions

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.