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Live Reporting

Russell Hotten

All times stated are UK

  1. Brexit delay

    BBC Radio 5 Live

    coins and union flag

    Tom Bedford of UK Hardwoods is one of a handful of businesses speaking to Radio 5 Live's Wake Up to Money from Somerset.

    He says the problem with Brexit is "customers not knowing whether to spend money or not".

    It is also having an impact on his business where he had been looking at setting up new product lines. "It's slowing me down," he said.

    "We'd be moving forward. We're all slightly sitting back and waiting to find out what happens before we put our cards on the table," he said.

    That's slowing the economy down, he said.

  2. Insurance losses

    inside lloyd's, views of escalators

    Full-year losses at the Lloyd's of London insurance market have narrowed to £1bn from £2bn.

    The market said there were several large natural catastrophes last year including hurricanes Florence and Michael, Typhoon Jebi in Japan, as well as the Californian wildfires.

    These disasters led to major claims costing the market £2.9bn, significantly higher than the long-term average of £1.9bn.

    Lloyd's new chief executive, John Neal, said: "The market's aggregated 2018 results report a combined ratio of 104.5%, and a £1bn loss. This performance is not of the standard that we would expect of a market that has both the heritage and quality of Lloyd's".

    "We have implemented stronger performance management measures which will remain an enduring feature of how we go about our business. We expect these actions to deliver progressive performance improvement across the market beginning in 2019 and in the years to come," he added.

  3. Bellway profits rise

    picture

    Half-year results at housebuilder Bellway are up 8.7% at £313.9m.

    It said it had "another good operating performance", with the completion of 5,007 homes, an increase of 5.6%.

    The interim dividend is up by 5% to 50.4p per share

  4. Imperial Brands boosting vaper investment

    A man smoking an e-cigarette

    Imperial Brands has issued a trading statement saying that it is on track to meet revenue and earnings expectations for the full year.

    The tobacco giant said it was continuing to deliver modest revenue growth in tobacco products, despite divesting several product lines in 2018.

    However, the profits had been offset by the £100m it had invested in blu, its vaping product line.

    The firm said it had significant year-on-year revenue growth, despite market uncertainty about the potential harm posed by e-cigarettes.

  5. Goals Soccer Centres hit by VAT issue

    footballer

    Goals Soccer Centres has asked for its shares to be suspended after saying that it has discovered a " substantial misdeclaration of VAT", going back over several years. The final figure is still being calculated but currently stands at £12m. "The company also expects that the VAT accounting policies they intend to adopt may have an impact on profitability going forward," it said.

    The company, in which Mike Ashley has a stake, said it would enter into discussions with HMRC and remains in discussions with lenders to agree new facilities.

    The company added that it "believes the above may lead to a material change in its overall financial position and the company is currently unable to provide clarity to the extent of that impact without the receipt of further information".

  6. More from Sports Direct

    Debenhams

    That possible offer is set out in a letter and is still making clear that it does not constitute a formal offer.

    "Sports Direct believes that the proposal would offer fair and full value for the company. It does not believe that the company has the same value if it is (in effect) handed over to Debenhams' existing lender group. As such, Sports Direct would expect the proposal to be attractive to Debenhams shareholders and other stakeholders as an alternative to Debenhams' current restructuring and refinancing process," the letter sent last night says.

    "Sports Direct would like the company to engage with Sports Direct in relation to a few key areas of due diligence. Of critical importance is an understanding of the immediate funding needs of the Debenhams business. In order to understand the longer term financial needs of the company, Sports Direct would also like to engage with the company's current and previous auditors (regarding the company's accounting policies and estimates) and also with HSBC, Barclays and (potentially) certain of the other members of the company's "traditional" lender group," the letter from the board of the retailer, founded by Mike Ashley, says.

  7. 'It's been really disappointing'

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    Vale logo

    Brazilian mining giant Vale warned last weekend that one of its mining waste dams in the city of Barao de Cocais in Minas Gerais could collapse at any moment.

    Communities in the state were ordered to evacuate. In January, at least 166 people were killed after another dam in Feijao collapsed. 147 people are still missing, and eight Vale employees were arrested in February.

    "This is the second really big disaster to hit Vale in the last five years, and I think possibly many investors thought Vale had got to the bottom of issues with tailings dams, and thought perhaps there was a better way to dispose of the tailings rather than dumping them into moving water," Eoin Murray, head of investment at Hermes Investment Management told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

    "It's been very disappointing to see."

  8. Renault to 'restart' Nissan merger talks

    Renault logo

    Renault aims to restart merger talks with Nissan within 12 months and then acquire another carmaker, with Fiat Chrysler among the preferred targets, according to several people familiar with the French group’s plans.

    That's according to the Financial Times which says the planning marks a return to the audacious strategies favoured by Carlos Ghosn, former chief executive of Renault and chairman of Nissan, until his November arrest in Tokyo on financial misconduct charges. He denies all charges.

  9. What's in the papers

    View more on twitter

    The Financial Times has a story about London Capital & Finance, the company which collapsed with 11,600 of UK savers. The paper says that administrators at Smith & Williamson have concluded that the money trail revealed a "number of highly suspicious transactions".

    The Times says that James Brokenshire, the housing secretary, has warned housebuilders that they must end "unacceptable" punitive costs and "nightmare" snagging problems in new homes.

    The Guardian says that the family behind River Island has taken control of the Mint Velvet fashion label while the Telegraph leads on the EU passing new internet copyright laws.

  10. Additional cost

    BBC Radio 5 Live

    Copyright laws which critics say could change the internet have been voted in by the European Parliament and make tech firms responsible for material posted without copyright permission.

    Eoin Murray, head of investment at Hermes Investment Management, said: "This might lead to some additional costs," he told Wake Up To Money.

    He wondered if they might pass on those costs to consumers.

  11. China suspends B737 Max planes' airworthiness certificate -report

    An American Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 is seen as it pulls into its gate after arriving at the Miami International Airport from LaGuardia Airport on March 13, 2019 in Miami, Florida.

    China has suspended a certificate of airworthiness for Boeing's 737 Max planes, saying it needed to review proposed changes to decide whether the plane was safe to fly, Bloomberg has reported.

    Boeing has told airlines it expects to have new software for its 737 Max plane ready by the end of the month.

    The plane has been grounded following the Ethiopian Airlines aircraft crash earlier in March.

  12. Asian stocks mixed

    Asian stocks were mixed in late morning trade in Asia.

    Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 0.4%.

    In China, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was up 0.5% while the Shanghai Composite rose 0.6%.

  13. Making tax digital

    BBC Radio 5 Live

    notes and coins

    Emma Rawson of the Association of Taxation Technicians has been taking to Radio 5 Live's Wake Up to Money about the new "making tax digital" rules which begin next month. This is about ending paper-based record-keeping to comply with the new VAT rules.

    She says it should mark the end of "cutting and pasting" and sending off papers in shoe boxes to accountants.

    "It has been driven by attempts to close the tax gap, a lot of that is due to errors being made," she said.

    There has been "a little bit of a problem" about companies aware of the changes, she said.

  14. Cathay Pacific to buy budget airline

    A Cathay Pacific passenger plane prepares to take off from Hong Kong's international airport on March 13, 2019.

    Cathay Pacific will buy low-cost carrier Hong Kong Express for $4.93bn Hong Kong dollars ($628m).

    The purchase will be made in cash and through promissory loan notes, the company said in a stock filing.

    Hong Kong Express, which flies to destinations across Asia, will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific.

    Cathay Pacific has been overhauling its business to cut costs, and returned to profit in 2018.

  15. Good morning

    MPs are preparing to vote for their preferred Brexit option, with Theresa May due to meet Tory backbenchers in an effort to win them over to her deal. Having voted to seize control of Commons business, backbench MPs will vote on Brexit alternatives later. Read about it here.

    Among the companies reporting today is house builder Bellway.

    Do get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk