BUSINESS LIVE: FTSE on the rise; Evergrande nears collapse; Paragon post record profits
Financial institutions and developers around the world are on alert last night after Evergrande warned it will not be able to pay back its debts.
The Chinese property giant is understood to be on the brink of collapse with Asian and Western banks braced for the largest default since Lehman Brothers went bust in 2008.
London-listed Paragon Banking has posted a record annual profit on the back of strong demand from professional landlords for buy-to-let properties, which drove a near 30 per cent jump in mortgage lending.
The lender’s statutory pre-tax profits for the 12 months to 30 September rose 80.5 per cent to £213.7million from £118.4million a year ago.
A British biotech star headed by a former adviser to David Cameron is planning to go public on the Dutch stock market in one of Europe’s biggest ever healthcare mergers.
Benevolent AI, which is run by Baroness Shields and uses artificial intelligence to speed up the development of drugs, will join the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange through a reverse takeover by special purpose acquisition company, Odyssey.
With debts of more than £300billion, Evergrande has been struggling to meet repayments since September. Much of the money is owed to firms outside China
Die FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 are up by around 1 per cent each this morning, rising for the second day in a row, amid receding concerns about the Omicron coronavirus variant
Mining stocks further boosted the blue-chip index, while plumbing parts distributor Ferguson has advanced 4.8 per cent to the top of the index after strong revenue growth forecast.
Rental equipment provider Ashtead Group is up 2.4 per cent after saying it expected full-year results ahead of previous estimates and raising its dividend.
Meanwhile the mid-cap index was buoyed by travel and leisure stock, which recovered by 1.6 per cent as fears around the Omicron variant eased after experts said the new strain might not be as severe as feared.
British consumers have boosted the economy by starting their Kersfees shopping earlier than usual – with big increases in spending on fashion, juweliersware, gifts and toys as high streets enjoyed a Swart Vrydag hupstoot te gee.
The British Retail Consortium trade body said total sales in November were 5 per cent higher than a year earlier, which was the biggest annual increase since July and up from a 1.3 per cent year-on-year increase in October. It added that total retail sales grew 4.1 per cent during November 2021 compared with the same month in 2019.
Specialist investment trusts can be a good place for investors interested in sustainability and Impax Environmental Markets Fund is a firm, established favourite.
It celebrates its 20th birthday next February and since its launch, the investment trust has been one of the leading players in the ‘green’ investing space – building up a strong track record long before the recent rush of interest.
The Government has been accused of failing to get a grip on greedy and unscrupulous testing companies ‘gaming the system’ to rip off holidaymakers as the quarantine hotel system failed families.
Downingstraat has vowed to strike off anyone found to be exploiting travellers but firms are already cashing in and charging families of four up to £376 for arrival tests up until day 2.
Home loans for first-time buyers are at their cheapest in at least a decade, nuwe syfers toon.
The average rate on a two-year fixed mortgage with a 5 per cent deposit is currently 3.09 persent, according to financial information website Moneyfacts.
Electric vehicles are twice as likely to suffer a wheel or tyre problem due to their heavier weight than conventional petrol and diesel cars, volgens 'n nuwe verslag.
More than a third of breakdown assistance callouts made by EV owners are due to punctures, tyre damage or wheel issues, according to Liverpool Victoria’s vehicle recovery division, Britannia Rescue.
A new product aimed at savers and supported by gold has been launched offering a 2 per cent rate over a year.
The account, open to those depositing between £1,000 and £20,000, has been launched by e-money provider Tally Money.
Shares in takeaway firms Deliveroo and Just Eat fell yesterday amid fears of a crackdown on the gig economy in Europe.
Deliveroo sank to a record low of 220p before closing down 3.1 persent, or 7.5p, to 234p while Just Eat fell 4.9 persent, or 214p, to 4146.5p.
The sell-off came as speculation swirled that the European Commission (EC) will propose stricter rules requiring companies to directly employ delivery drivers and riders.
WPP has snapped up a majority stake in London-based branding and design agency Made Thought.
Made Thought’s client list includes several well-known brands such as social media site Pinterest, fashion brands Max & Co and Paul Smith, consumer goods group Unilever and Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior-owner LVHM.
Ever since the Italian billionaire Stefano Pessina took over Boots, there have been worries about the future of the well-loved chain, which comes second only to Marks & Spencer in the affections of Britain’s shoppers.
Ted Baker’s chairman, who also once led the boards of Easyjet and Next, is oorlede.
John Barton, 77, is skielik oorlede, the fashion business said yesterday, without revealing more information.
The merger is expected to raise £332million, which includes Odyssey’s £255million war chest as well as £115million in funds from Benevolent AI backers such as pharma giant Astrazeneca.
Aside from being an investor, Astrazeneca is also working with Benevolent AI to develop treatments for chronic kidney disease.
An Evergrande spokesman said on Friday after markets closed: ‘In light of the current liquidity status, there is no guarantee that the group will have sufficient funds to continue to perform its financial obligations.’