BUSINESS LIVE: FTSE on the rise; Evergrande nears collapse

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.

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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

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

  • Harry Wise

    Host commentator

  • Mike Sheen

    Host commentator


FTSE on the rise again

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.


Retail boost for Britain with November spending up 16% on pre-Covid

British consumers have boosted the economy by starting their Kersfees shopping earlier than usualwith 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.


Impax Environmental Markets: What does it invest in?

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 ‘greeninvesting spacebuilding up a strong track record long before the recent rush of interest.


UBER could starting charging passengers 20 per cent VAT

Uber may introduce a 20 persent VAT charge on journeys following a High Court judgment yesterday.

In a separate Supreme Court decision in February the app-based taxi company was forced to recognise drivers as workers rather than contractors.


PCR firms are ‘gaming the system’: Warning over rip-off test firms

The Government has been accused of failing to get a grip on greedy and unscrupulous testing companies ‘gaming the systemto 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.


First-time buyers see rates on 5% deposit mortgages hit lows not seen for at least a decade

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 twice as likely to suffer wheel and tyre breakdowns than petrol and diesel cars

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 fixed-rate ‘savingsaccount offering a 2% rate underpinned by… goud

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.


Investors lose their appetite for Deliveroo and Just Eat amid fears of an EU crackdown on the gig economy

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 snaps up majority stake in London-based branding and design agency

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.


Will Boots val weer die prooi van private ekwiteit?

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 chairman John Barton dies aged 77

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.


Benevolent AI to join Amsterdam stock exchange in Europe’s biggest ever Spac takeover

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.


Evergrande teeters on the brink of collapse

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.




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