More than £25bn was wiped off the value of Britain’s biggest companies on Tuesday as traders dumped risky assets and fled to safety as fears grew that Greece will leave the euro and trigger a fresh crisis. The FTSE 100 slid 1.8 per cent to close at its lowest level this year, falling 100 points to 5,554, following the Greek electorate’s rejection of the austerity measures that are a condition of its two bail-outs, worth a combined €219bn. European markets followed suit, with Germany’s Dax dropping almost 2 per cent and France’s CAC sliding nearly 3 per cent. The US Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 1.3 per cent in early trading after digesting the weekend’s tumultuous developments for a second day, The Telegraph says.
Links between Glencore -the world’s largest commodities trader- and an Israeli billionaire in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been highlighted by an anti-corruption campaign group on the eve of the FTSE 100 giant’s first annual meeting since listing a year ago. Glencore is being urged to carry out and publish an independent audit into whether its ties to Dan Gertler, a friend of Congo’s President Kabila, pose any risk of corruption. Global Witness has examined how offshore companies associated with Mr Gertler acquired stakes in key mines by allegedly paying only a small fraction of their estimated commercial values. The detailed investigation, shown to The Times on the eve of today’s annual meeting, sheds light on opaque dealings by companies with key intermediaries in resource-rich developing countries where corruption is rife.
The chairman of William Hill mounted the first corporate fight-back against the “Shareholder Spring” on Tuesday and criticised investors for blindly voting against the company’s pay policies. Gareth Davis said he had “no intention” of backing down on a £1.2m bonus for Ralph Topping, chief executive – even though 49.9% of investors failed to approve the remuneration report. The bookmaker tackled the rebellion just hours after Aviva announced that Andrew Moss had quit as chief executive with immediate effect. Last week 59% of investors refused to back Aviva’s pay policies. Mr Moss, the third FTSE 100 boss to be toppled following investor pressure, will be paid a £1.75m severance package, according to The Telegraph.
More than 12,000 former public sector workers have retired on pensions worth at least £50,000 a year — twice the average national wage in Britain — according to a report by the Intergenerational Foundation. Taxpayer liabilities for public sector pensions have swelled to £45,000 a household, with government employees enjoying vastly better pension coverage than their private sector counterparts, according to the charity. About 88% of public sector workers are entitled to pensions related to their final salaries, which are typically the most generous, compared with only 10% in the private sector, the charity found, The Times reports.
The largest onshore wind farm in England and Wales has been given approval to be built in the picturesque countryside, despite campaigners condemning it as “ugly”, “inefficient” and “intrusive”. The 76-turbine farm, which will be among the highest of its kind in Europe, will now be developed on a mountainside at Pen y Cymoed in South Wales. The £300m project, which is the latest in a line of proposals protesters have campaigned against since 1994, has been supported by the UK’s energy minister Charles Hendry and approved, despite accusations it will be a “blight on the countryside,” The Telegraph writes.
BSkyB’s dominance of live televised football is so important to the business that its share price would crash if it were to lose the coverage, according to Kelvin MacKenzie, who is launching a rival sports broadcaster. Mr MacKenzie, a former editor of The Sun newspaper, claimed BSkyB shares would halve if regulators took action to break up the broadcaster’s “cartel” with football’s governing bodies around live match broadcast rights. He also claimed BSkyB’s £195m deal with the football league is “wholly illegal,” according to The Telegraph.
Nearly 100,000 City jobs have been lost since 2007 and London’s position as the world’s leading financial centre is under threat from the Far East, according to a report being published today. The Centre for Economics and Business Research said that the average number of City jobs was likely to have dropped to 255,000 this year. This is the lowest level since 1996 and down from its previous estimate of 288,000 and a total of 354,000 jobs in 2007. It comes not long after Lloyds Banking Group said that it would cut 1,600 jobs and Royal Bank of Scotland axed 464 posts, The Times says.
Four in ten companies operating in the North Sea are concerned about the potential impact of the independence referendum in Scotland on their investment plans. A report by Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce included a question on whether the referendum planned for 2014 and its possible consequences was “a factor in future plans and investment proposals”. A total of 39% of firms surveyed said it was, 56% said no and 5% did not answer. The study said the responses were “inconclusive” and the issue would be explored further. However, the poll also revealed that more than 50% of oil majors and international and national service companies operating on the UK Continental Shelf claim a move to Scottish Government control of their assets has not been a factor in planning North Sea developments after 2014, The Scotsman reports.