Bellway shares fall on housing fears
Bellway, one of the U.K.'s leading housebuilders, has today announced profits of £44.4 million for the year ended July 2010 compared to a £29.8 million loss last year. However, shares in the company are down 5% in early trading amid concerns that after the traditional summer lull the housing market has yet to see a marked pickup in business levels.
There is no doubt that the UK housebuilding sector has been through a traumatic two years post the credit crunch and economic downturn. However, only a few months ago there were signs of a recovery in the sector but talk of a downturn in the UK economy, further austerity measures by the UK government and difficulties within the mortgage market have all come at the worst possible time.
Bellway had originally intended to increase volumes by 10% for the current year although many analysts believe this figure is now under serious threat. It will be interesting to see how other housebuilders in the UK have performed during these very difficult and challenging times and indeed whether the drop in volumes is a sign of the future or perhaps just a glitch. The UK housebuilding sector is very important to the UK economy and the UK population.
Harrods sold in £1.5 billion deal
It is being reported in the financial press that iconic luxury store Harrods has been sold to Qatar Holdings, the investment vehicle used by the state of Qatar, in a £1.5 billion deal. The new owner of the Knightsbridge-based store has promised to improve and upgrade the building and make it even more popular with tourists who flock to the UK. This brings to an end a 25 year relationship betwe...Read More
Financial heavyweights to back new listed financial vehicle
Lord Levene, the chairman of Lloyds of London, and Sir David Walker, a prominent figure in the UK financial industry, will be fronting a new UK investment vehicle which will target state-owned banking assets that will be sold off in due course. It is also believed that F&C Asset Management is currently considering an invitation to join the party using the company's financial and banking experience...Read More
IMF transfers $400 million to Zimbabwe
The IMF (International Monetary Fund) has today confirmed that $400 million has been transferred to the IMF account of Zimbabwe which can be drawn down at any time for any reason. A further $102 million of international aid has been held in a suspended account until the Zimbabwe clears its $140 million debt with the IMF. Despite the fact that Zimbabwe itself is in the grip of a damaging political...Read More
Shareholder power more visible than ever before
Grainger, the U.K.'s largest listed residential landlord, yesterday felt the full force of shareholder power when investors were given the opportunity to vote on a £3 million "compromise agreement" proposed for its outgoing chief executive. Of the 290 million votes received from shareholders, 53% were against the payment which prompted further disclosures from the board. It would appear that a...Read More
HSBC announces £12.5 billion rights issue and job cuts
HSBC has this morning confirmed a £12.5 billion rights issue and the loss of 1200 jobs in the UK. While this comes as no surprise to those in the industry it is a further blow for the UK job market as more and more observers forecast significant job cuts in the future. The 1200 jobs at risk will be spread amongst the company's operations in the UK as it seems there is no hiding place from the ong...Read More