Business headlines: Debenhams; Eurotunnel; E.On; Cuadrilla; Liberty; Macquarie


It’s vital to be aware of the latest news in the industry you’re working in or applying to. Here are some headlines you might find interesting:

Debenhams secures £40m investment
Department store chain Debenhams has secured a £40m cash injection which will help it buy some extra time as it works on reaching a long-term deal with lenders. Debenham is currently in talks with lenders to renegotiate its debts. The firm issued three profit warnings last year and has since made plans to close stores in order to cut costs. It is now hoping to accelerate these plans and close around 20 Debenhams department stores this year under a company voluntary arrangement. Shares were up by almost 40% because of the funding news.

Eurotunnel sues government over no-deal ferry contracts
Eurotunnel, the operator of the Channel Tunnel, has sued the government for awarding contracts to three firms to run extra ferries between England and France in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Eurotunnel has claimed at a High Court hearing in London that the contracts were awarded without any public notice. The government announced the contracts on 29 December last year. Daniel Beard, Eurotunnel’s barrister, said it was ‘remarkable’ that the company had not been informed of the contracts given it having a recent history of running services across the Channel. A representative for Transport Secretary Chris Grayling stated that the procurement process was for maritime freight services only, which would have ruled out the Eurotunnel as a contender. A four-day trial will start on 1 March.

E.On raises energy prices in response to Ofgem cap
Energy supplier E.On has announced it is raising its prices in response to a new cap set by regulator Ofgem. E.On is the first of the big six suppliers to raise its prices ahead of the new cap which will come into effect at the start of April. The new rules will allow suppliers to charge customers on default tariffs more due to a rise in wholesale costs. 1.8 million E.On customers will see costs go up by 10%. The other members of the Big Six are expected to follow E.On in raising their prices. It is expected that over half of British households will see their energy costs rise by a similar amount in April.

Cuadrilla’s fracking application refused at second site
Energy company Cuadrilla has been refused planning permission for a site in Lancashire where it intends to start fracking. The application was denied by the local council which said highway safety issues at the site had not been ‘satisfactorily’ addressed. The company was given permission to start fracking on a nearby site at Little Plumpton in October 2016, but concerns about traffic going to and from the second site, Roseacre Wood, meant planning permission would not be granted. Cuadrilla said it was disappointed by the decision and has appealed.

Sustainable palm oil in supermarket products not fully traceable
Research by Radio 4’s You & Yours has found that palm oil used in supermarket products that is marketed as ‘100% certified sustainable’ is not fully traceable. Palm oil is the most commonly consumed vegetable oil and can be found in over 70% of food products. However, its production is linked to mass deforestation in countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia. You & Yours investigated the percentage of sustainable palm oil in the own-brand products of 6 supermarkets. Tesco came out on top with the highest percentage of palm oil that was fully traceable to sustainable sources, at 67%, while Waitrose and ASDA scored lowest: both at 50%.

London department store Liberty has hired investment bank UBS to explore a possible sale of the business, valuing the firm at over £300m.

Australian investment bank Macquarie has outlined its ambitions for growth in Europe, Asia and America, setting aside A$4bn in surplus capital to reach this goal.

Source: HN Global