Business headlines: Huawei; Viagogo; Nestle; Pets at Home; Thomas Cook; Uber; Fairfax Media; Nine


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:

New Zealand blocks Huawei 5G bid over national security fears
A New Zealand government security agency has blocked a proposal to use telecoms equipment by Chinese mobile phone manufacturer Huawei, saying that it would pose a risk to national security. Spark New Zealand was considering using equipment by Huawei in its 5G mobile network. This is not the first time Huawei has been banned by a country, as Australia previously blocked the company as well as another Chinese firm called ZTE from providing 5G technology in the country, citing the same risks. Chinese tech companies have been under increasing scrutiny as their close ties to the Chinese state have fuelled concerns about espionage. The Chinese authorities have been linked to cyber espionage over the years, while new laws introduced last year requiring Chinese organisations to assist in national intelligence efforts only exacerbated fears.

Viagogo ordered to overhaul business by CMA
Online ticket reseller Viagogo has been ordered to change the way it does business by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The CMA launched legal action against the firm in August over concerns that it was breaking consumer protection law. Viagogo has now been ordered to inform customers who they are buying tickets from, which seat they will get and whether there is a risk they will not be let into the venue. It’s also not allowed to give misleading information about the availability and popularity of tickets and has to make it easier for customers to get their money back if a problem occurs. Viagogo has to comply with the court order by mid-January, and has agreed to address all of the CMA’s concerns. It has also stated that it will display the face value of tickets on its website.

Thomas Cook issues second profit warning in two months
Travel operator Thomas Cook has issued its second profit warning in two months, stating that it expects underlying profits to reach £250m, £58m lower than last year. The firm said it had had a ‘disappointing year’, with the hot summer weather lowering demand. Discounts on last-minute deals, restructuring costs and accounting write-downs on income from hotels also affected the results. Thomas Cook said that bookings for this winter are down 3%, which it partly blames on knock-on effects from the warm summer. The firm has made plans to improve returns from its UK high street outlets and cut back airline capacity next year. Shares in the company were down by over 30% in light of the news.

Nestle becomes latest company to reveal it’s stockpiling products ahead of Brexit
Executive of food and drinks giant Nestle, Ian Rayson, has told MPs that the company is stockpiling products in the run-up to Brexit in case no deal is reached. Nestle said that its warehouses for frozen and chilled food are nearly full and warned that a no-deal scenario would have ‘very severe’ consequences. Nestle is not the first company to stockpile its products, with Pets at Home and Topps Tiles revealing they too have been stockpiling their food ahead of Brexit as a no-deal scenario could lead to border delays and slowing delivery times.

Pets at Home announces plans to overhaul vet practice business
Pets at Home has said that thirty of its vet practices have been earmarked for possible closure after a review of the division. The company employs 300 people across the sites and has said that it hopes to redeploy workers nearby if possible. The review of the veterinary division showed that many sites were under pressure from salary costs and fees charged by the Pets at Home parent company. The overhaul was announced just as the group reported an 80% decline in pre-tax profits to £8m for the 28 weeks to 11 October. Changes at the vet division played a big part in this, constituting a £29m hit to profits.

Ride-hailing app Uber has been fined £385,000 for a data security failure which allowed hackers to steal the details, including names, addresses and phone numbers, of 2.7 million UK customers in an attack in 2016.

The merger of Sydney-headquartered media company Fairfax Media with Nine Entertainment has been approved by the Federal Court of Australia, despite a last-ditch attempt to derail it by former Fairfax chief executive Antony Catalano.

Source: HN Global