Business headlines: Richer Sounds; Metro Bank; Asda; Vodafone; TUI; Disney; Amazon; Next

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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:

Richer Sounds founder hands over control to staff
Founder of Richer Sounds, Julian Richer, has given staff a 60% stake in the business. Mr Richer founded the home entertainment company in 1978 and stated the ‘time was right’ to make the move as he had just turned 60. The shares in the company will be placed in an Employee Ownership Trust, giving each of the company’s 522 employees £1,000 for every year they have worked at the firm, with an average payout of £8,000. 39 employees will receive even more than that as they have worked for the company for over 20 years. Mr Richer will receive £9.2m for the stake, of which £3.5m will be used to make the payments to employees.

Metro Bank to announce additional funding
Metro Bank is expected to announce it has secured additional investment. According to the BBC the bank has received ‘hundreds of millions of pounds’ through existing and new investors. Shares in Metro Bank have fallen by 80% over the last year, with a 40% drop occurring in just one day in February when the bank announced it needed additional funding after miscalculating the size of its cushion against losses. Shares have jumped by over 13% in anticipation of the news of the additional funding.

Asda owner considers listing supermarket on the stock market
Asda owner Walmart is considering listing the supermarket chain on the stock market. The news was revealed by the chief executive of Asda, Judith McKenna, who related the plans to staff. It comes after the Competition and Markets Authority blocked the proposed merger between the supermarket chain and rival Sainsbury’s as it feared the deal would result in a rise in prices for consumers. Ms McKenna told staff that plans for a listing could take years to materialise.

Vodafone cuts shareholder payout for the first time
Telecom provider Vodafone has cut its payout to shareholders for the first time after the firm swung to a €7.6bn (£6.6bn) loss for the year to the end of March. Vodafone traditionally pays one of the biggest dividends in the UK but has cut it by 40% from 15.09 euro cents a share to 9 euro cents. The news contradicts new chief executive Nick Read’s claim to maintain the pay-out which he made in November last year. One of the reasons behind the company’s losses in its investment in 5G. Vodafone spent almost €4bn (£3.5bn) on auctions for 5G spectrum in Germany and Italy in the last year, pushing the firm’s debt to €27bn (£23.5bn). The sale of Vodafone India also plays a role in its losses, as well as a reduction in the value of investments in Spain and Romania.

TUI reports increased losses of £261m
Travel operator TUI has reported an underlying loss of €301m (£261m) for the six months to the end of March, compared to €170m (£148m) in the same period last year. Summer bookings for package holidays and flights are also down 3%. The firm stated weak consumer confidence as a reason behind the losses, while Brexit uncertainty and the grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft also played a role. TUI has previously warned that the grounding of the aircraft would cost it up to €300m (£261m) as it leases more jets to cover its routes. Chief executive of TUI, Fritz Joussen, said the company was still on track both strategically and operationally and that medium and long-term growth forecasts were intact.

Walt Disney Co. has announced it has reached an agreement to take full control of television streaming service Hulu under a deal with Comcast, which holds a 33% stake in the service.

Online giant Amazon has announced it is launching a new parcel collection service which will be available across hundreds of Next stores in the UK.

Source: HN Global