Live Blog

September 2, 2015, 7:45am
Asos' share price tumbled this morning as the etailer confirmed boss Nick Robertson is stepping down as chief executive of the company he founded 15 years ago. 
 
Chief operating officer Nick Beighton will take on the reins with immediate effect. Robertson will stay on as a non-executive director. 
 
Beighton has been at Asos since 2009, when he joined as chief financial officer. He was promoted last October, taking on wider management responsibilities. Helen Ashton joined as chief financial officer, succeeding Beighton, yesterday.
 
Asos' share price was down 4.1 per cent in early morning trading. 
 
 
It has long been thought that Robertson was working on an exit strategy from the etailer. Rumours about his departure first surfaced last night, but it was confirmed this morning.  
 
Asos chairman Brian McBride said:  "On behalf of everyone who works at Asos, I'd like to acknowledge Nick Robertson's extraordinary achievement. His passion and vision have built a start-up into a world class company. We are all delighted that Nick will continue to contribute to the Company that he started.
 
We are fortunate to have such an able successor for the chief executive role in Nick Beighton. Nick has unique experience of the Company built over six years, equipping him to drive Asos along its growth trajectory to become the world's leading online fashion retailer for 20-somethings".
September 2, 2015, 7:31am
Several hundred Eurostar passengers were stranded in Calais overnight after yet more chaos caused by intruders thought to be migrants attempting to cross through the Channel Tunnel. 
 
Around six Eurostar trains were held up after the incidents began around 10:30pm last night. According to AFP, several hundred people were still stuck at Calais-Frethun station at 5am this morning, where one train had been towed to. The total number of people affected has not been confirmed, but the maximum capacity of a Eurostar train is 750. 
 
A Eurostar spokeman told the wire it was due to “the presence of intruders on the tracks at the French entrance to the tunnel, on the site of Eurotunnel". 
 
The passengers were given food and water, and emergency services were on hand “for those who need help, especially the elderly," he added.
 
Eyewitnesses said soldiers were present as the six trains were towed back to the station. Passengers said they had seen people running “probably migrants”.  One told AFP the Eurostar had to wait for "a helicopter to ensure there were no migrants above us". 
 
Several people used social media to document the incident, with one saying his train was "surrounded by migrants".
 
"Been asked to listen  out for people walking on the roof," he added. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
One other train returned to Paris, and one remained in London. The remaining trains made it through to London after several hours. 
 
South West Trains
September 2, 2015, 7:12am
Commuters are being told to expect “major delays” between Waterloo and Wimbledon throughout rush hour this morning. 
 
The South West Trains services are being taken down by a signalling problem between Wimbledon and Earlsfield, affecting a number of lines into the main London terminus. 
 
Lines between Waterloo and Wimbledon were closed, but have since been reopened. However delays of up to 60 minutes are expected until services return to normal, and according to National Rail, this will continue until at least 10am. 
 
Commuters are being advised to seek alternative routes including using First Great Western, Southern or Thameslink mainline trains as well as London buses or the Tube. 
 
The disruption, which has been exacerbated by problems with the District Line, is already causing headaches for many passengers.
 
 
 
September 2, 2015, 7:00am
European markets are set to regain some of yesterday's losses this morning, as Chinese markets rally in late afternoon trading. 
 
The Shanghai Composite and Hang Seng were down less than one per cent each at pixel time, having regained most of their losses made earlier today. 
 
However analysts including CMC Markets have suggested that far from being a sign of optimism, the swift rise indicates Beijing is injecting money into its markets by buying shares. 
 
By doing so, China is able to provide a backdrop of rising markets when Beijing holds its military parade on Thursday.
 
The parade is being out on to commemorate Japan's World War II surrender, and Chinese markets will be closed on Thursday and Friday while celebrations take place. 
 
Today, investors in the UK will turn their attention to construction data being released this morning.
 

Corporate news:

  • Aggreko has confirmed its acquisition of Canadian company ICS Group for £18m
  • Ashtead's revenue went up 20 per cent in the first quarter. The industrial equipment company puts the increase down to its diversification strategy. 

Economic data:

  • 09:30: UK, construction PMI, August
  • 10:00: Eurozone, producer price index, July
  • 12:00: US, MBA mortgage applications
  • 13:15: US, ADP employment change, August
  • 15:30: US, EIA crude oil stocks change
Tesco
September 2, 2015, 6:58am

Tesco has identified private equity firm MBK Partners as the preferred bidder to buy its South Korean arm, Reuters is reporting. 

The troubled supermarket has been looking to offload Homeplus, which is valued at around $6bn (£3.9bn), as part of a wider attempt to bolster its bottom line. Two months ago it held a beauty parade for five private equity firms, including US-based KKR and Carlyle Group.

It received three separate binding bids in August, including ones from MBK as well as both KKR - together with Affinity Equity Partners - and Carlyle. 

The newswire cites two sources "with direct knowledge of the matter". Spokespeople for both Tescos and MBK declined to comment. 

Tesco's share price opened up, but fell during early morning trading. 

China stocks
September 2, 2015, 6:45am
After a steep fall at the start of trading, Chinese markets made a rapid recovery, with the Shanghai Composite finishing just 0.2 per cent down, while the Shenzhen Composite ended just under two per cent lower. 
 
Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 opened slightly higher, rising 0.7 per cent to 6,100 points in early trading.
 
 
The rises in China came after another turbulent day: the Shanghai Composite fell as much as 4.7 per cent as markets opened, while plunged 4.8 per cent on the opening bell.
 
 
Given the continuing concerns over China's economy following yesterday's disappointing manufacturing results, analysts suggested the swift rise could be the result of Beijing injecting money into its markets by buying shares. 
 
Michael Hewson, analyst at CMC markets, said:
 
While we have seen a late recovery in Asia, that’s largely been as a result of some late state intervention in Chinese markets to help keep a floor under stocks, with the help of the Chinese equivalent of the plunge protection team.
 
The official purchasing manager's index (PMI) for China's manufacturing sector fell to 49.7 last month – down from 50 in July. Any figure under 50 denotes a contraction in the sector.
 
The figure, combined with poor manufacturing results from the UK and US, caused markets to decline globally. The FTSE ended Monday more than three per cent lower. 
 
By injecting money into its markets, China will be able to provide a backdrop of improvement when it hosts its military parade in Beijing tomorrow. 
 
At the end of Wednesday, Chinese markets will close for two days in a holiday commemorating the end of World War Two. 
September 2, 2015, 5:04am

Prices for homes in Canary Wharf Group and Qatari Diar’s controversial Shell Centre scheme on London’s South Bank were unveiled today, with a two-bedroom flat setting buyers back as much as £1m. 

Read more: Almacantar buys Shell Centre offices on South Bank for £550m

Around 877 homes are due to be built on the the 5.25-acre riverside site, which will comprise of seven new towers as well as the Shell Centre’s existing 27-storey tower. 

The scheme, officially known as Southbank Place, will also have 800,000 square feet of offices and 80,000 sq ft of shops as well as cafes and restaurants. The development is expected to be completed by 2019.

Homes inside One York Square, the first of the seven buildings to be built, officially go on sale this month after opening for registrations in July. 

Prices for the first 199 homes range from £540,000 for a studio to £685,000 for a one bedroom and £1m for a two bedroom home. 

The scheme has faced a lengthy planning battle after facing opposition for obstructing views of the Houses of Parliament. 

The marketing suite, where buyers can view mock-up apartments, will be inside Waterloo's County Hall, which was formerly the office of Greater London Council leader, Ken Livingstone and later the interim headquarters of The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.

Plans were finally approved last year after Eric Pickles, the former communities secretary overruled objections, arguing that the scheme will “provide accessible jobs and homes, and enhance the character of the South Bank area”.

Canary Wharf Group’s chairman and chief executive, Sir George Iacobescu said: “Today marks yet another exciting milestone in the development of Southbank Place. Our architects and designers have worked hard to deliver a scheme that complements and enriches London’s South Bank for generations to come."

"Now, we are focused on bringing this vision to life and giving back to the South Bank community through the creation of affordable housing and generation of local employment in the construction phase and beyond. The vision of this scheme demonstrates what an outstanding development Southbank Place will be and the positive contribution it will make to London’s cultural quarter.”

Last month, developer Almacantar bought two office buildings on the site – One and Two Southbank Place – for £550m, marking one of the largest deals undertaken in the South Bank’s history.

September 1, 2015, 11:55pm
It’s easy to forget how important the River Thames was to London in past centuries. But a trip to The Gun in the city's Docklands will put that straight.
 
It's a slice of history all right - even Lord Nelson used to drink a pint or two here.
 
Yet today, the pub is almost in the shadows of the cut and thrust of modern Canary Wharf, and rather than warships, it is banking fortunes that are created locally.
 
It is a hidden gem, but persistence through the back streets of the Isle of Dogs will be rewarded. On arrival, the pub sign with the cannonball hole through it shows there's a modern twist to The Gun, and a sense of humour that pervades.
 
Named after the weapon fired to celebrate the opening of the West India Import Docks in 1802, The Gun is steeped in history, from a time when local iron foundries cast guns for the Royal Navy fleet.
 
The listed building itself was badly damaged by fire in 2001, and has been painstakingly restored since.
 
Quirky and intriguing interior touches include a spy hole on the staircase, used by smugglers to look out for the revenue men, and a dining room ceiling hung with dozens of tankards.
 
Never mind if history's not your thing, as this is much more than your usual pub.
 
You can enjoy a perfect pint of Symonds Founder’s Reserve cider in The Terrace as you watch the sun go down over the river and take in a panoramic view over to the North Greenwich peninsula and the O2.
 
Unsurprisingly tables in The Terrace need to be reserved in advance. 
 
What makes this pub special is that it has rather an air of romance about it, and in winter months the focus moves from The Terrace to the bar with its snugs and a real fire to sit by.
 
Rest assured the bar is fully stocked with an array of draught beers, lagers and ciders for you to choose from.
 
The owners, from the award-winning gastro experts ETM Group, have spared no expense, creating a relaxed and engaging atmosphere combined with a welcoming pub feel and with restaurant quality food.
 
In fact, The Gun is ranked in the top 10% of London eateries on TripAdvisor - no mean feat.
 
Head chef Robert Hunter evidently takes his ingredients seriously, as he has even tried growing his own herbs and vegetables this summer, in an urban allotment garden outside the pub. 
 
  • A ceiling covered in tankards
  • Riverside terrace
  • Romantic winter feel
 
 
Also worth a visit....
 

(Source: Pepys)
 
Pepys, EC4V 3PT
 
Set in an old warehouse building on the southern edge of the City, but a bar with a wild side. Great views of the Shard and Tate Modern from the riverside terrace.
 
  • Worth the walk
  • Tuesday poker nights
  • City hours - weekdays only
 

(Source: The Phene Arms)
 
Phene Arms, SW3 5NY
 
A clubhouse feel inside, the Phene Arms seems to have a room to suit your mood, whatever it is. Outside is one of Chelsea's largest pub gardens. 
 
  • Fabulous al fresco space
  • Mix with the Chelsea set
  • Lobster and chips on the menu
 

(Source: Riverfront)
 
Riverfront, SE1 8XT
 
A bar, cafe and restaurant that's ideal to visit as part of a riverside walk. Buzzing bar with plentiful outside seating, and open for breakfast.  
 
  • Great for people watching
  • Atmospheric, low lit bar
  • Early evening set menu
 
Asos
September 1, 2015, 8:56pm

Asos founder and boss Nick Robertson is expected to announce his departure from the top job at the fashion website this morning.

Read more: Asos goes from annus horribilis to the height of fashion

Robertson who set up the company, one of the UK’s most high-profile tech success stories in 2000, has told the board he wants to step down from the top job but remain on as a non-executive director, according to Sky News which first reported the story.
 
Robertson will keep a sizeable stake in the fashion e-tailer worth hundreds of millions of pounds.
 
His departure comes after a tough couple of years at the firm, which has issued several profit warnings and had a fire at its distribution warehouse in Barnsley.
 
Robertson also sold £20m  of shares in January - which suggested he may have been considering stepping down. He still has shares worth around 8.39 per cent of the total issued share capital.
 
Current chief operating officer Nick Beighton is widely tipped to take the top job at the world’s second most visited fashion website and sources said a succession plan at the e-tailer had been well underway for some time.
 
Asos declined to comment on the leadership change.
 
Shares in Asos dipped yesterday to close down 0.33 per cent.
RMT
September 1, 2015, 7:12pm

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union has suspended Tube strikes planned for next week.

Read more: Picket line travel disruption is hurting London Underground

A walkout was planned between Tuesday 8th September and Thursday 10th September over disputes about pay and working conditions ahead of the planned all-night Tube service.

Plans had been in place to introduce the 24-hour service this month however London Underground "deferred" the launch in order to allow talks with trade unions to be resolved.

RMT were the only union still pushing ahead with strike action this month after the postponement which it said proved "that our members were right to strike and were right to warn the public about the consequences of the mad rush to introduce the Mayor's Night Tube plans without agreement".

An RMT spokesman said that further strikes could be planned if negotiations with London Underground were not resolved and told the BBC that "all industrial action called to not co-operate with night Tube at local level, including modelling and trains, remains in place."

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