CASH-STRAPPED TOURISTS AVOID SPANISH SUN
British tourists impoverished by the weak pound, German holiday makers worried about recession and a domestic market laid low by the sharpest economic contraction for 40 years: it would be hard to imagine a worse combination for Spain’s tourism industry as bookings in many places are down by at least 10 per cent.
UK INSURERS DELAY REPORTING REFORMS
Leading UK life assurers have delayed adopting stricter financial reporting rules, lagging as much as three years behind some British and most European industry peers. Companies including Legal & General, Prudential and Standard Life pushed for a two-year reprieve for inconsistencies to be ironed out before the new standards used are made compulsory.
WESTLB CHIEF QUITS OVER STRATEGY DISPUTE
WestLB’s chief executive quit unexpectedly yesterday, blaming a dispute with its owners and casting fresh doubt on the stricken bank’s future. Heinz Hilgert complained of a lack of support for his plan to slim WestLB’s balance sheet and shed non-core assets, which he said was the “only way to secure the future existence of the bank on a sustainable basis”.
OSPRAIE PLANS POINT TO HEDGE FUND CONFIDENCE
Ospraie Management is launching two funds focusing on commodities and other liquid securities just eight months after it was forced to close its flagship fund amid huge losses on commodities trades. The US hedge fund’s move, announce in a letter to investors, is a sign of growing confidence within the hedge fund industry. Ospraie’s founder Dwight Anderson said he sees opportunities that could “create significant value”.
18 POLICE OFFICERS INVESTIGATED ATTACK ON SIR FRED GOODWIN’S HOUSE
Despite the best efforts of 18 officers, a police dog, and several forensic specialists, the Case of the Smashed Windows — the Edinburgh home of Sir Fred Goodwin, the former RBS chief executive — remains unsolved. The inquiry showed a level of commitment from police that observers say has rarely been applied to other minor acts of vandalism in the city.
RANK PARTS COMPANY WITH MECCA BINGO HEAD
Rank Group, the embattled gaming operator, has parted company with Simon Wykes, the head of its Mecca Bingo division as it seeks to pep up the business’s trading performance. The company said Wykes will receive a payoff equivalent to a year’s salary and contractual entitlements.
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
FORMER M&S EXECS JOIN ASDA’S GEORGE
Asda, the Wal-Mart-owned supermarket, has appointed two former Marks & Spencer executives to senior positions at its George clothing range. Arman Djemil and Steve Jackson both started at Asda a number of weeks ago in its boyswear and menswear departments respectively. The two men are understood to have left M&S earlier this year, prior to being approached by Asda.
GLAXO IN £244M DEAL WITH OXFORD BIOTHERAPEUTICS
Management and investors in small biotechnology group Oxford BioTherapeutics have secured a huge boost in resources after agreeing a £244m deal with GlaxoSmithKline, the UK’s largest drug group. The strategic alliance will see the pair discover, develop and commercialise novel antibodies for the treatment of cancer.
WALL STREET JOURNAL
LOWE’S EARNINGS DROP 22 PER CENT AS CONSUMERS CURTAIL BIG-TICKET ITEMS
Lowe’s reported a 22 per cent drop in its fiscal first-quarter profit as customers cut back purchases of big-ticket items. But successful cost cutting produced better-than-expected results amid what the company said is still a difficult consumer environment. Gross profit margins and market share improved from a year ago.
AMERICAN APPAREL, WOODY ALLEN SETTLE LAWSUIT
American Apparel on Monday agreed to a $5m settlement with filmmaker Woody Allen to end a lawsuit accusing the retailer of unauthorized use of the director’ s image in an ad campaign. Allen took issue with American Apparel billboards in New York and Los Angeles that showed him dressed as a Hasidic Jew.