Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

M&As heading towards 20 year low.

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

The number of mergers and acquisitions (M&As) is on course to drop to its lowest level since 1992, it has been predicted.

A study by accounting jobs provider Grant Thornton found that 303 M&A deals have been completed since the start of July, 32 per cent less than during the second quarter of this year when the total was 449.

It was 54 per cent lower than the 546 recorded in the third quarter of 2008.

Last orders rise as Pubs feel credit crunch.

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

The BBC reports that UK pubs closed at a rate of 52 per week in the first half of the year - a third more than the same period in 2008.  The number of pubs has dropped by 2,377 in the past year, to a total of 53,466.

In research by the British Beer and Pub Association, local pubs were the most vulnerable as communities were hit by the fallout of the economic downturn.  The report suggested businesses that provide food were far more resilient to the recession.

And branded pubs and cafe-style bars were opening at a rate of two a week, according to the BBPA. “Pubs are already diversifying, but unfortunately if you are a community pub, you can’t transform yourself into a trendy town-centre bar,” said an association spokesman.

“The biggest impact is the recession. There are fewer people out and fewer people spending money in pubs and bars, regardless of where they are,” he said.  The rate of closures was the fastest since the number of UK pubs began being tracked, in 1990.

KPMG report highlights rise in UK fraud.

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

UK fraud levels hit a record high in the first half of 2009, figures show, on a CIMA website article

It reads:

KPMG’s Fraud Barometer has revealed that more than 160 cases involving sums in excess of £100,000 passed through UK courts during this period - the highest number in the barometer’s 21-year history.

The total value of cases was £636 million and if this figure is replicated in the second half of 2009, this would lead to the highest value of fraud ever recorded by the index.

However, Hitesh Patel, partner at KPMG Forensic, warned that there is worse to come.

He said: “It will be a number of years before the impact of the recession fully feeds through into the fraud statistics.

“Hard times mean more people driven to fraud by personal pressures, and more investors willing to believe in cooked up investment schemes.”

Internal fraud also remains a major risk, Mr Patel added.

CFOs need ‘more influence’ in Boardroom.

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Chief financial officers (CFOs) should be given more influence at board level, a new study has suggested.

In an article on the CIMA website, a survey conducted by CFO Research Services on behalf of KPMG found that 80 per cent of firms think that the finance function should be given a greater say in strategic decision making.

It also revealed that 83 per cent of CFOs think the best way they can improve their standing with other executives is by improving planning, forecasting and budgeting.

Rodger Hill, head of financial management at KPMG in the UK, stated that he was pleased that so many firms recognise there is a need for change.

However, he also pointed out that the majority of businesses held the same opinion when the survey was last conducted three years ago.

Mr Hill said: “This tells you that plenty more companies have since realised where their shortcomings lie - but also that those who realised this three years ago appear not to have done anything about it.

“What a shame that it has taken a crisis of this magnitude to finally shake people into life.”

Gordon Ramsay’s own Kitchen Nightmares

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Profits at Gordon Ramsay’s UK restaurants fell by 87% in the last year, forcing the chef to inject £3.5m of his own money into the business, the BBC reports.

His father-in-law and partner Chris Hutcheson also pumped in £1.5m to help cope with mounting debts and tax bills.

Their woes in the year to August 2008 were blamed on ambitious expansion plans and the closure of key London restaurants like The Savoy Grill.

Ramsay said the company had “learnt some valuable lessons”.

The latest accounts showed that in 2007-08 pre-tax profits plummeted £3.05m to £383,325.

At the same time, net debt soared from £4.06m to £9.48m.

Madoff gets 150 years for £40bn fraud

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Bernard Madoff has been given the maximum prison sentence of 150 years for his role in masterminding a massive fraud that robbed investors of $65bn (£40bn).

The sentence, which means Madoff will spend the rest of his life in jail, was greeted with cheers and applause in the packed courtroom.

US District Judge Denny Chin said he wanted to send a message that Madoff’s crimes were “extraordinarily evil”.

Madoff’s lawyer had sought a more lenient sentence of 12 years.

Judge Chin gave Madoff the maximum sentence on all 11 charges, which included securities fraud and money laundering.

GM enters bankruptcy protection in US.

Monday, June 1st, 2009

Car giant General Motors (GM) has filed for bankruptcy protection, marking the biggest failure of an industrial company in US history.

The widely expected move comes after GM had seen its losses widen following a steep fall in sales in recent years.

The move into bankruptcy protection has been backed by the US government, which is now expected to take a 60% stake in the company.

The White House is also due to announce an extra $30bn (£18.5bn) of aid for GM.

Marks and Spencer sales fall 4.2%

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Marks and Spencer has reported a fall in sales for the fourth consecutive quarter and admitted that the outlook remains “uncertain”.

M&S said like-for-like sales in the UK - i.e. those which strip out the impact of store openings and closures - were down 4.2% for the 13 weeks to 28 March.

Executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose said he was confident M&S was doing “the right things for our customers”.

In January, M&S announced 1,200 job cuts and plans to close 27 stores.

It intends to close 25 of its Simply Food stores and two of its regular stores.

CIMA graduate receives “FD of Year” award

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Allan Watson, Chief Financial Officer of OPTOS Plc, has been named Young Finance Director of the Year at the Scotland Finance Director Awards 2009.

Allan, an associate member of CIMA, received his award at a gala luncheon held at The Hilton, Glasgow on Friday 27 February.

The Awards, sponsored by Bank of Scotland Corporate, and supported by ASA International with CA Magazine as media sponsors, honour the outstanding contribution and effort made by Finance Directors towards the overall success of their organisations and are the most prestigious accolades available to Finance Directors in Scotland.

Zavvi retail chain to disappear from High Street.

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

The music, games and DVD retail chain Zavvi is to disappear from the High Streetsoon, with its remaining stores to be either sold or shut down.

Zavvi’s administrators said 446 jobs would be lost after the closure of a further 18 stores by 20 February.

However, 10 other Zavvi stores have been sold, and a further three are also expected to find a new owner.

Before its demise, Zavvi had 114 stores in the UK and 11 in the Irish Republic, and employed 2,300 full-time staff.