The Business: Friday June 6 2014
Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday
Pope Francis has sacked the entire board of the Vatican’s financial regulator as he attempts a clean-up following a corruption scandal. The Financial Intelligence Authority's Italian, five-person board are to be replaced with four international experts from Italy, Singapore, Switzerland and the US. These include Juan Zarate, a former national security adviser to US President George Bush. Pope Francis issued a decree last year aimed at stopping money-laundering.
More than 100,000 small businesses could be made exempt from business rates as part of a radical proposal to overhaul the controversial tax. A number of companies and business groups have pushed for the reform during a government consultation on the issue, which closes today. The British Retail Consortium has spearheaded the call, arguing the move would reduce the workload for government valuers and allow business to press on with expansion plans.
Is the AA poised to announce plans for a stock market listing? Sky News reports that Britain’s biggest roadside recovery group is planning to push ahead with a £4bn flotation despite a disappointing stock market debut from Saga, its sister company. Acromas Holdings, the AA’s parent, could announce plans for the listing, through an accelerated initial public offering, later today. Around 10 City institutions would act as cornerstone investors.
Shares in the fashion retailer Asos have fallen 31% as a profits warning wiped £1.2bn off its value, says Reuters. Chief executive Nick Robertson, who founded Asos in 2000, said: "I've really had a perfect storm. We've got to take this on the chin. It's frustrating – everything we are doing is building Asos into a much bigger business." Its shares have now more than halved from the all-time high of 7,195 pence reached in February to trade around 3,107p.
The sky-high cost of housing in London is scaring away world-class talent, say industry chiefs. Employers claim they are finding it hard to attract foreign talent because of the rocketing costs of buying and renting homes in the capital. Surveys have backed up the assertion. The problem has now become so significant that some companies are planning schemes to reduce the costs for any overseas recruits.
FTSE-100: down -0.08 to 6813.49 Dow Jones: up +0.59 to 16836.11
Dax: up +0.21 to 9947.83
Cac-40: up +1.06 to 4548.73
Nikkei: up +0.07 to 15089.31
Hang Seng: down -0.30 to 23039.70
US dollar: buys €0.73210 and £0.59490
Sterling: buys $1.68100 and €1.23080
Oil: $108.90 up +0.5