The Business: Thursday April 10 2014
Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday
The boss of Next has announced he will share his £4m bonus with shop workers, says The Times. Chief executive Lord Wolfson, who is also a Conservative peer, is to hand out shares he was entitled to receive under a three-year incentive scheme. The handout will be worth an average of £200 each to his 20,000 employees. Writing to Next staff, he explained that “thanks to everybody’s hard work” his share bonus “has become more valuable than I could possibly have hoped”.
Giving HM Revenue & Customs the power to raid people’s bank accounts to reclaim money owed to the Exchequer could be illegal, MPs have been told. Writing to the Treasury select committee, Frank Haskew, the head of tax at the Institute of Charter Accountants in England & Wales, said the proposal is “excessive”. He said it is "a fundamental tenet of our English law and our democratic society" that money "cannot be grabbed from somebody’s account without a judge agreeing to the move".
The troubled Co-operative Group has received a fresh blow as former City minister Lord Myners quits the board. Amid howls of outrage over his plans to reform the business, he has followed chief executive Euan Sutherland out of the door. Sutherland resigned last month, describing the business as “ungovernable”. Lord Myner had proposed making the Co-op's governance more like a publicly listed company.
“Steve Jobs was a visionary who wanted everyone else to understand the amazing possibilities he saw. I think Alan Sugar is a pragmatic entrepreneur who has a gift for making exciting technology unexpectedly affordable.” Computer industry expert Rob Lawton rejects a comparison between Lord Sugar and Steve Jobs.
Blackberry boss John Chen says he could sell the handset business. As the company looks to expand its corporate reach with investments, acquisitions and partnerships, John Chen said: "If I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business.” He added that the timeframe to make such a decision was brief. Chen, who took over at the struggling smartphone company last November, said small acquisitions to strengthen BlackBerry's network security offerings were also possible.
Wall Street reacted positively to the minutes of the latest US Federal Reserve meeting which showed “almost all” policy-makers agreed it should review its guidance policy. The meeting was almost unanimous in agreement that using a threshold of 6.5% unemployment as the trigger for interest rate rises should be replace by a new form of guidance. After the minutes were published, the three main New York indices rose sharply.
FTSE-100: up +0.68 to 6635.61
Dow Jones: up +1.11 to 16437.18
Dax: up +0.16 to 9506.35
Cac-40: up +0.40 to 4442.68
Nikkei: up +0.03 to 14303.71
Hang Seng: up +0.90 to 23049.05
US dollar: buys €0.72250 and £0.59590
Sterling: buys $1.67810 and €1.21250
Oil: $107.78 up +0.1