The UK is planning to cut off access to London’s storied insurance market for ships carrying Russian oil.
It comes as part of a coordinated action with the EU, means vessels will be unable to get coverage from Lloyd’s of London, the crucial insurance market at the heart of the City.
The move, which was reported by the Financial Times, arrives as part of a new wave of sanctions against Russian oil.
Musk to remote workers: I don’t want you
Elon Musk, boss of Tesla, has doubled down on his opposition to home working following an email to the electric car-maker’s staff in which he said remote work was “no longer accetble [sic]”.
He told staff:
anyone who wishes to do remote work must be in the office for a minimum (and I mean *minimum*) of 40 hours per week or depart Tesla
Asked by a follower to comment further on the email, the world’s richest man said:
German retail sales plunge most in a year amid shock slowdown
German retail sales plunged 5.4pc in April, a shock drop that will spark fears Europe’s biggest economy may be coursing towards a recession.
It is the sharpest monthly drop since April 2021, and far bigger than the 0.9pc fall economists had predicted.
The fall was mainly driven by a decline in sales of furniture and fittings, as well as declines in food, tobacco, clothing and shoes, according to the German Federal Statistics Office.
Dr Martens soars after beating estimates
Shares in shoe retailer Dr. Martens are about 22pc higher after it smashed expectations for its full-year profits.
The group is leading FTSE 250 risers after posting a profit before tax of £214.3m, well above the consensus at £195.9m.
Kenny Wilson, its chief executive, said:
Our results were achieved against unprecedented Covid-19 disruption in our supply chain, which our teams navigated with flexibility and dedication… Dr. Martens remains incredibly underpenetrated globally, giving us conviction in our future growth ambition.
It said revenue growth is likely to be in the “high teens” during the 2023 fiscal year, amid price increases for its signature boots.
FCA names interim chair
The Financial Conduct Authority, the City watchdog, has named Richard Lloyd, a former director at Which?, as its interim chair.
Mr Lloyd will take over from Charles Randall, who stood down yesterday after four years at the helm.
The FCA said:
Richard will act as Chair until HM Treasury appoints a permanent successor. A recruitment process is underway.
GSK steps closer to Haleon spin-off
Pharma giant GSK has moved closer to spinning off Haleon, its recently-renamed consumer business, with July 18th set as the date for a listing.
When Haleon – which makes Panadol painkillers and Sensodyne toothpaste – comes to market, it is expected to be the largest listing London has seen in a decade.
In a statement this morning, FTSE 100-listed GSK said:
The proposed Demerger is the most significant corporate change for GSK in the last 20 years, creating two new leading companies, each with clear targets for growth and the ability to positively impact the health and lives of billions of people.
The move comes after pressure on GSK boss Dame Emma Walmsley from Elliott, the activist manager.
Pfizer will control 32pc of Haleon when it is listed, a position it will exit “in a disciplined manner” according to the statement.
UK and EU plot insurance ban on Russian oil cargoes – FT
The UK and European Union have drawn up a co-ordinated ban stopping insurers from covering ships carrying Russian oil, freezing Moscow-affiliated tankers out of the crucial Lloyd’s of London market.
The paper reports:
Lloyd’s has been the heart of the marine insurance industry for centuries and blocking its members from insuring Russian oil cargoes will pile more pressure on global commodity markets, which have been in turmoil since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
The insurance ban is part of a new EU sanctions package targeting Russian oil exports.
It may force Russian shipping companies into smaller markets with less established brokers.
DWS chief resigns in wake of police raid
The chief executive of DWS, the asset management group controlled by Germany’s Deutsche Bank, has resigned following a police raid over greenwashing allegations.
Asoka Woehrmann has quit following months of controversy, and will be replaced by Stefan Hoops, head of the German lender’s corporate bank.
The departure of one of Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing’s former close allies underscores the rising pressure since former DWS chief sustainability officer Desiree Fixler’s allegations that the company inflated its ESG credentials.
The raids add to a rising list of regulatory and legal headaches for Sewing, after law officials swooped into both firms in Frankfurt on Tuesday.
FTSE opens higher
The FTSE 100 has opened about 0.3pc higher, following a tepid performance on Tuesday.
Mike Ashley swoops on Missguided
Mike Ashley has added stricken fashion group Missguided to his retail empire in a £20m takeover.
His FTSE 250-listed company Frasers Group has “acquired certain intellectual property” belonging to the women’s retailer, it said on Wednesday.
Missguided collapsed on Monday, with administrators Teneo pinning its demise on rising inflation, supply chain costs and weakening consumer confidence.
The group’s suppliers are still owed millions of pounds, and have filed a complaint with the Insolvency Service.
Under the deal announced today, it will be operated by Teneo for eight weeks before joining Frasers as a “standalone business”.
Agenda: New inflation warning as prices surge
Good morning. Retailers have warned shelf food prices are increasing at the fastest pace in a decade as shops pass on higher costs to customers.
Shop food price inflation picked up to 4.3pc in May according to the British Retail Consortium, the highest since 2012.
Helen Dickinson, the BRC’s chief executive, said the increase in prices will “get worse before it gets better”, adding: “With little sign that the cost burden on retailers will ease any time soon, they will be left with little room for manoeuvre, especially those whose supply chains are affected by lockdowns in China and the war in Ukraine.”
5 things to start your day
1) Pound risks rollercoaster run amid policy uncertainty Sterling’s future not looking rosy as a top Wall Street bank says it is facing an existential crisis
2) Europe lurches closer to energy crisis as Kremlin cuts off gas supply to Shell British company loses access to Russian fuel following refusal to pay in roubles
3) Blame game erupts as airlines and ministers shun responsibility for travel chaos Holidaymakers are once again suffering from disruption at Britain’s airports during half-term
4) New boss of competition regulator parachuted in after war declared on rip-off petrol stations Marcus Bokkerink, former partner at a major consulting firm, to join board of Competition and Markets Authority
5) Billionaire activist Nelson Peltz joins Unilever board FTSE 100 giant will engage with Peltz on strategy amid mounting criticism over focus on ‘social purpose’
What happened overnight
Hong Kong stocks fell at the beginning of trade on Wednesday morning, with the Hang Seng Index dropping 0.35 percent, or 75.00 points to 21,340.20.
The Shanghai Composite Index dipped 0.34 percent, or 10.93 points, to 3.175.50, while the Shenzhen Composite Index on China’s second exchange fell 0.30 percent, or 5.95 points, to 2,001.00.
Tokyo stocks opened higher on Wednesday, shrugging off falls on Wall Street.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 0.18 percent, or 49.61 points, at 27,329.41 in early trade, while the broader Topix index was up 0.32 percent, or 6.19 points, at 1,918.86.
Coming up today
- Full-year results: Dr Martens
- Economics: Manufacturing PMI (UK, US, EU), unemployment rate (EU), retail sales (Ger)