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Companies and Markets
Gunvor shrugs off co-founder Timchenko’s shock departure to post 20% rise in profits
Gunvor, a leading commodity trader, has ridden out the most tumultuous year in its history, boosting operating profits by a fifth despite the sudden exit if its co-founder. Operating profits rose by 20 per cent to $432m in the 12 months to December as total trading volumes of oil, coal, metals and iron ore edged up to 137m metric tonnes.
Energy earnings run dry in Americas
The slump in oil and natural gas prices since last summer has driven the American production operations of the world’s largest oil companies into losses. ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips of the US yesterday reported that they lost money on oil and gas production in their home country in the first quarter.
Miliband savaged for ‘lies’ over spending
Ed Miliband suffered a bruising final television contest before the election as he as accused of “lying” for refusing to accept that the previous Labour government spent too much. In the last set piece of the campaign all three main party leaders were questioned by the public but Mr Miliband was given the most hostile reception.
Flash-crash rigging is rife, warn traders
British regulators have been warned that traders may have been manipulating a vital sterling contract used to price products ranging from savings rates to mortgages, using the same techniques allegedly employed by Navinder Sarao, the “flash crash” trader.
Shell defends BG takeover as oil trading helps it overcome slump in crude price
Royal Dutch Shell’s main investors have questioned the oil company’s £45 billion takeover of BG Group, the company conceded yesterday. As it announced first-quarter results that beat even the most optimistic of City forecasts, Shell said that it had visited most of its main shareholders to explain the deal’s rationale.
Used car dealer stalls
One of the UK’s largest used car dealers has collapsed with the loss of more than 500 jobs. Administrators Grant Thornton were appointed to Carcraft, with staff at its ten sites being made redundant. The 64-year old firm had tried to find a buyer.
Shell suffers crude awakening but profit fall defies worst expectations
Shell’s profits dived by 56 per cent in the first quarter as the FTSE 100 energy company became the latest victim of the sliding oil price. Shell, which recently announced a $70bn (£46bn) deal to buy BG Group, said its profit for the first three months of the year came in at a $3.2bn (£2bn) after the contribution of its oil and gas production division plunged to just $675m from $5.7bn a year earlier.
Afren loses £ 1.3 bn to oil price slump
Troubled oil minor Afren has unveiled details of a long-awaited recapitalisation plan as it slumped to a massive $1.95bn(£1.27) loss for last year due to the falling price of crude and a write-down in Kurdistan.
Used car supermarket runs out of road
Carcraft, one described as Britain’s leading car supermarket, has gone into administration, resulting in the loss of 550 jobs. Accountant Gran Thornton has been appointed as administrator. Rochdale-based Carcraft will now cease trading and all employees have been made redundant.
Rolls to build campus base in Derby
Aircraft-engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce has applied for planning permission for a massive redevelopment of its Derby base. The company has been based in the city since 1906 and despite recent expansion, some of the engineering group’s work is carried out in buildings which date from the late 18th century.
City & Finance
Eurozone edges out of deflation
Hopes of an economic recovery in the troubled Eurozone received a minor boost as the single currency bloc edged out of deflation in April. Prices moved from minus 0.1pc in March to zero, a tiny but psychologically important shift that will bring comfort to European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi.
From 8 June 2015 the paper counterpart of the driving licence (D740) is to be abolished and will no longer be issued by the the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).
“There will no longer be a need for drivers to keep the paper part of the driving licence as the photocard part will be all that is needed going forward. More sophisticated on-line systems allow data to be stored about individual motorists driving offences making the counterpart driving licence effectively redundant.” says Sue Robinson, Director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA).
“Counterparts after 8 June 2015 will no longer have legal status and motorists are advised to destroy their counterpart after this date. Paper driving licenses issued before 1998 will remain valid and should not be destroyed.”
Robinson mentions that “the changes to the counterpart licence affect the UK only and if drivers are going aboard they need to check the licence requirements for each country before hiring a vehicle.
Dealers need to be aware that they will need to change their procedures if they lend courtesy cars or run self-drive hire fleets where they will need to check customers entitlement to drive.”
DVLA offer an on-line system to check driving licences which can be accessed for free at www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence.
Further information is available at: www.gov.uk/dvla/nomorecounterpart