Kamal Ahmed

Kamal Ahmed Business editor

Welcome to the Business Blog – my latest take on the major business stories and analysis of the facts behind the headlines

Wonga: The pain starts here

  • 30 September 2014
  • From the section Business
Wonga logo

Costs up, revenues flat, profits collapsing.

In most firms that would be a recipe for disaster with calls for the chief executive to go and serious questions being asked about the business.

But for Wonga, the numbers released today actually contain within them the first glimmers of hope.

The new chairman, Andy Haste, has been in place since June. He has already said that in the future Wonga will be a smaller business with lower profits and slower, sustainable growth.

He wants to make Wonga a respectable financial services firm, properly regulated and with tighter lending criteria. Its role? A competitor to banks which impose high charges for unauthorised overdrafts.

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Tesco was warned in 2010 about 'aggressive accounting'

  • 25 September 2014
  • From the section Business
Tesco sign

Talking to Tesco's most significant investors, it is becoming clear that the people who own Britain's biggest retailer will not be happy until the company fundamentally reassesses the way it operates.

They do not want Dave Lewis, the new chief executive, or Sir Richard Broadbent, the under-pressure chairman, to confine their investigation to the £250m profits overstatement - serious as that is.

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Tesco investors put Sir Richard Broadbent in the frame

  • 23 September 2014
  • From the section Business
Tesco store front

Day two, and Tesco's share price is again drifting south, down almost 5% and now below £2 (a number the retailer hasn't seen since 2003).

The latest trading figures from Kantar show sales down another 4.5% in the 12 weeks to 14 September. It seems to be a race between trading figures and the share price as to which can fall the fastest.

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Tesco's chairman 'shocked' by accounts mess

  • 22 September 2014
  • From the section Business
Tesco

Problems come not in single spies but in battalions. After a series of profit warnings, a plunging share price and month after month of falling sales, Tesco today revealed its latest crisis.

The accounts are wrong, with profits overstated by as much as 23 per cent.

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Labour plays the Europe card to woo business

  • 22 September 2014
  • From the section Business
Chuka Umunna
Chuka Umunna wants to demonstrate that Labour is not anti-business

In the era of the Cold War, there was a joke that to make up for being late for the last two world wars, America was going to make sure it was bang on time for the next one.

Labour appears to be adopting a similar attitude to the next big business debate: Europe and Britain's relationship with it.

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Banks lead business reaction to the Scottish referendum

  • 19 September 2014
  • From the section Business
RBS HQ
RBS will remain at its registered headquarters at St Andrew's Square in Edinburgh

Sterling wasn't the only thing with a spring in its step this morning. Business leaders who had expressed concerns about the possibility of independence will also be relieved that all those contingency plans for possible upheaval can be put away - for the foreseeable future at least.

Ross McEwan, the chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, was the man facing the biggest headache if Scotland voted Yes.

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Scots 'Yes' would boost EU Brexit fears for business

  • 17 September 2014
  • From the section Business
UK and Scottish flags
If Scotland broke away, it could lead to the UK leaving the EU

In the independence debate, there has been much comment that businesses concerned about a "Yes" vote did not wake up to the perceived risks until the last moment.

The poll in the Sunday Times two weeks ago, giving "Yes" a small lead, concentrated minds and led to a number of businesses making statements on the possible fallout.

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Insurance giant becomes latest to raise questions over independence

  • 15 September 2014
  • From the section Business
Aviva flags

Now, I know this is starting to turn into something of a procession, but the latest chief executive to raise concerns about Scottish independence is the head of Aviva, Mark Wilson.

In the insurance giant's first substantive words on the subject, Mr Wilson told me that he was concerned that infrastructure funding - and that means the building of schools, hospitals and roads - could become more expensive.

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About Kamal

Kamal joined the BBC after four and a half years as business editor of the Sunday Telegraph's award-winning team. He also helped launch the Telegraph's annual festival of business, the major conference for small and medium sized enterprises. Before that, Kamal worked at The Observer as head of news and earlier, as its political editor.

His love of journalism started at Leeds Student, Leeds University's student newspaper, where he first tasted life as a reporter in a basement office with no windows. Essential workplace furniture included half-drunk pints of beer with cigarettes stubbed out in them. In those days, you needed a strong constitution to be a volunteer hack.

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