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Live Reporting

By Russell Hotten

All times stated are UK

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  1. Lloyd's of London prepares Brussels office

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    "When the UK exits the EU, we will lose the ability to issue and provide insurance for our customers based in the EU," said Inga Beale, the chief executive of Lloyds of London.

    Around 11% of Lloyd's of London business is generated from the European Union, and of that around half can still be transacted in London, she told the Today Programme.

    To handle the rest, Lloyd's will create a subsidiary in Brussels.

    "It's not moving our whole London base, it's just setting up an EU subsidiary," she said.

  2. Lloyd's of London confirms Brussels office

    Hurricane Matthew hits Charleston, South Caroline

    The insurance market Lloyd's of London has confirmed that it will set up a subsidiary office in Brussels, following Britain's decision to leave the European Union.

    It also announced a profit of £2.1bn for last year, despite trading conditions that it described as "extremely challenging".

    Major insurance claims totaled £2.1bn, the fifth highest since the turn of the century. 

    "This was due primarily to Hurricane Matthew (effects pictured) and the Fort McMurray Wildfire in Canada," Lloyd's said.

    More than 40% of Lloyd's of London comes from the US. So the growing strength of the dollar against the pound has boosted Lloyd's results.  

  3. Booker upbeat ahead of Tesco takeover

    Tesco and Booker

    Booker is feeling positive about its £3.7bn takeover by Tesco despite some shareholders' misgivings

    In a trading statement for the fourth quarter to 24 March, it said: "We are excited about the benefits the enlarged group will bring to consumers, our customers, suppliers, colleagues and shareholders.  The merger is going through the competition process." 

    Britain's largest cash-and-carry business reported a 4.7% rise in like-for-like sales for the its final quarter.

    Including tobacco sales, however, like-for-like revenue was up just 0.7%. It said: "Tobacco sales are being impacted by the tobacco display ban and new plain packaging restrictions coming into force."

  4. Companies 'starting to embrace' Apprenticeship Levy

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    From 6 April companies that have a payroll bill of more than £3m will have to pay the Apprenticeship Levy.

    The money is held in a pot, that employers will be able to draw down and use on apprenticeships in future.  

    A survey by the employment agency Manpower found that only half of large firms thought they had to pay the Levy.

    "Certainly as awareness increases, I think people are starting to embrace it," said Chris Gray, managing director at Manpower.

  5. Government is considering new consumer debt scheme

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    Mike O'Connor, the chief executive of StepChange says the government is considering a scheme called Breathing Space that would give people, who seek advice about debt problems, six to twelve months in which enforcement action is halted to give them time to get back on their feet.

  6. 'Ban unsolicited credit increases'

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    Consumer credit continues to rise rapidly, adding to the debt level of UK households, which is already high by historical standards, according to the debt charity StepChange.

    "In a year or so, we may be picking up the pieces of unsustainable lending today," said Mike O'Connor the chief executive of StepChange.

    "The people who come to use are struggling to get by. Wages are flatish, costs are going up, rent is going up - a particular problem - and they are borrowing money just to meet daily living costs," he said.

    "Credit cards are the biggest problem we see and the FCA is looking at this... we think they should ban unsolicited credit increases."

  7. Rudd to challenge tech firms over encryption

    BBC Radio 5 live

    Amber Rudd

    Some of the world's biggest tech companies will meet with Home Secretary Amber Rudd today, just after she called for authorities to be given access to encrypted messaging services to help fight terrorism.

    Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft will attend the meeting. 

    However, Tech North executive chairman Herb Kim questions whether opening up encrypted messages will help thwart terrorist attacks and what it means for privacy. 

    He forecasts that it is "pretty unlikely" that companies would stop encrypting users' communications and that the UK risks alienating tech businesses.      

  8. Toshiba votes to spin off memory unit

    Toshiba logo

    A meeting of Toshiba shareholders has approved to spin off the conglomerate's NAND flash-memoryunit with the aim of then selling it. 

    Toshiba is in dire need of money in the wake of mounting losses at its US nuclear subsidiary Westinghouse which yesterday filed for bankruptcy protection. 

    Selling one of its most profitable units would be a start to getting back on its feet for Toshiba - while at the same time it would of course strip it of its best assets. 

    The troubles at the Japanese giant has so far seen the chairman resign, the firm delay releasing its full financial figures twice. 

    While Toshiba doesn't seem to have much of a choice but to sell its memory business, it remains to be seen whether this will really be able to make its woes go away. 

  9. 'Talking about what to talk about'

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    "Markets trade on news, and we didn't have very much news yesterday. We had quite a lot of theatre," said Rupert Harrison, portfolio manager at BlackRock on the Today Programme.

    "We're probably not going to have any real news for quite some time."

    "The Commission wants to talk about the exit bill, David Davis wants to talk about our future trade agreement. Talking about what to talk about could take several months," he said.

  10. Pound moves 'nothing do with Brexit'

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    pound coins

    The pound was little moved following the formal triggering of Brexit on Wednesday.

    Traders have already made their bets against the pound explained Kathleen Brooks, research director at City Index.

    "We've got record short positions in the pound already... how much more weakness can there be?"

    "A lot of what is going on in the FX market has nothing to do with Brexit, that was last year's story, it's more about what's going on in the US, what [else] is going on with Europe," she said.

  11. LSE may be in US suitor's sights

    BBC Radio 5 live

    London Stock Exchange

    The London Stock Exchange shouldn't get too comfortable after its £21bn merger with Deutsche Boerse failed .

    Kathleen Brooks, research director at City Index, tells Wake Up to Money, says it is likely that the LSE, which has been a merger target for 17 years, could be in the sights of a possible US suitor. 

    The sticking point for the German deal was the LSE's Italian clearing business. Ms Brooks says that the competition would be less of a sticking point for an American business.

    The LSE's shares bounced yesterday when it finally spiked the deal.

    Watch this space.  

  12. PwC retains its place among the stars

    Academy Awards

    A near miss for the PwC. 

    The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has said it will continue to work with the accountancy firm despite the fiasco at this year's Oscars when the wrong film was announced as Best Picture.

    There will, however, be safeguards including the presence of a third accountant in the control room who will know the winners in advance.

  13. Toshiba shares on the rise

    Nikkei stock boards

    Shares across Asia's major markets have turned slightly lower on Thursday with little inspirations coming from the US or Europe.

    Japan's Nikkei 225 is down by 0.5% at lunch time and all eyes were on Toshiba after its US nuclear subsidiary Westinghouse yesterday filed for bankruptcy protection. The goal is to shield Toshiba from the hefty losses in the US and investors certainly liked the move. Toshiba shares are higher by 3.3%. 

    In China, the Shanghai Composite lost 1.1% and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong shed 0.5%. 

    South Korea's Kospi edged 0.3% lower with Samsung Electronics shares moving higher though after Wednesday's much anticipated launch of the new flagship Galaxy S8 phone. 

    In Australia, the ASX 200 beat the regional trend, trading 0.3% higher. 

  14. Good morning

    Welcome to Business Live and another big day for Brexit.

    Prime Minister Theresa May will publish details of the big repeal bill which will turn EU regulations into UK law, and decide which bits to get rid of. Follow Business Live for market reaction. 

    Speaking of Brexit - which we’ll be doing for the next two years - Lloyd's of London will report its full-year results this morning when the insurer is expected to announce it will move some of its EU group to Brussels.

    Meanwhile, Booker will give a trading update amid calls from two major shareholders in Tesco for the retail giant to pull out of its £3.7bn bid for the cash-and-carry group .

    And in the US, the third and final reading of GDP for the fourth quarter will be released. The second estimate put growth at 1.9%.