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Summary

  1. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. Superdry board members quit
  3. Betfred and Paddy Power pull new games
  4. Office Outlet to close 16 stores in April
  5. Bonmarché snapped up by billionaire
  6. Government flogs £4.9bn of NRAM loans
  7. Oil reaches 2019 high
  8. Superdry founder wins right to return

Live Reporting

By Karen Hoggan

All times stated are UK

  1. Good Night

    That's all from Tuesday's Business Live Page.

    Many thanks for staying with us.

    Please join us again from 06:00 on Wednesday for all the news, views and analysis in the business world.

  2. Virgin Atlantic launches new faces

    View more on twitter

    Virgin Atlantic's flying lady emblem has been a key identifier of its aircraft for 35 years, but earlier on Tuesday it tweeted that it is to introduce a whole raft of new male and female icons "representing modern Britain".

    The airline says it will be the first to have male figureheads on its planes.

    Nikki Humphrey, senior vice president of people at Virgin Atlantic, said: "The saying goes 'you can't be what you can't see' and that has never been truer than the aviation industry's glamorous image in the past.

    "We have been working for a number of years to tackle our gender pay gap, create an inclusive workplace and increase the diversity of our workforce, through the development of our springboard scheme for women, as well as the launch of engineering apprenticeships.

    "By introducing our new flying icons I hope it encourages people from all backgrounds to feel at home flying with us, but also working with us."

  3. Wall Street: Dow snaps winning streak

    Interior of NYSE with US flag in foreground

    The Dow Jones fell for the first time in four trading sessions as investors paused after Monday's strong rise.

    At the close, the Dow was down 0.3% at 26,179.1 points. The S&P 500 was flat at 2,867.2, and the Nasdaq added 0.25% to 7,848.6.

    Energy and consumer staples were the worst performing shares. The real estate sector outperformed, rising 0.9%.

  4. Tech firms' lack of action 'unacceptable'

    App icons on smart phone

    Culture committee chairman Damian Collins has described tech firms' lack of action on privacy as "unacceptable".

    He also accused companies of shifting "superficially" but only "for the benefit of their own PR".

    Mr Collins is to lead a sub-committee of MPs to probe "threats posed by disinformation to democracies".

    Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has said he wants his company to become "privacy-focused".

    An 18-month long inquiry into fake news by the culture committee found that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg failed to show "leadership and personal responsibility" over fake news.

    Read the full story here

  5. Brexit: Government did not speak to French ports in no-deal plan

    Lorry at port

    The government has not spoken to French ports and has used satellite imagery to make "untested" assumptions for its no-deal Brexit plans for Portsmouth.

    A Department for Transport document from January, seen by BBC Newsnight, said: "We have not engaged with French port operators or the ferry companies".

    Earlier this year, the government was forced to axe its no-deal contract with a ferry-less shipping company.

    The Department for Transport said it does not comment on leaked documents.

    Read the full story here

  6. 'Extending economic pain'

    The manufacturers' organisation Make UK is the latest business group to comment on Theresa May's Brexit statement.

    Says Stephen Phipson, the organisation's chief executive: “The biggest risk facing UK manufacturers today is that we crash out of the EU without a deal.

    "We have consistently said this would be catastrophic for the close to three million people who work in our sector who produce almost half of all UK exports.

    "As a result we cautiously welcome the Prime Minister’s decision to seek a parliamentary consensus to resolve the deadlock. However, short term extensions simply add to business uncertainty and extend the economic pain many of our members are already experiencing.

    "As a result, real progress must be made very quickly, otherwise a longer term solution must be sought.”

  7. Brexit: Still heading for a cliff?

    EU flag and UK Parliament

    Reaction has been coming in from business in response to the PM's announcement that she will look to extend the Brexit deadline.

    Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said avoiding a "messy and disorderly" exit from the EU was still the top priority for business.

    "On-going uncertainty is having a real and negative impact on business confidence and investment all across the UK. Our own quarterly survey of businesses, the biggest independent survey in the UK, is concrete evidence of this - with the worst figures across the board in nearly a decade," he added.

    “The Prime Minister may have issued a revised road map, but business communities still have little sense of the destination. It’s like being asked to follow a sat-nav to an unknown location - with the nagging worry that the directions may yet lead to a cliff.”

  8. UK firms to develop low-cost satellite radar

    The CarbSAR

    Two British companies are to push forward with the development of an ultra-low-cost radar satellite.

    Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd and Oxford Space Systems hope the work will lead to a demonstration flight in 2021.

    The mission would marry OSS's novel antenna design with SSTL's expertise in small satellite systems.

    Space radar's unique selling point is its ability to sense the ground in all conditions - day or night, and no matter the amount of cloud in the sky.

    Read the full story here

  9. Coffee chains 'putting profits before the planet'

    Boston Tea Party store

    Independent coffee chain Boston Tea Party said sales have fallen by £250,000 since it banned single use cups last summer.

    But it has called for major national and international brands to follow suit.

    Owner Sam Roberts said it had factored the loss in takings into its plans and that too many operators were "putting their profits before the planet".

    Read more

  10. Portugal pilots unionise

    Ryanair plane

    Ryanair's pilots based in Portugal have voted for a collective labour agreement governing pay and conditions for the next four years.

    The agreement was negotiated between Ryanair and the Portuguese pilot union SPAC to cover all of the airline's directly employed pilots in Portugal.

  11. Wall Street update

    Wall Street sign

    Let's catch up with the latest on Wall Street now.

    Shares in chemists chain Walgreens Boots slumped on Tuesday after the chemist chain cut its 2019 profit growth forecast and reported a lower than expected quarterly profits.

    The 12% fall in the company's shares has helped to drag the Dow Jones index lower.

    The declines in pharmaceuticals stocks combined with lacklustre economic data to weigh on US shares. New orders for key US-made capital goods dipped in February while shipments remained.

    Half way through the trading day, the Dow Jones was at 26,172.22, a fall of 86.20 points or 0.33%.

    The S&P 500 was at 2,865.71, down 1.48 points or 0.052%.

    However, the Nasdaq was up slightly at 7,843.70, a gain of 14.79 points or 0.19%.

  12. Watchdog may investigate bookmakers' staff

    The Gambling Commission said it might also investigate "key senior staff" at bookmakers who were responsible for launching the games which were pulled earlier on Tuesday. The Commission’s chief executive Neil McArthur wrote to bookmakers to warn the industry against "any attempts to circumvent the FOBT stake cut and remind them of their responsibilities to ensure their consumers are protected".

    Richard Watson, executive director for enforcement, said “We have been absolutely clear with operators about our expectations to act responsibly following the stake cut implementation this week.

    "We have told operators to take down new products which undermine the changes, and we will investigate any other products that are not within the spirit and intention of the new rules.’’

  13. Bookmakers 'pull games following watchdog's warning'

    Paddy Power Betfair logo

    Back to the news that Paddy Power Betfair and BetFred have dropped new games which they launched in response to the cut in the maximum stakes playable on fixed-odds betting terminals (see earlier posts).

    The regulator, the Gambling Commission, said the products were pulled following a warning it issued to the bookmakers. The firms could still face "regulatory action as the Commission continues to investigate".

    It added that a third bookmaker which had been poised to launch a new product had also been "warned".

    "This week saw the introduction of reduced maximum stakes on FOBTs from £100 to £2 and the Commission is concerned that the new products undermine the changes made," it said.

  14. FTSE 100 climbs as pound falls

    London Stock Exchange sign

    In London, the FTSE 100 closed up by a shade over 1% or 73.74 points at 7,391.12, amid a fall in the pound against both the dollar and the euro. The fall in the pound boosted the FTSE 100, as a weaker currency raises the value of companies' overseas earnings when they are brought back to the UK and converted back into pounds.

    "Tuesday's clear winner, the FTSE climbed more than 1%, spring-boarding off of the bent back of a Brexit-weary pound to hit 7,400 for the first time in six months," said Connor Campbell, financial analyst at SpreadEx..

    "All its major sectors were in the green, including a tidy little showing from the banking stock."

    Hargreaves Lansdown and Standard Chartered were among the biggest climbers, 4.1% and 3.43% respectively.

  15. Shell to quit US lobby group over climate policy

    Shell logo

    Royal Dutch Shell has reviewed its lobbying operations and decided to leave one key US lobby group because of a disagreement over climate policies.

    Shell will quit the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers in 2020.

    The firm wants to show investors it's joining the dots over commitments to meet climate change goals.

    “AFPM has not stated support for the goal of the Paris Agreement. Shell supports the goal of the Paris Agreement,” the Anglo-Dutch company said in its decision.

    Shell said it also disagreed with AFPM’s opposition to putting a price on carbon and taking action on low-carbon technologies.

  16. Board exodus at Superdry

    Following Superdry founder Julian Dunkerton's re-election to the board, the fashion chain says chairman Peter Bamford, chief executive Euan Sutherland, chief financial officer Ed Barker and chairman of the remuneration committee Penny Hughes have resigned with immediate effect.

    In addition, Dennis Millard, Minnow Powell, Sarah Wood and John Smith have given three-months' notice and will stand down as directors on 1 July.

    Founder Julian Dunkerton has been appointed interim chief executive.

    Peter Williams - chairman of online retailer Boohoo - has been appointed chairman.

    Mr Williams and Mr Dunkerton said: "We are very pleased to be joining the Board of this great British company. We look forward to rebuilding the Superdry brand and the business."