Companies

UK to further postpone Huawei decision

Huawei
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The UK government will publish the results of a telecoms supply chain review next week without a decision on the use of equipment made by China's Huawei in future 5G networks, Reuters reports.

MPs said the government needs to make a decision on Huawei as "a matter of urgency" and continued delays were damaging international relations.

In a way, the UK is caught between two fires - China has said not using Huawei kit for 5G "sends a bad signal", while the US has blacklisted the firm over security concerns.

Britain's National Security Council, chaired by outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, met to discuss the issue in April and a decision was made to block Huawei from all critical parts of the 5G network over security concerns, but still allow it restricted access to less sensitive parts.

The final decision on Huawei was then supposed to have been made public in a review of the telecoms supply chain led by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, but Mrs May's decision to step down has stalled the process.

The government plans to publish the results of the review as soon as Monday, Reuters reports, but the section on 5G equipment vendors would be "kept back" for a decision to be made by the next prime minister.

A government spokesman said the results of the review would be "announced in due course" and all network operators would have to comply with the decision.

Homebase 'to buy' Bathstore

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Bathstore

Homebase is going to buy Bathstore weeks after the bathroom chain collapsed into administration.

That's according to the Daily Telegraph which says talks over a deal are expected to be finalised over the weekend.

Administrators BDO were appointed in June and the 135-strong chain was kept open to find a buyer.

BDO did not comment to the Daily Telegraph.

Rebellion over pay at Homeserve

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Almost a third of investors (30.68%) have voted against pay at home repairs and improvements business Homeserve.

After its annual general general meeting (AGM), Homeserve said that proxy voting agency Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) had recommended voting against the remuneration report because of payments to former directors Martin Bennett and Johnathan Ford.

"HomeServe acknowledges that their departures were announced in advance of their respective exit dates (and therefore before the start of their notice periods) but considers that the action taken helped facilitate an orderly handover of responsibilities.The termination payments made were in accordance with HomeServe's remuneration policy," it said.

It said it would consult with shareholders ahead of the 2020 AGM and publish an update within six months.

Mr Bennett left the board on 20 July 2018 and Mr Ford on 31 December 2018.

Mr Bennett got a £427,000 salary, a £292,000 bonus and is in line for long-term share awards worth £2.8m based on performance conditions while Mr Ford had a £424,000 salary, a £292,000 bonus and could get long-term share awards of £2.5m.

American Express profits rise

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American Express has reported second quarter profits of $1.8bn (£890m), up 9%, while revenue rose 8% to $10.8bn.

"We continued the broad-based momentum throughout our business with the eighth straight quarter of [currency] adjusted revenue growth at 8% or better," said Steve Squeri, chairman and chief executive officer. "Once again, our performance was driven by a well-balanced mix of spending volumes, lending income and card fee".

Blackrock hit by 'market headwinds'

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The world's biggest fund manager, BlackRock, has reported a 6.5% fall in second quarter profits. Profit attributable to shareholders fell to $1bn.

"While organic base fee growth of 3% and the year-over-year revenue decline reflected certain market headwinds, our second quarter results validate BlackRock’s unique ability to bring together the entire firm to meet clients’ needs in any market environment," said Larry Fink, chief executive.

Pepsico makes £1.4bn South African push

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Pepsico is making a push into Africa by buying South Africa's Pioneer Food group for $1.7bn (£1.4bn).

Pioneer owns well-known brands like Weet-Bix, Liqui-Fruit, Ceres, Sasko, Safari, Spekko, and White Star.

Ramon Laguarta, who took over as chief executive of Pepsico from Indra Nooyi in October, said: "“Pioneer Foods represents a differentiated opportunity for PepsiCo and allows us to immediately scale our business in Africa.

"Pioneer Foods forms an important part of our strategy to not only expand in South Africa, but further into sub-Saharan Africa as well.

Our businesses are highly complementary, and we look forward to working with the Pioneer Foods team to successfully build and implement a shared vision in the region."