Sunday News Roundup
The House of Bruar up for sale,Call for National Insurance holiday to help jobs growth, Arena Leisure to ask for an extension to the Takeover Panel's "put up or shut up" deadline, Vodafone pays just £1,400 tax on profits of £3.5 billion,Roadchef workers sue former boss Ingram Hill for £28 million, Gap's woes continue as retail giant plans closure of a fifth of US stores, Boots pursues pension changes despite regulator's misgivings.
The House of Bruar – the Highlands retailer dubbed the “Harrods of the North” – is up for sale with a price tag in the region of £50 million.
The Scottish company’s owners, husband and wife Mark and Linda Birkbeck, have begun a strategic review of their options following a number of approaches over the years.
The pair, both in their 60s, believe that the time has come to exit the business. Their son, Patrick, hopes to maintain his role as managing director.
A National Insurance (NI) holiday should be declared by George Osborne to resolve the mounting unemployment crisis, according the heads of two of Britain's leading high-street names. Both Ian Cheshire, the chief executive of Kingfisher, the parent company of B&Q and Screwfix, and Jill McDonald, the chief executive of McDonald's in the UK, have called on the Chancellor to introduce the measure at next month's Autumn Statement. A NI holiday would exempt employers from contributions for around the first six months for any new member of staff they hire. Employers usually pay 13.8% of a staff salary as NI. Some have suggested the holiday could be limited to young people, helping to target youth unemployment.
Arena Leisure is to ask for an extension to the Takeover Panel's "put up or shut up" deadline as it continues negotiations with the Reuben Brothers over a £130 million takeover.
It is understood that the company, which owns racecourses including Lingfield Park and Royal Windsor, is likely to approach the Panel, which is set to permit further time for the two sides to continue negotiations and due diligence.
Mail on Sunday
Fashion retailer Republic incurred interest rate and other charges of £23million in just seven months last year through a complex loan agreement set up by its private equity owner, TPG.The charges took the retailer’s parent company, TPG Raincoat I, to a £20million loss in the seven months to January 30, which included the retailer’s busiest time.
Vodafone booked £3.5 billion in profits through a subsidiary in a tax haven but paid just £1,400 in tax on the earnings, Financial Mail has disclosed. The subsidiary of the mobile phone giant – Vodafone Investments Luxembourg – employs just 14 staff and lends out billions of pounds to other Vodafone companies around the world, accounts filed last week showed. A Vodafone spokesman said: ‘In the financial year to March 31, 2011, Vodafone paid £2.6 billion in tax and the group’s effective corporate tax rate was 24.5%
Employees of motorway service group Roadchef are suing former boss Tim Ingram Hill, alleging that he fraudulently transferred their shares into his name before selling the company for £139 million. Staff say in High Court documents that Ingram Hill deprived them of a windfall worth ‘many millions of pounds’ after moving shares from the company’s employee benefit trust to a vehicle for his own benefit. Staff are understood to be looking to recover £28 million.
Gap Inc. has announced plans to close up to a fifth of all Gap stores - delivering a massive blow to the all-American brand.The struggling retailer, which runs the Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic chains, will close its doors in 189 locations, or 21% of its namesake Gap stores in the US, by the end of 2013.The largest US clothing chain said it plans to triple the number of Gap stores in China from about 15 by the end of the year to roughly 45 by the end of next year.
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