China’s disappointing growth slowdown weighs on markets; oil hits new highs – business live

Matthew Moulding, the founder and chief executive of The Hut Group, is giving up his “golden” share of the company in an attempt to regain the confidence of the City after a sharp fall share in recent weeks.

The online retailer and tech services company said the cancellation of Moulding’s controlling share would promote “good corporate governance”, after a turbulent few weeks for the retailer’s stock price sparked by questions over its profitability, share structure and valuation.

THG’s share price

The Manchester-based group – which owns the online retail sites Lookfantastic, Glossybox, Zavvi and Coggles, as well as beauty brands including ESPA and Illamasqua – said the move would also help it apply for a premium listing in London, which it hopes to secure in 2022. Under current rules, Moulding’s golden share prevents a premium listing and therefore THG cannot be included in the FTSE.

Moulding said:

“After the anniversary of our 2020 listing we feel that the time is right to make this next step and apply to the premium segment in 2022, thereby continuing the development of THG as we endeavour to deliver our strategy for the benefit of our shareholders, key stakeholders and employees,”

Moulding’s controlling share was originally meant to give him ultimate control of the THG for up to three years, after it first floated on the London Stock Exchange in September 2020 with a £5.4bn valuation. The removal of the dual-class share structure is likely to appeal to investors whose holdings have significantly dropped in value in recent weeks.

Shares in THG jumped 8% to 312p on Monday morning after the announcement, giving it a market value of £3.5bn. Despite the rise, shares were still more than 50% lower than in early September.

UK manufacturers hit back at claims firms are too reliant on foreign labour

The trade body for British manufacturers has hit back at ministers’ accusations that firms have relied for too long on cheap foreign labour, urging them to work in partnership with business instead of viewing it “as the enemy within”.

Make UK is calling on the government to recognise the challenges they are facing – including supply chain disruption and shortages of staff such as HGV drivers – rather than blaming them at a time when they are also facing soaring costs, including for energy and raw materials.

It is urging them to improve cooperation with industry to ensure companies can recover from Brexit and the pandemic, and enable firms to invest and grow over the next decade.

Shanghai zinc soars to 14-year high as power crisis hits output

Ford to invest £230m in electric vehicle plant on Merseyside

Ford’s auto plant in Halewood, Merseyside.

Photograph: Greg Harding/PA

Ford has announced it will invest £230m in a Merseyside transmission factory to upgrade it to make parts for electric vehicles, in a significant fillip for northern England’s automotive industry.

The US carmaker’s investment will help maintain about 500 jobs at the plant in Halewood, Knowsley, which currently makes transmission systems for petrol and diesel vehicles. Ford will receive UK government support worth about £30m, according to a source with knowledge of negotiations.

By 2024 the lines at the factory will produce 250,000 electric drive units, components that include electric motors and power electronics, every year.

Ford said in February that all the cars it sells in Europe will be electric by 2030. That matches up to the UK government’s plan to end the sale of pure petrol and diesel cars by 2030, and hybrids after 2035. The carmaker also intends to make two-thirds of commercial vehicle sales all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030.

Stuart Rowley, president of Ford of Europe, said Halewood would play an important part in its “very ambitious” plans, but said government action was needed to improve charging infrastructure. He also warned against a possible plan to cut the level of grants for electric cars.

“At Ford we’re all in.

In the industry we’ve made the decision, we’re going electric. But we need to significantly ramp up the infrastructure at home, in the workplace.”

Rowley also warned that shortages of computer chips that have dogged the global car industry for months are “here for a while, well into next year”.

Here’s the full story:

China’s slowdown: What the experts say

Brent crude oil hits three-year high

Introduction: China’s economy slows as risks rise


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