Business and Finance Roundup for the UK and Spain

Business and Finance Roundup for the UK and Spain

GOLD: Price is steadily rising Photo credit: Pixabay/Exceptional 3D

Gold rush AN ounce of gold now costs $2,050 (€1,877, comfortably close to the $2,100 (€1,923) that it fetched during  the summer of 2020 when investors were spooked by Covid. Banking crises, interest rate volatility, economic slowdown and the war in Ukraine have all contributed to gold’s 10 per cent price rise since January, analysts explained.

Trade or pin money? THE UK’s tax authorities are sending reminders to thousands of online sellers whom they believe might not have declared tax.

HMRC, who can access abundant data, have been cracking down on online traders who have omitted to declare taxes for annual sales of more than £1,000 (€1,151).

eBay, apps and websites including Depop, Facebook Marketplace and Vinted, have all grown in popularity since the pandemic.  Millions use them to make some extra cash or, in cases like Etsy, to launch a business.

Most people sell a few items and are not professional traders but HMRC is likely to regard as a business anybody who sells regularly to make a profit, or buys in bulk.

Another kind of Zara ANTONIO CATALAN, president of AC Hotels by Marriott, will make use of smaller hotels.

Teleworking has considerably reduced the volume of business tourism, Catalán recently told a Cinco Dias interviewer.

“It’s necessary to find an alternative use for the hotels that depended on this type of activity,” he said.

He hopes to create a low-cost brand,“ a Zara of hotels”, Catalán revealed.

It now remains for him to convince Marriott, he said, explaining that he would use as an example the evolution of Armani from an elitist and exclusive label into a brand that included Armani Jeans, Emporio Armani and the cheaper Armani Exchange range.

Deloitte audit probed THE UK’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC) is investigating Deloitte in connection with its audit of Joules’ 2021 accounts.

Clothing company Joules called in the administrators in November, endangering 1,600 jobs and 132 shops, after failing to secure emergency funding.

Creditors, who included HM Revenue and Customs, suppliers and staff, were owed more than £100 million (€115.2 million), according to a statement from the administrators.

The following month, fashion and homeware retailer Next came to the rescue in a £41 million (€47.2 million) deal that saved 100 shops and 1,450 jobs by teaming up with Joules’ founder Tom Joule.

Accountancy watchdog FRC revealed that it has opened an investigation relating to Deloitte’s audit of Joules’ accounts up to the year ending in May 2021 without stating the reason for its investigation.

Changes at Grifols BARCELONA-BASED pharmaceutical company Grifols announced executive chairman Thomas Glanzmann as its new chief executive.

The founding family’s move arrived at a difficult time for the multinational group, which manufactures medicines using blood plasma but was badly hit during the pandemic due to shortages in supplies.

Glanzmann, who served on the board as vice-chairman since 2017, was named chairman in February after Steven F Mayer’s resignation as Grifols’ executive chairman on “health and personal” grounds.

The former co-CEOs from the Grifols family will remain on the board, but in new roles.

Scam amends BANK customers refused scam refunds are receiving sizeable payouts after referring cases to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

Scam victims whose banks refused  to compensate them were often trapped by a loophole which meant they lost refund rights if they had voluntarily paid somebody who was later found to be a scammer.

Legally, victims of what is known as “authorised push payment” fraud should be entitled a full refund from their bank under UK financial regulation.

Nevertheless, many failed to receive compensation until they took their fight to the FOS, receiving amounts that varied from hundreds to thousands of pounds.

Peace reigns ANTONIO GARAMENDI, who is president of the Spanish Confederation of Business Organisations (CEOE), foresees social peace until 2025.

He was “especially pleased and proud”, Garamendi said, after having signed the Fifth Employment and Collective Bargaining Agreement (AEMC) with Spain’s unions.

The pact was balanced as well as good for the country’s stability, the CEOE president said.  He also went on to stress, in an oblique reference both to the government and to political parties, that nobody should be allowed to try to appropriate the pact.

King’s weather WET weather, once known as the Queen’s weather and presumably now the King’s weather, boosted gazebo sales over the Coronation weekend.

Street party organisers began panic-buying as the rain set in, with retailers reporting an “unprecedented” rise in sales while gazebo hire firms were inundated with last-minute bookings.

“As a home and leisure retailer we are used to seasonal swings but this spike in sales for gazebos was unprecedented,” Shaun Eldridge, spokesperson for The Range told the Guardian.

Some gazebos sold out entirely, including a £49.99 (€57.47) line decorated with the Union Jack “which flew off the shelves”, he said.

Deposits shuffled SPAIN’S six big banks lost €35 billion in deposits, a reduction of 2.9 per cent, reports for 2023’s first quarter revealed.

Sources at the banks involved hastened to clarify that in part it was a seasonal effect as 43 per cent of this amount – €16.34 billion – occurred as companies withdrew cash accumulated at the end of the previous year to pay bills, complete impending transfers and pay executives’ bonuses.

The same sources explained that there were various reasons for the loss of the remaining 57 per cent, approximately €22 billion, but this was principally the result of transferring funds from savings accounts to products generating better returns.

Clients had not withdrawn money, but instead had moved it to investment accounts, the banks stressed, or had acquired Spanish government bonds.

Royal Mail departure SIMON THOMPSON is allegedly preparing to step down after a stormy two years as Royal Mail’s chief executive

Thompson, who attempted to introduce large-scale changes to existing working conditions as well as cost-cutting measures, encountered strong resistance and strikes.  The unions which represent Royal Mail employees accused him of fuelling acrimonious industrial disputes.

His standing was questioned after a Commons select committee appearance in January this year, prompting some members of the board of International Distributions Services (IDS), Royal Mail’s parent company, to conclude that new leadership was required.

A spokesperson for Royal Mail and IDS said they did not comment on rumour or speculation.

Stay in the UK 

THE Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) proposes to simplify listing rules that currently discourage companies from joining the UK’s stock markets.

This arises from reproaches that the British semiconductor and software design company Arm and other businesses shunned the UK market and preferred to list in the US.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) proposes to simplify listing rules in the UK which are putting off companies wishing to join the country’s public markets.

Companies intending to list shares must at present hold a premium listing, obliging them to comply with the UK’s highest regulation standards.

The FCA now wants to eliminate the requirements which include a three-year financial and revenue-earning track record that makes it impossible for newer businesses to list.

“We want to encourage more companies to list and grow in the UK,” the FCA’s chief executive Nikhil Rathi said.

Telefonica increases turnover TELEFONICA announced a net profit of €298 million for the first quarter of 2023 on May 9.

This was 57.8 per cent lower than the €706 million reported during the same period last year, owing to higher debt costs.

Revenue between January and the end of March  reached €10.05 billion, a 6.7 per cent increase on 2022’s first quarter, with increases in all business divisions and Telefonica’s key markets of Spain, the UK, Germany and Brazil despite ongoing inflation.

Net financial debt, which had affected business and Telefonica’s share price in the past, fell by €244 million to €26.44 billion.

Welcome reductions  ENERGY bills for an average UK household are expected to dip to an annual £1,900 (€2,187) this summer following a reduction in gas prices.

The present energy price cap, set in April, stands at £3,280 (€3,776) a year.

Annual gas and electricity charges are falling as normality returns to the energy market with lower wholesale gas prices beginning to show up on power bills.

Figures currently demonstrate that the price of gas has returned to where it was in February 2022, before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine transformed the energy sector.

Intern misuse MURCIA’S Upper Court of Justice High Court of Justice (TSJ) confirmed an IT company’s earlier sentence and a €52,000 fine from the Work Inspectorate for having 31 interns and 27 employees.  The interns outnumbered regular staff in all departments, the TSJ judges said, demonstrating that the company’ staffing needs were covered by students in an “undercover employment relationship.”

Plan needed BRITAIN should relaunch industrial strategies and stop “floundering” over initiatives preventing it from falling behind on the global stage, warned Make UK, which represents 20,000 manufacturers. UK businesses risked losing out to companies elsewhere around the world owing to the government’s lack of a long-term industrial plan while Biden’s $369 billion (€335.5 billion) Inflation Reduction Act diverted investment.

Encapsulated CAPSULES are the fastest-growing detergent and have become the most popular way of doing the laundry in the UK although only 0.1 per cent are made by eco-friendly brands.  Wilton have now reinvented the laundry pod, a new carbon-neutral capsule range that comes with the added benefit of 100 per cent plastic-free packaging.

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at