Business and Finance roundup for Spain and the UK

Business and Finance roundup for Spain and the UK

LONDON DEMO: Ukraine Solidarity Project demonstrates outside Unilever’s headquarters Photo credit: Twitter/Ukraine Solidarity Project

Dove of peace (not)

UKRAINE recently named Unilever,  still operating in Russia, as an “international sponsor of war.”

The London-based company which owns Marmite, Dove and Domestos amongst other brands, has been put on the International Sponsors of War list along with Procter & Gamble (P&G), and French group Leroy Merlin.

The Moral Rating Agency, which estimates that the London-based giant contributes £579 million (€675.4 million) to the Russian economy each year, has also accused the firm of facilitating Russia’s invasion.

Companies like Apple, Levi’s and Spain’s Inditex have all abandoned their Russian operations, although Unilever insisted it sold only essential food and hygiene products.

“Exiting is not straightforward,” a spokesperson told the BBC.

“If Unilever were to abandon its brands in Russia they would be appropriated and then operated by the Russian state,” they added.

Correos woes

CORREOS lost €217.2 million in 2022, more than double its 2021 losses of €105.6 million.

Only 2020, the pandemic year, was worse, when the publicly-owned postal service plunged €264 million into the red.

Postal and parcel operations contributed €1.57 billion, 79 per cent of the group’s total, down 6.7 per cent on 2021, while Correos Express reported a €412.2 million turnover, 0.3 per cent more than in 2021.

The last time Correos made a profit was in 2019, albeit after an interlude of five years, with earnings of €14.8 million.

Inflation’s  deflating FOOD inflation is starting to fall, according Sainsbury’s chief executive Simon Roberts.

Shoppers were beginning to put more items in their trolleys now that the supermarket chain had cut prices on some basics, he explained.

With household budgets under more pressure than ever, Sainsbury’s was putting all of its energy and focus into battling inflation, the chief executive added .

“We have zero complacency on this issue,” he said, citing the chain’s Aldi price-matching tactic together with specific price cuts for members of its Nectar loyalty-scheme.

“Inflation is still going to be a challenge and customers need to be assured we are really on their side.”

Windfall wait SPAIN’S banks and energy companies are on edge regarding the next government’s stance on the current windfall tax introduced to beat the cost-of-living crisis.

The Partido Popular’s presidential candidate Alberto Nuñez Feijoo has revealed that he will maintain the temporary tax if he presides the next government.

While the banking sector is said to be resigned to paying the windfall tax, Spain’s energy companies are less reconciled and are asking to be taxed on their profits, rather than on their income.

Should there be no change in government, however, both sectors suspect that the tax could be extended beyond 2023.

Stellar performance VEHICLE manufacturer Stellantis España closed the 2022 financial year with a €289.7 million profit.

This was almost five times more – and a 380 per cent increase – on its €60.5 million result in 2021, following the creation of Stellantis España after Opel España’s takeover of PSAG Automoviles Comercial España and Peugeot Citroën Automoviles España.

Stellantis España’s turnover increased by 268 per cent to €14.37 billion, of which 98.5 per cent originated from sales (€14.150 billion).

The remaining €219.8 million euros came with the company’s services division.

From red to black AO WORLD returned to profit thanks to an economy drive, prompting the electrical retailer to predict a return to sales growth in the coming year.

The Bolton-based company, listed on the London Stock Exchange, now operates in the UK after previously operating in Germany and the Netherlands.

It posted a pre-tax profit of £7.6 million (€8.9 million) for the year ending on 31 March, compared with a £10.5 million (€12.28 million) loss the previous year.

At the same time, diminishing demand for white goods and weak shopper confidence resulted in turnover slumping 17 per cent to £1.4 billion (€1.6 billion).

Branching out JOHN LEWIS intends to build and rent out 11,000 properties as it makes plans to generate 40 per cent of its profits from outside retail by 2030.

The group, which owns Waitrose supermarkets as well as department stores, has made planning applications for projects in west and south-east London, while preparing to manage apartments built by other developers.

This, sources said, would enable the Partnership to try out services and ideas for its own sites.

“We are absolutely committed to this,” Nina Bhatia, Strategy director at John Lewis, said. “At a time when there is a housing crisis and people want homes to buy or rent we are making a huge contribution,” she insisted.

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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