Business Roundup for Spain and the UK

Business Roundup for Spain and the UK

TELEFONICA headquarters in Las Tablas neighbourhood in Madrid (Spain). Designed by Rafael de La-Hoz Castanys and completed in 2008.

Bank offers umbrella MORGAN STANLEY informed Spain’s National Securities Commission (CNMV) that it has a 12.178 per cent Telefonica holding.

This includes the 9.9 per cent €2.1 billion stake Morgan Stanley has quietly acquired for the Saudi telecommunications company STC since February, plus its own 2.278 per cent stake.  Spanish media sources maintain that Telefonica’s board was unaware of the operation.

STC’s stake is now a derivative with a sell-buy option protecting the holding should it be vetoed by the Spanish government.  Foreign investments of more than 5 per cent in companies listed on Spain’s stock market need specific authorisation and, owing to Telefonica’s prominent presence in the national defence sector, it could be withheld.

If this were to occur, Morgan Stanley would then take over STC’s 9.9 per cent on previously-agreed terms.

Ups and downs ALDI and Lidl have lost their UK market share for the first time in months, Kantar has revealed.

Aldi slid from 10.2 to 10.1 per cent for the quarter ending on September 3, the market research company announced. Lidl dipped from 7.7 to 7.6 per cent.

As UK supermarkets introduced price cuts, Tesco had a 27 per cent market share during the same period, with 14.8 per cent for Sainsbury’s.

Neverthless Aldi sales increased by17 per cent for the year to September 3, with Lidl’s growing by 16 per cent.

Slim chance for Delgado MARGARITA DELGADO, deputy governor of the Bank of Spain, missed out to Claudia Buch as head of the European Investment Bank (BEI).

The decision did not reflect a previous decision by the European Parliament, which favoured Delgado, as the board of the European Central Bank (ECB) voted for Buch.

Currently vice-president of the Bundesbank, she takes over on January 1 next year from Italian Andrea Enria.

The BCE decision is not binding and Buch’s appointment will be put to the vote during a plenary session of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and subsequently confirmed by the EU council.

Triple lock vagueness BRITAIN’S prime minister Rishi Sunak avoided pledges to maintain the pensions triple lock beyond the next election.

Roughly 12 million pensioners would be affected by changes to the triple lock which guarantees that pensions increase in line with whatever is highest amongst average earnings, inflation or 2.5 per cent.

During his last Question Time before the break for party conferences, Sunak did not set out clear plans for a policy that has featured largely in recent Conservative governments.

After Mel Stride, Work and Pensions secretary admitted that the triple lock’s long-term sustainability was uncertain, Sunak would only say that the Tories had “always stood up for pensioners.”

Comeback conditions  SPAIN’S Inditex clothing giant has put a hypothetical price of €211 million on a future return to Russia.

In its recently-published half-year report, the company emphasised that this would only occur “in new circumstances” although it also defined the right to return as “an intangible asset with a useful life.”

Until the Ukraine invasion, Russia was Inditex’s second biggest market after Spain but the Zara owner divested itself of 243 of the 502 stores it owned there in April last year. The remainder were closed.

Inditex sold its Russian operation to the United Arab Emirates’ Doher Group, saying at the time that the company would resume activities in Russia “only if the situation changed.”

Hotel sales THE Gomez Casals family has sold two of its three hotels for more than €85 million.

Pontegadea, Inditex owner Amancio Ortega’s property investment company, was also in the running for the 110-bed, four-star Gallery Hotel located in the heart of the exclusive Eixample area.

Instead, the €50 million sale went to Meridia Capital, an investment fund that specialises in private Spanish markets and has also bought the €35 million Hotel Molina Lario in Malaga from the same family.

The group plans to invest in luxury campsites via its Meridia Glamping Programme, together with WeCamp in which it has a holding.

Good outcome INSURER Aviva is selling its 25.9 per cent stake in Singapore Life Holdings, together with two debt instruments, to Sumitomo Life.

The British-based company announced that Sumitono would pay £800 million (€930.8 million) in cash, of which £500 million (€581.7 million) corresponded to Singapore Life’s equity.

Sumitomo Life currently owns a 23.2 per cent holding in Singapore Life and views Singapore as key to its Southeast Asia plans, Aviva said.

Amanda Blanca, Aviva’s chief executive, described the sale as a “good outcome” for the company.

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca province 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 editorial@euroweeklynews.com.

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