Business Roundup for Spain and the UK

Business Roundup for Spain and the UK

AIRPORT TAX: Spanish government approved a 4.9 per cent increase Credit: CC/Bene Riobo

Tax go-ahead The Spanish government approved a 4.9 per cent airport tax increase at a Cabinet Meeting on Tuesday, January 30.

The new rate coming into force on March 1, 2024, works out at approximately 40 cents per passenger, state-owned airports operator Aena announced.

The increase, which requires validation from the National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC), was based on the 3.5 per cent inflation rate with additional adjustments bringing it up to 4.09 per cent.

Transport and Sustainable Mobility minister Oscar Puente defended the rise, maintaining that Spain had the lowest airport taxes in Europe “as well as the best airports.”

Crypto hiring Britain’s former Chancellor, George Osbor, has been hired by US cryptocurrency exchange operator, Coinbase.

“There is a huge amount of exciting innovation in finance right now,” Osborne was quoted as saying in the UK media.

The appointment coincides with Coinbase’s legal battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) which accuses it of operating as an intermediary on crypto transactions “while evading disclosure requirements protecting investors.”

The San Francisco-based company, which rejects the US regulator’s accusations, revealed on January 31 that it had engaged Osborne on the strength of his “insights and experiences as we grow Coinbase around the world.”

Records broken Santander Bank broke its 2022 €9.6 billion profit record by earning €11.07 billion in 2023.

Assisted by the European Central Bank’s constantly rising interest rates, the bank headed by Ana Botin had reached double-figure profits for the first time, it announced on January 31.

Botin also predicted that “if 2023 was good, 2024 would be even better.”

BBVA has also broken its previous record with earnings that increased by 26 per cent in 2023 to reach €8.02 billion.

The bank announced a “significant increase of pay-out with a relevant cash dividend and a new share buy-back programme” while allocating more than €4 billion to shareholders.

New approach Bradford-based Morrisons plans to invite customers to attend board meetings and hold monthly round tables for shoppers.

The supermarket chain has fought intense competition from rivals while struggling to service heavy debts following its £7 billion (€8.2 billion) takeover by the US private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice in 2021.

The retailer now hopes to “start a new chapter” as Rami Raitieh, who took over from David Potts as chief executive in November 2023, revealed “new plans” which will be announced this coming March.

Going shares Sixty-seven per cent of Iberdrola shareholders are choosing shares over a 2023 cash dividend via the company’s Flexible Remuneration system.

This gave them the option of receiving Iberdrola shares, receiving cash after selling all or some of the shares, or receiving all cash.

Under the system introduced in 2024, the group issued 73,021,000 new shares resulting in a 1.15 per cent capital increase.

The shares could be sold from February 2 onwards, the company announced.

“The level of acceptance once more demonstrates shareholders’ confidence in Iberdrola, which in terms of capitalisation is Europe’s leading utility company and the second most-important globally,” Iberdola said in a communique sent to Spain’s National Stock Market Commission (CNMV).

Suitor rejected UK-owned Vodafone turned down a €10.5 billion merger offer from Iliad Group, owned by French billionaire Xavier Niel.

Iliad Group proposed combining their Italian operations in December 2023, pointing out that this would benefit both companies in an ever-more competitive market.

Niel then enhanced the deal with an additional €100 million in cash while relinquishing a call option that would eventually have given it further control over the joint venture.

Vodafone rejected the sweetened offer, resulting in a 4 per cent dip in its share price and is now reported to be “considering” other Italian companies. These include the mobile and broadband provider Fastweb, owned by Swisscom.

Meanwhile, Vodafone chief executive Margherita Della Valle, intends to reduce global operations in an effort to pay off debts and return to growth.

Stout favourite Diageo profits fell 11 per cent during the last half of 2023, with the multinational’s overall sales dropping by 1.4 per cent.

Nevertheless, Guinness is becoming popular amongst younger women thanks to endorsement for the drink from celebrities like Kim Kardashian, and its 210 calories compared with 226 for pale ale or 226 for a large glass of wine.

Debra Crew, chief executive at Diageo, which owns Guinness, said that 24 per cent more younger women were drinking the stout in the UK despite the drink’s “intimidating” rugby player image.

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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 editorial@euroweeklynews.com.

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