Business and Finance Roundup

Business and Finance Roundup

CAPITAL GAINS: Notting Hill residents in London earned as much as three northern cities between 2015 and 2019 Photo credit: CC/Oxfordian Kissuth

London’s rich get richer Twenty-five per cent of Britain’s capital gains went to Londoners between 2015 and 2019.

Even then, the gains were concentrated in five London constituencies of Kensington, City of London and Westminster; Chelsea and Fulham; Hampstead and Kilburn and Richmond Park.

Residents in Notting Hill, which belongs to Kensington and is an enclave of 6,400 people, earned as much in capital gains during this four-year period as Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle combined.

All would have benefited from a lower tax rate than the tax which must paid on income that is earned from a salary.

Meanwhile, researchers from the University of Warwick and the London School of Economics who unidentifiable personal tax returns between 2015 and 2019 found that 97 per cent of the population received no capital gains at all.

H&M lags behind Fashion multinational Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), is losing out to its rivals.

H&M reported a €775-million profit for 2023, compared with €316 million in 2022, although its share price has dipped 16 per cent over the last six months and it closed 28 stores in Spain alone.

Underlying problems were demonstrated by the sudden departure of chief executive Helena Helm on January 31.

Bankinter analyst Elena Fernandez-Trapiella Janssen explained to national daily, El Pais, that Helm’s departure came as a surprise although it was obvious that her turnaround plans were not gelling.

“They closed offices and improved efficiency but profit margins remained below 7 per cent, compared with Inditex’s 23 per cent,” Fernandez-Trapiella said.

Tower power London’s Grade II-listed BT Tower will become a hotel.

The telecoms company announced that it was selling the 189-metre tower to the US hotel chain MCR Hotels for £275 million (€321.2 million).

The technological value of the 189-metre completed in 1964 was now “limited” owing to the evolution of both landline and mobile networks, BT Group explained.

Converting the Fitzrovia site into a hotel will need time, as BT Group expects to take years to vacate the tower because of the “scale and complexity” of removing all its technical equipment.

Talgo suspicions Spain’s government is scrutinising the proposed €632 million Talgo takeover by the Hungarian group, Magyar Vagon.

Rolling stock manufacturer Talgo is a strategically important company for Spain, Industry minister Jordi Hereu said, adding that the government reserved the right to veto the proposed deal.

“Should it give permission, this would be done with the full knowledge that it would be able to maintain strategic control,” Hereu added.

According to Magyar Vagon, owned by London-based Andras Tombor, jobs and the Talgo’s factories would remain in Spain, although the government is analysing links between Tombor, Hungary’s government headed by Viktor Orban and the possible involvement of Russian cash.

Splashing out Barclays will lend a minimum of £30 billion (€35 billion) to UK families and businesses over the next three years.

Demonstrating its faith in Britain’s economy, the bank is forsaking lending restrictions that were imposed first by Brexit and later by the pandemic, Barclays’ chief executive CS Venkatakrishnan – known as Venkat – said.

Instead it would invest more money in UK credit card lending, mortgages, unsecured loans and business loans.

“We are very, very bullish on the UK as a place to do business,” Venkat declared.

Trade gap narrows Spain’s trade gap fell by 40 per cent to €40.56 billion in 2023, thanks to a 7 per cent reduction in energy imports, particularly gas.

Xiana Mendez, the country’s junior minister for Commerce, announced exports which reached €383.68 billion last year, the second-highest yet after the record year of 2022, with imports of €424 billion.

The European Union remained Spain’s principal export market and accounted for 62.7 per cent of the total although exports to Australia and other Oceania countries rose by 8.7 per cent, followed by Latin America (8.1per cent) and European countries outside the EU (4.6 per cent).

Milking it The National High Court in Madrid upheld National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) claims of a price-fixing milk cartel.

This provided nine companies with cheap supplies while preventing farmers from negotiating prices, the tribunal ruled.

The court rejected appeals from Calidad Pascual, Central Lechera Galicia, Grupo Lactalis Iberia, Nestle and Schrieber Food España, but lowered the fines totalling €86 million which the CNMC recommended to €28 million.

Appeals by Comercial Alimentaria Peñasanta, Danone, Industrias Lacteas Granada (Puleva), and Asociacion de Empresas Lacteas de Galicia were partially accepted, as the time limit for some of the periods under investigation had expired.

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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