Day: April 29, 2016

RBS Reports £968m Loss after Government Payment

RBS Reports £968m Loss after Government Payment

RBS Reports £968m Loss after Government Payment
Royal Bank of Scotland has reported a £968m loss for the first three months of 2016 – more than double the loss in the same period last year. RBS said a one-off dividend payment of £1.2bn to the UK government dragged down an otherwise profitable period.

Operating profits rose to £421m for the quarter, up from just £37m in 2015, but total revenue fell 13% to £3.06bn.

RBS is still 73% owned by taxpayers after its government bailout during the financial crisis. The bank said that excluding the one-off payment to the government, which will allow RBS to resume paying dividends to private shareholders in due course, it would have posted a profit of £225m. It said last month that dividend payments were not expected to resume for at least a year. The bank shares were trading down almost one percent on Friday morning at 243p per share.

Ross McEwan, chief executive, said: “This bank has great brands and great market positions and piece-by-piece we are building a solidly performing, profitable bank doing great things for customers and returning value for shareholders.”

On Thursday, RBS said that spinning off its subsidiary Williams & Glyn, as demanded by the EU, was taking longer than expected.

Continuing efforts to restructure the business, including the Williams & Glyn separation, cost the bank £238m. “Unfortunately the ‘to do’ list at RBS continues to grow,” said Richard Hunter, head of research at Wilson King Investment Management, with the delays and costs associated with divesting Williams & Glyn “the latest fly in the ointment”.

But day-to-day expense control provided a bright spot for the bank, as it tried to cut operating expenses by £800m a year by the end of 2016. So far this year, they are £189m lower.

RBS said there had been strong growth in both its mortgage and commercial businesses in the quarter.

However, challenging market conditions that have affected traders across the banking sector were a drag on revenues.

There were also sales of assets, such as Coutts private bank subsidiaries in Asia, the Middle East and Russia, that brought in less than had been expected.

Change your Bathrooms. Add a New Shower

Change your Bathrooms. Add a New Shower

Change your Bathrooms. Add a New Shower
Upgrading your bathroom, maybe adding a new shower unit, can be one of the most cost-effective ways to add value and improve your home.  Making you home more enjoyable for you and your family in the short term and increase your home’s value in the long run. However, prior to embarking on such a significant home improvement project, it is important to carefully think through what you want, either on your own or with the assistance of your bathroom supplier.


When upgrading small bathrooms, making the best possible use of limited space is key. Fortunately, a wide range of sleek, classic yet modern fixtures are available which will brighten up the space and provide that clean feeling that everyone wants out of a full bathroom – without taking up an inordinate amount of space.

Shower cubicles without doors, such as those available from Matki showers, are an effective way to create an attractive, open space in which people will not feel cramped every time they walk in.

These days, another consideration is environmental friendliness. If you’re a homeowner, it’s simply no good to underpay for an average-quality shower head and then be faced with exorbitant water bills each month – especially if you have a family or other people living in the home besides yourself. On the upside, the cost of producing higher-quality, environmentally friendly shower fixtures has come down in recent years, and with “green” products now being more sought-after than ever, they are very likely to fall within the price range of someone seeking to renovate bathrooms of any size and for any number of people. If eco-friendliness and cost savings through increased efficiency are concerns for you, then consider installing a shower head from the product ranges of Fiora showers or Hansgrohe showers.

A final consideration is how the bathroom décor will all come together. While a wide range of shower heads and other bathroom fixtures are available in bright and shiny silver or glossy white or black, it is equally important to your home’s resale value that everything – walls, fixtures and all – fit into the same overall colour scheme. To that end, it is wise to choose a conservative palette of white, off-white, light blue or black for your bathroom walls.

Bathroom upgrades can be complicated, particularly when undertaking them for the first time for a small bathroom or in an older home, but they needn’t be. With a clear vision of what you want out of the space, you can easily turn a bathroom of any size into one of the most attractive rooms in your house.

P.T. Ranson Bathrooms & Showers
P.T. Ranson has been providing branded bathroom supplies and service for bathroom remodelling projects for years. With more than 30 years of collective experience and a commitment to providing the best possible products and service for each individual bathroom remodelling project.

When buying online from P.T. Ranson, deliveries on the UK mainland are free of charge. For more information, call today on 0191 4696999 or visit the P.T. Ranson website today.

Amazon Sees Profits and Sales Surge

Amazon Sees Profits and Sales Surge

Amazon Sees Profits and Sales Surge
Amazon has reported a profit of $513m (£351m) in its first quarter, helped by a 28% jump in sales. Sales hit $29.1bn for the three months to the end of March, helped by rising sales of its Kindle reading devices and Fire tablet computers.  Both sales and profits were higher than analysts had been expecting and Amazon shares jumped in after hours trading.

The company reported strong growth in customers for its Prime service, which includes free delivery and TV shows.

The results were a positive sign for investors who had been rattled by disappointing earnings from Apple and Microsoft. “It did restore my faith,” said Dan Conde, an analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group.

Amazon’s cloud services unit was an important source of sales growth. The cloud business rents data storage space and software services to companies, and is Amazon’s fastest growing unit.

Revenue rose 64% year-over-year, reaching $2.5bn.

Investors have been watching Amazon’s cloud operation closely, particularly after one of its biggest customers, Apple, announced it would be moving some of its business elsewhere. Since the start of the year Amazon has added new televisions shows and films to its Prime service, which helped to attract new users.

In April, Amazon introduced options to pay monthly for the service. The plan is part of an effort to compete with video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.

The company also attributed the increased number of Prime members to the expanded list of products eligible for free two-day shipping.

Amazon did not detail sales of devices like the Kindle and Fire table, but did say that the division has seen growth. “Amazon devices are the top selling products on Amazon, and customers purchased more than twice

Investor Rebellion Over Executive Pay Gathers Pace

Investor Rebellion Over Executive Pay Gathers Pace

Investor Rebellion Over Executive Pay Gathers Pace
A shareholder rebellion over excessive executive pay has gathered pace with Weir Group, Shire, Standard Chartered and Reckitt Benckiser all targeted by investors. At the annual meeting of engineering firm Weir Group, a proposed pay policy was rejected by 72% of shareholders.

The company says it will discuss alternative options with shareholders.

At drugs maker Shire, 49% of investors voted against a 25% pay increase for chief executive Flemming Ornskov. Every three years shareholders receive a chance to vote on the way the formula for executive pay is constructed. That vote is binding, so the board needs a majority of shareholders to vote in favour. So, in the case of Weir, the board of directors will have to come up with a new plan.

Votes between these three-year cycles are not binding, but can create embarrassment for the boss and the board of directors, as in the case of Shire.
Fund manager Hermes advised shareholders to vote against Shire’s remuneration plan at the annual meeting in Dublin.

“We do not support the increase in salary of 25% for the CEO (chief executive), particularly given that his overall bonus potential is more than 10 times his basic salary and his total remuneration was over $21m last year,” said Hans-Christoph Hirt, co-head of Hermes equity ownership. “We believe that an incremental approach to salary rises is more appropriate and should reflect shareholder value creation over the longer term,” he added.

Meanwhile, Royal London Asset Management said on Thursday it would vote against the 2015 remuneration reports at Standard Chartered and Reckitt Benckiser, the owner of Dettol, Scholl and Nurofen.

Earlier, WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell was forced to defend his pay package, worth up to £70m. He said his pay was based on the performance of WPP, the world’s largest advertising group.

Sir Martin told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I’m not embarrassed about the growth of the company from two people in one room in Lincoln’s Inn Fields in 1985 to 190,000 people in 112 countries and a leadership position in our industry, which I think is important.”

Last month 59% of BP shareholders voted against a 20% pay rise for chief executive Bob Dudley, that would have netted him £14m. The vote against the increase was non-binding, but BP’s chairman said at the annual meeting that the sentiment would be reflected in future pay deals.

That was a “remarkable” moment according to Stefan Stern, a director at the High Pay Centre, a think tank which monitors executive salaries. “I do think there is a feeling that things have been getting out of hand,” he said. “Shareholders have signed off on pay structures they didn’t understand and now we’re seeing buyer’s remorse,” he added.
Last week a group that includes some of Britain’s most high-profile bosses said that executive pay in the UK is “not fit for purpose” and needs reform.

The Executive Remuneration Working Group said there was “widespread scepticism and loss of public confidence” over executive pay.

Sainsbury’s chairman David Tyler and Legal & General chief executive Nigel Wilson worked on the interim report.

Also last week, Anglo American said it would be “mindful” of concerns about executive pay after more than two fifths of investors voted against a remuneration deal that included £3.4m for chief executive Mark Cutifani.