Connect with us

Business

Brexit trade problems ‘just the tip of the iceberg’, e-commerce expert warns | Business News

Published

on

Brexit trade problems 'just the tip of the iceberg', e-commerce expert warns | Business News

Early trade difficulties are “just the tip of the iceberg” as businesses adjust to new demands after Brexit, according to a compliance expert.

Hurricane Commerce, which specialises in cross-border e-commerce, said the dawn of the UK’s new relationship with the EU was throwing up a string of issues caused by a lack of complete and valid customs data and VAT now being payable on low value goods into the UK.

It highlighted retailers – on both sides of the channel – ceasing orders as a result of additional red tape and unforeseen charges.

The complexity of the UK’s trade deal with Brussels, struck on Christmas Eve, meant businesses had little time to take in the specifics of the new rules before they were implemented on 1 January.

Hauliers have had particularly hard time of it given COVID-19 restrictions on top of the new era for trade.

Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, warned on Friday of “significant additional disruption” for freight in the days and weeks ahead as the effects of stockpiling before 1 January unwound and trade traffic increased.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Michael Gove’s Brexit disruption warning

Before giving evidence to a committee of MPs on the complications encountered so far, policy director for Logistics UK Elizabeth de Jong told Sky’s Ian King Live that there were “particular challenges” over trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland that needed “urgent” attention before freight volumes increase.

She explained how border-like administration – demanded by the EU to avoid the return of a hard border with EU member Ireland – is required.

She told the programme: “Earlier this week there was about 25% of lorries arriving at Holyhead… which didn’t have the correct documentation.”

Ms de Jong called for additional government help for hauliers and ferry operators to navigate and simplify the paperwork and for further mitigation to ease trade flows.

She also said that supermarkets in Northern Ireland were sourcing some products from the Republic to get around early logistical difficulties.

Online supermarket Ocado has blamed a weekend warning relating to the availability of some products on pandemic-related staff absences in its supply chain rather than Brexit.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Market traders: Brexit red tape raises costs

Martin Palmer, Hurricane’s chief content and compliance officer, said: “Online merchants and marketplaces, postal operators and carriers are starting to see the reality of Brexit and the ending of VAT exemption on low value goods by the UK government.

“With the EU also removing the low value VAT threshold in July, the compliance pressures on all parts of the cross-border supply chain are set to intensify even further with similar issues to be experienced in all EU countries to those current being experienced in the UK.

“The first week and a half since Brexit is just the tip of the iceberg.”

A string of British retailers, including M&S, have also complained of potential tariffs for re-exporting goods to the EU under so-called rules of origin.

Hurricane described those requirements as particularly “complex” given that they applied to parts of goods and not just finished products.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business

EDF ignites stock market spark with plan for Pod Point float | Business News

Published

on

EDF ignites stock market spark with plan for Pod Point float | Business News

EDF, the French state-backed energy giant, is drawing up secret plans for a stock market flotation of one of Britain’s biggest providers of electric vehicle charging infrastructure amid soaring demand from motorists.

Sky News has learnt that EDF, which bought a controlling stake in Pod Point less than a year ago, has instructed investment bankers at Barclays to begin working on the timing and structure of a public listing.

City sources said this weekend that an initial public offering (IPO) could value Pod Point at many hundreds of millions of pounds, crystallising a big paper fortune for Erik Fairbairn, the company’s founder.

EDF’s plans are at an early stage, but underline the burgeoning interest in capitalising on the accelerating shift to electric cars, with the government now having established a 2030 target for banning the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles, and 2035 for phasing out hybrids.

Sources said that EDF would be likely to retain a large stake in Pod Point after an IPO as it seeks to meet its target of becoming the leading energy company for electric mobility in the UK, France, Belgium and Italy.

Pod Point says it has powered more than 459m miles of electric driving, and has a public network of nearly 4000 charging bays.

According to recent parliamentary research, nearly 29,000 charging points will be required across Britain by 2030 to meet demand, with the number of public chargers for top-up charging needing a tenfold increase by the end of the decade from 2016 levels.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said recently that 2020 had been the best ever year for electric cars in the UK, with the market share of battery and plug-in hybrid vehicles reaching 10.7%.

“Investment in charging infrastructure and battery gigafactories [is] now essential to reboot industry and meet post-Brexit electrification challenge,” the SMMT said..

Pod Point was backed by a group of venture capital funds and other early-stage investors prior to EDF announcing the takeover of the company last February.

As part of that transaction, Legal & General (L&G), the FTSE-100 insurance and pensions giant, retained a 23% stake in the technology company.

By drawing up plans to float, Pod Point will join an unprecedented queue of promising British tech companies which have set their sights on a London listing as investors embrace a wave of coronavirus winners.

In a statement, a Pod Point spokeswoman said: “We are of course very pleased that the market for electric vehicles has continued to grow so strongly over the course of a very challenging year.

“Unfortunately, we are unable to comment on questions relating to investment as these enquiries are handled directly by our parent company EDF.”

EDF declined to comment on the possibility of an IPO.

Its UK country manager, Simone Rossi, said at the time of the takeover of Pod Point: “Electric vehicles will be crucial in reducing the UK’s carbon emissions and fighting climate change.

“With the addition of charge points, we can help our customers to reduce their carbon footprints and benefit from lower fuel costs by going electric.

“The additional electricity demand from EVs will require urgent investment in low carbon generation from renewables and nuclear.”

Pod Point, which was founded in 2009 by Mr Fairbairn, competes with rivals such as Chargemaster, which is now a subsidiary of BP.

It has partnerships with Tesco and Lidl, with charging points installed at their supermarket car parks, and counts British Land, Gatwick Airport and Pepsico among its other corporate partners.

EDF data published last year suggested that a low carbon grid, featuring new renewables and nuclear, and switching the 32million petrol and diesel cars on UK roads to electric, would avoid 65m tonnes of CO2 emissions, and shrink Britain’s overall carbon footprint by more than 10%.EDF ignites stock market spark with plan for Pod Point float

Continue Reading

Business

Barclays weigh £3bn float of online retailer Very Group | Business News

Published

on

Sir David Barclay (l) and his twin brother Sir Frederick after receiving their knighthoods at Buckingham Palace in 2000

The proprietors of The Daily Telegraph have begun exploring plans for a £3bn-plus flotation of Very Group, their booming online retail operation.

Sky News has learnt that the Barclay family is at the early stages of examining whether to take Very to the public markets in order to capitalise on exploding investor interest in digitally led retailers.

Insiders said that the family had started evaluating such a move prior to the unexpected death this week of Sir David Barclay, who with his twin brother Sir Frederick had built one of Britain’s biggest private business empires.

A decision about an initial public offering (IPO) of Very Group is not thought to be imminent, but sources close to the family acknowledged that it was under more serious contemplation than at any previous point.

Image:
The family had started evaluating the move before the unexpected death of Sir David Barclay (l), seen here with his twin brother, Sir Frederick

It was unclear on Friday evening whether Very’s board had formally appointed bankers to help advise on a potential listing plan, although one source said that UBS – which has advised the company in the past – was likely to be involved.

If the owners did decide to pursue a public listing, it would expose a Barclay-owned business to the glare of public equity markets for the first time, marking a significant departure for a family which has – despite the profile of the assets it owns – always sought to protect its privacy.

In addition to the Telegraph titles, the Barclays also own the logistics business Yodel.

Last year, the family sold London’s Ritz hotel following a bitter dispute between the twins over its valuation.

A legal battle involving allegations of corporate espionage may yet continue despite Sir David’s death.

Last year’s Sunday Times Rich List estimated that the brothers had amassed a combined fortune of about £7bn.

A flotation of Very Group would be a logical step for a business which, like many online retailers, has been among the big beneficiaries of the coronavirus pandemic.

While high street chains have invariably been struggling to stay afloat, Very reported this week what it described as a record-breaking Christmas and Black Friday trading performance.

The company is run by Henry Birch, a former boss of the casino operator Rank Group, and chaired by Aidan, one of Sir David’s sons.

In a trading update published this week, Mr Birch said the Christmas trading period had “started early at Very and our committed team worked tirelessly to deliver for our customers”.

“Because we sell everything our customers could possibly want except food, are online only and offer a range of payment options, we were perfectly placed to help a record number of people make the most of the festive period.”

The company said it had seen more than 500,000 new customers use the Very Group platform, with 139m website visits – a year-on-year rise of nearly 50%.

“Our record-breaking performance was supported by our new fulfilment centre, which processed 3.9m orders during peak; an incredible achievement for a facility that only launched in March this year, when the first national lockdown was announced,” Mr Birch added.

“While the economic picture remains unpredictable, we have strong momentum as we begin the year.”

Very Group last explored the possibility of bringing in external investors in 2017, when it held talks with a number of large private equity firms.

At the time, it sought a roughly-£3bn valuation for the business, which at the time was called Shop Direct, but ultimately decided not to pursue a sale.

A Very Group spokesman declined to comment on Friday.

Continue Reading

Business

ITV picks firm to screen successors to chairman Bazalgette | Business News

Published

on

ITV picks firm to screen successors to chairman Bazalgette | Business News

ITV is kicking off a search for a new chairman as Sir Peter Bazalgette prepares to step down next year after almost a decade on the broadcaster’s board.

Sky News has learnt that ITV‘s nominations committee, led by the former Jupiter Fund Management boss Edward Bonham Carter, has appointed Spencer Stuart to oversee the search.

Sir Peter, who has chaired the commercial television group since 2016, is not expected to leave until his term expires in May 2022.

In total, he will have served for nine years on ITV’s board, having been a non-executive director for three years prior to replacing Archie Norman.

Sir Peter, a former chief creative officer at the TV production company Endemol, is a respected figure both at ITV and in the wider broadcasting industry.

A number of the company’s leading shareholders are said to be disappointed that he has effectively been “timed out” by the corporate governance code, which stipulates that chairs are no longer deemed independent after nine years in total on a listed company’s board.

His successor as chair will inherit a company that, like many others, is grappling with rapid changes convulsing the media landscape.

ITV’s stock price has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with the company’s chief executive, Dame Carolyn McCall, revealing last summer that advertising revenue had been hit by the sharpest fall in its history.

During the last 12 months, shares in ITV have fallen by nearly a quarter, giving the company a market value of £4.37bn.

ITV declined to comment on the search for a new chairman.

Continue Reading

Trending