HomeBussinessBusiness Roundup for Spain and the UK

Business Roundup for Spain and the UK


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Game over The Playmobil factory in Onil (Alicante) is closing after 48 years.

Sales fell 25 per cent overall between 2022 and 2023, with Spanish sales dropping by 33 per cent.

German parent company Horst Brandstatter slowed production in September 2023 and when the Playmobil Iberica plant closed on May 13, 26 employees joined the 13 made redundant in April.

Another 20 continue to work in areas that remain operational, as the company is maintaining Onil as its distribution, sales and marketing centre for Spain and Portugal.

Price is right Royal Mail owner, International Distributions Services (IDS), said it would back a £3.5 billion (€4.08 billion) offer for the UK postal service from Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky.

An earlier £3.1 billion (€3.61 billion) share offer of 320p (€3.73) was rejected as undervaluing Royal Mail, but IDS said on May 15 that it would recommend accepting 370p (€4.31) per share if a formal offer were made.

Kretinsky, part-owner of West Ham United, already has a 27.6 per cent holding in Royal Mail via his EP Group.

Grifols yes and no Grifols, leading manufacturer of plasma-derived medicines, announced a €21 million first-quarter net profit.

This was €129 million up on the same period last year, a recovery that analysts welcomed, although with occasional reservations.

Grifols results for the first three months of 2024 were positive and continued improvements seen during previous quarters, Investment bank Renta 4 said, despite a “particularly negative cash flow.”

Nevertheless, Grifols was once again under attack from short-seller Gotham which accused the Barcelona-based company of diverting a €266 million dividend to Scranton Enterprises, a holding company which is owned by the Grifols family and former Grifols executives.

Oil find Russiahas located huge oil and gas reserves in the Antarctic, much of it in areas claimed by Britain.

Members of the Commons Environment Audit Committee (EAC) heard that Russian research ships believed the area contained 511 billion barrels of oil, roughly 10 times the North Sea’s entire 50-year output.

Junior minister David Rutley said that his department had decided to trust Russian assurances that it was just conducting scientific research, although experts warned that trusting  Russia “was naïve.”

Digi the poacher Telecommunications company Digi reported a €178 million turnover in Spain between January 1 and March 31.

This was 24 per cent more than 2023’S first quarter, bringing a gross profit topping €40 million, 46 per cent up on last year.

Digi, which now has more than 7 million customers, continues to poach those of Spain’s other operators thanks to its tariffs for fibre internet connections and mobile lines.  The low cost Romania-based operator added another 546,000 clients during the first three months of this year, 32 per cent more than the same period in 2023.

In contrast, Telefonica’s first-quarter earnings increased by 1 per cent, and its gross profit by just 0.2 per cent.

High earners TESCO chief executive Ken Murphy’s pay doubled to £9.93 million (€11.57 million) as the retailer’s profits soared in 2023.

Most of Murphy’s pay deal came from £8.3 million (€9.67 million) in bonuses, although he also received a basic salary of £1.64 million (€1.91 million).

There was a corresponding increase for Imran Nawaz, Tesco’s chief financial officer, whose own pay rose from £2.27 million (€2.64 million) to £4.95 million (€5.76 million).

Sareb initiative SPAIN’S Bad Bank, Sareb, is selling two debt portfolios for €2.3 billion.

Sareb, set up by the Spanish government  in 2012, was created to take on more than 200,000 unpaid loans and properties from savings banks affected by the housing bubble.

This, Sareb hopes, will help to shrink its €8.79 billion of toxic assets which in recent years it has tended to reduce by selling off assets.

One of the portfolios, Genova, which is now on the market, consists of €1.5 billion in unsecured loans.  The other, called Guiza, is still being prepared and contains loans secured by a mortgage, Sareb sources said, making it more valuable than the Genova portfolio.

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