Europe biz: BP falls into quarterly loss, billionaire buys TV network
Catherine Newman
BP's decline comes just weeks after it was announced Chief Executive Bob Dudley would be stepping down. (Credit: Paul ELLIS / AFP)

BP's decline comes just weeks after it was announced Chief Executive Bob Dudley would be stepping down. (Credit: Paul ELLIS / AFP)

BP falls into quarterly loss

British Petroleum (BP) reported a loss of $749 million in it's third quarter figures due to the drop in oil prices that have failed to push through the $60 per barrel for most of the last six months

In a company statement reporting the three months up to September 30, BP posted its post-tax figures showing profits down 40% that they apportioned to a one off charge of $2.6 billion linked to the sale of it's Alaskan business.

Czech Republic's wealthiest man buys TV empire

Petr Kellner, who owns the investment group První privatizační fond (PPF), has bought a company that runs 30 TV stations in five Central European countries, including Czech Republic as well as Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. 

Czech media reports that the purchase of Central European Media Enterprises Ltd. (CME Group) will cost PPF $2.1 billion. The company said the acquisition will include 1.15 billion euros in debt underwritten by BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, Credit Suisse, HSBC, Societe Generale and UniCredit.  

The transaction for the Bermuda Czech station is subject to approval by CME shareholders, the European Commission and national market regulators. 

Commerzbank reports higher earnings 

Commerzbank, Germany's second largest lender, reported on Monday a sharp increase in third quarter earnings which were boosted by the sale of its Ebase unit. 

The bank said net profit for the three months to September jumped 35% to $326 million. Operating profits have increased by 30% to 448 million euros and the Frankfurt-based company said the better-than-expected outcome mirrored greater income and a reduction in costs.

The bank, which has been struggling for the last few years, is currently cutting 2,300 jobs from its worldwide workforce of 38,000 as it focuses its energy on its business base in Germany.

In April, Commerzbank quit plans to join forces with rival Deutsche Bank and said it would maintain its independent strategy that caters to retail banking and small-and-medium-sized business clients. 

"Big Four" tighten grip on UK audit sector

Britain's "Big Four" accounting firms are now responsible for auditing all of the companies listed on London's FTSE 100 shares index. 

The Financial Reporting Council watchdog said in a statement that the four companies, Deloitte, Ernst & Young (EY), Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) monitored all 100 of the nation's top listed businesses in 2018, up from 99 in 2017. 

The data is released as the auditing sector is facing greater scrutiny to identify and stop a series of high-profile bankruptcies. 

The British corporate industry has witnessed major failures, including retail chain BHS in 2016, construction firm Carillion in 2018 and tour operator Thomas Cook in September this year. 

The Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) watchdog published a list of recommendations earlier this year for a radical overhaul of the nation's accountancy sector, advising that the domination of the Big Four was anti-competitive.