Europe biz: Mothercare set for admin, Eurozone manufacturing contracts
By Gary Parkinson
Mothercare's UK branches face the axe (Credit: Tolga Akmen / AFP)

Mothercare's UK branches face the axe (Credit: Tolga Akmen / AFP)

Mothercare UK puts 2,500 jobs at risk

Baby-goods retailer Mothercare is to place its UK operations in administration, threatening 2,500 jobs. The firm said its 79 high street stores lost $46.9m last year and were now "not capable of returning to a level of structural profitability and returns that are sustainable for the group. Furthermore, the company is unable to continue to satisfy the ongoing cash needs of Mothercare UK."

Mothercare UK, which has already closed 55 shops through a company voluntary arrangement, has been seeking a buyer. The wider company operates in more than 40 overseas territories, none of which are threatened by this move: in the year to March 2019 its international business generated profits of $36.5m.


The wheels of European manufacture are still slowing (Credit: Monty Rakusen / Getty Creative via VCG)

The wheels of European manufacture are still slowing (Credit: Monty Rakusen / Getty Creative via VCG)

Eurozone manufacturing continues to contract

Factory activity in the Eurozone contracted sharply again last month amid a US-led trade war and continued confusion over Brexit. IHS Markit's final Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), in which a result of 50 separates growth from contraction, was 45.9 in October, barely above September's seven-year low of 45.7.

Germany's manufacturing PMI for October was 42.1, a slight increase on September's 10-year low of 41.7 but still bleak enough to increase fears of Europe's biggest economy being in recession. Spain's manufacturing PMI dropped to 46.8 from 47.7, worse than expected after a month marked by public protests in Catalonia, while Italy nudged down from 47.8 to 47.7. However, France's manufacturing PMI rose from 50.5 to 50.7, and the French CAC stock market hit a 12-year high on Monday. 


Air Europa wings its way toBA (Credit: Josep Lago / AFP)

Air Europa wings its way toBA (Credit: Josep Lago / AFP)

BA owner buys Spanish carrier Air Europa for $1.1bn

British Airways owner IAG has agreed to buy the Spanish carrier Air Europa for $1.12bn in cash, strengthening its provision of travel to Latin America and the Caribbean via Madrid. Air Europa currently offers domestic and international flights to 69 destinations, including long-haul routes to Latin America, the United States and the Caribbean.

IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said the purchase would "add a new competitive, cost-effective airline to IAG, consolidating Madrid as a leading European hub and resulting in IAG achieving South Atlantic leadership."

Chinese giant in pole position for British Steel

The Chinese industrial giant Jingye is the leading contender to buy British Steel, which went into administration in May. Senior company executives including chairman Li Ganpo visited northern England last week to meet sales advisers, MPs and unions. 

Ben Houchen, the mayor of Tees Valley, said Jingye's team are "in advanced discussions," confirming that they "are now the frontrunners to buy the business. It was wonderful to listen to chairman Li about his plans for British Steel and what we can do together to project jobs on Teesside."

Finland investigates absences from its 'National Jealousy Day' tax-return list

Finland's Chancellor of Justice is investigating a decision by the Finnish Tax Administration to exempt 231 high earners from a list traditionally made publicly available every year. Ever since the 19th century, Finland has made individual tax data accessible on what became tagged 'National Jealousy Day'. 

However, new EU data protection regulations and strengthened national data privacy laws have allowed people to request that their names be withheld from the list. But not everybody did so, and the list was topped by games firm CEO Ilkka Paananen, whose combined income was $122.7 million; his colleague Mikko Kodisoja was second with $109.3m.

Source(s): Reuters