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Monday newspaper round-up: Small firms, Post Office, M&G

(Sharecast News) – Small businesses and manufacturers are bracing themselves for a fight for survival this year, according to fresh survey data, as they negotiate the twin threats of Covid-19 and weaker post-Brexit trade with the EU. More than 250,000 small firms expect to fold without further government financial support, according to a quarterly poll by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). – Guardian
A surge in online shopping helped to push up the Post Office’s income over Christmas, as web-based retailers escaped the Covid-19 restrictions that bedevilled the high street. In the four weeks to 27 December, the Post Office recorded 51.3m customer transactions, just 0.5% below the same period of 2019, with sales up 17% to £66.3m. – Guardian

Fund manager M&G has blamed City rules as it refuses to hand investors back money from its suspended £2.1bn property fund, almost a fifth of which is now held in cash and earning no returns. The M&G Property Portfolio fund has blocked investor withdrawals since December 2019, when a raft of real estate funds were gated as plummeting retail property valuations prompted a wave of redemption requests. – Telegraph

The private equity owner of TGI Fridays in Britain plans to put the bar and restaurant chain up for sale this year as it winds down its portfolio after succumbing to an attack by a corporate raider. Electra Private Equity, a London-listed investment vehicle, is also aiming to sell off its other assets before the year is out and return the proceeds to shareholders. – The Times

MPs have opened an investigation into the insolvency profession after criticism from businesses about their objectivity standards, The Times has learnt. A focus is likely to be on the relationship between insolvency practitioners and the lending banks that have the power to appoint them. – The Times

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