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Monday newspaper round-up: WH Smith, customs duties, Vectura

The activist investor calling for a shake-up at Rolls-Royce has upped its stake in WH Smith but insisted it iswas supportive of management at the struggling high street chain. Causeway Capital Management is the retailer’s biggest shareholder and owns 9% after buying shares in the wake of a recent profit alert. Analysts suggested the California-based investor was betting on a recovery in international travel rather than agitating for change. – Guardian

The trade barriers that made the import of Marks & Spencer’s Percy Pig sweets one of the first casualties of Brexit has added an extra £600m in costs to British importers since January, it has emerged. Customs duties paid by UK businesses shot up from £1.6bn in the first half last year to a record £2.2bn in the same period this year, according to an analysis of HMRC data. – Guardian

The UK’s largest lung disease charity has urged shareholders to block a big tobacco takeover of drug maker Vectura ahead of a deadline on Wednesday. Sarah Woolnough, chief executive of Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, urged investors to oppose the £1bn swoop by Philip Morris International (PMI) on Vectura, a company that plays a leading role in tackling diseases caused by smoking. – Telegraph

More Europeans are looking for work in Britain since the end of lockdown restrictions, but job searches from the Continent remain far lower than they were before the pandemic. In a promising sign for businesses grappling with staff shortages, searches from inside the European Union for positions in Britain have risen steadily since hitting the floor in April last year, according to Adzuna, a jobs search engine. – The Times

The Post Office, which has been helping to deliver Britain’s mail since the 17th century, is to begin handling packages for Amazon, the great delivery disruptor of the 21st century. The tie-up comes as a fresh challenge to Royal Mail’s former monopoly and could tempt even more UK consumers to shop at the American group’s vast online marketplace. – The Times

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