Sunday newspaper round-up: Vodafone, Bank of England, Ukrainian grain

by | May 15, 2022

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State-controlled Emirates Telecommunications Group has amassed a 9.8% stake in Vodafone. However, Etisalat, as the Abu Dhabi telecoms operator is know, has said it has no intention of making a takeover bid nor is it “seeking to exert control or influence”. That statement in effect bars it from being able table a bid for six months. Be that as it may, Enders analyst., Karen Egan, believes that the move adds to the pressure on Vodafone boss, Nick Read, to accelerate his restructuring plans. The company, which is due to present results on Tuesday, was already facing calls from some of its main shareholders to slim its operations and boost returns. – The Financial Times on Sunday

Cabinet ministers are pressing the Bank of England on its ability to do its job of fighting against inflation. According to one of its critics, government figures were now “questioning its independence”. Nonetheless, on Saturday a source at the Treasury had described Bank’s independence as “sacred”. Senior Tories were incensed at Governor Andrew Bailey’s repeated characterisation of inflation as likely to be temporary. Bailey is due to give evidence to MPs during the coming week. The ministers together with an ally of the Prime Minister from his time as the London mayor believe that Johnson should overrule the Chancellor and push through immediate tax cuts to help deal with the cost-of-living crisis. – Sunday Telegraph

As many as 43m people were already one step away from famine before the war with Ukraine so if Russia does not permit the export of the country’s grain from blockaded ports millions will starve, G7 foreign ministers have said. The assembled ministers therefore condemned the Kremlin for stoking a food crisis. The decision followed bilateral call between German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Russian President Vladimir Putin in which the latter was said to have dug in his heels. G7 ministers also said that sanctions against Russia would increase and that they would not accept borders being redrawn through military aggression, including support for Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity. The wife of one of the Ukrainian soldiers trapped at the Azovstal steelworks also called on Chinese President Xi Jinping to help broker the rescue of the defenders trapped inside. – Guardian

McDonald’s is coming under heavy criticism over its failure to publish plans for cutting the use of antibiotics in its beef. An alliance led by Trinity College, Cambridge and legendary corporate raider Carl Icahn will call the company out at its annual meeting scheduled for later in May. Increasing evidence shows that excessive consumption of antibiotics promotes the rise of drug-resistant superbugs. The alliance of McDonald’s investors allege that the bugs constitute a systemic, global threat to public health and the economy. According to the Trinity motion, antimicrobial resistance means that people undergoing common medical procedures, including caesarean sections or knee replacements, might face a massive increase in the risk of untreatable lethal infection. – The Financial Mail on Sunday

Low-cost carrier Easyjet has offered £1,000 bonuses in a bid to hire and retain prized cabin crew members. All existing and new staff will get the reward for their service during the summer’s travel boom. Unlike Easyjet, British Airways’s proposed golden handshake was only being offered to trained staff switching over from rival carriers. Easyjet has also raised its hiring target from 1,500 onboard staff to 1,700. Having slashed staff numbers during the pandemic, both companies had recently been forced to cancel thousands of flights due to a shortage of cabincrews. A spokesman for Easyjet further said operations were expected to have recovered to their 2019 levels for the first time since the start of Covid. – Financial Mail on Sunday

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