Thursday newspaper round-up: Ovo, Hilco, EDF, HSBC

Ovo Energy is moving to cut a quarter of its entire workforce in an attempt to cut costs amid the growing industry crisis. The UK’s third-biggest supplier of gas and electricity is expected to announce the loss of 1,700 roles out of 6,200 as part of a voluntary redundancy scheme as soon as Thursday. Gas market prices last month reached an all-time high of £4.50 per therm, about nine times higher than this time last year. – Guardian
The restructuring group Hilco took a £25m dividend payment from the DIY chain Homebase in 2020 despite accepting at least £10.6m in government aid. The company, which bought Homebase for £1 in 2018 from its Australian owner, Wesfarmers, said it had accepted business rates relief for the Homebase chain on top of £10.6m in furlough payments and grants for the Bathstore chain, which was forced to close for many weeks under government high street lockdowns. – Guardian

EDF has announced a further delay to its flagship nuclear reactor project in France as it prepares to install the same design at power plants in Britain. The company said that fuel loading at its Flamanville 3 project in western France will be done six months later than previously planned, adding €300m (£250m) to the project’s cost, which now stands at €12.7bn. – Telegraph

HSBC has been accused of hypocrisy after it increased the cost of a charity bank account. The lender now takes a £5 monthly account fee from charities and has introduced charges of 0.4pc to pay in and withdraw cash – equivalent to £4 for a £1,000 donation. There is also a fee of 40p to deposit a cheque. Peter Catton, the treasurer at St Peter’s Church in Sicklinghall, Leeds, said the fees amount to 1pc of its income. – Telegraph

Property valuers responsible for making judgments underpinning trillions of pounds of land and buildings in Britain and overseas face tougher regulation after an independent review found evidence of conflicts of interest. CBRE, Savills and Knight Frank are among surveying firms that will have to employ a “valuation compliance officer” to ensure that valuations are made objectively and they will be governed by a new regulatory panel under plans announced today. – The Times

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