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Sunday newspaper round-up: HS2, Babcock, Airbus

(Sharecast News) - The Prime Minister is facing enormous push back from senior Tories and captains of industry due to signs that he may walk back on plans for the northern section of the HS2 high speed rail service before the party conference next weekend. Rishi Sunak was expected to meet with the Chancellor on Monday or Tuesday and an announcement was expected to follow by the middle of the week, several sources told the Observer. One source however said that it was not inconceivable that Sunak might yet decide otherwise. - Guardian

Babcock International's chief executive officer, David Lockwood, is not looking to sell out to a foreign investor again. Lockwood was previously the boss at Cobham, which was taken over by US private equity outfit Advent. Lockwood also said that he had not kept track of events at Cobham after the defence engineer was purchased. Advent had promised it would be a long-term investor, but the outfit was duly broken up and much of it sold off in less than 18 months. Babcock maintains the UK's nuclear submarine fleet and there aren't too many firms in that space, Lockwood said. As well, any suitor would require clearance from the government, which he thinks would be a "very, very, very, very high hurdle". - The Sunday Times

Engineering giant Airbus unveiled plans to boost its workforce in Britain by 10%, in what marked a huge vote of confidence in the country. The new 1,100 positions will span high-tech fields including cybersecurity, software engineering, cryogenics and robotics. According to Oxford Economics, the company contributed £7bn to the UK economy in 2022 and supported 79,000 jobs in aerospace and defence, spending £3.9bn on UK suppliers in the process. Airbus's UK workforce would nonetheless remain smaller than before the pandemic even after the new hires. - Financial Mail on Sunday

Chinese fast-fashion outfit Shein turned a profit of g£12.2m on sales of £1.1bn in the UK over the 16 months ending in December 2022. That translated into a tax bill of only £2.3bn. Nonetheless, the topline figure equates to £80m of sales for each of the company's 14 staff in the UK. That number was set to increase to 50 by the end of 2023. Shein had also taken some warehouse space in the UK, whereas up until now it had shipped all goods directly from China, helping to keep costs down. It recently also moved its domicile to Singapore in anticipation of a stock market float in the US. - The Sunday Times

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Sunday newspaper round-up: Middle East, Aston Martin, Defence
(Sharecast News) - Britons must accept that their country was now involved in the Middle East conflict, Tobias Ellwood said. The former defence minister warned that "nobody was in full control" of the growing conflict as more and more countries were sucked in. Ellwood also said that Tehran's strike had taken the conflict into a "new dangerous territory". - Sunday Telegraph
Friday newspaper round-up: Everton, AstraZeneca, Amazon
(Sharecast News) - Everton has paid about £30m in interest charges to an opaque lender associated with a tax exile, corporate records suggest. The charges appear to have reached about £438,000 a week, according to the troubled Premier League club's most recent set of accounts, a figure more than three times the reported wages of the Everton and England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. - Guardian
Thursday newspaper round-up: Border controls, McKinsey, KPMG
(Sharecast News) - New post-Brexit UK border controls coming into force later this month will cost British businesses £2bn and fuel higher inflation, according to a report warning that UK-EU trade will be damaged as a result. With less than a month before the introduction of new checks on animal and plant products from 30 April, the insurer Allianz Trade said the controls agreed under Boris Johnson's Brexit deal could add 10% to import costs over the first year. - Guardian
Wednesday newspaper round-up: Shoplifting, EnQuest, Klarna
(Sharecast News) - The government is investing more than £55m in expanding facial recognition systems - including vans that will scan crowded high streets - as part of a renewed crackdown on shoplifting. The scheme was announced alongside plans for tougher punishments for serial or abusive shoplifters in England and Wales, including being forced to wear a tag to ensure they do not revisit the scene of their crime, under a new standalone criminal offence of assaulting a retail worker. - Guardian

Important information: This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to one of Fidelity’s advisers or an authorised financial adviser of your choice. When you are thinking about investing in shares, it’s generally a good idea to consider holding them alongside other investments in a diversified portfolio of assets. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.

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