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Wednesday newspaper round-up: Stealth taxes, Lotus, PayPal

(Sharecast News) - Almost 13,000 offshore companies holding UK property have failed to declare their ultimate owners and may now face fines and a ban on selling their land, the government has said. Martin Callanan, a business minister, praised the introduction of the new register of overseas owners of UK properties, saying it had been "invaluable for tax and revenue services, bringing transparency to opaque offshore trusts often used to obscure assets for tax purposes". - Guardian

Stealth taxes are hitting higher earners more than expected, with rising wages helping the Treasury to rake in an extra £12bn alone last year, according to the Government's spending watchdog. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said a stronger jobs market meant more people were dragged into paying the 40p rate of income tax rate than previously thought, pushing up employee tax and national insurance revenues sharply. - Telegraph

Lotus is to list its electric car business in the US in a $5.4bn deal backed by the world's richest man, Bernard Arnault. Lotus Technology, the EV division of the British car marquee, is to merge with a special acquisition company (SPAC) listed in New York. The SPAC is backed by L Catterton, a private equity business part-owned by the Arnault family. - Telegraph

British boardrooms have been warned to brace for a further wave of investor activism after a record number of new campaigns at European companies propelled global activity by corporate raiders to its highest level since 2018. A report released yesterday by Lazard, the boutique investment bank, showed there were 235 new initiatives started by activist shareholders around the world last year, a 36 per cent increase on 2021 and a resurgence after three years of falling interventions. - The Times

PayPal announced plans to lay off about 2,000 employees, reducing its global workforce by 7 per cent, as it became the latest technology group to cut costs ahead of an expected slowdown. The payments group said it needed to take further action to address "the challenging macroeconomic environment" amid fears of a recession. Shares in PayPal rose 2.3 per cent, or $1.85, to close at $81.49 in New York last night. - The Times

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(Sharecast News) - A development company that sells off land no longer needed by Thames Water has paid out a £14m dividend despite warnings that it could become engulfed by the water group's financial woes. Accounts filed at Companies House show Kennet Properties paid out a £14.5m dividend in the year to 31 March 2023 despite the difficulties faced by the wider group, which is facing going into administration. - Guardian
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(Sharecast News) - Asset manager Redwheel told regulators they should reduce the UK postal service's legal obligations. The move followed a failed buyout attempt by Daniel Kretinsky for International Distributions Services, its parent company. The billionaire investor was said to be evaluating a possible improved bid. The company meanwhile has petitioned Ofcom to let it cut the number of days per week during which it must deliver second-class mail from six to two or three. That would save the company £300m and see it shrink its workforce by 1,000. According to Redwheel, as first reported by the Sunday Times, the enforced costs of its legal obligations left the company "vulnerable to corporate predators". - Guardian
Friday newspaper round-up: Thames Water, Netflix, consumer confidence
(Sharecast News) - "Misleading" and "inconsistent" labels make it hard for shoppers to know where their food comes from, the consumer champion Which? has said, as it found supermarket chains were selling products with "meaningless" statements on their packaging. Retailers must supply the "country of origin" for specific foods including fresh fruit and vegetables, unprocessed meats, fish, wine and olive oil but the rules do not generally apply to processed meat or frozen or processed fruit and vegetables. - 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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