Business Diary: 19/09/2009
Saturday 19 September 2009
Aviva's advocate really does her job
When the insurer Aviva first began examining ways of unlocking £1.2bn-worth of assets in its "inherited estate", it knew it would have to hire someone formidable to represent policyholders' interests, or face accusations it was being unfair to them.
Still, it got more than it bargained for with the former energy regulator Clare Spottiswoode. The policyholders' champion yesterday welcomed High Court approval for a deal, agreed after two years of negotiations, but couldn't help chucking barbs the way of the FSA and Aviva itself. "The rules favour shareholders," she moaned after a series of spats with Aviva.
A business opportunity shines out
Famous for the festival, Glastonbury is obviously also home to some entrepreneurial spirit too. Jules Bending, a local estate agent, says he has stockpiled 10,500 100w traditional light bulbs. Once EU rules requiring retailers only to stock energy-efficient bulbs come into effect in 2010, Mr Bending plans to sell his stockpile at inflated prices. He reckons £40 to £60 a go sounds fair.
Mercer press office comes out fighting
Expect a combative approach to press relations and marketing from Mercer, the employee benefits consultancy, which has hired a new chief for its American press office. His name is Bruce Lee.
The campaign that won before it even started
No news yet on Monday evening's Stand up for the Observer event, due to be hosted by the comedian David Mitchell. The event appears to be going ahead, despite this week's announcement from Guardian Media Group that it won't be closing the Sunday paper, despite speculation this was on the cards.
Pedal power to the fore at Rolls-Royce
Best known for its powerful engines, Rolls-Royce now has another claim to fame – and it's a slightly greener one. The aerospace company is Britain's most prolific adopter of the Cycle to Work initiative, which offers tax breaks on bikes. Almost 1,700 employers have bought bikes collectively worth more than £1m through their company scheme.
Number of the day: 15%
The VAT rate at which firms can reclaim if taking clients to lap-dancing clubs. Harriet Harman wants them excluded.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 2 Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
Supermoon 2014: When and why will the moon look bigger and brighter this summer?
Tommy Ramone dies: Last surviving founder and drummer seminal punk band The Ramones dies aged 62
Gaza-Israel conflict: The terrible price Palestinian children are paying for Israel’s war with Hamas
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
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