Portfolio

Monday newspaper round-up: Train-leasing firms, oil companies, EDF

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Monday 19 Feb 2024

Monday newspaper round-up: Train-leasing firms, oil companies, EDF

(Sharecast News) - Private firms that lease out trains for Britain's railway have seen their profits treble in a year, with more than 400m paid in dividends, official figures show. The rolling stock companies paid out a total of 409.7m to shareholders and profit margins rose to 41.6% in 2022-23, according to the Office of Rail and Road, as the rest of the railway was told to make swingeing cuts and salaries were frozen. Taxpayer subsidies are still running at twice pre-pandemic levels. - Guardian
The world's five largest listed oil companies have made profits of more than a quarter of a trillion dollars since Russia's invasion of Ukraine led to dramatic increases in energy prices and household bills. The "super-majors" - BP, Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil and TotalEnergies - have made $281bn (223bn) since the war began in February 2022, according to Global Witness. - Guardian

The "rogue trader" Nick Leeson has claimed that Mike Ashley's legal battle against Morgan Stanley exposes what could be the worst "risk management breakdown" since he triggered the collapse of Barings Bank. Mr Leeson, the former derivatives trader behind the collapse of the UK's oldest merchant bank, said Morgan Stanley would have been "asleep at the wheel" if the court case shows that risks related to nearly €220m (188m) of Mr Ashley's trades were allowed to build up over weeks. - Telegraph

Thousands of Britain's pubs, restaurants and hotels have run out of cash reserves, leaving them in a "perilous state", according to new research. A joint survey by the hospitality industry's biggest trade bodies found that a quarter of venues had exhausted their cash, making them "extremely vulnerable to the slightest shock". - The Times

The government is holding talks with EDF to take control of land at a site in Lancashire as part of plans to roll out mini-nuclear power stations in Britain. Great British Nuclear is in early discussions with the French state-owned energy group over buying land adjacent to its existing nuclear plants at Heysham, with a view to potentially giving the green light for a private developer to build a small modular reactor there. - The Times

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