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Friday newspaper round-up: Baltic Dry Index, BT Group, Unilever

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Friday 21 Jan 2022

Friday newspaper round-up: Baltic Dry Index, BT Group, Unilever

(Sharecast News) - In times of market dislocation, it rises sharply to reflect the difficulties in transporting goods - and during the pandemic it has done little else but rise, peaking at more than 5,700. [...] That peak in the Baltic Dry Index was hit on October 7. Since then, the index has fallen sharply, halving within a month. Though it jumped in the run-up to Christmas, it has dropped back again since. Yesterday it fell further, its tenth consecutive daily decline, to 1,570. To put that in context, that puts the index back only to February 2021 levels but not completely out of kilter with the average over the past decade. - The Times

Millions of households are facing a steep increase to their broadband and phone line costs in a "tax on working from home" after BT kicked off a wave of price rises with an inflation-busting 9.3pc increase. BT will charge up to 14m customers as much as £42 a year more for their broadband after it put up charges in the wake of surging inflation, piling further pressure on households already facing a significant blow from higher taxes and energy prices in April. - Daily Telegraph

One of Unilever's biggest shareholders has raised the prospect of replacing chief executive Alan Jope and accused management of putting the company through a "near-death experience" with an aborted £50bn bid for part of GlaxosmithKline. Terry Smith, a top 10 shareholder in Unilever, said the company must fix fundamental problems of its own instead of seeking a mega-deal. - Daily Telegraph

Ex-Formula One team boss Eddie Jordan has pulled out of a bidding war to buy gambling software firm Playtech. The 73-year-old Irish businessman's consortium JKO Play had been planning to offer 750p per share for the FTSE 250 group, valuing it at around £3billion. However, JKO is set to issue a statement pulling out of the process today, according to reports. - Daily Mail

Two of the City's biggest companies have thrown their weight behind a groundbreaking British electric battery 'gigafactory' with £1.7billion of funding. Financial giant Abrdn and warehouse group Tritax backed the Britishvolt project, which is expected to open in 2024, after it clinched a hefty Government grant. - Daily Mail

Primark staff were dealt a blow yesterday with news the firm will slash 400 store management jobs to reduce costs. The High Street discount retailer will cut the roles from its 191 UK stores in response to rising cost pressures and as sales remain below pre-pandemic levels. Primark employs 29,000 staff and said it will start discussions with those affected by the cuts. - Daily Mail

The UK government has rejected plans from a leading Tory donor to build a controversial £1.2bn electricity and internet cable running from the UK to France. Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, has refused to grant consent to Aquind Energy for the project, which has provoked fierce opposition over national security and environmental concerns from MPs and campaigners in the UK and France. - Guardian

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