Sunday 14 October 2007

Sunday Business Round up: Jump start

Well after a fantastic day of sport yesterday it is harder than usual for me to turn to the business pages. However, there are some interesting things in the news this week. The Virgin offer for Northern Rock being one of the more interesting...

Virgin bid for Northern Rock - Branson is to see if he can fix the NR. I think this is usual good business by Sir Richard. NR is a gold plated government institution now so is in a healthy position for the long term(?) Particularly if Beardie can get his hands of the assets for free! Many of the papers though always pooh-pooh Virgin, for base reasons of hating entrepreneurial success is my guess!

Chinese banks move up a gear - By financing BA planes they show they are moving up to compete with the international banks.

Green Vision - This article on green permits shows, as Nick Drew has done many times, just how far away UK government rhetoric is from the reality of what we can deliver in terms of green power.

Court ends strikes - Finally some sense in the Post office debacle. With both management and the Unions in the wrong, the future of the Post Office looks bleak.

Lawyers - Cashing in on Miner's woe by the million. An old story, but still worth a read if you had not seen it before.

Darling's future - Business and Unions are to unite to fight the Government's changes to Capital Gains tax.

and finally - a story about a city trader and how he gets his bonus; I have no idea if this is even remotely accurate.


Stan Bull said...

Errr...forgive my ignorance, but how will Branson manage to rebrand NR?
A former Labour PPC and a new Labour accolyte/Bloggers4Labour/ Guardian stalwart by the name of Mike Ion is currently seeking entry to Blogpower. Could we get a bit of a No vote going over there?
Go to Blogpower HQ....

CityUnslicker said...

stan , with you and will be over quick sharp.

Nick Drew said...

Good pick on the Green item, CU: I shall take up this one shortly, it is a real mess, a time-bomb in Blair's bequest.

Anonymous said...

It sounds to me like Branson is going to be taking over the country. Interesting to learn that Darling has a Northern Rock mortgage. I wonder how many other MPs do, and whether they should declare an interest.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Minor point, when I visit your site and hit the back arrow, it takes about ten attempts before it takes me back whence I came. Other sites don't do this.

Steven_L said...

I just read the "Confessions of a Trader" thingy over in a nice country pub over a pint or two of hand-pull.

I'm sure there is some truth in it. I've had over 20 jobs over the years, I could spent forever and a day making 'confessions'.

It figures that the men in pin-stripe suits who are getting the biggest pay-cheques will be the ones pulling off the biggest and most audacious scams.

Pretending to be some else? Come on, that's nothing, I bet they get up to some bigger scams than that.

I find the whole envelope and secrecy stuff amusing though, that must create an interesting work environment. I used to play cricket with a public-school and Oxbridge eeducated lad who had left the city and taken a 65% pay cut to get an engineering job because of the long hours and working culture.

Recently at my place they introduced a £100 a day incentive for the 'top seller', that's a lot of extra bonus where I work.

It's been really funny to watch. I'm not sure exactly what scams the people who keep winning are using yet, but it'll all come out eventually.

The people who keep winning, and their their team managers, are people who think in 'grams' not pounds sterling! £100 = 2 more grams in their minds and they'd do anything for it.

CityUnslicker said...

Ellee- Well quite. Although as Guido has been pointing out the housing market works rather differently once you are an elected member!

CityUnslicker said...

Mark - no idea! does not happen to me. very strange.

CityUnslicker said...

Steven - They think in grams in the city too for sure!

Anonymous said...

Many of the papers though always pooh-pooh Virgin, for base reasons of hating entrepreneurial success is my guess!'s because Branson is an asset stripper and profitter and a mere brand name masquerading as a businessman. He may have a personal fortune, but it certainly isn't from successful businessess; all his have been money losers until they have been bailed out by others while retaining the brand.

He is only the front of the NR bid, and nothing more because no professional businessmen or businessess let him near the management.

Anonymous said...

How about 'Northern Virgin'? Theyre rarer than hens teeth so it would be quite funny!

I think Mike Ion should be let in to BP by the way!!

CityUnslicker said...

Virgin is a top brand. Most of Branson's companies have been successful; especially Music, Airlines and Mobile phones.

There are simply no other Britons in the last 25 years (maybe Lord Hanson) who can match his record.

I have worked very closely in the pst with some Virgin companies, they are well run and often built from scratch. You simply can't call Branson an asset stripper.

Anonymous said...

How many of the successful companies did he have a majority stake in?

Many he started, and all congtas to him and credit where credit is due, but only those companies where he was a minority stake holder were successful in the long term. An example is rail where it was going down the pan until Stagecoach took over management and a large stake...and it was going down the pan while he was selling the best assets it had, not to reinvest of course, but to prop up the margins and take his massive dirctors cut.

His genius is in creating a brand, and nothing else. Why do you think he didn't get the lottery despite promisong the earth and taking no profit? It was too high profile to allow him to exploit and mess up before being bailed out by a better business.

Anonymous said...

From what I have seen of Branson, the businesses where he has taken a personal interest is where he has had the biggest success. It is in areas where the Virgin brand has been used to promote such things as hotels where it has failed because - but then he hasn't invlved himself much in the business.

But if you want to criticise the man's ability then by all means set about proving you can do a lot better with less effort. UK PLC needs far more entepreneurs.

I would be more than happy to show I can do better than Adam Applegarth, but to do better than Richard Branson is definitely a tougher challenge.

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