Daily business and finance update 15th August 2023
Good morning. Today we're talking about the rouble in trouble, landlords selling up and a French skincare brand ownership change.
The Russian rouble hit a 16-month low against the US dollar yesterday, reaching its lowest value since the early weeks of the war in Ukraine. The rouble has chartered a turbulent course since Russia invaded Ukraine, slumping to a record low of 120 against the dollar in March 2022, before recovering to a more than seven-year high a few months later, supported by capital controls and surging export revenues. In 2023 it has depreciated by 26% as a result of a collapse in export revenues and growing military spending, making it the third worst-performing global currency. The decline has led to calls from senior Kremlin officials for higher interest rates to attract savers and boost demand for the currency.
Rental market woes
The bad news keeps on coming for Britain’s rental market as a rise in tax proceeds from property disposals hints at a bigger-than-expected selloff by the nation’s landlords. The amount of homes sold by landlords rose to 25,000 between April and May from 22,000 in February and March, according to forecasts based on an analysis of capital gains tax receipts compiled by estate agents Savills. What’s more, the tax authority has revised up the 2022 tax year disposal figures by 8.5% to 153,000, suggesting landlords could have been offloading properties even earlier than first thought.
Skincare giant changing hands
French cosmetics firm L’Occitane is in talks to go private in a deal that could value the company at around $6.5bn. The talks are being led by billionaire Chairman Reinold Geiger, who owns a controlling stake in the company. If the deal goes through, it would mark the end of L'Occitane's 18-year run as a public company. The retailer, which has more than 3,000 outlets in 90 countries, was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2005. Geiger has said that he believes going private would allow L'Occitane to focus on its long-term strategy without the distractions of being a public company. He has also said that he would like to see L'Occitane relisted on a European exchange in the future.
Final bids: Companies vying to buy Wilko have been given until Wednesday to make an offer for the homewares chain which fell into administration last week.
Mortgage moderations: Barclays will lower its mortgage rates from today, meaning that all of the ‘Big Six’ lenders have now agreed to cut prices in the space of a week.
Billionaire battles: Mark Zuckerberg has accused Elon Musk of not being serious about the pair having a cage fight - and says it is time to "move on" from the saga.
Work security: More than twice as many minority ethnic people are in insecure work now than were in 2011, new data suggests.
The number of items X, formerly known as Twitter, is auctioning from its California headquarters.
Not a subscriber? Sign up for free
Want to reach an audience of UK business leaders, young professionals and 1,300+ other smart, ambitious people? Reply to this email and we'll be in touch.