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Lufthansa regains place as Europe’s biggest airline from Ryanair

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The Lufthansa group as a whole carried 130 million passengers last year, it said on Wednesday. The equivalent figure from Ryanair was 129 million, meaning Ryanair slips behind Lufthansa after overtaking it in 2016. Lufthansa has grown rapidly, having taken over Brussels Airlines at the end of 2016 and aiming to grow its budget brand Eurowings to become Europe’s third largest point-to-point carrier. The group, which also includes Swiss and Austrian Airlines, has also benefited from the collapse of German rival Air Berlin in the latter part of 20... Read More »

Nestle sells Crunch, Nerds and other US brands to Ferrero for $2.8bn

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The Swiss food giant said it was offloading brands such as Crunch, Nerds, Runts and Butterfinger to focus on other products. Italy's Ferrero, which makes Nutella spread, Tic Tac and Ferrero Rocher, will become the US's third biggest confectionery maker. The deal is expected to go through by March this year. Ferrero said the brands would give it "substantially greater scale" and "a broader offering of high-quality products" for US customers. Healthy steps? The US confectionary market is the largest in the world, worth about $8bn a year acc... Read More »

Toymaker Lego teams up with Chinese internet giant Tencent

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Privately-owned Lego has seen a slowdown in sales growth in recent years, but the Chinese market has been a bright spot with sales growing 25-30 percent in 2016. It is competing with Barbie maker Mattel Inc (MAT.O) and Hasbro (HAS.O), the firm behind My Little Pony, for a slice of the $31 billion toys and games market in China. Lego said on Monday the partnership with Tencent, China’s biggest social network and gaming company, aimed to create a safe online environment covering content, platforms, and experiences tailored for Chinese children... Read More »

Cars in Europe: diesel’s not dead yet

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France is the European country with the most diesel cars. And yet, it is one of the few countries where diesel has begun to decline. In 2017, more petrol cars were sold than diesel (48% of sales). It’s a big change for the country and a telling sign for the change of the trend across the continent. Diesel car sales had been rising steadily for 30 years In Europe as a whole, 52% of the cars are still fuelled by petrol. Only six of the thirty countries have more diesel cars than petrol. France (70%) and Luxembourg (65%) top the table an... Read More »

Europe’s largest pension fund to drop tobacco and nuclear weapons investments

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Owen Walker YESTERDAY Europe’s biggest pension fund, ABP of the Netherlands, plans to ax tobacco and nuclear weapons from its investment portfolio. The €405bn scheme joins a growing list of institutional investors in shunning stocks they deem harmful to the environment and to human health. The industry-wide fund, which manages money on behalf of 2.9m members, said on Thursday it will sell €3.3bn of tobacco and nuclear arms industry holdings in the next year. “Investments in tobacco and nuclear weapons have been a dilemma for us for quite some t... Read More »

Shell sells stake in Dutch wind farm to Switzerland’s Partners Group

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Terms of Partners Group’s participation in the “Blauwwind II” consortium were not disclosed. Project leader Shell, which last month put together a 13-bank consortium to provide 1 billion euros in funding to build it, cut its stake to 20 percent from 40 percent. Eneco, which disclosed on Monday it had agreed to buy 50 percent of the output from Borssele 3 and 4, cut its stake in ownership of the project to 10 percent from 20 percent. Shell has said it intended to continue investing in major offshore wind projects, arranging the highest-risk f... Read More »

Here’s how Europe’s storm names are chosen—and you can pick one, too

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Storm Eleanor has wrought havoc in Europe. Its intense flooding, gales and strong winds which swept Ireland, the UK, France and Spain this week has left hundreds of thousands without power, and at least four people dead in separate incidents. Before Eleanor, there was Dylan, Cermen, Herwart, Ophelia, Aileen and many more, but it is only by naming these storms that we can identify them internationally. Who names our storms? Storm names have been named in Europe for centuries. A powerful storm labelled ‘Ulysses’ reportedly swept Ireland in 1903... Read More »

UK companies will face huge new VAT burden after Brexit

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More than 130,000 UK firms will be forced to pay VAT upfront for the first time on all goods imported from the European Union after Brexit, under controversial legislation to be considered by MPs on Monday. The VAT changes spelled out in the taxation (cross-border trade) bill – one of a string of Brexit laws passing through parliament – are causing uproar among UK business groups, which say that they will create acute cashflow problems and huge additional bureaucracy. Labour and Tory MPs and peers said that the only way to avoid the VAT Brexit ... Read More »

Macron proposes anti-fake news election law

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Emmanuel Macron has said he will overhaul media law in France this year to fight the spread of  "fake news" on social media. Since he was elected last year, the French President has criticized Russian media in particular, openly accusing TV channel RT of sowing disinformation about him via its website and social media during the presidential election. "If we want to protect liberal democracies, we must have strong legislation," Mr Macron told a news conference on Wednesday. Mr Macron said the legislation would concern social media platforms,... Read More »

UK bosses are richest in Europe

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Research by Vlerick Business School in Belgium found that FTSE 100 chief executives took home pay packages worth 94 times those of their average staff member, despite government attempts to crackdown on ballooning corporate compensation. The school’s analysis, reported by the Financial Times, found that top French and German company chiefs were the only ones who came close to their British peers, earning multiples of 91 and 89 times their average worker. ... Read More »

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