Heathrow airport has been warning that failing to introduce airport testing to allow travellers to cut quarantine times is doing damage to the UK’s aviation sector. On Wednesday it has a new spin on that message to appeal to Brits’ national pride. Heathrow has been overtaken as Europe’s largest airport by Paris Charles de Gaulle, according to Heathrow, which said Amsterdam Schiphol and Frankfurt were “close behind”. Pointedly, it says all three continental rivals have implemented testing regimes.
Heathrow’s losses for the first nine months of the year have climbed to £1.5bn, with third-quarter passenger numbers still down 84 per cent and revenue down 72 per cent at £239m. In June Heathrow reckoned passenger numbers would be 29.2m this year and 62.8m in 2021, compared with 81m passengers in 2019.
Now it forecasts 22.6m for 2020 and only 37.1m next year.
Next said two-week national lockdowns across the UK could knock 20 per cent off sales in the critical Christmas quarter. Even if further lockdowns are only local rather than national, sales in the final three months of Next’s financial year (which ends in January) could fall 8 per cent. But Next has been persistently over-pessimistic about the impact of the pandemic on its performance: it raised guidance for full-year pre-tax profits by another £65m to £365m, with third-quarter full-price sales up 2.8 per cent year-on-year and net debt expected to fall further.
The picture from the rest of the UK high street is glum: UK shops cut prices in October to shore up demand as consumer confidence faltered, a survey by the British Retail Consortium and KPMG showed. Shop prices fell 1.2 per cent in the month compared with October 2019, with the contraction driven by non-food prices, down 2.7 per cent.
Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler is increasing its stake in Aston Martin to 20 per cent as part of a deal to give the UK car company access to the German group’s electric vehicle technologies. Daimler will receive new shares worth up to £286m under the deal. Aston Martin also announced a further fundraising of £125m in new equity, one of a string of cash calls this year. Full story here.
Quarterly results from GlaxoSmithKline are out on Wednesday.
Beyond the Square Mile
Apple is stepping up efforts to develop its own alternative to Google search, as antitrust authorities threaten the payments that the search giant makes to secure prime placement on the iPhone. Apple has begun to show its own search results and link directly to websites when users type queries from its home screen, adding to evidence the company is working to build a rival to Google’s product and giving it an alternative if regulators block the lucrative partnership between the two tech giants.
LVMH is in talks to cut the price of its $16.6bn takeover of Tiffany to avoid a bruising courtroom battle. Tiffany recently signalled it was willing to consider a revised price so long as it was above $130 a share and the French group — which has been threatening to walk away from the pre-Covid deal — closed the transaction without further changes, two people told the FT. LVMH had agreed to pay $135 in cash last November.
Chip dealmaking is ramping up with Advanced Micro Devices’ $35bn takeover of Californian rival Xilinx. The all-share deal takes the value of semiconductor dealmaking to more than $100bn in a blockbuster year for the sector. FT West coast editor Richard Waters explains why the deal shows AMD is a central force in the chip industry once more.
Also out on Wednesday are results from Deutsche Bank, Heineken and Peugeot owner PSA.
Essential comment before you go
Something a bit different on Wednesday. The inimitable Bryce Elder, FT equities reporter, brings you a guide to where to eat in Knightsbridge if you don’t own a Ferrari. Even if you’ve got no plans to eat anywhere near Knightsbridge (or you do in fact own a Ferrari, but have a sense of humour), it’s well worth a read.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to forward this email to friends and colleagues, who can sign-up here.
Get alerts on UK companies when a new story is published