Ofgem opens investigation into gas network company Cadent

Energy network companies have previously come under fire for making 'unjustified profits' and adding hundreds of pounds to household bills
The energy market regulator Ofgem has launched an investigation into a UK gas distributor over concerns about whether it maintains an efficient pipeline system.
Gas and electricity network companies are largely unknown by consumers but they provide a vital role in transporting energy around the country.
They have come under fire from consumer groups for making billions in “unjustified” profits for shareholders and adding hundreds of pounds to household bills.
Read more Ofgem temporarily bans energy company from taking on new customers Ofgem said on Wednesday that it is investigating whether Cadent kept and maintained records for all of its gas pipes (known as risers), whether it has the appropriate systems in place to do so and, as a consequence, whether its system is “economical and efficient”.
The announcement comes a day after..

Drop in UK manufacturing and mining output casts doubt on May interest rate hike, warns economist

Energy output got a boost from the unusually cold weather in February
UK manufacturing dipped by 0.2 per cent in February, according to the Office for National Statistics, the first time output in the sector has dropped since March last year.
Overall industrial output increased by 0.1 per cent in February, boosted by a 3.7 per cent jump in output from the energy supply sector due to the unusually cold weather.
Read more UK construction output falls at fastest rate in six years However, output in the mining and quarrying sector fell by 2.7 per cent month-on-month in February, mainly because of the closure of two of the six major oil refineries and the one-day closure of the Forties oil pipeline.
The decline in manufacturing reflects a general trend that shows growth has slowed over the past year, said Samuel Tombs, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
“The modest stimulus to growth from sterling’s 2016 depreciation has begun to fade, while the global trade upswing has l..

It Built an Empire of GIFs, Buzzy News and Jokes. China Isn’t Amused.

It Built an Empire of GIFs, Buzzy News and Jokes. China Isn’t Amused. Photo People working at Bytedance’s headquarters in Beijing. China’s top media regulator on Tuesday ordered the start-up to shut down its app for sharing jokes and silly videos. Credit Giulia Marchi/Bloomberg BEIJING — A Chinese start-up that appears to have mastered the art of keeping people glued to their smartphones also has a knack for something else: drawing the ire of China’s censors.
The country’s top media regulator on Tuesday ordered the company, Bytedance, to shut down its app for sharing jokes and silly videos. Vulgar content on the Neihan Duanzi app had “caused strong dislike among internet users,” a brief notice from the State Administration of Radio and Television said. The company was told to clean up its other platforms, too.
The shutdown was only the latest blow for Bytedance, one of the world’s most successful technology start-ups. Just a day earlier, its flagship app, a popular news aggregator call..

UK trade deficit widens to £6.4bn as non-EU exports decline

The UK imported £700m in fuel from the EU in the three months to February
The UK trade deficit widened to £6.4bn in the three months to February due to a fall in non-EU exports.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the total trade deficit widened by £400m, with non-EU goods exports declining by £2.1bn. This was offset by an increase of £900m in EU goods and £400m in total services exports.
Read more UK goods trade deficit hits highest in 15 months Comparing the 12 months to February 2018 with the same period in 2017, the total trade deficit narrowed by £12.9bn to £27.5bn.
Goods imports increased by £1.1bn from the EU, which was slightly larger than the £900m increase in exports to the EU during the three month period.
The main contribution to the rise in imports from the EU was a £700m increase in imports of fuels, followed by increases of £300m in machinery and transport equipment.
More about: trade deficit exports Office for National Statistics Reuse cont..

Shopping centre giant Hammerson rejects £5.04bn Klepierre takeover bid

Birmingham Bullring and Trafford Centre owner would prefer to press ahead with an all-share takeover of rival Intu, which would create Britain's biggest property company
Hammerson has rebuffed a sweetened £5.04bn takeover offer from Klepierre, saying the French firm's advances failed to reflect the value of the shopping centre giant.
The Birmingham Bullring owner knocked back the revised cash-and-shares bid of 635p – comprising 50 per cent cash and 50 per cent in new Klepierre shares – but said the board was willing discuss an offer that met its valuation.
It comes after the group revealed last week that it would halt efforts to finalise a £3.4bn tie-up with Intu as it awaited clarity on an approach from European suitor Klepierre.
Read more ASOS shares drop despite 27% half-year sales growth Hammerson branded Klepierre's initial 615p cash-and-shares bid worth £4.88 billion “wholly inadequate” and “entirely opportunistic”.
It said the offer price on Wednesday did ..

What You Don’t Know About How Facebook Uses Your Data

What You Don’t Know About How Facebook Uses Your Data Facebook has been called on the carpet for how it has failed to protect the personal data of its users. But lost in the drama of congressional hearings is an understanding of the extent to which Facebook meticulously scrutinizes the minutiae of those users’ online lives.
Facebook’s tracking stretches far beyond the company’s well-known targeted advertisements. And details that people often readily volunteer — age, employer, relationship status, likes and location — are just the start.
The social media giant also tracks users on other sites and apps. It also collects so-called biometric facial data without users’ explicit “opt-in” consent, and helps video-game companies target “high-value players” who are likely to spend on in-app purchases.
The sifting of users gets into personal — even confidential — matters. The company has allowed marketers to target users who may have an interest in various health issues, like the 110,000 Facebo..

ASOS shares drop despite 27% half-year sales growth

The online retailer says it's investing in new infrastructure to meet rising demand
ASOS shares fell by 11 per cent on Wednesday morning despite seeing a healthy boost to half-year profits.
The online fashion retailer saw sales grow by 27 per cent in the six months ending February, with international sales growing by 31 per cent and UK sales up by 22 per cent.
The UK based company, notable for its appeal to young online shoppers, made a total of £1.15bn in the six month period, with UK retail sales accounting for £414m and sales from the rest of the world raking in £716.8m.
Read more Ultimo lingerie brand to cease trading in the UK Analyst Nicholas Hyett said the unusual sight of company shares falling after delivering strong growth was down to the firm’s inability to keep costs down.
“That the rapid growth isn’t delivering any meaningful margin benefits only adds to the frustration,” he said.
Mr Hyett added: “The ramp up of activity in Europe and creation of US infrastru..