A View from the Top: Naina Lal Kidwai, the former banker trying to make India cleaner

When she left HSBC after a 13-year career with the bank, one of India’s most successful businesswomen turned her attention to the country’s sanitation problems
It’s midday in New Delhi and Naina Lal Kidwai is talking about faeces. “It’s all very well funnelling all the shit into loos, but we have to make sure the waste is properly treated, otherwise this mission is going to be the most expensive failure in history,” the 61-year-old former chair of HSBC India says firmly.
While excrement seems an unlikely subject for one of India’s most prominent businesswomen, it is in fact high on her agenda. The mission she references is the Swachh Bharat (Clean India) Mission (SBM), launched in October 2014 by Indian Prime Minister Modi to improve sanitation in the country.
Read more India’s ambitious plans to achieve sanitation for all Kidwai chairs the India Sanitation Coalition, whose aim is to bring “all stakeholders in the sanitation field onto one platform where they can share informatio..

Mothercare: Could hiring some mothers to run the thing fix its problems?

The retailer has issued another disappointing trading update as the latest in a series of male CEOs tries to turn around a business with a gender pay gap of over 40 per cent despite an overwhelmingly female customer base
What’s wrong with Morthercare?
A revolving door of CEOs have been trying to answer that question. So far none of them have got even close.
I have a suggestion that might just fly.
Read more Mothercare sales drop even further as fewer people visit its stores Pawnbroker H&T surges as Mothercare reveals struggles Mothercare warns over profits after sales fall over Christmas First, though, let’s have a look at where things stand for the latest incumbent, David Wood.
Shore Capital, the retailer's broker, was actually able to find some positives from the latest trading statement, which is quite an achievement given that it saw the company reporting a 2.8 per cent fall in UK sales, a 3.7 per cent fall in international sales, and the admission that Mr Wood and ..

Toys R Us receives multiple $1bn bids for Asia business

The collapsed retailer looks for a glimmer of hope in Asia
Toys R Us has received several $1bn (£706m) bids for a majority stake in its Asia arm, a lawyer for the company said.
The US company plans to sell some of its global operations after collapsing in September due to piling debt and strong competition from discount online retailers.
Lawyer Joshua Sussberg said that the company will attempt to continue running profitable stores in Europe and Asia while it folds its UK and US stores.
Read more Mothercare sales drop even further as fewer people visit its stores Mr Sussberg told a US court hearing that sales and estate auctions were generating some money to repay creditors.
Toys R Us is also expecting to finalise a deal to sell its operations in Central Europe.
The retailer had almost 1,600 stores before it filed for bankruptcy protection, many of them characteristically located in out-of-town areas with large stores.
The rise of online shopping and the dominance of e-retail..

EDF announces energy price hike affecting 1.3m UK households

Follows similar announcement by British Gas earlier this week
EDF Energy has announced is raising the price of its standard bill by 1.4 per cent, bringing costs up for 1.3m households from June.
The energy provider said it would increase its standard variable electricity tariff by £16 a year, taking the cost to £1,158 per year. The company said there would be no change to gas prices.
Read more British Gas price hike a 'slap in the face' for customers, MPs say There will also be an increase in the charges for customers choosing to pay by cash or cheque by £6 per fuel per year , “to be closer to the real cost of serving these customers”, the group said. The change means a dual fuel standard variable customer choosing to pay by cash or cheque will see a combined increase of £28, or 2.3 per cent, a year to £1,248 a year.
Beatrice Bigois, EDF’s managing director of customers, said: “We know that price rises are not welcome and we have worked to offset rising energy and pol..

National Grid issues profit warning as extreme weather causes £140m of damage

National Grid has issued a profit warning after extreme weather in the US inflicted an extra £140m of costs.
The energy infrastructure provider said headline earnings for the full year would be lower than expected because of the cost of fixing storm damage.
Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria (HIM) battered the US in the second half of 2017. Further severe storms hit again in February and March this year, leaving more than a million residences without power in the Northeast and Midwest.
Read more National Grid ends gas supply warning. Long term we need to use less National Grid said that underlying earnings, which strip out one-off costs, would be in line with its previous guidance.
Storm remediation costs “are expected to be recovered in future periods and will be reported as timing in our full-year results in May”, the company said in a stock market announcement.
National Grid also said it would benefit from a reduced US corporation tax rate. Senate Republicans recently passed ..

Oil prices pushed to highest point in three years by possible UK and US attack on Syria

Theresa May calls urgent cabinet meeting to discuss response to Douma incident
The price of oil has soared to a more than three-year high as the likelihood of the US and UK taking military action in Syria increases.
Brent crude oil surged past $72 (£51) per barrel on Thursday morning, while US benchmark West Texas Intermediate hit $67, although prices edged down mid-morning.
The oil price goes up when tensions heighten in and around the oil-rich nations of the Middle East, because it threatens supply levels. Also keeping the commodity's value elevated is the threat of an attack on Saudi Arabia by Yemen, and the continued risk that the US will re-impose sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme.
Read more Oil prices boosted as Trump promises ‘forceful’ response in Syria Theresa May called an urgent cabinet meeting to approve Britain’s response to the escalating crisis in the Middle Eastern state, prompting concern that the UK will launch military action without the app..

Mothercare sales drop even further as fewer people visit its stores

Poor footfall is denting Mothercare's UK sales
Mothercare’s woes continued on Thursday as it reported UK sales fell in the 12 weeks up to 24 March as it remains in talks with lenders over refinancing.
The retailer says sales declined by 2.8 per cent in comparison to the same period last year and blamed it on the fact fewer people are visiting its stores.
It offset poor footfall with growth in website sales, which represent almost half of Mothercare’s total UK sales.
Read more Carpetright to close 92 stores putting 300 UK jobs at risk In a fourth quarter trading update released on Thursday, Mothercare said its international sales performance was ‘encouraging’.
“My immediate priority is to ensure Mothercare is put back on a sound financial footing and to improve its financial performance,” said chief executive David Wood.
“In this competitive climate, promotional activity has been necessary to stimulate customer demand.”
He said the firm was reducing its store porfolio f..