DAILY BRIEFING: Scottish Power owner saw profits dive in UK last year as customers switch to other suppliers

SCOTTISH SLUMP The Spanish owner of Scottish Power saw profits dive in its UK operations last year as 160,000 customers switched to other suppliers.

Customer numbers at Iberdrola, which recently announced a 7.8 per cent hike to its standard tariffs, fell from 5.5m to 5.3m.

PAY DEALS Pay rises have remained around 2 per cent over the past year, although public sector workers have received half that figure, a report showed.

A study of 167 settlements by wage analysts XpertHR found a median increase of 2 per cent in the last three months.

INSURER FLOATS Insurance firm GBGI has joined the AIM junior stock market in a £130.4million float. Shares were worth 155p on its maiden trading day.

STRONG RESULTS Events organiser UBM reported a strong performance as it invested in Asia and offloaded its newswire service.

The FTSE 250 firm said revenue rose 12.1 per cent to £863million, while profit was up 23.5 per cent to £863million in the six months to December 31.

HOTELS BOOST AccorHotels, Europe’s largest hotel group, reported a boost in revenue last year – although its French business was affected by terror attacks. Revenue rose 0.9 per cent to £4.8billion.

STAYING PUT Alistair Cox, the boss of Hays, has rubbished fears that Brexit will prompt a City of London banking exodus, as the recruitment giant reported its best profit in eight years.

Turnover rose 7 per cent to £2.5billion, while profit was up 17 per cent to £96.2million.

SOARING SHARES Shares in tunnel excavating firm GME Group Holdings were suspended by Hong Kong’s securities regulator just hours after they first listed, when they soared by 543 per cent.

WEIR RECOVERY Pipe and valve manufacturer Weir Group is being helped by a recovery in mining and oil and gas markets.

The Scottish company reported a 10 per cent growth in orders in the fourth quarter of 2016.

MAIDEN PROFIT Metro Bank is on track for its first annual profit thanks to a surge of new customers – 260,000 customers in the last year – to take its total to 915,000.

EXPANSION PLANS Online estate agent Purplebricks is raising £50million to expand into the US, selling shares at 220p.

The stock was up 2.2 per cent, or 4.75p, to 226p.

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