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Deliveroo shares sink 31% in London debut

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Food-delivery startup Deliveroo Holdings sank as much as 31 per cent in its London debut after its initial public offering raised £1.5 billion, putting pressure on the City’s efforts to boost its profile as a technology and listings hub post-Brexit. It is one of the steepest trading debut falls for a major company on the London market for years.

The stock traded at 292 pence as of 8.21am in London, down from the IPO price of 390 pence a share, which was the bottom end of an initial range. Beset by concerns about its dual-class structure and workers rights, Deliveroo is the first of London’s top five deals this year not to price at the highest targeted valuation, data compiled by Bloomberg News show.

Some of the UK’s largest asset managers said last week they wouldn’t participate in the offering because the company’s treatment of couriers doesn’t align with responsible investing practices. Hundreds of riders are planning a protest next week to lobby for better pay and conditions.

“There will be a lot of selling pressure, as many will try to retreat from a broken IPO, such at this one,” said Patrick Basiewicz, an analyst at UK broker finnCap. And with impaired institutional support, there will be fewer fundamental buyers, he said.

“It’s certainly a disappointing outcome for an IPO that initially generated a lot of enthusiasm,” Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, wrote in an emailed note. “Recent weakness in the share price of a number of its peers in the US, like Doordash, appears to have taken some of the shine off the sector.”

Doordash

Over the past month, Doordash has slumped 23 per cent in New York. And European rivals Just Eat Takeaway. com, Delivery Hero and meal-kit maker HelloFresh have also fallen this year as the vaccine rollout raised hopes of economies reopening.

Deliveroo and investors sold 384.6 million shares at the offer price, equal to a 21 per cent stake. The company raised £1 billion, while shareholders including Amazon. com and chief executiveWill Shu sold the remaining £500 million of stock. It’s the largest IPO in the UK since e-commerce operator THG’s £1.88 billion listing in September.

The prospectus indicates Amazon was looking to sell 23.3 million shares in the offering. At the IPO price, this means it could receive proceeds of £90.9 million, with its remaining stake valued at about £818 million, according to Bloomberg News calculations.

Lockdowns contributed to massive growth for Deliveroo and its peers. Orders on the platform grew 64 per cent last year, but they haven’t managed to turn that growth into full-year profit just yet. The company’s 2020 adjusted Ebitda was a loss of £11.8 million, according to the prospectus, still narrower than the £226.9 million loss a year earlier.

Tech Hub

Like THG, Deliveroo listed with weighted voting rights on the LSE’s standard segment and therefore can’t be included in indexes such as the Ftse 100, despite its size. While the stock will lose out on fund flows from passive strategies that track these benchmarks, the same situation hasn’t prevented THG’s shares from surging 26 per cent.

Some investors balked at the dual-class structure, which will allow Shu to retain control of the business for three years. Yet, London may soon do away with the so far sacrosanct “one share, one vote” principle for premium listings, as it is one of several proposed changes to the UK listing rules in a bid to attract more high-growth offerings.

Deliveroo is an important deal for the City of London, which is working hard to boost its credentials as a listing venue for tech companies that can compete with heavyweights New York and Hong Kong. Its efforts were boosted on Tuesday when homegrown unicorn Oxford Nanopore Technologies, a DNA sequencing firm, said it plans to list in London this year.

The post-Brexit charm offensive is paying off. IPOs have now raised more than £7 billion in London this year, marking the city’s best-ever first quarter, according to the data compiled by Bloomberg. Deliveroo’s market value of £7.6 billion at the offering price makes it one of the UK’s largest traded tech companies.

If there is enough demand, underwriters have the option to sell additional shares an increase the deal size by as much as 10 per cent. – Bloomberg

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Madrid’s Retiro Park and Paseo del Prado granted World Heritage status | Culture

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Madrid’s famous Retiro Park and Paseo del Prado boulevard have been added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The decision, made on Sunday, brings the total number of World Heritage Sites in Spain to 49 – the third-highest in the world after Italy and China.

Up until Sunday, none of these sites were located in the Spanish capital. The Madrid region, however, was home to three: El Escorial Monastery in Alcalá de Henares, the historical center of Aranjuez and the Montejo beech forest in Montejo de la Sierra.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez celebrated the news on Twitter, saying it was a “deserved recognition of a space in the capital that enriches our historical, artistic and cultural legacy.”

Retiro Park is a green refuge of 118 hectares in the center of the city of Madrid. Paseo del Prado boulevard is another icon of the capital, featuring six museums, major fountains such as the Fuente de Cibeles as well as the famous Plaza de Cibeles square.

For the sites to be granted World Heritage status, Spain needed the support of two-thirds of the UNESCO committee – 15 votes from 21 countries. The proposal was backed by Brazil, Ethiopia, Russia, Uganda, Nigeria, Mali, Thailand, Kyrgyzstan, Oman and Saudi Arabia, among others.

Statue of Apollo in Paseo del Prado.
Statue of Apollo in Paseo del Prado.Víctor Sainz

Prior to the vote, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the organization that advises UNESCO, had argued against considering the Paseo del Prado and Retiro Park as one site, and recommended that the latter be left out on the grounds that there were no “historic justifications” for the two to be paired.

This idea was strongly opposed by Spain’s ambassador to UNESCO, Andrés Perelló, who said: “What they are asking us to do is rip out a lung from Madrid. El Prado and El Retiro are a happy union, whose marriage is certified with a cartography more than three centuries old.” The origins of Paseo del Prado date back to 1565, while Retiro Park was first opened to the public during the Enlightenment.

Pedestrians on Paseo del Prado.
Pedestrians on Paseo del Prado. Víctor Sainz

The ICOMOS report also denounced the air pollution surrounding the site. To address these concerns, Madrid City Hall indicated it plans to reduce car traffic under its Madrid 360 initiative, which among other things is set to turn 10 kilometers of 48 streets into pedestrian areas, but is considered less ambitious than its predecessor Madrid Central.

The 44th session of the World Heritage Committee took place in the Chinese city of Fuzhou and was broadcast live at Madrid’s El Prado Museum. Perelló summed up the reasons to include Retiro Park and El Paseo de Prado in less than three minutes.

“When people say ‘from Madrid to heaven’ [the slogan of the Spanish capital] I ask myself why would you want to go to heaven when heaven is already in Madrid,” he told delegates at the event, which was scheduled to take place in 2020, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Every year, UNESCO evaluates 25 proposals for additions to the World Heritage List. In the case of the Paseo del Prado and Retiro Park, the site was judged on whether it evidenced an exchange of considerable architectural influences, was a representative example of a form of construction or complex and if it was associated with traditions that are still alive today. The famous park and boulevard sought to be inscribed on the UNESCO list in 1992, but its candidacy did not reach the final stage of the process.

Etching of Paseo del Prado from Cibeles fountain, by Isidro González Velázquez (1788).
Etching of Paseo del Prado from Cibeles fountain, by Isidro González Velázquez (1788).Biblioteca Nacional de España

The effort to win recognition for the sites’ outstanding universal value began again in 2014 under former Madrid mayor Ana Botella, of the conservative Popular Party (PP), and was strengthed by her successor Manuela Carmena, of the leftist Ahora Madrid party, which was later renamed Más Madrid. An advisor from UNESCO visited the site in October 2019.

English version by Melissa Kitson.



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Ryanair reports €273m loss as passenger traffic rebounds

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Ryanair has reported a €273 million loss for its first quarter even as traffic rebounded during the period.

The carrier said it carried 8.1 million passengers in the three month period, which cover April to June. This compares to just 500,000 in the same period a year earlier.

Revenues increased 196 per cent from €125 million in the first quarter of 2020 to €371 million for the same quarter this year. Operation costs also rose however, jumping from €313 million to €675 million.

Net debt reduced by 27 per cent on the back of strong operating of €590 million.

“Covid-19 continued to wreak havoc on our business during the first quarter with most Easter flights cancelled and a slower than expected easing of EU travel restrictions into May and June,” said group chief executive Michael O’Leary.

“Based on current bookings, we expect traffic to rise from over five million in June to almost nine million in July, and over 10 million in August, as long as there are no further Covid setbacks in Europe,” he added.

Ryanair said the rollout of EU digital Covid certificates and the scrapping of quarantine for vaccinated arrivals to Britain from mid-July has led to a surge in bookings in recent week.

First quarter scheduled revenues increased 91 per cent to €192 million on the back of the rise in passenger traffic although this was offset by the cancellation of Easter traffic and a delay in the relaxation of travel restrictions.

Ancillary revenue generated approximately €22 per passenger the company said.

Mr O’Leary foresaw growth opportunities for the airline due to the collapse of many European airlines during the Covid crisis, and widespread capacity cuts at other carriers.

“We are encouraged by the high rate of vaccinations across Europe. If, as is presently predicted, most of Europe’s adult population is fully vaccinated by September., then we believe that we can look forward to a strong recovery in air travel for the second half of the fiscal year and well into 2022 – as is presently the case in domestic US air travel,” he said.

However, the airline warned the future remains challenging due to continued Covid restrictions and a lack of bookings and that this meant it was impossible to provided “meaningful” guidance at the time.

“We believe that full0year 2022 traffic has improved to a range of 90 million to 100 million (previously guided at the lower end of an 80 million to 120 million passenger range) and (cautiously) expect that the likely outcome for the year is somewhere between a small loss and breakeven. This is dependent on the continued rollout of vaccines this summer, and no adverse Covid variant developments,” said Mr O’Leary.

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Switzerland’s Credit Suisse settles with star banker over spying scandal

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CEO Tidjane Thiam was forced to resign in February 2020 after admitting the bank had hired investigators to follow Khan, head of international wealth management, because he had opted to move to arch-rival, UBS.

As well as sending shockwaves through banking circles, the case sparked a criminal probe in Switzerland.

“All parties involved have agreed to end the case,” Credit Suisse spokeswoman Simone Meier told NZZ am Sonntag, which revealed the agreement.

Meier declined to comment further when contacted by AFP.

The public prosecutor of the canton of Zurich has also ended his investigation, as the complaints have been withdrawn, NZZ am Sonntag reported.

Thiam’s resignation followed a torrid six-month scandal that began with revelations in the Swiss press that Khan had been shadowed by agents from a private detective company hired after he joined UBS. 

At one point, Khan physically confronted the people following him.

In October, chief operating officer Pierre-Olivier Bouee resigned, acknowledging at the end of an internal investigation that he “alone” had ordered the tailing without informing his superiors.

He had wanted to ensure that Khan was not trying to poach other employees, according to the internal investigation.

The case was reopened in December 2019 when the bank admitted to a second case of espionage, this time involving the former head of human resources, and then in February after media reports that the surveillance had also targeted the environmental organisation Greenpeace.



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