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Equilibrium's Finance and Investment News Roundup

In this week's roundup, we return to Greece and the prospect of a new deal for the struggling country, as well as take a look at the latest FTSE movement and news of sales growth for Vodafone, and also discuss newly-raised concerns about pension cold calling.


Greece 'on the brink of new creditor deal'

The Greek government is close to agreeing a new deal that should result in the cash-strapped nation receiving significant loans from foreign creditors, Reuters reports. This is according to the country's Labour Minister Panos Skourletis, who said on Greek TV that an agreement would be reached in the coming days.

Mr Skourletis explained there is a deadline of June 5th for the conclusion of any such deal. Talks between Athens and its European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders have been ongoing for a number of months, with discussions centring on the proposed release of around £5 billion in aid.

Referring to the impending deadline, Mr Skourletis said: "We all know that if there is no solution, let's say until then, in relation to funding, things will be difficult." 

Land Securities profits rise helps FTSE climb

The FTSE 100 climbed on Tuesday, assisted by a sharp profits rise for Land Securities. The index rose by 0.5% to 7,001.12 points in early morning trading, with the commercial property company reporting pre-tax profits of £2.4 billion.

This represented a doubling of the pre-tax profits of £1.1 billion it posted in the previous financial year. The climb has been attributed to its dealings with prime office space in London, with the company set to deliver on a 1.5m sq ft office space in the capital across the next year and a half.

Robert Noel, Chief Executive at Land Securities, said the improved performance was down to both the company's financial discipline and the successes of its retail portfolio. This latest FTSE movement means the index has gained almost 7% so far in 2015. 

Sales growth return for Vodafone

Demand for 4G services and an improving outlook across European markets has helped Vodafone record its first quarterly sales increase for almost three years. The phone giant posted a 0.1% rise in fourth-quarter organic service revenue on Tuesday, bringing to an end a run of ten consecutive quarters of decline.

The company, which is the second largest mobile operator in the world, also reported core earnings for the year to March 31st of £11.9 billion, while group sales climbed by 10.1% to £42.2 billion and service revenue for the year increased by 9.4% to reach £38.5 billion.

Vodafone Chief Executive Vittorio Colao commented: "We have seen increasing signs of stabilisation in many of our European markets, supported by improvements in our commercial execution and very strong demand for data."  

Pension cold calling 'raises concern'

Concern has been raised about the number of people being cold called regarding pensions. The Information Commissioner's Office revealed it has been inundated with such complaints this year, recording more than 1,000 calls and texts on the subject.

BBC News also reports that consumer group Which? has flagged up the issue, with both itself and the Information Commissioner's Office warning people who may be the target of fraud to be particularly careful when receiving calls. The concern has intensified following pension freedom changes introduced at the beginning of April, which - subject to certain conditions - allow anyone over the age of 55 to withdraw their pension savings and move them around.