But here’s the good news: Unlike Huawei, where a ban would seriously disrupt the rollout of 5G in the UK, there are few direct downsides to excluding CGN. The UK does not need Chinese nuclear technology.
The construction of Hinkley Point C in Somerset, where CGN is only a 33% investor, could continue without interruption. The factory being under construction according to the European design of the French firm EDF, the security risks should be minimal or nonexistent. The same goes for the proposed monitoring plant at Sizewell C, where CGN has the possibility of taking a 20% stake in another project dominated by EDF.
The major impact would be at Bradwell, Essex, the price CGN was really looking for – the first nuclear power plant built in China outside of China.
But Bradwell’s proposal is years away from being approved and already appears to be in surplus for the reasons that the National Infrastructure Commission put forward in its latest long-term assessment: “Given the balance of costs and Risks, a system based on renewable energy seems a safer bet at present than the construction of several new nuclear power plants. ”
NIC believed that only one new large nuclear power plant was to be commissioned before 2025 – and, presumably, it would be Sizewell. The cancellation of Bradwell would not imply any real sacrifice on the part of the United Kingdom.
In fact, Cameron / Osborne’s nuclear vision has aged horribly in four years. The offshore wind revolution has accelerated and the costs of the industry are now beating that of nuclear every time. If the replacement of nuclear capacity is still deemed essential for the purposes of base load, the objective should be to build as few mega-plants as possible.
Advances in battery storage technology should further tip the economic balance in favor of renewable energy. While we wait, the small modular reactors seem a more agile nuclear alternative. Rolls-Royce is at the forefront of development on this front and carries no geopolitical headache.
In short, for purely commercial reasons, we would tear up this 2016 agreement in an instant.
Boohoo needs a lesson in crisis management
Selling fashion online is fast and furious, as Boohoo should know; in a few clicks, his clothes were removed from the websites of Next, Asos and Zalando.
The industry’s response is incredibly quick – and much clearer than the confused messages from Boohoo’s conference room in response to allegations of illegal pay rates at a Leicester factory producing its clothing. The plant may have been operated by an unauthorized subcontractor, as Boohoo said, but this is no excuse; it is up to the retailer to control its supply chain.
A temporary loss of sales on a few third-party websites may be tolerable, but the airy image of Boohoo will suffer permanent damage if this saga continues. Mahmud Kamani, founder and executive chairman of Boohoo, must take control.
It should do what most observers advise: appoint an external auditor or a lawyer to investigate what went wrong. The inability to take this obvious step seems more perverse day by day. Does he also need Next & co to give him lessons on crisis management?
A share price within Reach?
News from Reach, as the owner of the Daily Mirror, Daily Express and Daily Star insists on being called, was predictable. Management plans to cut 550 jobs, or 12% of the workforce. Revenues from printed papers plunged during the foreclosure. An increase in online readership has not been accompanied by an increase in online advertising revenue.
However, the City still expects Reach to make pre-tax profits of around £ 100 million this year, which equates to 28p per profit share. At 76p, down 14% on Tuesday, stocks are therefore priced at just under three times earnings. It is a business where the City also expects to see net cash on the balance sheet at the end of the year.
There is a deficit in the pension fund, it must be said. But three times the profit is still a spectacularly grim assessment of the long-term outlook. This does not mean that it is false, of course.