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Britain’s G4S recommends $5.4 billion Allied Universal bid, ending takeover tussle

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Britain's G4S recommends $5.4 billion Allied Universal bid, ending takeover tussle 1

(Reuters) – Private security firm G4S on Tuesday recommended shareholders vote for Allied Universal’s final offer valuing the British firm at 3.8 billion pounds ($5.35 billion), after a rare auction ended a bitter months-long takeover battle with Canada’s GardaWorld.

Allied Universal in a separate statement said it has extended its offer period deadline for the 245 pence per share G4S offer to March 16 and the acceptance condition was lowered to 75% in nominal value and voting rights of G4S shares from 90% earlier.

It has obtained “substantially all” of the required antitrust regulatory approvals including in the U.S. and European Union, Allied Universal added. Britain has not yet approved the merger.

The auction for G4S ended abruptly on Monday after hostile bidder GardaWorld stuck with its December bid of 235 pence per share for the world’s largest private security firm and Allied Universal told the takeover regulator it would not revise its offer on day one.

On Tuesday, Allied also said it would not increase its 245 pence per share offer that was first announced on Dec. 8. G4S had backed that offer in December after repeatedly rejecting GardaWorld’s hostile advances.

The battle for UK’s G4S had hit a deadlock earlier after the North American bidders repeatedly extended their offer deadlines and shareholders’ acceptance was low, as investors held out for a higher payout.

That led to Britain’s Takeover Panel stepping in to help resolve the bid battle by setting a Feb. 20 deadline for both bidders to make their offers final or head to auction on Feb. 22.

($1 = 0.7107 pounds)

(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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Deloitte launches its Doing Business Guide for the United Arab Emirates: Business agility in a COVID environment

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Deloitte launches its Doing Business Guide for the United Arab Emirates: Business agility in a COVID environment 2

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has taken vast measures to ease doing business in the country in the short term, and progressed initiatives of strategic and long-term success.

Some of the immediate measures included the extension of Value Added Tax (VAT) filings, Covid-19 measures for the economic substance rules, refund of Customs duties, as well postponements of rent payments, cancelling of fines, waiving of licenses fees and other registration fees in mainland as well as Free Zones.

With this in mind, Deloitte has just launched its “Doing business guide UAE”, a taxation and investment guide to help investors gain a working perspective on the operating conditions and investment climate in the Emirates.

“Over the last twelve months, the United Arab Emirates has demonstrated unparalleled resilience with the COVID-19 outbreak and fostered its stance as a leading hub for investors, businesses and individuals. The country deployed several measures including significant medical response as well as fiscal stimulus packages. This agile response has laid the basis to increase foreign direct investment and attract talent,” explains Jan Roderick Van Abbe, Director, International and M&A Tax, Deloitte Middle East.

In late 2020, the UAE amended the Commercial Companies Law to allow 100% foreign ownership in mainland with some exceptions still to be confirmed. The UAE also introduced relaxed residency and visa requirements and recently announced that UAE citizenship will be granted to foreigners, subject to certain conditions.

“The UAE is a regional trade hub and a focal Middle Eastern destination for international investors. The open environment, stability, infrastructure and efficient corporate and immigration processes have attracted many investors throughout the past years. The UAE authorities oversee ongoing reforms to ensure that the country offers an efficient regulatory framework enabling companies to access the talent and workforce they need to operate in the country and wider region,” added Hadi Allawi, Partner and Immigration Leader, Deloitte Middle East.

In addition, Dubai  also launched a virtual/remote working program enabling eligible foreign professionals, entrepreneurs and company owners to work remotely from Dubai for up to one year with the ability to bring their family members with them as well as access all services in the Emirates, including accommodation, utilities, and schooling for children.

To view the full report, click here.

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Total sells wind and solar farm stakes to Credit Agricole and Banque des Territoires

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Total sells wind and solar farm stakes to Credit Agricole and Banque des Territoires 3

PARIS (Reuters) – French energy group Total has agreed to sell off stakes in some wind and solar farms to Credit Agricole Assurances and Banque des Territoires, in deals which Total said would boost its cash flow and return on equity.

Total said on Tuesday that Crédit Agricole Assurances would buy a 50% stake in nine wind farms (103 MW) and 44 solar power plants (182 MW) for a total capacity of 285 MW.

Banque des Territoires would buy a 50% stake in a portfolio consisting of eight solar farms located in New Caledonia with a total capacity of 53 MW, with the deals giving 100% of the portfolios an enterprise value of $600 million.

“These farm downs are the implementation of the business model we have defined for the development of renewable energies aiming to achieve over 10% return on equity,” said Julien Pouget, senior vice president of Total’s renewables unit.

Earlier this month, Total reported better than expected fourth quarter earnings as oil prices stabilised, and said it would change its name to TotalEnergies to reflect its move towards the renewable energy sector.

Total is building up a portfolio in the renewables and electricity sectors that could account for up to 40% of its sales by 2050, while also eyeing opportunities for divestments which could increase its cash flow and return for investors.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta, editing by Louise Heavens)

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Retailers need to deliver better rewards to ensure customer loyalty

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Retailers need to deliver better rewards to ensure customer loyalty 4
  • 62% feel retailers need to improve the ways they reward consumers for shopping with them
  • 55% believe that loyalty programmes rarely offer them the things they actually want or would use
  • 48% want retailers to focus on making the shopping experience better for them, rather than a loyalty programme

Rewards programmes are not delivering on their promise to drive customer loyalty for retailers, according to the latest research from Adyen, the payments platform of choice for many of the world’s leading companies. The majority of customers (55%) say that rewards programmes do not offer things they actually want and that customer experience holds almost equal influence when it comes to loyalty (48%). 

 

The findings come from a report conducted by Adyen exploring how agility will be key for the retail sector as it emerges from the Coronavirus pandemic. The research polled more than 2,000 consumers in the UK in 2020.

 

The results showed that, while rewards and loyalty schemes are still welcomed by many customers, the majority (62%) feel that retailers need to improve how they reward their shoppers.

 

“Every customer counts – especially in the context of the pandemic. Anything retailers can do to keep customers coming back for more is worth exploring. But it goes beyond a loyalty or rewards scheme. The customer experience, both online and in store really matters. Making it as easy as possible to shop is equally as important as other incentives. And, if you do go down the rewards route, a one-size-fits-all approach rarely delivers. You must make the effort to understand your customers and offer something they really want,” said Myles Dawson, UK Managing Director, Adyen.

 

Nearly half of the respondents (48%) want retailers to focus on making the shopping experience better for them, rather than delivering a loyalty programme.  When it comes to an experience that will drive loyalty, customers want a seamless link between online and physical stores. 60% of consumers said they would be more loyal to retailers that let them buy out of stock items in store and have them shipped directly to their home. And 53% said they would be more loyal to retailers that let people buy online and return in store.

 

“The high street is under increasing competition from online retailers who put convenience and usability at the centre of their customer experience. To succeed now, businesses must harness the best of their physical and digital worlds to create amazing experiences. This will increase conversions and also raise the prospects of customer loyalty.

 

“For those consumers that want loyalty schemes, it must be as seamless and easy as possible. 61% of respondents were more likely to shop with a retailer that linked their loyalty scheme to the payment card. By doing this, businesses can track customer buying behaviour and shopper data which lets them offer a more personalised shopping experience,” Dawson concluded.

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