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Elaine Clark joins Coconut’s Advisory Board

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Elaine Clark joins Coconut’s Advisory Board
  • Elaine Clark, the founder of nationwide accounting franchise cheapaccounting.co.uk, has joined Coconut’s Advisory Board
  • Coconut is the current account that automates tax and accounting for self-employed people and small business owners
  • Coconut has opened 2,500 business current accounts with £10m payments processed since 31st January

 Elaine Clark, an award-winning accountant specialising in advising self-employed people and small businesses, has joined Coconut’s Advisory Board.

Elaine created the Cheapaccounting.co.uk franchise to make small business accounting as efficient and cost effective as possible. She’s bringing her experience to help Coconut build tools that are perfectly suited to the accountants who support these customers.

Sam O’Connor, Co-Founder and CEO says: “Coconut is bringing banking and accounting together to eliminate business admin for self-employed people and small business owners. But we want the accountants our customers work with to also benefit from real-time bookkeeping and rich data because this saves everyone time and money.

“90% of businesses in the UK are owner managed and 90% of the growth in small companies since 2001 are non-employers. These businesses tend to have simpler requirements than bigger businesses but the products out there are complicated and dated, so haven’t kept up with the shift in the market. We think that these firms and the accountants that support them need access to the most advanced technologies and Coconut will provide this in a tailored product.”

Elaine says: “I’m really excited to be working with the Coconut team as they build out the accountancy offering of their product. I think the convergence of banking and accounting will be more transformative than cloud accounting was 10 years ago. We want accountants to be able to harness the full potential of technologies like machine learning to enable them to better service their clients while also improving margins and allowing them to grow their practices. Coconut will soon allow them to do this in a single tailored product.”

Coconut is building a community of accountants in a Facebook group called Coconut Partners. In the same way that customers have been a driving force in the development of features, they aim to do the same with the accounting community.

Coconut is an app-based smart current account combining banking, accounting and tax services designed specifically for the UK’s fast-growing freelance and self-employed workforce. The company launched its iPhone app for sole traders on 31st January and has opened 2,500 current accounts with £10m payments processed. Last week, Coconut pre-approved the first Android customer and continues to build features to support sole traders and in the future limited company contractors.

 

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Mike Ashley’s Frasers ups stake in Hugo Boss to over 15%

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Mike Ashley's Frasers ups stake in Hugo Boss to over 15% 1

(Reuters) – Mike Ashley-led Frasers said on Tuesday it has increased its stake in German luxury fashion house Hugo Boss to 15.2% through stocks and derivatives, part of Ashley’s ongoing drive to take the British sportswear retailer upmarket.

Frasers, known as Sports Direct before its takeover of House of Fraser, is raising the stake for the second time having increased it to 10.1% in late June after disclosing an initial 5.1% holding earlier that month.

The company said it now held 3.6 million shares of common stock, representing 5.1% of Hugo Boss’s total share capital.

It also has 3.4 million shares via contracts for difference and 3.7 million shares via the sale of put options, which together represent 10.1% of the Frankfurt-listed company’s share capital.

Frasers said its maximum aggregate exposure relating to the stake change was about 275 million euros ($333 million) after taking into account the premium it will receive under the put options. In mid-2020 the number was 204 million euros.

“This investment reflects Frasers Group’s growing relationship with Hugo Boss and belief in Hugo Boss’s long-term future. Frasers Group intends to be a supportive stakeholder and create value in the interests of both Frasers Group’s and Hugo Boss’ shareholders,” Frasers reaffirmed in a statement.

The company also holds a near 37% stake in Mulberry and has said it could make an offer for the British luxury brand.

(Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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Mercedes unveils electric compact SUV in bid to outdo Tesla

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Mercedes unveils electric compact SUV in bid to outdo Tesla 2

By Nick Carey

(Reuters) – Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz on Wednesday unveiled the EQA, a new electric compact SUV as part of plans to take on rival Tesla Inc and offer more emission-free vehicles to consumers to meet targets in Europe and China.

The EQA, the first of several electric models Mercedes-Benz plans to launch this year, will initially have a range of 426 kilometres (265 miles), with a 500km model coming later, the premium brand carmaker said in a video presentation.

The SUV will go on sale in Europe on Feb 4 at what board of management Britta Seeger described as “very attractive price points”.

Electric vehicle (EV) sales took off in Europe last year as carmakers scrambled to meet European Union CO2 emissions targets. Sales received a boost from subsidies included in economic stimulus measures rolled out in France and Germany, in particular.

Sales of fully electric and plug-in hybrid models rose 122% across the EU through the first three quarters of 2020.

Mercedes-Benz describes the EQA as an “urban entry model” and board member Seeger touted its “sustainability, versatility and fresh look”.

Electric carmaker Tesla got a head start on traditional carmakers with their vast investments in fossil-fuel vehicles and has dominated global sales. The mass-market Tesla Model 3 is the world’s best-selling EV, followed in distant second place by Renault’s Zoe.

As well as emissions targets, carmakers face bans on fossil-fuel vehicles that come into effect as early as 2030 in some markets.

(Reporting by Nick Carey; editing by Jason Neely)

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Wetherspoon shares higher after raising cash at top end of expectations

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Wetherspoon shares higher after raising cash at top end of expectations 3

(Reuters) – Britain’s Wetherspoon priced its sale of 93.7 million pounds ($127.92 million) worth of new shares at the top end of its expected range on Wednesday, a signal of confidence from investors that pushed the pub operator’s shares 3% higher in morning trade.

The cheap beer specialist said 8.4 million new shares had been placed at 1,120 pence per share – a discount of over 5% to Tuesday’s closing price, but the proceeds raised were at the top of the range it had given when announcing the offer a day earlier.

“We like Wetherspoon’s relentless consumer focus, employee engagement, largely freehold estate and history of evolution. This profile should allow JDW to fast return to its former profitability,” Jefferies analysts said.

Following strict COVID-19 led curbs in December, England went into its third national lockdown earlier this month.

The pandemic-hit hospitality industry has laid off thousands of workers, with Wetherspoon cutting jobs at its head office and airport pubs.

The company said on Tuesday it expects pubs to remain shut until March and that the fresh funds would provide enough liquidity to deal with very low sales after reopening.

It is also considering buying properties in central London, freehold reversions of pubs of where it is currently the tenant, and properties close to successful pubs in an effort to cash in on declining property prices.

“It has a young customer base who have been less fearful of venturing out when restrictions do ease, which does bode well for recovery unless there is another twist in the trajectory of the virus,” Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Susannah Streeter said.

Wetherspoon, which has seen no sales since shutting all its pubs from Dec. 31, had expected the placing to raise between 92.1 million pounds and 93.7 million pounds.

($1 = 0.7325 pounds)

(Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Shailesh Kuber)

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