Today in the pressFriday 16 May 2014 10.47
MARLEY INSURERS PAY OUT €1.2m TO CREDITORS - The insurers of a UK student accommodation business formerly led by businessman Philip Marley have paid out more than £1 million (€1.2 million) to its creditors after a successful claim was made on a policy insuring against the actions of executives. Chubb Insurance Company of Europe paid out this sum after appointing its own forensic accountants and loss adjusters to review what happened in the company, Space Student Living Ltd, where Marley was formerly chief executive. This money has been given to accountancy firm Zolfo Cooper, the liquidator of Space, which will disperse the insurance payment to the company’s creditors after its fees, writes the Irish Times. Space’s biggest single creditor is a private equity fund called Maven Capital Partners which will receive the largest portion of the payment. About a dozen students whose rent and deposits went missing will also be paid a substantial part of the money they are owed by the company. Bill Nixon, managing partner of Maven which manages £300 million for pension funds and business people, said: “As the largest creditor of Space we are pleased to see our serious concerns about the conduct of Philip Marley have been confirmed following a forensic investigation and review. The misappropriation of company funds has been recognised and the insurance company has agreed to settle under the executive insurance crime policy.”
IRISH ECONOMY VULNERABLE TO EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE - S&P - Ireland is among the most vulnerable countries in Western Europe to the effects of climate change, according to rating agency Standard & Poors. Climate change - including the potential for increasingly volatile and extreme weather - is set to be one of two global "mega trends" driving the credit-worthiness of states, the agency warns in a major new report. The ageing world population is the other mega trend. The report shows that poorer countries in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean are most at risk from climate change, but Ireland's reliance on agriculture makes the country particularly vulnerable compared with many other peers in Western Europe, says the Irish Independent. The likely effects of the looming pensions crisis are relatively clear, but the impact of climate change is "far hazier" and more challenging to predict, according to the report. It is also impossible to say when the effects will start to be felt, according to the report. However, the effects are likely to take a toll on economic growth and public finances, it warns. By 2100 - less than 90 years from now - the cost could wipe between 2% and 5% off the overall size of the global economy.
UBER LOOKS TO FLAG DOWN A $10 BILLION VALUATION - Uber is looking to pull in a huge new round of funding at a valuation of around $10 billion, matching the price tag recently put on its San Francisco neighbours Airbnb and Dropbox less than a year after the car-hailing service raised $258m. Talks with prospective investors remain at an early stage but several people familiar with the discussions said Uber hoped to raise several hundred million dollars to fuel its rapid expansion and head off growing competition from Lyft, Hailo and other taxi apps around the world. Recent weeks have seen some public-market investors balk at the high valuations given to tech companies such as Twitter and Workday, writes the Financial Times. But as eleven-figure valuations become a new benchmark for success in hyper-competitive Silicon Valley, a $10 billion round would see Uber triple its valuation of just nine months ago, when TPG and Google Ventures invested at more than $3 billion. Uber declined to comment. Led by chief executive Travis Kalanick, Uber connects passengers with drivers of luxury limos, taxis and regular cars, taking a slice of every transaction without the overhead of owning its own vehicles.
BRITAIN'S RICHEST 1% OWN AS MUCH AS POOREST 55% OF POPULATION - Britain's richest 1% have accumulated as much wealth as the poorest 55% of the population put together, according to the latest official analysis of who owns the nation's £9.5 trillion of property, pensions and financial assets. In figures that also lay bare the extent of inequality across the north-south divide, the Office for National Statistics said household wealth in the south-east had been rising five times as fast as across the whole country. The average wealth of households in the southeast had surged to £309,000 at the end of 2012, up 30% since the first wealth report published by the ONS covering 2006-8 - while the average rise in England was only 6%, says today's Guardian. But wealth in the north-east had fallen, the only region where it did so, to an average of just under £143,000. In Scotland the figure was £165,500. The data also shows that one in nine households have second homes or rental properties and one in 14 sport a personalised number plate on their car.