BP – has posted its first quarter results this morning and it’s certainly been an upbeat set of numbers. Profits have almost tripled over the same period last year, and it’s the fact that the underlying price of crude oil has risen so far that’s made such a difference. Last February we saw prices under $30/barrel whereas a year later oil was changing hands for over $50/barrel. That’s a big jump in price – and profitability – for exactly the same product!
G4S – the security outsourcing firm has announced it is to team up with Lloyds Bank in a bid to provide mobile banking facilities where traditional branches have closed. So how would this work? G4S will provide the vehicle, driver, technology and security. Lloyds will then supply a stage member for the customer interaction. G4S has seen government contracts dwindle in recents years, leaving the bank focusing on other avenues for growth.
Apple – is now reported to be sitting on cash reserves worth $250 billion. Much of this money is held overseas as repatriating it to the US will generate a big tax liability, but there’s talk that Donald Trump will offer a moratorium on such transfers at some point – a move that has the potential to drive a whole raft of acquisitions in the US – and allow companies like Apple, Google and Facebook to increase their dominance further.
General Motors – may have been knocked off its perch by Tesla in no longer being the US car manufacturer with the biggest market capitalisation, but the company has laid down the gauntlet, saying it will be the first automaker to generate a profit from electric cars, which ultimately is the important point here.
Greece – the country has reached another agreement with creditors that will pave the way for the release of fresh bail-out funds. However the proposals – including pension cuts and tax rises – need to be passed by parliament. This chapter isn’t over yet and indeed the whole story appears to have some considerable distance left to run, too.