News in Brief: Steel industry, Aldi expansion, BoE, Hornby shares, Alliance Trust

News in Brief

Steel protesters call on EU for help

Thousands of steel industry workers will demonstrate in Belgium’s capital in support of their ailing industry.

Hundreds of workers from the UK will be among those pressing for the European Commission to tackle cheap Chinese steel being "dumped" across Europe, reported the BBC.

Karl Koehler, chief executive of Tata Steel's European operations, will also join the protest in Brussels.

He said: "The situation facing Tata Steel and other European steelmakers is perilous."

Koehler added: "If the European Commission does not take immediate and robust action, thousands of jobs in the industry, and many more thousands in the wider supply chain, will be threatened."

In January 2016, Tata Steel confirmed that it would cut more than 1,000 jobs in the UK, including 750 at Port Talbot, the UK's biggest steelworks.

Aldi to create 5,000 jobs in UK

German supermarket Aldi will open 80 new stores in the UK in 2016, creating 5,000 jobs, the company has announced.

The retail giant said in a statement that the plans will take the supermarket's estate to 700 outlets in the UK.

An Aldi spokesman said the stores will be "right across the UK", including central London, reported City A.M. In the coming weeks (15 February 2016), a new store will open in Tooting, although the retailer did not say a date.

Jobs on offer will include 100 store managers, 450 deputy store managers and 4,000 store and stock assistant positions.

The company said all Aldi UK employees now receive a living wage, with a minimum rate of £8.40, or £9.45 in London.

The supermarket has grown rapidly in the UK in recent years. The latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel showed sales rose 13.7% in the 12 weeks to the end of January 2016.

‘BoE too soft on banks' capital buffers’

The Bank of England (BoE) is not taking a tough enough line on how much equity capital commercial banks must hold against potential losses, said the chairman of a government inquiry into the sector.

John Vickers, whose ‘Independent Commission on Banking's 2011’ report led to stricter laws aimed at reducing the damage from future bank collapses, said the BoE's latest proposals on capital requirements did not go far enough.

"The BoE is proposing substantially milder equity requirements for British banks than did the ICB. The wisdom of this policy is questionable," Vickers wrote in an opinion piece in the Financial Times.

The BoE has said banks should hold total capital buffers of 13.5% of risk-weighted assets and are already near this level, reported Reuters. But it has added that in the long run this level could fall to 11%, reflecting better regulation and risk assessment, and ways to unwind banks if they get into trouble.

Hornby shares jump 14% as boss steps down

Shares in Hornby jumped 14% after the chief executive of the troubled model train maker announced he was stepping down "with immediate effect".

The news of Richard Ames' departure comes a week after Hornby warned on profits amid a post-Christmas sales slump, sending the shares plummeting by 50%, reported the Telegraph.

Hornby's chairman Roger Canham is moving into the role of executive chairman "for the foreseeable future", the company announced.

Shares in Hornby plunged last week, after it warned of big write-downs and a collapse in 2015’s Christmas sales, which it said would result in big losses in the full financial year.

In a blunt message to investors, the company said it expected to report an underlying pre-tax loss of between £5.5m and £6m for 2015 on the back of falling sales, mainly due to poor trading in the UK.

Alliance Trust boss to leave

Katherine Garrett-Cox will leave Alliance Trust in March 2016 as a management overhaul continues.

The decision was based on boardroom discussions over her role as chief executive of Alliance Trust Investments (ATI), reported CityWire.co.uk.

Garrett-Cox, took up the position at the end of 2015 following a major strategic overhaul at the investment company following an attack by activist Elliott Advisors.

The battle resulted in her standing down as boss of the Alliance Trust investment trust and giving up her seat on the board.

In a statement posted on the London Stock Exchange, Alliance Trust said Garrett-Cox will be leaving the firm on 11 March 2016, with her role to be reassigned. In the meantime operational responsibilities have been passed on to ATI managing director Ramsey Urquhart.