Business World

Monday 23 April 2018

PwC's merger with Booz & Co will help 'reinvigorate consulting'

ACCOUNTING giant PwC, which has about 2,000 staff in Ireland, is to merge with consultants Booz & Co to expand its advisory business.

The terms of the merger haven't been disclosed but New York-based Booz said the move would "help reinvigorate management consulting for the next century".

Booz, which has about 3,000 employees worldwide, was created after Carlyle Group bought Booz Allen Hamilton's government-consulting unit in 2008.

The private-equity firm completed an initial public offering of that business, Booz Allen Hamilton Holding, in 2010. Booz & Co does not have an office in Ireland.

PwC employs more than 184,000 people and had about $32bn (€23bn) in revenue in its fiscal 2013.

Dennis Nally, PwC international chairman said the merger would create a stand-out professional services organisation.

"In particular, it would give CEOs the opportunity to work with a global consulting team that could provide services from strategy development right through to execution," he said.

The proposed transaction is conditional on approval by Booz & Company partners, receipt of required regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

SPAIN OUT OF RECESSION WITH 0.1PC GDP HIKE

INFLATION

SPAIN has pulled clear of recession in the third quarter and inflation eased in October, data showed, laying foundations for a gradual recovery in consumer spending – though the country's economic crisis looks far from over.

Gross domestic product (GDP) inched 0.1pc higher between July and September, state statistics agency INE said, notching up the first quarter-on-quarter growth since the beginning of 2011 and officially ending a two-year slump. The preliminary figures confirmed a growth estimate given last week by the country's central bank.

Spain's economy has been shrinking or close to flat since a decade-long property bubble burst in 2008, putting thousands of companies out of business and driving up an unemployment rate that has not dropped below 25pc since spring 2012.

"Growth seems to be due to the strength of the external sector, which is encouraging, and business surveys suggest there may be more of that to come in the near term," said Ben May, economist at Capital Economics. "However, domestic demand is still contracting and against that backdrop it's hard to see a sustained recovery."

SAINSBURY'S IN UK COURT BATTLE WITH RIVAL TESCO

ADVERTISING

UK SUPERMARKET chain Sainsbury's will take its spat over price comparisons with Tesco to Britain's High Court, challenging a ruling by the advertising watchdog in favour of its rival.

Britain's supermarkets are battling intensely for market share in tough economic conditions and advertising is a major battleground. Earlier this year, Sainsbury's complained to Britain's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over market leader Tesco's "Price Promise" scheme. The scheme compares the cost of a basket of Tesco's branded, own-label and fresh food against what it regarded as the same or equivalent products from Sainsbury's and other rivals.

Sainsbury's argued it was unfair to compare own-brand items on price alone and not take account of origin and other ethical issues. It said it was wrong for Tesco to match products such as its "Everyday Value" ham, which is produced somewhere in the EU, with Sainsbury's "basics" ham, which is British. In July the regulator sided with Tesco.

Sainsbury's, battling to be the UK's No 2 grocer with Asda in terms of sales, is now taking the case to a judicial review at the High Court and expects a hearing next year.

CLOTHING RETAILER NEXT RAISES PROFIT FORECAST ON BACK OF SALES SURGE

RETAILERS

NEXT, the UK's second-largest clothing retailer, has raised its full-year profit forecast after sales growth in the July to September period beat analysts' expectations, sending the company's share price to a record high.

An unexpected increase in sales at the company's stores added to accelerating revenue growth at its home-shopping unit, figures released yesterday showed. It is now anticipating that full-year brand sales may increase by as much as 3.75pc, having previously estimated an increase of 3.5pc.

Shares in the company rose as much as 8pc in London, their steepest advance in more than two years.

"Investors will be encouraged by the performance in the third-quarter and by the increased guidance," said London-based analyst Jamie Merriman.

Next, which has more than 500 outlets across the UK and Ireland, is ploughing ahead with store expansions which it says provides a boost to online sales as more than a third of orders are collected from them.

AUDI, PORSCHE DRIVE SUCCESS AT VOLKSWAGEN

MOTORING

VOLKSWAGEN'S operating profit rose by a fifth in the July to September period on the back of record sales at premium brands Audi and Porsche, keeping the carmaker on track to meet full-year targets. Operating profit hit €2.78bn, up from €2.32bn.

VW reaffirmed its goal to match last year's record full year operating profit of €11.5bn and to push sales and deliveries to record levels this year. But the company said the targets were "very ambitious given the extremely difficult economic environment".

"We are focusing on disciplined cost and investment management," finance chief Hans Dieter Poetsch said. "That's particularly important given the fact that the economic environment isn't expected to improve in the short term."

GOWAN BACK IN THE BLACK WITH €6.3M PROFIT

SME SECTOR

One of the largest family-owned businesses in the country – the Gowan Group – returned to profit last year, making €6.3m before tax.

Accounts filed by Convest Ltd to the Companies Office show that the group recorded the pre-tax profit of €6.3m after recording a pre-tax loss of €9.9m in 2011 – a positive swing of €16.2m.

The group also distributes a number of other blue-chip brand names in Ireland including Neff, Aga, Elica and NordMende.

The return to profit followed revenues increasing by 7pc, rising from €106.3m to €114.1m in the 12 months to the end of December.

However, the chief factor behind the return to profit was the group's decision to close its defined benefit pension scheme that resulted in a €11m gain on the firm's profit and loss account.

Irish Independent

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