Strong debut for MMO2
The newly independent mobile communications arm of British Telecom, MMO2, made a strong stock market debut, with its stock price showing a 6% rise on the first day of official trading. Shares in BT Group also rose 12p, to 290p.
The Times reports that the share price rose despite the publication of a report that showed sales of mobile phones in Europe had fallen by 4%. The Guardian points out that MMO2's closing market valuation of £7.3bn was still half of what analysts had been forecasting six months ago. The Independent reports that MMO2 was by far the most heavily traded stock on the market, with more than 435 million shares changing hands.
Red tape makes UK worst EU trader
A survey by the European Commission has revealed that the regulatory burden imposed on companies selling goods and services to the UK is heavier than anywhere else in the EU. The report places the UK ahead of Italy and France, while Finland was voted the country easiest to deal with.
The Financial Times reports that the survey is embarrassing for the government, which often lectures other EU governments on the need to reduce red tape. The Daily Telegraph reports that rigid enforcement by UK customs and other authorities was a major complaint. The newspaper observes the warning by Frits Bolkestein, the EU commissioner in charge of the single market, that the EU's failure to adopt laws quickly could cripple efforts to compete in frontier technologies.
Scoot entertains suitors
The online directory service Scoot.com is in discussions with six potential buyers. The company, which was valued at £1.9bn in March 2000, is now worth just £10m, and recently reported losses of £5.3m for the three months to 30 September.
The Financial Times reports that the company's executive director, Terry Martin, declined to name the six buyers, and said that the company would make a statement about the talks "when it is appropriate". The Independent reports that Martin plans to carry out a comprehensive working capital review to calculate exactly how long the company's £12.2m cash fund will last.
Best of the rest
The Financial Times reports
- Nokia, the mobile phone operator, saw its sales dip during the third quarter amid renewed competition from rivals such as Motorola. The decline in sales comes against a backdrop of falling demand for mobile phones.
- The cable operator NTL has signed up its 100,000th broadband Internet subscriber, several weeks ahead of its year-end target. The company has been aggressively marketing fast cable Internet services with the only other UK cable operator, Telewest.