Uk Estate Agent Foxtons Makes $1.2 Billion Stock Market Debut

A Foxtons estate agent sign is seen outside a branch in north London September 3, 2013. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

By 1425 GMT they were trading at 271.5p. Foxtons sold 60 percent of its equity to become the latest UK property-related company to float on the back of a recovering housing market, following real estate agency Countrywide (CWD.L) and housebuilder Crest Nicholson (CRST.L) earlier this year. Both have seen their shares rise more than 50 percent since going public, but some investors said last week Foxtons was late to the party and too exposed to London. While Britain’s housing market has been boosted by signs of an improving economy as well as help from the government and the Bank of England to ease access to finance, the pace of recovery has raised concerns about a new property bubble. Data last week showed British house prices recorded their fastest rise in almost seven years. However, despite being wary of proposed further government stimulus measures, housebuilding analyst Tony Williams said London was not yet experiencing a market bubble and rising interest rates in coming years would act as a natural brake. “A bubble is when you have people buying and flipping within the space of months. What you have in London is a shortage of supply and a planning system that gums up the works,” he said. “This particular run will end some time between the back end of 2014 and 2016, as rising mortgage rates will cause the market to plateau,” Williams added. Foxtons, which last year earned more than half its revenue from its lettings business, is focused on expansion within London, home to 40 of its 42 branches, and has said it is aiming for five to 10 new branch openings a year between 2014 and 2018. But analyst Anthony Codling at brokerage Jefferies said that while estate agents were the best way to gain exposure to the UK housing market, prospects were better for nationwide firms. “We see more significant potential for house price growth outside of London than inside,” he said in a note. Jefferies worked on Countrywide’s float. CHEQUERED HISTORY House prices fell 16.3 percent in London after the financial crash and by 16.6 percent across England and Wales, according to Land Registry data.

IXYS UK Westcode Ltd. Launches Range of Precision Bar Clamps for Press-Pack Semiconductors

Ramdev alleged that he did not get support from the Indian government and he suspected that the British officials were misguided. “I am sad to state that my government did not support me. I was told there was a red alert attached to my name, which is only linked with terrorists and criminals. I will wait for full details but I have a doubt that my eight-hour detention yesterday was a result of the Indian government’s attempt to misguide the UK immigration department,” Ramdev told reporters outside the airport after being cleared. “While the Indian government may have played a villain’s role in this whole episode, Britain’s NRI community and Keith Vaz (British-Indian MP) stood by me,” he said. “I thank the UK government that they did not stay misguided for too long,” he said, adding that he had not been given any explanation for being detained. “I have never done anything illegal, immoral or unethical. So I kept asking them to let me know what my fault was. I was not informed about the reasons. But there was no bad behaviour on their part. At one point one of the officials did get angry but I stayed cool so there was no problem,” Ramdev said in reference to his detention. Ramdev is in the UK to chair a series of yoga shivirs and talks organised by the Patanjali Yog Peeth (UK) Trust. Vaz, who had accompanied the yoga guru from a gathering in Leicester for the meeting here today, said he would make further inquiries into the reasons behind the hours of questioning. “No Indian citizen travelling on a valid visa should be held in this way.

UK authorities clear Baba Ramdev after second round of questioning

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UK watchdog accuses retailers of fixing sports bra prices

Britain’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT) alleged that supplier DB Apparel UK Limited entered into nine nationwide anti-competitive agreements with employee-owned John Lewis (JLP.UL), Britain’s biggest department store group, number two Debenhams ( DEB.L ) and number three House of Fraser, between 2008 and 2011. The OFT has been taking a tougher line against retailers recently to ensure consumers can trust their prices and communications. It took action against Britain’s supermarkets on misleading prices last year, and against furniture and carpet retailers last month. It has the power to fine offenders up to 10 per cent of their annual worldwide turnover. DB Apparel, Debenhams and House of Fraser rejected the OFT’s allegations, while John Lewis said it “strives to operate within the law and comply with regulations.” The OFT alleges the four companies infringed competition law by entering into resale price maintenance agreements, setting fixed or minimum resale prices for sports bras in the popular Shock Absorber range. “These alleged agreements had the aim of increasing the retail prices of DBA’s Shock Absorber brand of sports bras in each of the three department stores,” the OFT said. It said that during the three years in question the Shock Absorber range had a UK market share of about 15 percent. “The OFT takes allegations of price-fixing seriously. Resale price maintenance limits competition between retailers and can lead to consumers paying higher prices,” said Ann Pope, OFT Senior Director of Services. She said no assumption should be made at this stage that there had been an infringement of competition law. “We will carefully consider the parties’ representations to the (OFT’s) Statement of Objections before deciding whether competition law has in fact been infringed.” DB Apparel refuted the OFT’s allegations. “We have been transparent with UK authorities since the beginning of this process and will continue to defend ourselves vigorously in this investigation,” it said. Debenhams said it also disputed the OFT’s provisional findings. “The matter is being dealt with by external lawyers,” said a spokesman. Its shares fell as much as 1.6 percent on Friday.