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CITY WHISPERS: Labour council debt is a downer for THG’s Matt Moulding


CITY WHISPERS: Labour council debt is a downer for THG’s Matt Moulding

Moody’s latest downgrade of Warrington Council will have been noted by Matt Moulding, the perma-tanned founder of protein shake purveyor THG.

The Labour-run authority has debts of £1.8 billion – ten times its annual income.

It sought to offset Government-imposed budget cuts by investing in local projects that promised high returns, the biggest being a Manchester business park housing THG’s head office, which is owned by Moulding.

Scrutiny: Moody’s latest downgrade of Warrington Council will have been noted by Matt Moulding (pictured)

Warrington’s downgrade from the credit agency noted that the council’s ‘large capital programme’ had led to a ‘rapid growth in debt’ not helped by the downturn in commercial property.

Talks to sell the Manchester site broke down in September despite the council approving a change in the terms of its £128million loan. 

Shaky foundations 

Last month, we reported on the closure of London-based International Property Securities Exchange with only three listed firms. 

Now two of them, Mailbox REIT and M7 Regional E-Warehouse REIT, have said they will no longer qualify as real estate investment trusts under new rules next year. 

And Mailbox, owner of a Birmingham block, said it was still in default on a loan and might need to raise more cash. Talk about shaky foundations.

Will GSK results outshine haleon? 

GSK will report its third quarter results on Wednesday following a run of good news for the FTSE 100 firm, including upbeat clinical data for a new vaccine and settlement of more legal challenges over former heartburn drug Zantac in the US.

But the pharma giant will need to put on an especially good performance to outshine Haleon, the maker of Panadol and Sensodyne toothpaste that was spun out of GlaxoSmithKline last year.

Haleon delivers its quarterly update a day after GSK, and in the last 12 months Haleon shares have risen 19 per cent against 3.3 per cent for GSK. 

But any rivalry is likely to be good-natured given GSK still owns 8 per cent of the business.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander it seems.

Roche hoping to avoid buyers remorse 

The pharma sector was abuzz last week when Swiss giant Roche bought Telavant, maker of a bowel disease drug, for a cool £5.9 billion from Roivant Sciences and Pfizer.

Many noted that Roivant was founded by Vivek Ramaswamy, who is running to replace Joe Biden as president. 

Roche may want to keep an eye on its investment given the anti-woke businessman’s record. 

In 2017 he was criticised over events at Axovant, another Roivant firm, which soared on its Wall Street debut with a promise to treat Alzheimer’s, only to crash when its drug flopped in a clinical trial. 

Roche will hope to avoid buyer’s remorse.

                                                                                                                            Contributor: Patrick Tooher 

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