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What to watch: Franco Manca expands, oil soars, Boohoo sweeps up Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton

LaToya Harding
·Contributor
·3-min read
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/08/22: Franco Manca, a sourdough Neapolitan pizza business restaurant seen in Central London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/08/22: Franco Manca, a sourdough Neapolitan pizza business restaurant seen in Central London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Here are some of the top business, market, and economic stories you should be watching today in the UK, Europe, and around the world.

Franco Manca expands

Fulham Shore (FUL.L), the owner of Franco Manca and The Real Greek restaurants, is in final negotiations to secure two more sites over the next few weeks.

The restaurant operator, which is set to open a new Franco Manca in Glasgow, said it plans to start trading at the new sites in the summer.

It came as the company said has drawn down in full its £10.8m ($14.7m) Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (CBIL) and the maturity date of its existing £14m HSBC revolving credit facility is March 2022. The company is in discussions with HSBC to extend this.

The Aim-listed group has been trading through delivery and take out services since 20 December amid lockdown restrictions.

READ MORE: Pubs and restaurants demand furlough extension in March Budget

Its net debt as at 5 February was £5.7m and it said it had financial headroom within its loan agreements of around £20m.

In a brief update, Fulham Shore added: “The group's revenues are currently running at around 46% of what the board estimates to be normal trading levels, whilst we operate under these limited conditions.

“The directors are confident that when the UK government removes trading and stay at home restrictions, trading will return to previous levels.”

Fulham Shore currently has 53 Franco Manca pizzeria and 19 The Real Greek restaurants, with several staff now in furlough.

Oil soars to pre-pandemic levels

Oil prices climbed back to their pre-pandemic levels on Monday, after hitting an all-time low last year, surging to $60 (£44) a barrel.

It comes amid optimism for a vaccine-led economic recovery and a commitment by major global producers to restrain the supply of crude.

Prices have been boosted thanks to rising demand across the world, particularly in Asia — China is the world’s second-largest oil user. Experts added that a weaker dollar was also providing a boost to commodities.

Brent crude futures (BZ=F) have soared around 60% since November while West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the US benchmark, jumped above $55 a barrel last week for the first time in a year.

Brent is currently 0.81% higher at $60.04 while WTI futures (CL=F) have risen 1.2% at $57.55 per barrel.

Brent crude futures (BZ=F) have soared around 60% since November. Chart: Yahoo Finance
Brent crude futures (BZ=F) have soared around 60% since November. Chart: Yahoo Finance

Boohoo sweeps up Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton

Online fashion retailer Boohoo (BOO.L) has bought the Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton brands from collapsed retail group Arcadia for £25.2m ($34.5m). The move will result in some 2,450 job losses.

Boohoo’s stock was down roughly 3% as markets opened in London on Monday morning.

READ MORE: Asos edges closer to sealing Topshop and Miss Selfridge acquisition

“Under the terms of the transaction, boohoo will acquire the brands, intellectual property and inventory of the three brands for a cash consideration of £25.2m and will also take on certain liabilities for forward committed stock orders,” administrator Deloitte said in a statement.

Around 260 employees across all three brands, including design, buying, merchandising and digital, will transfer to Boohoo.

All 214 Burton, Dorothy Perkins and Wallis stores, already closed due to lockdown restrictions, are not part of the deal and will be permanently shut down.

WATCH: What UK government COVID-19 support is available?