15/03/2018 BBC Business Live


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15/03/2018

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This is Business Live from BBC News

with Rachel Horne and David Eades.

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Leaving London - consumer

goods giant Unilever

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says it's moving to a single

headquarters in the Netherlands.

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Live from London, that's our top

story on Thursday, 15th March.

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Love it or hate it, the maker

of Marmite and Dove Soap says

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the decision wasn't made

because of Brexit but out of a need

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to simplify the business.

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Also in the programme...

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Counting on Kudlow.

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US President Donald Trump

brings in a TV commentator

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as a top economics advisor.

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On the markets, Europe is open and

rising, as expected, albeit

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cautiously.

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And the Oscar goes to...

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The man who'll be giving us

the Inside Track on special effects.

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BladeRunner 2049 won

the Academy Award so we'll

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speak to the company

behind the silver screen magic.

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Also the question for you, we want

to know, does it bother you there

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are plastic particles in your

bottles of water? Let us know.

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Just use #BBCBizLive.

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Would you buy that water?

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Hello and welcome to Business Live.

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Unilever, which is one

of the world's biggest consumer

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goods manufacturers,

says it's abandoning its

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London headquarters.

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It means the company will only

have one head office,

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in the Dutch city of Rotterdam.

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It says the move is not

connected to Brexit.

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The company, which makes

products including Marmite,

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Dove Soap and Ben and Jerry's ice

cream says it's moving to

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a simpler, more agile structure.

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Unilever employs 7,300 people

in the UK and whilst no jobs

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are being affected, this will be

regarded by many as a blow to

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the country in the run-up to Brexit.

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The company has its roots in both

the UK and the Netherlands where it

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already employs 3,100 people.

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Thank you.

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Our business correspondent

is Theo Leggett.

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In practical, real terms, what does

it mean?

It does not mean anything

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in terms of jobs. Unilever will

continue to employ 7300 people in

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the UK and 3100 in the Netherlands.

The corporate structure of the

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business will be simplified. It is

quite unwieldy at the moment, it was

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created from a merger in the late

1920s between British and Dutch

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company. The board currently sits on

two locations, that will go down to

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one. In practical terms, one of the

attractions for the Netherlands is

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that it has stricter takeover laws

than the UK which means a company

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can do more to obstruct a potential

hostile takeover. Think back to last

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year, Unilever was on the receiving

end of a hostile takeover bid from

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Kraft and it said in the wake of the

deal it would simplify structures to

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make itself into a leaner company

and that is what it is doing.

What

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about the issue of whether company

will be listed? Will it retain its

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first -- its FTSE 100 listing?

That

would be quite difficult but it is

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currently in negotiations with the

authorities to try to reclaim that

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listing. It matters because it will

still be selling shares in London

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whatever happens, it says it wants

to retain access to UK funding,

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investors. The question about

whether it is in the FTSE 100 is

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important because if it is in the

index, certain large funds are under

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an obligation to buy and hold its

shares.

Thank you very much. The

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British Government very quick to say

it has nothing to do with the

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British departure from the EU.

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Let's take a look at some of

the other stories making the news.

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The toystore giant US Toys R Us says

it will close all 735

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of its US stores as it winds down

the company after failing to secure

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a buyer or a rescue deal.

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It comes after it decided to do

the same with its stores

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in other parts of the world.

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It had hoped to sell

the international business

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to keep the American

branch going after racking

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up $5 billion of debts

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and seeking bankruptcy protection

in the US last year.

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Amazon Japan said it has been raided

by the country's fair trade

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regulator on suspicion

of a possible anti-trust violation.

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An Amazon Japan spokesperson said

it was fully cooperating

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with authorities but gave no details

about the alleged violations.

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Japanese media say the firm is

suspected of asking suppliers to

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shoulder costs incurred are selling

their products at a discount.

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The US Senate has passed a bill

to roll back banking

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regulations put in place in the wake

of the 2008 financial crisis.

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The bill exempts banks with less

than $250 billion in assets

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from stricter oversight.

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The draft legislation must now

go through the House

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of Representatives.

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The United States has strongly

backed Britain's decision to expel

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23 Russian diplomats in response

to the nerve agent

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attack in Salisbury.

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Moscow denies involvement.

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The Foreign Ministry has described

the British response as insane.

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But it remains to be seen

whether that backing will amount

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to more international sanctions.

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And the power and importance

of Russia's energy industry means

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further economic sanctions

could be limited.

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Russia is the world's

biggest oil producer.

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Last year that amounted to almost

11 million barrels per day -

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that's more than 10%

of the global total.

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It's also the biggest exporter

of natural gas to the EU -

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supplying almost 40% of imports.

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And some individual European

companies are heavily

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dependent on Russia too.

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Almost a quarter of BP's profits

in 2015 came from its stake

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in Russian oil giant Rosneft.

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Evghenia Sleptsova is senior

economist for Central

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and Eastern Europe at

the consultants Oxford Economics.

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Thank you for joining us. What

economic impact could these

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sanctions have or is it purely

political?

The expulsion of

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diplomats will not have an economic

impact and more importantly it could

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have a limited political impact as

well because this is the bare

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minimum you would expect in the

circumstances. The question really

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is whether the UK will do what has

been prompted to do for so long,

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going after the Russian shady money

flowing into the UK.

We have focused

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on oil and gas because it is such a

massive part of Russia's economic

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lifeblood, they will not do anything

on their own, Britain, but what

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chance of getting any EU coalescence

around a move at all?

There are

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already sanctions on the Russian oil

and gas sector, more by the US than

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by Europe, so in addition to that, I

do not think they will be going

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after that because the Russian oil

sector is already partially

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suffering from limited access to

finance. And also, in terms of

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limiting oil or gas supply, this

will not happen because it is of

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mutual interest to both sides, the

EU and Russia. Russia would also not

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unilaterally try to punish Europe by

less supplies of energy.

What sort

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of response do you think we could

see from Russia on this?

In terms of

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economic sanctions, I think Russia's

responds in kind has been limited,

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the only tit-for-tat sanction they

had was imposing a ban on exports of

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food from Europe or imports of food

into Russia, and I think Russia

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tends to respond more in terms of

its ultimate goals and its ultimate

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goals are undermining European

national security and that would be

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the response and I think it is

ultimately about the power balance,

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the less you respond, the more you

are likely to seek further

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encouraging into European national

security -- further incursions.

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Thank you very much.

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US president Donald Trump has

another country in his sights

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when it comes to trade.

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After action against China,

as well as tariffs on steel

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and aluminium imports,

this time Indian exporters

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are being targeted.

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our correspondent Suranjana

Tewari is in Mumbai.

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All eyes on this one.

Absolutely.

The US has gone to the World Trade

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Organisation in order with this

challenge saying that Indian

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government exemptions for duties,

taxes and some fees for Indian

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companies exporting to the US is

unfair, it says Indian companies are

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benefiting by about $7 billion every

year because of these. The companies

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that will be affected are producing

steel, textiles, IT

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steel,

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, pharmaceuticals, a really wide

range. The US says it creates an

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uneven playing field than it is

unfair to American companies and

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workers because it allows Indian

companies to sell goods more

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cheaply. The WTO allows for

developing countries to have these

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kinds of programmes, until they

reach a certain economic benchmark.

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The US says that India crossed that

benchmark in 2015. This is the

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latest protectionist move we have

seen from the US. The Indian

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government has not responded yet but

we are expecting a strong one.

Thank

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you for that. Let us look at how the

markets have been getting on.

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Asian markets started the session

with losses but have

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staged a come back.

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The Dow is also down. Traders

concerned about trade war issues.

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Europe has opened up, as expected.

We will keep an eye on the numbers

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through the day. President Trump has

picked his new top economic advisor.

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More details. In his trademark blue

pinstriped shirts and cuff links,

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Kudlow has been a fixture on US

financial television for more than a

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decade and a reliable cheerleader

for American business, a consistent

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proponent of lower taxes and free

markets, he made his name as an

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investment banker at the inflated

Bear Stearns before working in the

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Ronald Reagan administration. At one

point he strongly denounced Donald

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Trump's behaviour and has repeatedly

criticised the White House for its

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attacks on open markets including

the recently announced steel and

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aluminium tariffs. However sitting

in his usual perch on cable

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television on Wednesday, he appeared

to row back on his previous position

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and stressed he was broadly in

agreement with his old friend Donald

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Trump's economic agenda. It was a

performance that no doubt pleased

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the presidents who once worked as a

Wall Street pundit alongside Mr

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Kudlow and was reportedly won over

by his TV skills.

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Jane Foley is senior currency

strategist at Rabobank.

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People know what he is about, his

track record, his background,

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Kudlow. A bit of an Asian

uncertainty about his China

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approach.

Do they know his

background? He used a walk on Wall

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Street and in the Reagan

administration, has he has

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experience working in government

which is perhaps reassuring. Looking

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at the Reagan administration, a

president that did use some

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terrorists even though he was

supposed to be about free trade. The

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markets, we can have perhaps some

relief on the trade side because

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Kudlow is someone who has associated

himself with free trade, perhaps we

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have a moderating force.

What sort

of influence will he have? An

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adviser, no technical power, how

much do you think President Trump

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will listen to him on the trade

issues, especially because we are

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led to believe that is why the

previous adviser left?

The

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impression we are getting more

recently is that Trump, apart from

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perhaps this appointment, he has

been getting rid of people who

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disagree with him. Rex Tillerson,

another example. Perhaps the inner

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circle is just people who agree with

him. It will be interesting to see

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whether Kudlow is successful in

moderate rating the protectionism --

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moderating.

Mike Pompeo, the removal

of Rex Tillerson, now this

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appointment, that in itself creates

all sorts of uncertainties about

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what the pattern looks like and

whether anything else will come with

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musical chairs.

The White House has

a revolving door right now. For the

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markets, it is not something that

promote stability, quite the

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opposite, and that is disgruntled

link for investors.

Thank you very

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much.

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Still to come...

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We talk to the Oscar winning

special effects firm behind

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blockbusters like Harry Potter,

Gravity and Bladerunner.

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The founder and CEO

of Britain's Framestore tells us

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about the global revolution

in visual effects.

0:13:560:13:58

You're with Business

Live from BBC News.

0:13:580:14:05

The world's second biggest

cinema chain Cineworld has

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seen its sales grow 11.6% last year.

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Joining us now is Michael Hewson.

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A fairly good set of numbers.

Revenues came in higher at 890

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million. Profits were up as well. A

good 22%. But I think you need to

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put these numbers in the context of

the recent acquisition of Regal

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Entertainment, $3.6 billion

acquisition of one of the biggest

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cinema firms in the US. Looking at

the numbers, they are good.

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Unfortunately, the share prices down

25% on the past 12 months. The share

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price should be an awful lot higher

and there are concerns that

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Cineworld maybe has bitten off more

than they can chew with respect to

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the acquisition and that is why

there is a subdued reaction on the

0:15:100:15:13

London market.

What would investors

have preferred, just focus on what

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they are doing already?

Focus on

what they are doing already, and a

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large part in the growth of revenues

last year was as a result of three

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films, beauty and the beast,

Dunkirk, Star Wars. An awful lot of

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competition at the moment with

respect to streaming, Amazon Prime,

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Netflix, Apple, Google, what cinemas

need to do to retain futsal is

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improve the cinema experience, make

it more immersive. They have rolled

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out 11 four D experiences, they need

to do more and quicker. They have

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only upgraded around 11, 12. If they

want to retain footfall and rely

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less on big blockbusters to get

people through the door, they need

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to focus on that.

Chief market

analyst, thank you for your time.

0:16:100:16:23

One story on the website, Airbus,

challenging that Melrose is a bit

0:16:230:16:31

short term list for their liking.

They won't be able to put to work

0:16:310:16:36

the way of GKN. A potentially

significant development for GKN.

0:16:360:16:43

The Anglo Dutch consumer goods giant

Unilever says it has chosen

0:16:530:16:57

Rotterdam in the Netherlands over

London for its main headquarters,

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saying it's an effort to simplify

the business rather than a response

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to Brexit.

0:17:040:17:07

the business rather than a response

to Brexit. Looking at the markets

0:17:070:17:08

this morning, across Europe, they

are all up just a little bit after

0:17:080:17:12

rather flat trading across Asia on

the basis of the Dow having fallen,

0:17:120:17:21

jittery over Donald Trump's recent

changes.

0:17:210:17:25

There are few fields where your work

is considered better,

0:17:260:17:28

the less visible it is.

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But that's certainly

true if you make special

0:17:300:17:31

effects for big movies.

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Seamlessly blending the effects

with the live action is key.

0:17:320:17:35

London-based Framestore won a BAFTA

and an Oscar this year

0:17:350:17:37

for its special effects work

on Blade Runner 2049.

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It also worked on the Harry Potter

series, Walking with Dinosaurs

0:17:410:17:44

and the Paddington films -

its annual revenues now

0:17:440:17:46

exceed $180 million.

0:17:460:17:51

Today Framestore employs 2,500 staff

and has seen its annual revenues

0:17:510:17:55

grow by 12-15% every year

since it was founded in 1986.

0:17:550:18:01

Sir William Sergent, chief executive

of Framestore, is here.

0:18:010:18:07

Thank you for coming in. Pretty

impressive growth and many

0:18:070:18:11

congratulations, great results for

you. And you are moving from where

0:18:110:18:15

you started 30 years ago but staying

very much at home in London.

Indeed,

0:18:150:18:20

we have been in Soho for 30 years,

over five buildings, and now we are

0:18:200:18:26

bringing them together under one

roof in Holborn, which is becoming

0:18:260:18:29

the centre of the UK creative

industry.

You hazard Halpern is the

0:18:290:18:34

centre of the centre. You're talking

about a very small defined patch in

0:18:340:18:39

London. -- you have said Holborn is

the centre.

Where do you take

0:18:390:18:46

architecture, design, film and

music? We are very much where it is

0:18:460:18:51

in the world. Its spread all over

London now.

One of the headlines

0:18:510:18:56

this morning has been about Unilever

moving their headquarters out of

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London and at the same time you are

moving your headquarters and

0:18:590:19:03

choosing to stay in London. Is

Brexiter concern for you?

It's a

0:19:030:19:07

concern because we hire the best of

the best from Europe. But London is

0:19:070:19:14

an ecosystem, and ecosystems are

very important and the creative

0:19:140:19:20

industries are very powerful and

work of each other in London.

With

0:19:200:19:23

Brexit, you are used to hiring

people from across the EU and to

0:19:230:19:26

some extent you might be hamstrung.

I hope David Davis will give me some

0:19:260:19:30

clarity because at the moment we

hire people from UK universities and

0:19:300:19:35

European universities. That's very

important for us, the flow of

0:19:350:19:39

graduates is important and I hope it

will not be disrupted.

A clarion

0:19:390:19:43

call for clarity, we have heard that

a few times. Your focus is on the US

0:19:430:19:47

and Asia. You would see that is

partly the way that you avoid the

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issue.

In the UK, in Europe and

America, there are less than 1

0:19:520:19:58

billion consumers for what we

collectively do as a living, in

0:19:580:20:02

terms of digital storytelling.

Between Mumbai and Beijing, 4

0:20:020:20:06

billion people consume what we do

for a living. That tells you where

0:20:060:20:08

you need to be as a community.

Don't

give everybody the impression we are

0:20:080:20:14

going across European. We are

watching footage from Blade Runner

0:20:140:20:17

2049. This is what you won the Oscar

for, Best visual effects. As

0:20:170:20:22

technology has advanced over the

years you have worked in the

0:20:220:20:26

industry, has it made your job

easier or more challenging?

We tell

0:20:260:20:31

stories using computer-generated

imagery and it allows more ambitious

0:20:310:20:35

storytelling, particularly visually.

The game goes up every year, and

0:20:350:20:39

what was outstanding Asti is

ordinarily this year.

In your hub,

0:20:390:20:44

you have a big R.N. Taddy

department. You always have to do

0:20:440:20:49

recognise that although Gravity

might be a great success, that's

0:20:490:20:54

gone. -- a great R&D department.

Oscars

0:20:540:21:03

what piece of special effects have

you were, at your most proud of?

0:21:090:21:13

It's generally the one I can't tell

you about yet because it is yet to

0:21:130:21:17

come out. People would expect me to

say something like Gravity or

0:21:170:21:21

Paddington. But for me, Notting Hill

was a benchmark in terms of

0:21:210:21:26

storytelling because nobody has any

idea that the seasonal walk down

0:21:260:21:31

Portobello Road is a triumph of

visual effects. If you look at it,

0:21:310:21:34

we go through the four seasons, and

the lady walking alongside Hugh

0:21:340:21:38

Grant becomes ever more pregnant. By

the end of the war she has a baby in

0:21:380:21:43

her arms.

Done seamlessly. Before we

close, what is the next big thing?

0:21:430:21:51

Film, like everything, goes in

quantum leaps forward. What is the

0:21:510:21:54

next big thing?

Your story about

cinema is interesting. Cinema is

0:21:540:21:59

only part of the platform of telling

a story. As people we want to

0:21:590:22:03

consume a story everyday, just like

BBC News, we get it on all sorts of

0:22:030:22:08

platforms, and for me that is the

future. For me in the future you

0:22:080:22:12

might be using your phone or a AR

headset. You will consume the story

0:22:120:22:20

in many manifestations digitally,

somebody has to tell the story in

0:22:200:22:23

that manner. They haven't done it

yet, but they are already directing

0:22:230:22:27

and I hope we can help them achieve

that.

Where do you keep the Oscar?

0:22:270:22:31

They are kept in someone's home,

normally as a doorstop.

Just behind

0:22:310:22:35

the Bafta! Priorities. Thank you for

joining us.

0:22:350:22:42

In a moment we'll take a look

through the Business Pages but first

0:22:420:22:45

here's a quick reminder of how

to get in touch with us.

0:22:450:22:47

Stay up-to-date with all the

business news that it happens on the

0:22:500:22:55

BBC business live page. Insight and

analysis from a team of editors

0:22:550:22:58

around the globe. And we want to

hear from you. Get involved on the

0:22:580:23:02

business live web page.

0:23:020:23:05

Find us on Twitter and Facebook as

well.

0:23:100:23:13

What you need to know, when you need

to know. We will have a look at some

0:23:160:23:22

of the other media stories and the

story we have been asking you about,

0:23:220:23:26

this revelation that there are

plastic particles in our bottles of

0:23:260:23:30

water. Your response as to whether

you want to drink that. Jason says,

0:23:300:23:36

this possibly means it's also in all

bottled drinks, anything containing

0:23:360:23:42

water, lemonade, coal and orange

squash? John says it's in tap water

0:23:420:23:47

as well, but we should stop buying

bottled water to cut down on plastic

0:23:470:23:52

production and environmental

littering. A few people picking up

0:23:520:23:54

on the idea that if it is in water,

it will be in anything. James Comey

0:23:540:24:00

you had an interesting point about

not buying bottled water but looking

0:24:000:24:05

for...

Because of the stories of the

oceans over the last few months, you

0:24:050:24:12

can buy cart and water, which we

can't get here very easily. I was in

0:24:120:24:17

the supermarket last night looking

for cart and water and it's not easy

0:24:170:24:21

to buy. Hopefully change very soon.

-- looking for cartoned water.

It

0:24:210:24:30

will also have an impact on peoples

views of any container, aluminium

0:24:300:24:36

you send reusable. Let's get back to

a bit of glass maybe.

If we hear

0:24:360:24:42

stories it's also in tap water, that

is also setting.

A story in the

0:24:420:24:49

Guardian, Donald Trump admits making

up facts in a trade meeting with

0:24:490:24:53

Canadian leader Justin Trudeau.

It's

quite amazing. On one level I would

0:24:530:24:57

be surprised he carried on with his

argument not knowing the facts,

0:24:570:25:05

perhaps I'm not so surprised about

that. Talking about which way round

0:25:050:25:10

the trade surpluses were. Donald

Trump would not believe Trudeau

0:25:100:25:13

until he sent out his advisers to

look it up. The headline trade

0:25:130:25:19

balance, Canada has a deficit with

the US, once you throw in energy,

0:25:190:25:23

Canada is the biggest exporter of

energy to the US, and also timber.

0:25:230:25:28

There is a lot of dispute, and has

been for a number of years with the

0:25:280:25:33

US.

He got away with it there.

Others are saying it's not news at

0:25:330:25:37

all because the last line in the

Guardian said, Trump made 2140 false

0:25:370:25:43

or misleading claims in his first

year as president according to a

0:25:430:25:47

Washington Post story. Thank you, J.

That's it from business Live today.

0:25:470:25:55

More news on the web page and on

world business report. We will see

0:25:550:25:59

you again soon.

0:25:590:26:02