Hiring market cooling
Recruitment firm PageGroup PLC reported a rise in fourth-quarter gross profit, but pointed to a continued cooling in the UK hiring market after Britons backed an exit from the EU. The company said it expected full-year operating profit to be toward the top end of company compiled forecasts of between ￡91 million and ￡100 million (US$110 million to US$122 million). PageGroup, which mainly finds candidates to fill permanent positions, said year-on-year gross profit from its British operations fell 6.7 percent to ￡33.8 million in the quarter, steeper than the 4.7 percent fall seen in the preceding quarter.
Trains 100 percent electric
All Dutch trains are now 100 percent powered by electricity generated by wind energy, Dutch Railways (NS) said on Tuesday, calling it a world first. “Since the first of January, 100 percent of our trains are running on wind energy,” railway spokesman Ton Boon said. Dutch electricity company Eneco won a tender launched by the railway company two years ago and the two firms signed a 10-year deal setting January next year as the date by which all trains should run on wind energy. “So we in fact reached our goal a year earlier than planned,” said Boon, adding that an increase in the number of wind farms across the country and off the coast had helped it achieve its aim. Eneco and NS said on a joint Web site that about 600,000 passengers daily are “the first in the world” to travel by wind energy. NS operates about 5,500 train trips a day. One windmill running for one hour can power one train across about 200km, the companies said.
Soccer an economic boost
Organizing Euro 2016 last summer provided an economic boost worth 1.2 billion euros (US$1.3 billion) to the economy. According to figures from the Centre for Law and Economics of Sport, the continental soccer tournament attracted 2.5 million fans in stadiums, as well as 600,000 visitors from abroad. The study said that hosting the competition also generated 74.3 million euros in extra fiscal revenue for the state. With France also bidding for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games, Minister of Sports Patrick Kanner told a news conference on Tuesday that hosting big sporting events is “an opportunity.”
Etihad seeking new aircraft
Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad Airways PJSC is in talks with banks to raise about US$2.6 billion in loans to finance aircraft deliveries, according to three people familiar with the matter. The airline is seeking to raise US$2 billion in 12-year loans for 10 Boeing Co 787 Dreamliner aircraft and about US$600 million in financing for two Airbus Group SE A380 superjumbos, said the people, asking not to be identified because the discussions are private. Separately, low-cost carrier FlyDubai is in early talks with Emirates NBD PJSC, Noor Bank PJSC and Union National Bank PJSC for a club loan “to supports its infrastructure requirements,” a spokeswoman for the airline said, without detailing how much it plans to raise. The carrier, which operates out of Dubai International Airport and Al Maktoum International Airport, is due to move all of its operations to Al Maktoum this year. FlyDubai and Etihad are seeking to raise the funds as carriers based in Persian Gulf countries feel the impact of weakening global economies and a prolonged drop in oil prices.