BUSINESS LIVE: Games Workshop agrees to Amazon deal; Hollywood Bowl Sees Record Sales; Keywords Studios acquires The Multiplayer

The FTSE 100 is up 0.2 percent in early trading. Companies with reports and trading updates today include Games Workshop, Hollywood Bowl Group, Keywords Studios, The Multiplayer, Amigo Holdings and CRH. Read the Business Live blog from Monday, December 18 below.

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Britain wants to introduce a carbon tax on imported goods in 2027

(PA) – Britain plans to impose a carbon tax on imported goods, under plans announced by the Treasury to prevent British businesses being undercut by foreign manufacturers.

The Finance Ministry said the proposed new tax will come into force in 2027, ensuring that imports of products such as iron, steel, aluminium, ceramics and cement from abroad face a so-called carbon price comparable to those produced in Great Britain.

A carbon price is used by governments to help reduce emissions by charging a fee for carbon pollution to encourage industries to reduce their greenhouse gases.

There are increasing calls for the UK government to tackle 'carbon leakage' amid concerns that UK businesses are being undermined by cheaper but higher carbon imports from countries where they charge a lower or no carbon price.

The Treasury said the plans will help level the playing field and boost UK industry investment in cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: “This levy will ensure that carbon-intensive products from abroad – such as steel and ceramics – receive a comparable carbon price to those produced in Britain, so that our efforts to decarbonise the economy translate into a reduction in global emissions.

“This should give UK industry the confidence to invest in decarbonising the economy as the world moves to net zero emissions.”

Open market: FTSE 100 flat; FTSE 250 discount 0.5%

The FTSE 100 has opened flat as investors await more global economic data this week, while shares of Vodafone have topped the index after telecoms company Iliad submitted a proposal to set up a joint venture in Italy.

Precious metals miners were among the biggest decliners, falling 1.2 percent, while Fresnillo lost 5 percent after Morgan Stanley cut its rating from equal-weight to underweight.

The data out this week includes inflation figures from the UK, the Eurozone and the US, along with GDP estimates from Britain and the US.

Among individual stocks, Vodafone rose 4.3 percent after Iliad said it had submitted a proposal to the telecom company to merge their Italian businesses. This project received the unanimous support of the board of directors.

Entain is up 3.5% after Jefferies upgraded the sportsbook's rating from 'hold' to 'buy'.

'Era-defining moment' for the British spaceport SaxaVord

The industry regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), said this was an 'era-defining moment' for the UK's £17.5 billion aerospace sector.

SaxaVord would be the first fully licensed spaceport in Western Europe that can be launched vertically into orbit. The site – a former RAF radar station – would be allowed to launch 30 rockets a year to deliver satellites into space.

60/40 investing failed in 2022, but this year is much brighter

A lot of attention has been paid to the failure of 60/40 in 2022. And rightly so.

Many investors have placed confidence in the strategy. It follows a common philosophy in the financial industry, diversifying your assets by investing 60 percent in stocks and the rest in bonds.

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National Grid cuts ties with the Chinese supplier

National Grid has dropped a Beijing-backed supplier as concerns grow over Chinese involvement in critical infrastructure.

The FTSE 100 company that runs the UK's electricity network took advice from the National Cyber ​​Security Center – a division of GCHQ – on this decision.

It terminated contracts with the British arm of Chinese government-backed Nari Technology in April and has started removing its components.

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Hollywood Bowl reaches record year

Hollywood Bowl Group achieved record sales of £215.1m, with the company crediting 'significant customer demand' and 'the success of our customer-centric strategy'.

Sales growth of 16.2 percent boosted profits by £64.9 million, compared to £60.6 million last year.

'This is another excellent performance for the Group, compared to an exceptionally strong previous year. It reflects significant customer demand, as well as the success of our customer-centric strategy.

'The innovation of our offering has led to growth across all our sales lines, while keeping our prices low, with a family of four able to bowl for £25. We have continued to invest in and grow our estate, opening new centers in the UK and Canada where we see significant potential.

“The strength of our balance sheet and our highly cash-generative business model support our profitable growth strategy in the UK and Canada. This includes continued investments in our real estate, technology and improving our customer offering, and the decision by the Board of Directors to increase the payout ratio for our regular dividend from 50% of adjusted profit after tax to 55%. In the longer term, we see the opportunity to expand our estate to at least 130 centers.

'We have had an encouraging start to the year with people looking for ways to enjoy activities with family, friends and colleagues, demonstrating the continued strong demand for high-quality, valuable leisure experiences.'

Cost of living pressures are hitting the biggest unicorn companies with an £8 billion fall

The world's biggest unicorn companies have suffered an £8 billion drop in value this year, with retailers seeing the biggest falls as households struggled with the cost of living.

Research found that the total value of the top 100 unicorn companies – which are private companies with a valuation of at least $1 billion (£800 million) – fell by 1 percent in the 12 months to September 2023. There was a 30 percent increase in value over the previous year.

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Games Workshop agrees to Amazon deal

Games Workshop is to work with Amazon to develop films and TV series set in the British company's Warhammer 40,000 universe, as part of a 12-month deal with the tech giant.

The agreement also includes an option for Amazon to license equivalent rights in the Warhammer Fantasy universe following the release of the first Warhammer 40,000 production.

'The agreement will only be concluded once the creative guidelines have been mutually agreed between Games Workshop and Amazon.' the group said.