Huawei leak, iPhone sales, Pret food labelling, fracking: your commercial news round-up

updated on 02 May 2019

If commercial awareness means to you trawling through the broadsheet newspapers every day to find out what’s happening in the stock market, you’re probably doing it wrong. It’s about bitesize chunks of knowledge and keeping updated with the most recent goings on in the business world – and understanding how these cross over into the world of law, technology and politics. Find out more with our commercial news round-up for this week:

  • Because we all needed a break from worrying about Brexit, the government decided to create headlines this week by sacking Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson over the Huawei leak. Information regarding the UK’s relationship with the Chinese telecoms company came out of a top-level National Security Council meeting, with Williamson strenuously denying that he was the source of the leak, although he did admit meeting with Daily Telegraph journalist Steven Swinford from whom the story originated. A particularly strongly-worded letter from Theresa May has been raising eyebrows, while Penny Mordaunt becomes the UK’s first female defence secretary.
  • Consumers have been buying fewer iPhones as sales of the Apple products have fallen at their steepest rate ever. Revenue from the iPhone dropped by 17% in the first three months of the year. Despite the drop in sales, Apple’s chief executive remained optimistic, commenting that sales were stronger towards the end of March – especially in China where Apple recently cut the prices of iPhones in order to boost demand.
  • BP posted its lowest quarterly profit for more than a year, describing the first quarter of 2019 as a “volatile period”. The energy giant said that its replacement cost-profit measure of £1.6 billion for the January-March period was 12% lower than the same period last year. The low profits were still higher than had been expected due to higher production and stronger trading earnings.
  • Food chain Pret a Manger will start displaying the full list of ingredients on its freshly-made products after two customers died from allergic reactions to its sandwiches. Tablet computers will be put in place in every shop containing full details about the ingredients of products, with new labels and staff training being rolled out over the summer. The government is currently consulting on stricter allergen labelling.
  • The controversial process of fracking was in the newspapers again this week as the UK’s shale gas commissioner, former Labour MP Natascha Engel, resigned after just six months in the role, claiming that the current government rules were making it impossible for the industry to fully function. Under the regulations, fracking must be suspended every time a 0.5 or higher magnitude tremor is detected. The government’s claim that the rules “strike the right balance of ensuring the industry can develop, while ensuring any operations are carried out safely”, while the millionaire boss of fracking firm Ineos called the government’s attitude “pathetic”.

Be sure to check the News every Thursday for this weekly commercial news round-up. Follow @LawCareersNetUK on Twitter and like us on Facebook for instant business news updates.