Friday newspaper round-up: AA, Iron ore prices, Ocado...
Shareholder groups last night warned of a corporate governance breakdown at the AA after chief executive Chris Jansen resigned two months after its stock market float. The roadside assistance firm decided its boardroom was not big enough for both Jansen and executive chairman Bob Mackenzie, who led a management buy-in that accompanied the float. [...] But groups that advise shareholders on how to exercise their voting power said the AA, which has 13m members, was lagging behind other listed firms in the way it handles its obligation to investors. - The Daily Mail
London-listed mining groups are facing a $30bn (£18bn) loss of revenue from a collapse in the iron ore price as Chinese growth slows more sharply than expected and mine output increases at the fastest rate on record. The benchmark iron ore price fell to a two-year low of $87 per tonne yesterday, down 36pc this year having opened at around $140 per tonne in January. Fears are now increasing that the iron ore price could slump to fresh five-year lows, undermining the profits of some of Britain's biggest listed companies. - The Telegraph
Strong criticism of Ocado's business model led to £375 million being wiped off its value yesterday. Redburn, an independent equity broker, said that sales at the online grocer were not growing fast enough and were "unlikely to do so soon". In a further blow, Redburn warned that the group's much-vaunted technology a robotic system used to pick and move containers in its warehouses was "less unique than we previously thought". - The Times
The gap between house sellers' asking prices and the amounts buyers are willing to pay is widening amid growing signs the market is cooling, the property analyst Hometrack has reported. Sellers in England and Wales typically achieved 95.9% of their asking price in August, falling back for the third month in a row from 96.8% in May. - The Guardian
Pernod Ricard yesterday offered a glimmer of hope for recovery in its key Chinese market as Scotland's second biggest distiller's annual results were scarred by a slowdown in the Far East and adverse currency movements. Alexandre Ricard, group deputy chief executive, said although trading remained challenging "we anticipate a gradual improvement in our sales growth" in the current financial year. - The Scotsman
Royal Dutch Shell could resurrect its controversial plan to drill for oil in the Alaskan Arctic after filing new plans with the US government. The FTSE-100 listed company put all work in the region on hold earlier this year after a series of incidents, including the grounding of the Kulluk rig in December 2012. On Thursday night Shell submitted a proposal to the Interior Department that would see it set up two rigs in the Shuckchi Sea, which is hoped could yield more than 400,000 barrels of oil a day. - The Telegraph
Wind, solar and other renewable power capacity grew at its strongest ever pace last year and now produces 22% of the world's electricity, the International Energy Agency said on Thursday in a new report. More than $250bn (£150bn) was invested in "green" generating systems in 2013, although the speed of growth is expected to slacken, partly because politicians are becoming nervous about the cost of subsidies. - The Guardian