BAE boss reveals how war in Ukraine has shifted investor focus


Woke investors reevaluating defence firms

The CEO of BAE Systems, Charles Woodburn, shared that the conflict in Ukraine has prompted woke investors to reconsider their stance on defence firms. Woodburn mentioned that BAE's share performance suffered as UK investors focused on ESG criteria, while US investors showed less concern about ESG factors, leading to higher valuations for American competitors.

Reappraising ESG post-Ukraine conflict

Woodburn highlighted a significant reappraisal of ESG in light of the tragic events in Ukraine, emphasizing the importance of a robust defense structure for democracy and freedom of speech. Despite the majority of BAE's top investors being non-British, Woodburn noted a reduction in the valuation gap.

Record orders due to global threat landscape

BAE unveiled a record £55 billion backlog of orders from governments, citing an elevated threat environment globally following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. The company secured new contracts worth £38 billion last year, including projects related to the UK's nuclear deterrent submarines.

BT Tower to transform into luxury hotel

The iconic BT Tower in London is set to undergo a transformation into a luxury mega-hotel after being acquired by American MCR Hotels for £275 million. The Grade II listed tower, previously a state secret referred to as location 23, will join MCR's portfolio that includes renowned properties such as the Sheraton Times Square Hotel and High Line Hotel.

Mike Ashley accuses Morgan Stanley of snobbery

Billionaire Mike Ashley's Frasers Group is suing Morgan Stanley for £40 million, alleging snobbery in a high court dispute over a margin call. Ashley's lawyer labeled the bank's demand for collateral as disproportionate and driven by snobbery, with staff reportedly referring to Ashley as an upstart.

Heathrow returns to profit amid travel recovery

Heathrow Airport reported a return to profit fueled by pent-up travel demand post-Covid restrictions. With a 27% revenue increase to £3.68 billion and a rise in passengers to 79.2 million, Heathrow aims to increase fees on airlines, potentially impacting passenger fares. CEO Thomas Woldbye is contemplating the construction of a third runway.

MPs criticize IMF for snubbing UK economic forecast discussion

The International Monetary Fund faced criticism from MPs for declining to provide evidence on its economic forecasts regarding the UK. The IMF's refusal to participate in a discussion with other forecasters drew frustration from the Treasury Select Committee, with Chairwoman Harriett Baldwin labeling it as infuriating, considering the IMF's partial funding from the UK.