Welcome back to our Weekly Roundup where we share headlines and brief summaries of notable news stories from around the world, along with a link for those seeking further information.
These articles provide a quick and easy way for readers to stay up to date with current legal and business affairs.
To test your commercial awareness, please take our new commercial awareness quiz which features questions pulled from a selection of our most recent Legal & Corporate News Roundup articles.
Ant Group IPO could break records
Ant Group, a financial technology company controlled by Alibaba founder Jack Ma, filed paperwork on Tuesday ahead of a highly-anticipated IPO.
Ant Group, formerly known as Ant Financial, is planning a concurrent listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange and the Shanghai stock exchange’s STAR market, which is a Nasdaq-style tech board.
The company has not yet disclosed details about the pricing of its shares. But CNBC reported that its market valuation “could be north of $200 billion, making it larger than some of America’s biggest banks.”
However, noting the risks involved Ant Group said that geopolitical tensions between the United States and China could “negatively affect” its business. The world’s two largest economies have long been engaged in disputes over trade and technology, the most recent of which have involved the popular Chinese-owned social media app TikTok.
You can read the full report from CNBC News by clicking here.
Law firm Kennedys presses ahead with salary increases and bonuses
International law firm Kennedys, which has offices in Dublin and Belfast, recently announced that annual global salary increases that were postponed from May for non-lawyer staff and from September for lawyers, will go ahead in November.
In a press release issued last Monday, the firm said that it had “prioritised job security for all staff as a primary objective over the last six months.”
Adding that it was “one of only a few firms not to announce any redundancies, reduce staff hours, cut pay or place any staff on the Government’s furlough scheme during the pandemic. The firm also confirmed very early on that it would honour all staff bonus commitments this year.”
Nick Thomas, Senior Partner of Kennedys, says: “It gives me immense satisfaction and pride to lead a partnership which chooses to reward our staff during what is a challenging time for so many businesses.”
“We make these increases partly off the back of an excellent financial year, but also with an eye on further success. We’re certainly not immune to the challenges of the pandemic, but we are a strong, well-run business and will proceed this year with a combination of cautious optimism and a focus on continued growth.”
You can read the full press release by clicking here.
For additional reading, also please follow the following link to an article we wrote on how COVID-19 has affected corporate law firms.
Clifford Chance to offer global virtual internships
Global law firm Clifford Chance, which is headquartered in London, recently announced that it would be offering students and recent graduates places on a global virtual internship.
Clifford Chance say that the programme includes over 20 hours of modular content, and that participants would gain “insight into challenges facing our clients around the world”.
Learn more about how to apply for their internship by clicking here.
Japan is running out of credit card numbers
Somewhat bizarrely, Japan is running out of credit card numbers, with some providers reusing numbers from cancelled cards due to the shortage of new combinations.
The rise in credit card issuance comes amid a surge in online shopping during the coronavirus pandemic.
The country’s credit card companies are struggling to come up with original 16-digit numbers as consumers eschew regular shop visits and opt for plastic over hard cash.
The rise in credit card use has also been linked to a government campaign to encourage cashless payments with a point system introduced last October after the consumption (sales) tax rose from 8% to 10%.
Most of Japan’s 280 credit card companies issue cards with 16 digits so they can partner with international firms such as Visa and Mastercard.
While the first six digits denote the country, brand and other information, the remaining 10, which include the account number and type of account, are decided by the credit card issuer.
You can read the full report from The Guardian by clicking here.
Irish Gin Distiller Mór bring Revenue to court
The makers of Irish artisanal gin Mór, Arderin Distillery Ltd, which is based in Tullamore, Co Offaly, have brought a High Court challenge over Revenue’s decision not to grant it tax relief on the alcohol it bought for the production of hand sanitiser.
The Irish Times reported on Friday that the company has, since March, “been making an ethanol-based sanitiser for the HSE for use at hospitals including Crumlin hospital in Dublin and Tullamore hospital.”
Normally, alcohol is subject to excise duty in the form of Alcohol Products Tax (APT). However, in certain circumstances alcohol products, including those used for medicinal purposes or in hospitals, the APT does not have to be paid.
The distillery claims it ordered 50,000 litres of alcohol to make the sanitiser after it was given assurances from an official with Revenue in late March that it would not be subject to the APT.
Arderin Distillery Ltd is being represented by Kenny Solicitors.
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