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American tech group eyeing a takeover of ARM

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american tech group eyeing a takeover of arm

An American tech group that makes chips for video games is eyeing a takeover of ARM. 

Nvidia is said to have approached Softbank, which bought the British chip maker for £24billion in 2016, about a possible takeover. 

Japan’s Softbank is already thought to be looking at selling parts or all of its stake in ARM as it scrambles to boost its finances. 

On the market?: Japan's Softbank is already thought to be looking at selling parts or all of its stake in ARM

On the market?: Japan's Softbank is already thought to be looking at selling parts or all of its stake in ARM

On the market?: Japan’s Softbank is already thought to be looking at selling parts or all of its stake in ARM

It has pledged to re-list the company on the stock market by 2023 and recently brought in Goldman Sachs as advisers amid growing pressure from activist investors.

Against that backdrop, Nividia is said to have approached Softbank about a possible sale of the Cambridge-based tech business in recent weeks. 

ARM, whose chips power smartphones and laptops, is an attractive target for Nvidia. 

ARM could be worth around £35billion if it were spun out of Softbank and floated in New York or London. 

Masayoshi Son, Softbank’s boss, is having to scale back his lofty ambitions of putting ARM at ‘the centre’ of his company, as he comes under pressure from investors to pay its debt and return to profit. 

The Government approved the 2016 ARM sale on condition that Softbank agreed to double the company’s headcount. 

That means it must have 3,494 staff in the UK by 2021, with 70 per cent in technical roles. 

ARM had around 2,700 UK staff in the UK as of September, of whom 74 per cent were technical.  

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Classic 1977 Norton Commando still in its original shipping crate to be auctioned

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classic 1977 norton commando still in its original shipping crate to be auctioned

When owners say their second-hand vehicles are ‘as good as new’, the reality is usually far from it.

But this classic motorcycle being sold at auction in November definitely lives up to the claim, with it still being packed inside its original delivery crate. 

The Norton Commando is already a highly-collectible vintage motorbike, but this 1977 example will likely be in huge demand having never been unpacked in it 43-year history.

Time-capsule motorbike: This 1977 Norton Commando 850 Interstate has not been unpacked from its wooden shipping crate in its 43-year life, making it hugely desirable to vintage motorcycle collectors

Time-capsule motorbike: This 1977 Norton Commando 850 Interstate has not been unpacked from its wooden shipping crate in its 43-year life, making it hugely desirable to vintage motorcycle collectors

Time-capsule motorbike: This 1977 Norton Commando 850 Interstate has not been unpacked from its wooden shipping crate in its 43-year life, making it hugely desirable to vintage motorcycle collectors

The unique opportunity to buy the ‘time capsule’ Norton – which will remain in the manufacturer’s packing crate for the sale – will be offered at the H&H Classics auction at the National Motorcycle Museum, directly opposite the NEC near Solihull in the West Midlands, on 14 November. 

The bike is estimated to sell for £20,000 to £30,000 and remained in a shipping state since it was made, with the front wheel removed and the exhaust silencer also packed separately into the wooden box.

The 1977 850 Interstate – notable for having an electric start as well as a kickstart – is one of the final examples of the original Norton Commando, which features an 828cc air-cooled parallel-twin engine, a four-speed gearbox and a top speed in excess of 115mph. 

The contained motorbike even has its original storage packing, including the cardboard box that sits over the top of the crate

The contained motorbike even has its original storage packing, including the cardboard box that sits over the top of the crate

The contained motorbike even has its original storage packing, including the cardboard box that sits over the top of the crate

You might be wondering why a motorcycle built in Britain – with production of Norton motorcycles at the time taking place in Wolverhampton and Small Heath, Birmingham – is being sold in a shipping container. 

That’s because it was sold to a customer in Belgium in 1977, with the dispatch documentation even included in the November sale. 

The bike remained untouched and unpacked from the time it arrived with its first keeper to when they decided to part with it.

It was subsequently sold and transported to a buyer in Holland who shipped it to Spain before it was recently purchased by the vendor and returned to the country where it was made.

This is how the Norton Commando 850 Interstate would look if it was unpacked and assembled

This is how the Norton Commando 850 Interstate would look if it was unpacked and assembled

This is how the Norton Commando 850 Interstate would look if it was unpacked and assembled

The 828cc parallel-twin engine has not been turned over

The 828cc parallel-twin engine has not been turned over

The front wheel is detached from the forks for easy storage in the wooden unit

The front wheel is detached from the forks for easy storage in the wooden unit

Left: The 828cc parallel-twin engine has not been turned over.  Right: The front wheel is detached from the forks for easy storage in the wooden unit

That means it has had three owners in four different countries in its 43-year history.

However, not one of these collectors removed it from its crate, let alone rode it.

‘They were simply happy to admire the bike and imagine its potential’, according to the selling auction house.

Mark Bryan, head of motorcycles at H&H Classics, said: ‘Every now and again one of these remarkable things appear in the collecting world. 

‘This particular instance is quite amazing. How on earth has everybody over 43 years managed to restrain themselves and not un-crate this bike?’ 

33344102 8747891 image a 72 1600439463746

33344102 8747891 image a 72 1600439463746

Records show that the Norton was originally shipped to the first keeper in Belgium on 18 October 1977

Records show that the Norton was originally shipped to the first keeper in Belgium on 18 October 1977

Records show that the Norton was originally shipped to the first keeper in Belgium on 18 October 1977

The motorcycle has been consigned by Kevin Maddocks, who has been a long-time Norton fan and collector.

‘Imagine how excited I was when I recently heard of a 1977 Norton Commando 850 Interstate that was still in its original packing case – 43 years old and still ‘brand new’. I just had to buy it and I tracked down the owner in Spain,’ he explained, 

‘The Spanish collector, who owned 98 bikes, had bought it 10 years earlier at an auction in Belgium, after the owner of a Belgian motorbike shop passed away. 

‘Apparently he had kept it in his store room, in its original packing case, for about 35 years and for some strange reason refused to sell it to anyone!’ 

The bike's auction sale includes three sets of keys, manufacturer¿s advice sheets for the dealer, owners manual, service book, plus even a small spray can of Norton chain lube - possibly the last in existence

The bike's auction sale includes three sets of keys, manufacturer¿s advice sheets for the dealer, owners manual, service book, plus even a small spray can of Norton chain lube - possibly the last in existence

The bike’s auction sale includes three sets of keys, manufacturer’s advice sheets for the dealer, owners manual, service book, plus even a small spray can of Norton chain lube – possibly the last in existence

The Commando was produced by Norton Motorcycle from 1967 until 1977 and has become a very collectible two-wheel machine in recent years. It was originally a 750 but the engine capacity was increased to 828cc in 1973

The Commando was produced by Norton Motorcycle from 1967 until 1977 and has become a very collectible two-wheel machine in recent years. It was originally a 750 but the engine capacity was increased to 828cc in 1973

The Commando was produced by Norton Motorcycle from 1967 until 1977 and has become a very collectible two-wheel machine in recent years. It was originally a 750 but the engine capacity was increased to 828cc in 1973

He added: ‘Since owning her I have never really touched her – she would look even better if I could give it a spring clean but to do it properly, I’d have to remove her from the packing case. 

‘Everything is there; three sets of keys, manufacturer’s advice sheets for the dealer, owners manual, service book, plus even a small spray can of Norton chain lube!’

Mr Maddocks said his intention was to show the motorcycle at events across the country and display it in museums, but the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has seen his circumstances change and he’s been resigned to selling the timewarp bike.  

Compared to some of the ‘barn-find’ classic cars we’ve seen sell for staggering sums in recent years, this untouched collectible will be a worthy addition to an motorcycle collection. 

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Mortgage holidays are ending soon but banks will still offer support to the most vulnerable

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mortgage holidays are ending soon but banks will still offer support to the most vulnerable

Mortgage lenders will continue to offer mortgage payment holidays to some financially vulnerable customers after the government scheme ends, the City watchdog has confirmed.

While the scheme officially ends at the end of next month, the Financial Conduct Authority said that banks and building societies can continue to offer payment holidays for borrowers who need short-term support.

From November banks won’t be under any obligation to do this however, and the FCA has now confirmed that taking a payment holiday will affect a borrower’s credit report once the scheme ends. 

This means that taking a mortgage holiday could affect the borrower’s ability to secure any further finance in the future. 

Customers yet to apply for a mortgage payment holiday have until 31 October to do so

Customers yet to apply for a mortgage payment holiday have until 31 October to do so

Customers yet to apply for a mortgage payment holiday have until 31 October to do so

The FCA said it will be ‘monitoring firms to ensure borrowers are treated fairly’ once the scheme ends in October.

Christopher Woolard, interim chief executive at the FCA, said: ‘Some consumers will continue to be impacted by coronavirus in the coming months, or be impacted for the first time. 

‘Consumers in these situations will benefit from firms providing them with tailored support.

‘However, it is very important that consumers who can afford to resume mortgage payments should do so for their own long-term interests and so that help can be targeted at those most in need.’

Eric Leenders, managing director of personal finance at banking trade body UK Finance, said: ‘It is essential that customers go online or contact their lender to consider the best solution for them.

‘Firms will be communicating with customers whose mortgage payment deferral is coming to an end to discuss the options available. Those who can afford to resume payments should do so, as it will always be in their best interests in the long run.’

Mortgage payment holidays will cost you more

Banks will rake in hundreds of millions of pounds in extra interest off the back of the payment holidays already granted, especially from those borrowers who opted for a six month rather than a three month holiday. 

For example, if you took a three-month payment holiday for a mortgage that started in January this year of £100,000 with 20 years remaining at the average two-year fixed rate of 2.24 per cent, then after your mortgage holiday your monthly payments will go up from £505 to £515, and you’ll pay an additional £955 in interest over the lifetime of the mortgage.  

However, taking a six-month holiday on the same terms would see the total interest over the life of the mortgage rise to £1,945.  

The financial watchdog has encouraged firms to continue offering support to borrowers

The financial watchdog has encouraged firms to continue offering support to borrowers

The financial watchdog has encouraged firms to continue offering support to borrowers

This is more than double the three month holiday, because the interest on the loan compounds while you’re not paying it. 

If you want to do the sums for yourself, broker Habito has a mortgage holiday calculator which you can find here.  

Taking a mortgage holiday could also severely hamper your ability to refinance in future.   

While doing so before 31 October shouldn’t affect your credit score, industry insiders claim that some lenders are already starting to automatically decline applications for those who have taken a payment holiday. 

Zane Groves of financial adviser firm Light Blue said: ‘If you don’t need a mortgage break, don’t take one. It may be used against you in a future mortgage application, although this is yet to be proven on a large scale.’

How does a mortgage holiday work?  

At the moment, lenders are offering borrowers three ways to defer their mortgage payments. 

Some borrowers will be able to extend their loan, effectively adding the extra three months onto the end of their term.

Others are being offered the opportunity to increase the mortgage size but keep the same term length.

This means that the mortgage will be paid off over the same period, but the borrower will be paying slightly more each month once payments start again.

Remember though, with both these options you will be paying interest on the sum accrued, meaning you’ll pay more interest overall.

Another option that some lenders are offering is a shorter term repayment plan, giving the borrower the opportunity to pay the debt back sooner over a period of, for example, six months.

Not all lenders will be offering all borrowers all of these options. Speak to your lender to find out which one you might be able to take.

Normally a payment holiday is granted on a case-by-case basis with financial hardship and general situational factors taken into account. From November, lenders will likely go back to using this approach. 

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China has stronghold on the lithium-ion battery supply chain as EV demand soars

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china has stronghold on the lithium ion battery supply chain as ev demand soars

China has a stronghold on the lithium-ion battery supply chain, according to a new market report. 

Along with 72GWh of electricity storage demand, China also retains an estimated 80 per cent of the world’s raw material refining, 77 per cent of cell capacity and 60 per cent of component manufacturing.

The study claimed the US and Europe are both well positioned to close the gap in the next five years, but warned that Britain could slip behind by 2025.

Countries are desperate to increase their position in the sector – sales of electric vehicles have begun to surge and are likely to rocket in the coming years as governments introduce bans on the availability of petrol and diesel cars from 2030. 

Stronghold: An employee works at a production line of lithium ion batteries inside a factory in Dongguan, Guangdong province. China has been ranked the top global market for electric-car batteries by a new industry study

Stronghold: An employee works at a production line of lithium ion batteries inside a factory in Dongguan, Guangdong province. China has been ranked the top global market for electric-car batteries by a new industry study

China’s dominance of the lithium-ion battery market is a clear indicator for why Tesla set up shop with a 210-acre Gigafactory in Shanghai where it’s been producing Model 3s since last year and will also build Model Ys for the fastest-developing economy.

Analyst BloombergNEF has ranked it as the driving force in the sector, having overtaken former leaders Japan and South Korea – however, they remain in the top three ranking highest for battery and component manufacturing but lag behind China when it comes to the availability of raw materials, refining and mining.  

James Frith, BNEF’s head of energy storage, said: ‘China’s dominance of the industry is to be expected given its huge investments and the policies the country has implemented over the past decade. 

‘Chinese manufacturers, like CATL, have come from nothing to being world-leading in less than 10 years.’

But Frith said China’s stronghold could be challenged in the coming years from western markets. 

‘The next decade will be particularly interesting as Europe and the US try to create their own battery champions to challenge Asian incumbents who are already building capacity in both places,’ he added. 

‘While Europe is launching initiatives to capture more of the raw material value chain, the US is slower to react on this.’

Note: “Environ.” is environmental. “RII” is regulations, infrastructure and innovation. Red represents countries in the Asia-Pacific region, teal countries in Europe and Africa, and blue countries in the Americas. The symbol represents if country has moved up or down the rankings in comparison to its 2020 score, green represents up and red represents down. The number shows the number of places the country has moved

Note: “Environ.” is environmental. “RII” is regulations, infrastructure and innovation. Red represents countries in the Asia-Pacific region, teal countries in Europe and Africa, and blue countries in the Americas. The symbol represents if country has moved up or down the rankings in comparison to its 2020 score, green represents up and red represents down. The number shows the number of places the country has moved

Countries are desperate to increase their position in the sector with sales of electric vehicles already starting to boom and will sky rocket in the coming years as governments introduce bans on the availability of petrol and diesel cars from a decade's time

Countries are desperate to increase their position in the sector with sales of electric vehicles already starting to boom and will sky rocket in the coming years as governments introduce bans on the availability of petrol and diesel cars from a decade’s time

BNEF’s ranking provides a snapshot of a country’s position in the lithium-ion battery supply chain in 2020 and where it will place in 2025, based on its current development trajectory.

While the US today languishes in sixth place, the upcoming presidential election could change things. 

If America were to increase its investment in raw materials and promote electric vehicle adoption, it could overtake both Japan and China to be number one in 2025. 

In contrast, the UK – currently one place behind the US – could see its position in the rankings fall if it becomes unable to access the large demand in continental Europe, which, at 152GWh, will be around five times the size of its domestic market. 

Europe is improving its position on the supply chain, with a boom in cell plants across the continent. Tesla is currently building its Gigafactory 4 vehicle plant in Berlin

Europe is improving its position on the supply chain, with a boom in cell plants across the continent. Tesla is currently building its Gigafactory 4 vehicle plant in Berlin

A street sign reading 'Tesla Street 1' stands in front of the construction site of the electric car Tesla Gigafactory in Gruenheide

A street sign reading ‘Tesla Street 1’ stands in front of the construction site of the electric car Tesla Gigafactory in Gruenheide

According to the Global EV Outlook 2020, the sales of electric cars reached 2.1 million globally in 2019, surpassing 2018s record to boost the stock to 7.2 million electric vehicles

 According to the Global EV Outlook 2020, the sales of electric cars reached 2.1 million globally in 2019, surpassing 2018s record to boost the stock to 7.2 million electric vehicles

As electric car demand grows in the next decade, there is an increasing need for cell manufacturing facilities close to automotive production. 

This has led to a boom in European cell plants, and the rest of the supply chain is also slowly making its way to Europe as nations look set to ban the sale of passenger cars with internal combustion petrol and diesel engines from as early as 2025 in Norway.

Polestar: ‘We want to be the most transparent electric car maker’ 

Polestar – the electric-car sister brand to Volvo, itself owned by Chinese firm Geely –  will publish full details of the climate impact of its electric vehicles as part of efforts to become the ‘most transparent’ EV maker in the automotive industry’.

It criticised the wider industry for a ‘disturbing lack of transparency’, stating that it is ‘impossible for a consumer to compare the climate impact of different cars’. 

As a result, the Swedish company will, with immediate effect, reveal a headline number that shows the climate impact of its EVs as they leave the production line. 

It will also show the total climate impact of the car over its life cycle.  

‘Car manufacturers have not been clear in the past with consumers on the environmental impact of their products,’ said Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar CEO. 

‘That’s not good enough. We need to be honest, even if it makes for uncomfortable reading.’ 

Using its own analysis, Polestar found its new £50,000 ‘2’ leaves the factory with a 26-tonne carbon footprint. 

Compared to a Volvo XC40 with a petrol engine, Polestar 2 has a larger footprint in the manufacturing phase, mainly due to the energy-intensive battery production process.

But once the EV reaches the customer, if charged with green energy, further CO2 emissions are ‘negligible’.  And after 31,000 miles (50,000km) of driving, the fossil fuel car surpasses the EV in total CO2 emissions.

Pressure is mounting on UK Government decision makers to bring forward the current ban from 2040 to an earlier deadline of 2030, which would be in-line with countries including Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden.

This includes Tesla’s Gigafactory 4 that’s being built in Berlin, Germany, which the US maker says will be ‘the most advanced high-volume electric vehicle production plant in the world’.

In the UK, start-up Britishvolt is due to open the country’s first gigafactory rival in South Wales , which will be penned by legendary vehicle design house, Pininfarina, and open in 2023. 

Sophie Lu, head of metals and mining at BloombergNEF, said that while nations with a monopoly of critical metals are in a good position, it is equally fundamental for other countries to leverage the availability of clear and cheap electricity and develop large-scale manufacturing sites with a ‘technically skilled labour force’.

According to the Global EV Outlook 2020, the sales of electric cars reached 2.1 million globally in 2019, surpassing 2018s record to boost the stock to 7.2 million electric vehicles. 

China remained the world’s largest EV market, with 2.3million electric vehicles in active use, accounting for nearly half (45 per cent) of the global stock of zero-emission cars. 

Europe and the US are relatively far behind with 1.2 and 1.1million EVs respectively in 2019 – but the latter is performing far better in relative terms,

 While only 5.2 per cent of China’s vehicles are electric, over half (56 per cent) of cars in Norway were powered by electricity last year.

EVs also make up 26 per cent and 15 per cent of all motors in Iceland and Netherlands respectively in 2019, though in the UK represented less than 2 per cent of new registrations. 

However, by the end of August 2020, one in 20 new models bought in the UK were battery electric cars, according to the latest sales figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

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