By Aliyah Busari
European Central Bank
The European Central Bank (ECB) has ended its €2.5 trillion Quantitative Easing programme after four years of pumping money into European economies through the purchase of bonds. The ECB has been buying €30 billion of government bonds each month to fuel investment and offer stability after the financial crisis. This was expected, but there had been speculation that they would continue the financial stimulation due to the Eurozone growth stalling in the recent months.
SSE and Npower merger
A merger that would have created the UK’s second biggest energy supplier has been called off. The proposed arrangement would have combined 11.5 million customers and transformed the UK’s Big Six retail energy firms into a Big Five. The proposed deal, which was between SSE and Npower, was called off with the parties blaming increasing competition, and the Government’s recent price cap. It was stated that the new conditions would have been very challenging for the new company, and consequently not viable.
The new cap will keep typical usage energy bills below £1,137 a year saving 11 million customers an average of £76 a year on their gas and electricity bills. In a statement, SSE stated the deal (which would have combined SSE’s household division with the retail operations of Npower) was no longer “in the best interests of customers, employees or shareholders”. The merger occurred in a background of challenging market conditions for more traditional energy suppliers with an increase in smaller suppliers offering lower prices. The company will face a bill of £67 million for the failed merger.