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News Blog: Latest industry news and information

Facebook floatation boosted by surge in cost per click rates

April 17th, 2012

The cost of advertising on Facebook has risen by 15% in the first three months of the year when compared with the same period last year according to a new study carried out by TBG Digital. This is despite a decrease in the number of overall click-throughs.

Facebook cpc rates

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Company Formation Online Ltd also understands the cost businesses in the UK spent on acquiring a Facebook fan or follower also increased by 77% which is significantly higher than the global year-on-year average of 43% as did the Cost per click (CPC) businesses paid the social network.  CPC in the UK, Germany, France, UK and Canada rose by 23% year-on-year in Q1 2012.

The increases are surprising as click-through rate of users in Facebook’s leading markets fell by an average of 6% year-on-year in the first quarter.  According to the TBG research the UK has overtaken Canada to become the social network’s second largest advertising market.

The streaming of the Facebook Social Reader app by leading publishers such as The Washington Post and the UK’s Guardian newspaper has increased user news click-through-rates by a whopping 196% quarter-on-quarter.

The highest CPC rates are being paid by financial sector firms, some 3.5 times higher than companies in the food and drink sector according to the research.

Facebook, hopes to raise approximately £3.16bn when it floats on the stock market in May 2012. The business plans to introduce a suite of high end marketing tools to boost fan engagement over the next few months. No figures were given for offshore companies trading from tax haven jurisdictions.

Facebook’s publically available 2011 financial account show 85% of the company’s revenues are derived from advertising.

The study verified by Cambridge University, looked at 235 brands in 190 countries. Facebook declined to comment on the findings.

This post was brought to you by Mike James at Company Formation Online

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Allied Irish Banks to pull out of Isle of Man and Jersey

April 5th, 2012
Allied Irish Bank

Allied Irish Bank

Allied Irish Banks (AIB) is pulling out of the Isle of Man and Jersey with a potential 170 job losses.

Allied Irish Banks (AIB) announced its closing down its operations in the Isle of Man and Jersey by the end of December 2013.

There are two subsidiaries of the bank, AIB Bank (CI) Limited and AIB International Savings Limited.  It would be reasonable to surmise that jobs were at risk but no firm decision would be made until it consulted with staff said a spokesman.

AIB Isle of Man and Jersey Chief Executive Officer Joe Moynihan, said “the decision was part of a broader strategy to create a smaller, domestically focused bank”.

There are numerous customers who joined the bank after using the Jersey and Isle of Man company formation services.  Mr Moynihan said customers of the bank in both jurisdictions would be contacted about making other arrangements.

The bank also said “prevailing insecurity in financial markets has had serious consequences for the bank and produced difficulties that affect the sustainability of the offshore business bank model for AIB”.

This post was brought to you by Mike James at Company Formation Online

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0800 numbers to be free from mobiles

April 4th, 2012
Chief Executive of Ofcom Ed Richards

Chief Executive of Ofcom Ed Richards

The telecommunication regulator Ofcom has today launched a consultation document aimed at simplifying the call costs of non-geographic numbers amid continuing consumer confusion over numbers beginning with 03, 08, 09 and 118. Consumer groups say the numbers used by essential services such as NHS Direct, the Inland Revenue and various government departments do in some cases inhibit public access to service. This is a particular concern because of the increasing number of mobile only homes.

Calls to 0800 numbers are currently free from landlines but cost up to 21 pence per minute from mobiles. Ofcom wants to make 0800 numbers free from mobiles and standardise the network access charges for other non-geographical numbers. At present the revenue from chargeable calls to non-geographical numbers such as 0800 to mobiles is split between the call initiating and call receiving networks. Ofcom proposes to radically change the split fee arrangement and make the revenue share transparent so consumer bills would detail the telecoms provider’s access charge and the amount charged by the line provider.

Company Formation Online understands the proposals are fiercely opposed by the network providers and urges consumers and small businesses to register support for Ofcom’s proposals by responding to the consultation document. The consultation document and consumer form can be downloaded below.


Simplifying Non-geographic Numbers – Part C
Proposals for Freephone and the 116 ranges
Consumer consultation response sheet 

This post was brought to you by Mike James at Company Formation Online

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Simple tax returns for small firms

April 3rd, 2012

More than three Million of the smallest UK businesses could be allowed to change their accounting from the traditional accrual method to cash accounting.  The simplified system would allow small firms to pay tax on collected cash less their acceptable operating expenditure.

Company formations

Simplified tax returns for small businesses

HM Treasury will publish a consultation paper on the change to cash accounting for small firms next month. The scheme, if implemented, could see an increase in the number of new company formations and small business start-ups.

The details of the proposal were contained in the Chancellor’s 2012 Budget which launched a consultation on the scheme. Treasury sources say if there is no serious opposition or concerns it wants to introduce the scheme for businesses reaching the 2013 VAT threshold of £77,000 with view to further increasing the VAT threshold to £150,000. The Office of Tax Simplification which formulated and recommended the changes said businesses earning less than £30,000 would benefit.

The Treasury is keen to see small firms taxed on cash income receipts which pass through the businesses by removing the accrual system and the burden of complex accounting requirements more suitable for larger businesses.  Experts say the scheme will result in less administration for micro-businesses and HMRC but emphasise it’s not a reduction in tax.

There are however concerns, in some quarters, cash accounting which will measure profits by reference to income receipts can be open to manipulation and could increase tax evasion. Head of taxation at Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Mr Chas Roy-Chowdhury broadly welcomed the proposal but warned of unintended consequences and the possibility the scheme may have an adverse effect on integrity of the tax system.

This post was brought to you by Mike James at Company Formation Online

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Government plans internet eavesdropping law

April 2nd, 2012
Government web monitoring

UK Government's New Internet Spying Law

The government plans to expand its eavesdropping powers in major legislation expected in the Queens speech next month.  Under the new law security services and the police will be able to monitor e-mail exchanges, website visits and the telephone communications of every person in the UK.

The legislation will oblige Internet service providers (ISPs) to install hardware enabling the British government’s electronic listening agency GECHQ to examine, on request, telephone communications, SMS text messages, e-mails and access to websites in real time.

Similar legislation was attempted by the previous Labour government in 2006 but failed amid strong opposition.

Tory ministers who are in coalition government with the pro privacy Liberal Democrats are adamant that the new law will not give the police and security services access to an individual’s communications without a warrant.  However, Company Formation Online understands the legislation would allow the police and security service to track communications between individuals and groups including the length and duration of such contacts without a warrant.

Privacy campaigners such as Big Brother Watch have condemned move comparing the proposed measures to surveillance conducted by the secret police in China and Iran.

In the United States the information technology community is up in arms at the proposed introduction of two pieces of law before the legislature.  The “anti-piracy” bills SOPA and PIPA have been championed by Hollywood and the entertainment industry.  However critics including the European Union and major players in the tech industry are vehemently against the introduction of the new laws which they say censors the internet and stifles free speech.

Major internet companies such as Google, Twitter, Wikipedia, Mozilla Tumblr and Reddit, are campaigning against the legislation. Google’s Chief Legal Officer David Drummond recently blogged an article titled “Don’t censor the web”.  Whether the United Kingdom’s IT sector voices similar opposition remains to be seen.

This post was brought to you by Mike James at Company Formation Online

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Dubai company formation on the increase

April 1st, 2012


Dubai company formation

Dubai International Financial Centre

Dubai company formation is on the increase as the Emirate cashes in on growing interest in its free trade zones to further strengthen its economy.   In addition to company formation and start-ups the leadership is making significant efforts to encourage businesses to relocate there as a steady base for central operations.

Dubai’s free zones have become very important to the economy as a means of attracting new business and strengthening global trade.  The enterprises utilising the tax free zones are involved in a wide range of diverse business activities including export, manufacture, logistics, finance media and education.  IT, media, health and education are forecast to see the biggest growth largely due to increased spending across Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

Data released by Dubai Free Zones Council in the beginning of March indicates the twenty two separate free zones in the emirate accounted for almost a third of Dubai’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  There are 19,000 companies incorporated in Dubai’s free zones employing almost a quarter of million people.

Business have long complained about Dubai’s bureaucratic tendencies such as the unnecessary manual attestation of documents in multiple government departments and the “Bukra insha Allah” or “come back” tomorrow attitude as the biggest frustration in doing business in the Emirate. The new Dubai Free Zones Council (DFZC) plans eradicate red tape and and increase accountability said DFZC chairman, Mohammed Al Zarooni.

If the pattern of new Dubai company formation at the free zones is an indicator, the demand will further increase.  In February, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) reported a 7 per cent increase in companies operating from the financial centre.

The CEO of the DIFC Abdullah Mohammad Al Awar believes the number of registered at the centre could double by 2017.

This post was brought to you by Mike James at Company Formation Online

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Insider trading case of InterMune, Inc settled

March 31st, 2012
British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands flag

A New York District Judge accepted a final judgement settlement in the options insider trading case of InterMune, Inc by Swiss national Michael Sarkesian and Quorne Ltd, a British Virgin Islands offshore company which was owned by Cyprus trust held and managed for the benefit of a member of the Sarkesian family.

The alleged illegal dealing by Quorne Ltd and Sarkesian took place on 17, December 2010 ahead of the the European Union’s Committee for Medicinal Products (CHMP) for Human Use’s  announcement recommending the EU grant InterMune permission to sell its drug, Esbriet, in the the Union.

On March 27, 2012 the Commission announced an amendment to the complaint served on 23 December  2010 to name Sarkesian and Quorne as defendants accused of purchasing InterMune options. Sarkesian and Quorne Ltd accepted the final judgment, which imposes injunctive and monetary relief.

The Commission claims Sarkesian used non-public information relating to the CHMP’s recommendation before the 17 December announcement and his authority over Quorne Ltd to purchase 400 call options in InterMune through a Swiss brokerage firm on the 7and 8 of December  2010 making a gain of 500% after the 17 December announcement.

Sarkesian and Quorne Ltd acquiesced to entry of a final judgment without admitting or denying the allegations of violations to Rule 10b-5 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

This post was brought to you by Mike James at Company Formation Online

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OECD warns of UK recession

March 30th, 2012

As reported by Company Formation Online Ltd in our post on 28 March 2012, the first quarter of 2012 has seen the United Kingdom economy slip back into recession. The warning came from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The forecast came amid figures released which show the whole economy has contracted by 0.3% in the last quarter of 2012. The figures are 0.1 per cent lower than previously estimated. A further decline in the first quarter of 2012 would meet the official definition of a recession of decline spanning two consecutive quarters.

The OECD cautioned the recovery of the world major economies is tenuous and described the prospects of the European economies as “very weak”.
Whist the UK economy’s contraction of the last quarter of 2011 was worse than forecast, economists are divided as to whether the first quarter of this year will see a further fall in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). There are some positive surveys which project a return to mild growth.

The Government and the Office for Budget Responsibility maintain the United Kingdom will avoid a recession with an overall growth of 0.8% in 2012.

This post was brought to you by Mike James at Company Formation Online

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UK is the most popular incorporation jurisdiction

March 28th, 2012
most popular and successful company formation jurisdiction

Companies House Crest

There are several good reasons why the UK is the most popular and successful company formation jurisdiction in the world

Every year more than hundreds of thousands of people incorporate their companies here largely due to the ease in which a company can be registered. The UK relatively low corporation tax and the pro-business environment which has existed since the 1980′s have all encouraged the creation of new business.

The incorporation process, the low cost of company registration and the administration of the entities by Companies House has encouraged entrepreneurs from all over the world to form their companies in Great Britain. The fact there are no nationality or residency restrictions also helps.

The speed, cost and efficiency of online registration must the greatest reason. The registrar of companies had the foresight to implement electronic incorporation and filing long before some nations had a centralised computer database of corporations. Companies House now uses state-of-the-art computer server infrastructure which allows company formation via an XML gateway. The registrar also accepts the filing of annual returns, accounts and many other documents.

This post was brought to you by Mike James at Company Formation Online

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UK economy shrinks

March 28th, 2012

UK economy shrinksThe economy in the United Kingdom has shrunk less than previously expected.  It was estimated that the gross domestic product (GDP) would decline by 0.2% but new figures by the Office for National Statistics indicate the decline is 0.3%

According to economists rising unemployment and pay award below the inflation and an increase in the cost of living will continue to put pressure the economy.  As a consequence the first half of the year will see the economy remain sluggish.

Growth was revised down to 0.7%, 0.1% lower than the estimated 0.8%, and considerably below long-term forecasts.

The powerhouse service sector which includes consumer spending dropped by 0.1% instead for staying flat as predicted. Household spending is still 1% lower than a year ago.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said: “These figures show that since George Osborne’s spending review our economy has not grown at all.  “It’s very worrying that the economy continues to shrink”.

This post was brought to you by Mike James at Company Formation Online

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