Here are the top business stories making the headlines in the morning newspapers.

Oceaneering prohibition notice

Offshore inspectors have issued their toughest sanction after a risk of radioactive contamination was found on a North Sea platform.

Energy Voice says Oceaneering has been hit with a prohibition notice by the Health and Safety Executive for failing to restrict exposure to “ionising radiation” on TotalEnergies’ Alwyn North asset.

In response, the company says the issue was “rectified”, and “at no time” was any worker exposed to harmful rays.

Co-op warns on ‘turbulent’ economic headwinds

The Co-operative Group has warned its profits are likely to fall in the year ahead as the food-to-funerals group expects “turbulent economic headwinds, including inflationary pressures” to continue.

While that volatile external environment contributed to an 11% fall in profits at the 160-year-old mutual’s grocery arm, which has more than 2,000 stores, the group said underlying operating profits across the business had remained steady at £100million.

However, pre-tax profits soared to £247million in 2022 from £57million the year before, thanks to a one-off profit from the sale of its petrol forecourts business to Asda in October and a strong performance by its funerals and legal business.

Sales for the group rose 3% to £11.5billion, including a 1.3% increase at its grocery business, where the volume of goods sold slid back as shoppers put fewer items in their baskets because of high price rises on food and other bills and some availability problems for the group as a result of IT glitches in the first part of the year.

Profits at the grocery business were affected by a £55million increase in pay and a £37million investment in trying to keep prices down for shoppers.

The Guardian says sales and profits at the group’s funeral and legal businesses rose strongly as the group took market share from rivals amid a death rate that remained higher than historical averages for most of the year.

Mince packaging criticised

Sainsbury's has defended its new minced beef packaging after some shoppers complained it turned the meat to mush.

The store explained the mince was being vacuum packed to use 55% less plastic.

The BBC says it came after shoppers expressed their distaste, with one saying the meat now resembled "a rectangle of mushed off-cuts" and another "someone's kidney".

The meat had been packaged in a plastic tray covered with film, but Sainsbury's has now printed leaflets to explain the eco-friendly change.

The supermarket had announced it was "the first UK retailer to vacuum pack all beef mince, saving 450 tonnes of plastic each year".

More jobs could go at P&O Ferries

P&O Ferries is considering cutting 60 UK jobs, which are thought to be managerial and supervisory roles.

Another 60 could be "restructured" into new or similar roles.

It comes just over a year since the ferry operator suddenly sacked nearly 800 seafarers without notice, drawing widespread criticism.

A P&O Ferries spokesperson said the company was consulting with trade unions about the proposed changes.

They added that the proposals were meant to put the operator on "a competitive, sustainable footing", and the plan did not affect operational colleagues below leadership level or any colleagues aboard vessels.

A representative of the GMB union told the BBC they were extremely disappointed, and felt the company was letting down its staff again.

Criminal marketplace shut down

One of the world's biggest criminal marketplaces used by online fraudsters to buy passwords has been closed down in a global law-enforcement crackdown.

Genesis Market sold login details, IP addresses and other data that make up victims' "digital fingerprints".

The personal information let fraudsters log into bank and shopping accounts.

The BBC says law-enforcement agencies around the world were part of the co-ordinated raids, including the UK.

During a series of raids, the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) arrested 24 people who are suspected users of the site. They include two men aged 34 and 36 in Grimsby, who are being held on suspicion of fraud and computer misuse.

Law-enforcement agencies from 17 countries were involved in the raids, which began at dawn on Tuesday.

The operation was led by the FBI in the US and the Dutch National Police, working alongside the NCA in the UK, the Australian Federal Police, and countries across Europe.

Globally, 200 searches were carried out and 120 people were arrested.

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