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Newspaper Briefing, including 'Bank of England urged to give Britain’s economy a jump-start' - Daily Mail


The Times

Bet of the Day: Spread-betters waited for the European Central Bank to make no fresh commitments to prop up the Eurozone’s faltering banks and ailing economies before teeing up orders to sell the Euro. The single currency gave back most of its early gains amid disappointment that the ECB had not been more decisive.

Deal of the day: Forte Energy, the Australia-based, AIM-listed miner with uranium deposits in Guinea and Mauritania, is raising £2.5 million by selling new shares at 11/4p each. Off another 10.3% at 11/4p, they have lost more than two thirds of their value since the start of May. Cynics looked forward to a decent bounce once funding was in place.

Gilts: U.K. Government bonds retreated amid hopes that Spain’s stricken banks would be saved. The September gilt future settled 130 ticks lower at 119.68. Losses had been steeper still before the European Central Bank placed the onus firmly on individual countries to solve the region’s deBT crisis. The yield on ten-year gilts jumped 11 basis points to 1.64%.

The ancient wonders that nearly turned into temples of money: Investors hoping to own shares in a Buddhist temple or Taoist monastery may be forced to make do with less photogenic assets. Chinese officials have decided that local government plans to list ancient sites on the stock market are incompatible with their religious purpose.

Is nobody safe from the threat of downgrades?: Commerzbank, the second-biggest lender after Deutsche Bank, was downgraded a notch from A2 to A3, alongside four state government-owned landesbanks, the co-operative DZ Bank and the German subsidiary of UniCredit, Italy’s biggest bank.

They pinned the loss on me, says SocGen’s rogue trader: The rogue trader who lost €4.9 billion at Société Générale described himself in court as a fall guy in a plot designed to mask the bank’s exposure to sub-prime lending. Jérôme Kerviel suggested that he had been manipulated by executives hoping to minimise losses linked to sub-prime loans.

Catwalk king prefers private model: Kenneth Cole is to take his eponymous clothing and accessories company private in a deal that values the business at about $280 million. The fashion designer, who founded the business in 1982, is buying the 54% of the company’s shares he does not already own, because he believes that the group will develop better as a private company.

Nasdaq puts price of Facebook unrest at $40 million: Nasdaq has tripled the compensation pool for investors who lost out during the botched flotation of Facebook and admitted that it was “humbly embarrassed” by the mistakes. The stock exchange said that its fund would rise from $13.7 million (£8.9 million) to $40 million, still far short of the $115 million-plus that angry brokers and investors believe the debacle has cost them.

Waitrose enjoys a patriotic boost: The upmarket grocer and holder of a pair of royal warrants revealed that the Jubilee festivities had sparked its biggest week outside Christmas and Easter, with sales up 19.8% on last year at £123 million for the week ending 02 June.

Argentina’s new oil company seeks boost by cashing in on a dead cow: The recently expropriated YPF tried to pour oil on troubled market and diplomatic waters by announcing a $35 billion investment plan. The Argentinian company, formed from the state seizure of assets held by the Spanish group Repsol, wants to increase its oil and gas output by more than a quarter by 2017.

The Independent

Vampire Squid tweets from the shallows: The fact that employees rushed to the windows of their lavish Financial District offices to see the Enterprise travelling to its new home may not be the sort of insight into the bank’s inner workings that people expected when they signed up to follow Goldman Sachs on Twitter.

Dow rebounds as Buffett writes off chances of a double dip in U.S.: While all around may be losing their heads, Warren Buffett kept his, declaring emphatically that the chances of a double-dip recession in the U.S., the world’s largest economy, were “very low”.

Marine flares arm sold off by Chemring: The defence group Chemring is selling its marine flares manufacturing division for £32 million to help it cut deBT, buy back shares and put a £2 million payment into its pension fund. The buyer is private equity-owned Drew Marine, which supplies a range of goods and services to ships around the globe.

Chinese demand for commodities drives Australia growth: Australia’s economy rocketed to 4.3% growth for the year through March, its fastest expansion since the global financial crisis, as Chinese demand for iron ore and other commodities masked difficulties outside the mining industry.

Top Sony Bosses in bonus surrender: Seven Sony executives, including the Chairman Sir Howard Stringer and President Kazuo Hirai, are giving up their performance-based bonus pay. The Japanese electronics giant said they were forgoing bonuses for the year to March because of the challenges to turn around the business.

BMW’s Birmingham plant turns out 3-millionth engine: BMW’s Hams Hall plant near Birmingham has built its three-millionth engine in a landmark production achievement praised by its Owners and the Government. The German company said the engine would be sent to its Mini site in Oxford to be installed in a car destined for the Indian market.

The Daily Telegraph

Spain launches investigation into Bankia management: Spanish prosecutors have opened an investigation into Bankia, only weeks after the embattled lender requested €19 billion (£15.4 billion) in state aid to prevent its collapse.

British companies stop buying abroad: The value of cross-border acquisitions by British businesses tumbled from £12.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011 to just £700 million in the first quarter of 2012, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Banks hit back at PIRC’s £40 billion undeclared losses claim: Britain’s banks have hit back at research from corporate governance group PIRC that claimed they are sitting on £40 billion of undeclared losses. PIRC has taken issue with international accounting standards that prevent banks from reflecting “expected losses” in their profits.

U.K. faces Brussels battle over bank reforms: The Government is facing another battle with Brussels after the European Union raised the prospect of cross-border bank bail-outs under wide-ranging reforms to protect taxpayers from a future financial sector collapse.

Ladbrokes sacks betting-odds Boss following investigation: Ladbrokes has sacked one of its most Senior Managers, head of liabilities Jon Thompson, on charges of internal misconduct, raising questions in the City over the bookmaker’s structure.

The Guardian

Recession piles pressure on Bank of England for more QE: Bank of England policymakers are under pressure to take action on Thursday to cushion the recession-hit U.K. economy against the turmoil in the Eurozone.

Isle of Man set to acquire nearly 20% of Pinewood Shepperton Studios: The government of the Isle of Man is to acquire a stake of up to 19.9% in Pinewood Shepperton Studios for £24 million. Part of the deal would see Pinewood, home to productions including Wrath of the Titans and the new James Bond film, Skyfall, take on the the role of adviser for the Isle of Man’s £25 million film and TV investment fund for an initial five year period.

Mecom shares crash after latest profits warning: Shares in the media group Mecom slumped by almost 50% to an all-time low on Wednesday as the European newspaper publisher shocked the markets with its second profits warning in six weeks.

U.K. signs ‘landmark’ energy agreement with Norway: David Cameron will pave the way for an increase in British imports of Norwegian gas and oil when he signs a new energy agreement with one of the world’s largest exporters of fossil fuels on Thursday.

RBS shares up 1,000% but don’t be fooled: Some deft slight of hand by the Royal Bank of Scotland board appears to have peaked investors’ interest as the Government-controlled bank became one of the FTSE 100’s biggest risers. A share consolidation took place this morning, which saw RBS shares “jump” from 20p on Friday to 200p.

Daily Mail

Bank of England urged to give Britain’s economy a jump-start: The Bank of England is under mounting pressure to jump-start Britain’s battered economy following a dramatic fall in confidence among the nation’s builders. The Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the construction sector – where anything above 50 represents growth – fell to a three-month low of 54.4 in May.

Sorrell backs his 60% pay increase at WPP: Advertising Boss Sir Martin Sorrell has staged an extraordinary defence of proposals to hike his total pay by 60%, claiming to have been ‘wounded’ by comments from investors.

Divided ECB rejects calls to cut interest rates to boost ailing Eurozone: A divided European Central Bank resisted calls to cut interest rates despite declaring that the Eurozone was under increasing threat. ECB President Mario Draghi warned that ‘heightened uncertainty’ was ‘weighing on confidence and sentiment’ as the central bank held rates at 1%.

Aggreko strikes gold with £160 million Africa deal: The Boss of Aggreko hailed his ‘most complicated deal’ after agreeing to provide power across an African border. The £160 million scheme will see the temporary power generation firm use natural gas from Mozambique to generate electricity.

Daily Express

Diageo’s £1 billion top-up for Scottish Whisky: Drinks giant Diageo is to spend £1 billion ramping up whisky production to meet surging global demand and create hundreds of new jobs. The group, which owns Johnnie Walker and Bell’s whisky, said it would increase production by between 30 and 40% over the next five years.

Barclays’ retail deal: Barclays South African subsidiary Absa Bank paid £771 million to buy the private label store card business of major retail chain Edcon. The deal, expected to be sealed in the second half of this year, will see Absa take over the accounts of Edcon customers in South Africa and provide them with retail credit.

Shares up on oil find: Shares in explorers Premier Oil, Cairn Energy and Nautical Petroleum gushed higher after hailing a “valuable” new oil discovery in the North Sea. Premier Oil was up 241/4p to 3531/4p, Cairn Energy was up 133/4p to 2893/4p and Nautical Petroleum was up 81/4p to 269p after they found 51 feet of “excellent quality” oil at the Catcher oil field.

Hampson shares nosedive after warning: Shares in struggling aircraft engineer Hampson Industries collapsed after it warned shareholders that their investments could be worthless. The company, which supplies customers including Boeing and Airbus and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter maker Lockheed, has been searching for a buyer since it launched a strategic review in February.

Metals shine in £32 billion surge: Miners led a £32 billion rally in leading shares as metals prices shone. A weaker dollar, reflecting hopes for further quantitative easing to boost American economic growth, increased the attraction to overseas investors of commodities traded in the U.S. currency.

The Scottish Herald

Pay revolt threat to Melrose Executives: Melrose Resources faces a revolt on executive pay at its annual general meeting in the latest expression of investor unease about boardroom pay levels, dubbed the shareholder spring.

More law firms will merge, says Morton Fraser: Duncan Murray was speaking as Morton Fraser revealed it expects a slight drop in turnover from £14.7 million to £14.5 million. Profits, however, should rise 7% from £3.6 million to £3.9 million.

CBI urges SNP to answer independence questions: The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is demanding answers from SNP leaders after warning there are gaps in their knowledge about what independence would mean for the Scottish economy.

Feel-good factor from sun boosts retail sales figures: U.K. retailers enjoyed some respite from tough trading conditions in May as glorious weather late in the month provided a “feel-good boost” to hard-pressed consumers, a key survey reveals.

112-home site opens after £4 million funding from RBS: The first of five developments in a social housing project backed by £4 million of bank funding was formally opened.

The Scotsman

Aggreko’s global reach extended by African deals: Temporary power specialist Aggreko has secured a ground-breaking $250 million (£162 million) deal to set up a plant supplying both South Africa and Mozambique, helping to plug electricity shortages in both countries.

End of ‘too big to fail’ culture may not come soon enough for Spain: Banks will be allowed to fail under plans unveiled by the European Commission as a way to help solve the crisis in the euro zone. Proposals aimed at breaking the “too big to fail” culture in the European banking sector were unveiled, but analysts warned the plans may come too late to save Spain’s troubled banks.

Lloyds boosts balance sheet with sale of £800 million bad mortgage deBT: Lloyds Banking Group beefed up its balance sheet when the 40% taxpayer-owned bank sold more than £800 million of bad deBTs linked to Australian property loans. AET SPV Management, a joint venture run by investment bank Morgan Stanley and private equity giant Blackstone, paid £388 million for the loan portfolio.

Chillwind is close to deal with partner: Renewable energy firm Dulas said it was in advanced talks to purchase Highlands-based Chillwind, which specialises in meteorological masts. Wales-headquartered Dulas, which has a base in Stirling, said the deal would allow the two to combine resources and expertise while targeting the U.K. wind farm market.

Hint of summer sun brings healthy boost for U.K.’s retail sales figures: Sunnier weather towards the end of last month and a pre- jubilee spending splurge provided some respite for Britain’s hard-pressed retailers, industry figures reveal. A blast of summer sun across much of the U.K. in the closing days of May helped trigger a surge in food and clothing sales after weeks of heavy rainfall.

Green light given for red tape initiative: An initiative to reduce the amount of red tape and bureaucracy imposed upon agriculture was given the go-ahead by Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead at NSA Scotsheep 2012. Brian Pack was charged with the task of delivering an initial scoping report for the initiative, which was published and met with approval from the Scottish Government.

Environmental policy proposals ‘not best way’: European farming unions continued to pile pressure on farm ministers and on the European Commission this week on the unsuitability of the present environmental proposals in the forthcoming reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

City A.M.

BlackRock City offices set for major redevelopment: Plans to redevelop BlackRock’s City headquarters into a new 319,000 square feet office block were recommended for approval, as the latest office block in the Square Mile takes a step closer to construction.

Babcock rises to FTSE 100 as Man demoted: Hedge fund manager Man Group discovered that it will lose its coveted spot in the FTSE 100, following the index’s quarterly review.

Aeroflot set to list in London: Aeroflot, the state-controlled Russian airline, is planning a secondary listing on the London Stock Exchange followed by a placement of around 13% of its stock in 2012-2013, reports claimed.

Lloyds offloads Aussie assets in cut-price deal: Lloyds has offloaded a portfolio of Australian loans in a cut-price sale that brought in less than half of their face value. As part of the bank’s drive to cut its balance sheet down to size, Lloyds sold real estate assets valued at £809 million for £388 million in cash, which it will use to reduce its deBT burden.

Broker claims could hit $3 billion: MF Global Holdings could have more than $3 billion (£1.94 billion) in claims against its former affiliates, according to Louis Freeh, the trustee overseeing the wind-down of the collapsed broker’s parent company.

Deloitte adds 63 in bumper partner round: Business services firm Deloitte announced its latest round of promotions, with 63 new partners taking up roles from the beginning of this month. The bumper crop of partners matches the numbers that were promoted last summer, and includes 32 who will become full equity partners.

News Corp buys Disney stake in Asian sports joint venture ESS: Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp has taken full control of its Asian joint venture ESPN STAR Sports (ESS), buying out Walt Disney’s 50% share to end a 16-year partnership in the region.


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