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The news roundups, which are broken down by the sector, provide investors with an opportunity to read a summary of the most interesting news of the past five days of trading in just one story as they prepare for another busy week.
FTSE 100 news summary: Barclays, HSBC, RBS, BP, Shell, BG Group, Petrofac, Rio Tinto, Rolls-RoyceJune 30 2012, 2:17pm
Banking stocks fell sharply at the end of the week after chancellor George Osborne said Barclays (LON:BARC) was “not alone” in its guilt of fixing the interest rates at which banks lend to each other in a statement to parliament on Thursday.
The bank has to pay fines totalling £290 million to the Financial Services Authority and US regulators for manipulating the Libor (London interbank offered rate) and Euribor (Euro interbank offered rate) rates.
Meanwhile Barclay’s chief executive Bob Diamond faces “some very serious questions” said Osborne, with his position under increasing pressure despite him not being the bank's head when the offences took place between 2005 and 2007.
The Libor rate, which the chancellor described as the “bread and butter” of the UK’s financial system, affects everything from mortgage payments to loan rates.
Broker Cenkos said it reckons the cost of lawsuits from angry customers who may have overpaid as a result of Barclay’s misconduct will “dwarf” the £290 million fines.
Analyst Sandy Chen said: “We are pencilling in multi-year provisions that could run into the billions.”
Barclays said that it had set aside around £100 million in the first quarter.
Chen added: “We maintain our ‘sells’ on Barclays (target price 196p) and RBS (target price 233 pence) and we downgrade our recommendation on Lloyds (target price, 31p) from ‘hold’ to ‘sell’ because of HBOS’ exposures.”
The libor rate is published on behalf of the British Bankers Association (BBA) which is currently reviewing the way in which the rate is set.
Barclays' £59.5 million fine from the FSA was the largest fine ever levied by the UK regulator.
In other news in the top flight, BP (LON:BP.) has agreed to sell its minority interests in the Alba and Britannia fields in the UK North Sea to Mitsui & Co for US$280 million in cash.
BP is selling its non-operating 13.3 per cent stake in Alba and 8.97 per cent stake in Britannia, and completion of the deal is anticipated by the end of the third quarter 2012.
Trevor Garlick, regional president for BP North Sea, said: "The divestments are part of our strategy to develop a more focused business in the UK and Norway. BP has a multi-billion pound investment programme currently underway in the region, with four major field development projects in the UK and a further two in Norway."
Fellow supermajor Shell (LON:RDSB) has extended its bid for Cove Energy again as it mulls its next move in the tug of war for the East Africa-focused junior explorer.
The new deadline for shareholders to approve its £1.12 billion offer is 11 July.
Shell told investors it had received valid acceptances for around 3.5 per cent of Cove shares.
On Monday, rival bidder PTTEP Africa Investment, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Thai company PTT Exploration and Production, revealed it had only received around 0.25 per cent of acceptances from Cove shareholders.
It also extended its higher bid of £1.22 billion until 6 July.
Staying with oil and gas companies, BG Group (LON:BG.) says it has now completed its agreed US$3 billion deal to sell a 10 per cent stake in the giant Karachaganak gas-condensate field in Kazakhstan.
The Republic of Kazakhstan is paying US$2 billion in cash with a further US$1 million as a ‘non-cash’ consideration. Though US$1 billion will be payable in tax as a result of the disposal.
The interest in Karachaganak will be managed by the Kazakh national oil firm KazMunaiGaz.
Oil and gas engineering firm Petrofac (LON:PFC) told investors that it remains on track to achieve net profit growth of at least 15 percent in the current year.
The group reported that order intake at its engineering, construction, operations & maintenance (ECOM) division in the year to date is US$1.3 billion. It has also secured around US$1.1 billion of awards, which have not yet been signed and are not included in the backlog.
Based on contracts signed to date, group backlog is expected to be US$9.1 billion at the end of June.
“We see strong industry demand for commercially innovative, integrated oilfield service developments, which, together with our strong ECOM prospects, continue to give us confidence of achieving our target of more than doubling our recurring 2010 Group earnings by 2015,” said chief executive of Petrofac Ayman Asfari.
In the mining sector, Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) announced its first coal shipment from its Benga mine in the Moatize basin in Mozambique.
“It is the first step towards our aim to become a significant supplier of hard coking coal to the seaborne market,” said chief executive of Rio Tinto Energy Doug Ritchie.
“We are also continuing to work with the government of Mozambique to secure the development of comprehensive infrastructure for efficient transport of coal from mine to port, which is a priority for the further development of the region.”
Elsewhere in the top flight, Rolls-Royce PLC (LON:RR.) said South Korean industrial conglomerate LG Corp has invested US$45 million to acquire a 51 percent stake in Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems (US) Inc.
The Ohio-based business has changed its name to LG Fuel Cell Systems Inc.
The venture will continue to develop solid oxide fuel cell technology aimed at megawatt-scale distributed power generation for industrial, commercial, and electric utility markets.
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