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Friday Papers: Diamond eyes Barclays Africa assets

And BHS stores threatened with closure as troubled retailer seeks rent cuts.

Friday Papers: Diamond eyes Barclays Africa assets

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Bob Diamond, the forceful former Barclays chief executive, is approaching investors to back a takeover bid for a swath of the UK bank’s African empire that he helped to construct.
  • The Daily Telegraph: BHS has appealed to creditors for permission to enter a form of insolvency that could lead to the closure of dozens of stores and loss of hundreds of jobs, as the High Street stalwart fights for survival.
  • Financial Times: A record low cheese price helped Domino’s Pizza to serve up higher profits last year and put it in a position to return a bigger slice to investors.
  • The Times: Schroders was accused of driving a coach and horses through boardroom best practice after promoting its long-serving chief executive, Michael Dobson, to non-executive chairman.
  • The Guardian: The UK is set for another year of record low interest rates, economists have predicted, following news that the dominant services sector suffered a sharp slowdown last month.
  • Financial Times: The EU is close to a breakthrough deal with Ankara that would see all non-Syrian migrants reaching Greek islands returned to Turkey, marking a crucial step in the bloc’s hardening stance against the flow of people pouring into its territories.
  • Financial Times: Amazon is betting that the future of personal devices will be voice-based, as it puts more muscle behind its artificial intelligence service Alexa and expands the family of devices that can use it.

Business and economics

  • The Independent: Saudi Arabia is reportedly looking for loans worth $10 billion from international lenders in its most significant foreign borrowing in a decade.
  • Financial Times: Two of the world’s biggest mining companies, BHP Billiton and Vale, reached a settlement of at least R$10 billion (US$2.6 billion) four months after a dam accident killed 17 people in Brazil, drawing a line under much of the potential claims they faced.
  • The Independent: Wolfgang Schaeuble, the German finance minister, has said he would cry if Britain votes to leave the EU in the referendum on 23 June.
  • The Times: Lonmin drew a line under its heavy staff cuts yesterday, prompting a 17% leap in the share price of the South African miner.
  • Financial Times: Andrew Liveris, chief executive of Dow Chemical, is in line for a golden parachute worth an estimated $52.8 million if he leaves the company as scheduled next year following its merger with DuPont.
  • The Independent: The Co-op is investing £75 million to cut the cost of own-brand items in store in an aggressive price slashing move to compete with supermarket rivals.
  • The Guardian: Toyota, one of the biggest manufacturers in Britain, has warned it will be forced to make significant cutbacks if the country votes to leave the EU.
  • Daily Mail: Defence giant Cobham saw full-year earnings slump into the red, blaming the slowdown in China for falling demand.
  • Financial Times: A multibillion dollar fine imposed by Nigeria, conflict in the Middle East and increasing competition combined to drive mobile phone operator MTN’s earnings down by 50%, one of the worst performances of its history.
  • Financial Times: Genel Energy, the oil company, saw its pre-tax losses quadruple last year largely as a result of the writedown to reserves it announced this week.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The gloomy outlook for commodity prices has led credit ratings agency Moody’s to downgrade Australian miner BHP Billiton.
  • The Guardian: Former SSI steelworkers have been awarded a share of £6.25 million over lack of consultation when their plant in Redcar closed.
  • Daily Mail: Blue chip insurer Admiral reported record full year 2015 profits today thanks to rising motor rates and keen pricing, and has rewarded staff and shareholders with bumper payouts.
  • Financial Times: Inmarsat, the FTSE 100 satellite communications company, has said it suffered a hefty drop in profit in 2015, as a sharp decline in government spending around the world hit sales of its services.
  • The Times: Richard Rose, the chairman of AO World, is to resign after nearly eight years at the helm of the online white goods retailer.
  • The Times: Aggreko said that it was on track to deliver £80 million of savings and return to growth, helping to send shares more than 12% higher.
  • The Guardian: The US technology industry formally lined up beside Apple on Thursday in the company’s legal fight with the FBI over encryption.
  • The Times: Whitbread’s stellar growth may have slowed but the Premier Inn and Costa coffee operator’s new chief executive insisted that the long-term story was “not running out of road”.
  • Financial Times: UBS France said on Thursday that it was being officially investigated on suspicion of interfering with a witness in a tax evasion case, the latest twist in a saga that dates back more than a decade.
  • Financial Times: A shareholder battle over Delta Lloyd’s €650 million rights issue intensified on Thursday when fund manager Highfields took the first steps towards legal action against the Dutch insurance group, which then issued a sharp rebuttal.
  • Financial Times: Axel Springer announced a 10% increase in earnings for last year as growth in its digital business offset declines in print.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Times (Tempus share tips): BUY Carillion shares for long term; AVOID Cobham for now; BUY Melrose.
  • Financial Times: MasterCard is preparing a £1 billion takeover of Vocalink, the company behind £6 trillion of UK payments a year.
  • Financial Times: Royal Bank of Scotland and GE Capital have sold more than €2 billion of non-performing Italian corporate loans to the private equity firm AnaCap, in a sign that the long-awaited clear-out of the country’s bad debts is gathering pace.
  • Financial Times: Two units of Powa Technologies have been sold to separate groups of investors, weeks after the UK company once valued at $2.7 billion fell into administration as it struggled to pay staff and raise new investment.
  • The Guardian: Yahoo is exploring the sale of $1 billion to $3 billion of patents, property and other “non-core assets”, its chief financial officer said on Thursday.
  • The Times: Legal & General has scooped the mandate to run what is believed to be the biggest private sector pension scheme in Britain by membership, the 200,000-strong Tesco plan.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Banks could learn a lot from Spider-Man.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Zombie LBOs: private equity firms can play games to salvage their investments.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Negative rates: the problem is not just the short end of the curve.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Fintech: an industry at the mercy of regulators is too complacent.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Volkswagen: who knew what about the emissions scandal, and when, and who should care.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Adidas: improving margins is top of the new CEO’s in-tray. But how best to do it?

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