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Friday Papers: Setback for UK nuclear plans

Eon and RWE ditched multibillion-pound plans to build nuclear reactors in the UK.

 
Friday Papers: Setback for UK nuclear plans

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Two German companies, Eon and RWE, on Thursday ditched multibillion-pound plans to build nuclear reactors in the UK.
  • The Guardian: An audit of Apple's Chinese factories details "serious and pressing" concerns over excessive working hours, unpaid overtime, health and safety failings, and management interference in trade unions.
  • The Daily Telegraph: French energy giant GDF Suez is preparing a £6 billion bid for the remaining 30% stake in International Power that it does not already own.
  • Daily Mail: One in five customers has abandoned Homeserve during the past year, the group has revealed.
  • Financial Times: Eurozone finance ministers are considering freezing €240 billion in leftover funds in their temporary bailout scheme and keeping it in reserve through to the middle of next year.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: The Financial Services Authority is threatening regulatory action against several investment banks after it discovered shortfalls in their anti-bribery controls.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said the British economy shrank by 0.1% in the first three months of this year following a slightly larger 0.3% contraction in the previous quarter; an economy is officially in recession if it shrinks in size in two successive quarters.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The UK imported more natural gas than it produced in 2011 - the first time this has happened since 1967 - while oil production fell to the lowest levels since the 1970s.
  • Financial Times: BlackBerry maker Research In Motion is to conduct a major review of “strategic opportunities”, including the possibility of outsourcing device manufacturing or a sale of the company.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Shares in FirstGroup have tumbled 14% after it suggested a growing North-South divide in Britain and a cut to Government subsidies for bus travel could knock £50 million off its operating profit in the next financial year.
  • Financial Times: China’s state-owned oil companies reported record revenues in 2011 due to high oil global prices; Cnooc and Sinopec reported this week that net profits last year were up 29% and 2%, respectively, both hitting record highs; for PetroChina, a subsidiary of CNPC, net profit fell 5% from a year earlier due to high refining losses.
  • The Independent: The operator of Hong Kong's metro system, the French state rail group SNCF plus FirstGroup, National Express and Stagecoach of the UK are among 13 transport operators who have been shortlisted by the Government to run the £2 billion Great Western, Thameslink and Essex Thameside train franchises.
  • Financial Times: Resilient sports betting and cost savings helped boost pro forma earnings at bwin.party, in its maiden annual results.
  • Financial Times: Moss Bros paid a dividend for the first time since 2007 after the high street suit retailer and hire company made a full-year profit for the first time in four years.
  • Financial Times: Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Italy’s third-largest bank by assets and one of Europe’s most weakly capitalised, unveiled a surprise €4.7 billion loss on goodwill writedowns.
  • Financial Times: With the end of the first quarter, hedge funds are now poised to report some of their strongest three-month gains in a decade; according to Hedge Fund Research, the average fund is up more than 5% for the year so far.
  • The Guardian: The number of US workers filing for unemployment benefits is now at its lowest level since April 2008, according to government figures released Thursday.
  • Financial Times: Prospects for Britain’s housing market cooled on Thursday after mortgage approvals in February fell to just under 49,000, the lowest in eight months, while the Nationwide House Price index saw its largest one-month drop in two years.
  • Financial Times: Julian Roberts of Old Mutual and Tidjane Thiam of Prudential are in line for pay packages worth a total of £12.9 million this year.
  • The Independent: The chairman of Home Retail Group, Oliver Stocken, is stepping down after a period of falling profits and sales at the owner of Argos and Homebase.
  • Financial Times: Nike has won a temporary injunction stopping Reebok from making and selling New York Jets clothing carrying Tim Tebow’s name.
  • Financial Times: German unemployment saw a further drop this month, extending an almost three-year decline in jobless totals that has tilted the economy decisively towards domestic-driven growth.
  • Financial Times: Three UK, the British mobile telecoms group owned by Hong Kong’s Hutchison Whampoa, has made its first annual operating profit.
  • Financial Times: Ebay has named David Marcus president of PayPal, filling the vacancy left by former president Scott Thompson, who left in January to become the chief executive of Yahoo.
  • Financial Times: Ireland has pressed ahead with a plan to defer a €3.06 billion cash payment due on its banking debt.
  • The Independent: Laura Ashley unveiled plans to open a boutique hotel in Hertfordshire yesterday as it posted a fall in full-year profits.
  • Financial Times: Anglo Irish Bank, the lender at the centre of Ireland’s financial crisis, made a pre-tax loss of €873 million last year as commercial property prices “fell off a cliff”.
  • Financial Times: Leaders of the world’s most powerful emerging economies have threatened to withhold additional financing requested by the International Monetary Fund to fight the European sovereign debt crisis unless they gain greater voting power at the Fund.
  • Financial Times: Michael Queen is to step down as chief executive of 3i Group.
  • The Independent: The chief executive of Clinton Cards said he was "disappointed" with the recent rise in stamp prices yesterday as the greetings card retailer unveiled a half-year loss.
  • Financial Times: Best Buy said it would close 50 big box stores in the US and cut 400 jobs.
  • Daily Mail: Swedish fashion retailer H&M unveiled today plans to launch a new chain as it reported a strong increase in sales.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: HSBC has bought Lloyds Banking Group’s onshore business in the United Arab Emirates; the deal would see HSBC Bank Middle East acquire $769 million in assets.
  • Financial Times: Debt-laden support services group Mouchel on Thursday said that it was considering raising equity to restructure its balance sheet.
  • Financial Times: International Airlines Group is to receive early clearance from the European Commission for its contentious takeover of BMI British Midland, Lufthansa’s lossmaking UK subsidiary.
  • The Daily Telegraph: There is "no certainty" the Co-operative Group will complete the purchase of 632 branches from Lloyds Banking Group, according to the mutual's chief executive, Peter Marks.
  • Financial Times: Investment banks face the prospect of another disappointing year as companies put off dealmaking; fees from mergers and acquisitions, equity and debt capital markets totalled $15.9 billion, down 24% year-on-year, according to Thomson Reuters.
  • Financial Times: The amount raised in global IPOs slumped 43% from the fourth quarter of last year to just $15.5 billion in the first three months of 2012, according to Thomson Reuters data - the lowest volume since the first quarter of 2009; but the figures mask tentative signs that flotations are back on the agenda for many companies.
  • Financial Times (Comment): Flexing the eurozone’s fiscal muscle is the right way to calm self-fulfilling panics in sovereign debt markets. Flexing it more would be even better.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Obamacare: insurance investors must be careful not to focus too much on the individual mandate.
  • Financial Times (Lex): GDF Suez/IP: why on earth would GDF Suez want to pay a premium for something it already owns? But the French group does not hold all the aces.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Prada: investors are probably as pleased with the share’s returns so far as the Pope is with his shoes. But the path ahead is less certain.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Investment banking: another bad quarter is bad news for investment banks racing to boost revenue, cut costs and meet regulatory capital requirements.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Why a Brics-built bank to rival the IMF is doomed to fail? Brazil, China and India have little in common apart from opposition to Western control of global financial institutions.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): UK's 'double-dip recession' should already be over. Let's face it, the OECD couldn't have picked a better day to utter the dreaded R-word.
  • The Guardian (Editorial): Until thinking changes in the north, it is unfortunately safe to say, there will be no end to the pain in Spain.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): Peter Sands, the chief executive of Standard Chartered, is aggrieved that the bank is subject to much of the same regulatory interference as the more domestic UK banks, and favours a move across the Atlantic.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): Britain faces a power shortfall that could affect five million homes after German energy giants E.ON and RWE Npower pulled the plug on their joint nuclear venture.
  • The Independent: Is paying a hefty premium for chip firm Arm a sign of tech madness? The problem is that there is a real dearth of quality technology companies on the London Stock Exchange.

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