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Friday Papers: Shell profits double despite $2bn US tax charge

And Apple breaks record for biggest ever company profit despite falling sales of iPhone.

Friday Papers: Shell profits double despite $2bn US tax charge

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Profits at Royal Dutch Shell more than doubled in the fourth quarter of last year, as the recovery in oil prices coupled with cost cuts after a three-year downturn are fuelling a resurgence in profitability.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Apple has posted the biggest quarterly profit of all time despite a fall in iPhone sales; the world's biggest company posted profits of $20.1 billion (£14 billion) in the crucial final three months of the year, breaking its own record set two years ago.
  • The Times: Sanctions are being threatened by the European Union to prevent Britain undermining the bloc’s economy after Brexit; penalties against companies that receive state subsidies and putting Britain on a tax blacklist of unco-operative jurisdictions are among proposals contained in a strategy paper published this week by the EU Commission.
  • Financial Times: A £500 million development to boost the supply chain for Nissan’s Sunderland car plant is facing a judicial review.
  • Financial Times: China’s Alibaba is redrawing its relationship with its payments affiliate Ant Financial, jettisoning a profit-sharing arrangement in favour of a direct equity stake and paving the way for the long-awaited listing of the owner of the Alipay app.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Morrisons is cutting around 1,500 store management roles and creating 1,700 more junior jobs as it becomes the latest supermarket to shake up its workforce as the sector scrambles to adapt to changing shopping habits.

Business and economics

  • The Times: Advertisers continued to pour money into Google at the end of last year but a $9.9 billion tax charge pushed its parent company Alphabet to a loss in the fourth quarter.
  • The Guardian: Bitcoin plummeted in value by more than $44 billion (£30.9 billion) in January, marking the steepest monthly fall in its short history.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Investors may be taking too many risks in over-priced markets because they are underestimating potential volatility, the Bank of England’s risk chief has warned.
  • Daily Mail: Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever has posted a 4% increase in final quarter sales across its global markets, helping the firm boost its full year profits.
  • Financial Times: Nomura Holdings has reported a 25% year-on-year increase in third quarter net profit as strong earnings from its domestic retail arm and its asset management division offset a steep decline at the wholesale unit that includes investment banking and global markets.
  • The Daily Telegraph: A major wind farm off the Norfolk coast has helped to power record profits for Orsted, formerly known as Dong Energy, the Danish turbine developer behind the UK’s biggest offshore wind projects.
  • The Times: Nex, the financial technology trading company, said that its US tax rate would drop as low as 22% after reforms by the Trump administration.
  • The Times: Time Warner, which is in the process of being bought by AT&T, has reported a better-than-expected 9% rise in fourth-quarter revenue to $8.6 billion boosted by the success of its latest superhero movie, Justice League.
  • The Guardian: BT is to create 3,000 engineering jobs this year as part of a plan to speed up the rollout of fibre broadband and eliminate “not-spots” in cities and suburban areas.
  • Financial Times: Daimler warned that a series of headwinds are likely to keep profits stagnant in 2018 after seven years of record sales as it invests huge sums into new technologies for self-driving and electric cars.
  • The Times: The shares of Dignity dropped by almost 7% at one point yesterday, extending their losses since the eve of last month’s profit warning to 60% as investors grapple with concerns about an intensifying price war.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Troubled doorstop lender Provident Financial is expected to name its acting chairman, Malcolm Le May, as its new chief executive on Friday, after more than five months with no-one in the position.
  • The Times: Dominic Chappell, the former owner of BHS, has been issued with a £10 million bill by the Pensions Regulator as officials seek to claw back money for the failed retailer’s pension schemes.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Pensions inequality is tumbling as auto-enrolment means millions of people who previously never had savings for their old age are now putting money aside for retirement.
  • Financial Times: The editor of BuzzFeed has had discussions with the company started by Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of the late Steve Jobs, about investing in the digital media company’s news division.
  • The Guardian: Carmakers who cheat emissions rules with illegal devices could face unlimited fines and criminal charges for deceiving environmental tests under new measures set to be introduced in the wake of the Volkswagen scandal.
  • The Daily Telegraph: FTSE 250 building materials supplier SIG is to investigate the conduct of its former chief executive and finance director after a whistleblower revealed irregularities in its accounts.
  • The Guardian: The UK’s food regulators are launching nationwide review of all meat cutting plants in the wake of “serious incidents” at 2 Sisters Food Group and Russell Hume.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Array BioPharma on Thursday sued AstraZeneca, accusing the pharmaceutical company of refusing to pay required royalties for a cancer drug after entering into an $8.5 billion (£6 billion) collaboration with Merck & Co.
  • The Guardian: Adani submitted an altered laboratory report while appealing a fine for contamination of sensitive wetlands on the Queensland coast near the Great Barrier Reef.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Daily Telegraph (Questor share tips): BUY Edinburgh Investment Trust.
  • The Times (Tempus share tips): HOLD Unilever; HOLD Rank Group.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Canadian private equity firm Onex Corp and Brookfield Asset Management have backed away from a deal to buy serviced office provider IWG, sending shares in the company down 15.4%.
  • Daily Mail: Sainsbury’s has forked out £60 million to buy the Nectar loyalty card business in a bid to make the supermarket more profitable.
  • Daily Mail: Defence titan GKN has slammed as derisory a £7.4 billion hostile bid from turnaround specialist Melrose.
  • Daily Mail: Energy firms SSE and Npower are in talks with the competition watchdog over their planned merger amid concerns it will drive up prices for UK households.
  • Financial Times: Airbnb’s chief financial officer, Laurence Tosi, is leaving the San Francisco home rental website, which on Thursday also ruled out any flotation of the business this year.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Yes, Brexit will test our economic fitness, but we can emerge healthier.

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