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Saturday Papers: RSA shares plunge as boss quits

And ‘Chocfinger’ has been forced to sell his London-based cocoa, coffee and sugar trading business for just $1.

Saturday Papers: RSA shares plunge as boss quits

Top stories

  • Daily Express: Shares in RSA Insurance sank 7% having earlier fallen 20% yesterday as its chief executive quit following a third profit warning in six weeks that could lead to its ­dividend payout being slashed again.
  • Financial Times: Anthony Ward, the cocoa trader known as “Chocfinger” for a string of audacious deals in commodities markets, has been forced to sell his London-based cocoa, coffee and sugar trading business for just $1.
  • Daily Express: Royal Bank of Scotland admitted it has made bad decisions but vowed it had not “misled” investors as it lined up its defence against a £4 billion lawsuit from shareholders.
  • Financial Times: A record £472 million in fines were handed out by the UK’s watchdogs in 2013 following serial financial misconduct at some of the world’s biggest banks.
  • Financial Times: Global equities struggled to snap a multi-day losing streak, even after a boost from Asian markets; Wall Street stocks were mixed with the S&P 500 on pace to record its worst week since August, down 1.6% ahead of next week’s meeting of US central bankers on monetary policy and the future of Federal Reserve stimulus measures.
  • Daily Mail: Scottish Power has abandoned a £5.4 billion plan to build the world's largest offshore wind farm, after four years of planning, because it is "not financially viable".
  • Daily Mail: The Bank of England will not hike interest rates until there is a ‘prolonged period of strong growth’, its chief economist said yesterday.
  • Financial Times: Paul Jacobs will step back to become Qualcomm chairman, as the wireless chipmaker’s board on Friday hastily promoted president Steve Mollenkopf as its next chief executive heading off a potential attempt by Microsoft to poach him.
  • Financial Times: A partnership linked to Aubrey McClendon, one of the pioneers of the US shale gas revolution, is seeking to raise up to $2 billion from investors but warning that it involves “a high degree of risk”.

Business and economics

  • Daily Express: The Malaysian-controlled clothing and interiors group Laura Ashley reported total retail sales down 2% in the 19 weeks to 7 December compared with last year; like-for-like sales dropped 0.7% with e-commerce sales growing by 1%.
  • The Guardian: A march and rally will be held on Saturday in Portsmouth to protest at job losses planned by defence company BAE Systems.
  • Daily Mail: Embattled Serco was dealt another financial hammer-blow after being forced to write off £17 million from its UK health care work.
  • Financial Times: Royal Mail has appealed to Ofcom, the regulator, after a joint venture was announced to fund an expansion of direct mail deliveries by TNT Post UK in a challenge to the newly privatised postal operator.
  • The Daily Telegraph: A nationwide price comparison reveals the under-fire supermarket giant Tesco has the best prices out of Britain's 'BIg Five' for a basket of festive food and drink products.
  • Financial Times: Bumi founder Nat Rothschild will support a plan that will enable Indonesia’s Bakrie family to exit the coal miner.
  • Financial Times: Freedom Group, manufacturer of the rifle used in the Sandy Hook school shootings a year ago, expects earnings to have risen about 52% this year.
  • The Guardian: CBS-owned online music service made a loss of almost £4 million last year, as income plummeted 70% at its UK operation.
  • Daily Mail: Andy Street has bemoaned the slow start to the festive season, but hopes shoppers are waiting until the last minute to make their purchases.
  • Daily Express: Buoyant demand boosted Bellway as data showed the housing recovery advancing but experts warn a shortage of homes could hold it back.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Euro Garages sales rise 40% as drivers top up on food and coffee as well as fuel.
  • The Independent: The housing market is capable of overheating with little warning, a senior Bank of England official said on Friday, amid rising concerns that the Government’s mortgage subsidies could be inflating a fresh property bubble.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Asia is on course for its worst year of mergers and acquisitions activity since 2009, as volatile markets sap confidence and dampen deal-making.
  • Financial Times: Oculus VR, a Californian company that is developing a virtual reality headset, has raised $75 million in fresh venture capital funding, in one of the largest investments in a new wave of hardware start-ups that have found early support through crowdfunding.
  • Financial Times: Mol, the Hungarian oil and gas group, has bought 14 licences for offshore oil exploration and production in the North Sea from Wintershall, part of Germany’s BASF, for about $375 million, the Budapest-based company said on Friday.
  • Financial Times: Arm is muscling in on rival UK microchip designer Imagination Technologies, buying lighting graphics technology company Geomerics for an undisclosed sum.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): General Motors has appointed its first female boss, Mary Barra, while the FTSE 100 also gained a new woman leader, the Canadian Moya Greene.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): Aggressive recovery operations by Irving Picard, for the Madoff victims and by the US attorney’s office in Manhattan, mean that $13billion has so far been restored.
  • Financial Times (Lex): US budget deal: eleventh-hour brinkmanship and shutdown averted, but stimulus modest and no ‘grand bargain’ struck to repair pension or healthcare spending.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Lululemon: Yoga and athletic wear maker has warned that the current quarter was shaping up below expectations. Lululemon needs to put its problems behind it.

1 comment so far. Why not have your say?

alan franklin

Dec 14, 2013 at 16:12

The joke that is so-called "wind power" - the joke is on the taxpayers - seems to be coming to a close. Tilting at windmills indeed.....An easy target as mostly they don't move, although occasionally producing a few watts of electricity at six times the cost of other power sources.

The whole premise on which these eyesores were planned and scattered throughout the UK is a lie, witnessed by a remarkable book called "Climategate," by Steven Mosher and Thomas W. Fuller, published by St Matthew Publishing of Huntingdon. (I have no connection to them.)

It reveals that there is not the slightest evidence for "global warming" and since this pseudo science swept the world on a tide of subsidies from green goofheads in government we have had some of the coldest winters on record in many parts of the world. Today I was sent pictures from the Middle East of "the first snowfalls in 100 years." Must be global non-warming in action.

The tragedy is that, because of a non-functional investigative media, the fantastic global warming claptrap, based on heavily censored charts and stats, is being allowed to dictate policy, shutting down many of our factories quite needlessly. We have coal. Let's burn it. We have gas- let's frack it and use it.

Or we could go for windmills and watch the lights flicker out.

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