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Sunday Papers: Energy firms on the brink of collapse

And landlords take on troubled department store House of Fraser over its company voluntary arrangements.

 
Sunday Papers: Energy firms on the brink of collapse

Top stories

  • The Sunday Telegraph: Half of the British energy suppliers are on the brink of going under as the “Beast from the East” put pressure on the balance sheets of the industry’s small players.
  • The Sunday Times: Property giants including Legal & General and Westfield have hired the restructuring firm Begbies Traynor and the property agency JLL to engage with House of Fraser as it prepares to launch a company voluntary arrangement, demanding better terms from the struggling department store chain as it tries to push through rent cuts and shop closures.
  • The Sunday Times: Amid weakening demand from Europe and worries about global trade wars, a boom for Britain’s manufacturing sector is coming to an end, purchasing managers’ surveys from data firm Markit show.

Business and economics

  • Mail on Sunday: Barclays’ bosses believe regulators at the Bank of England could block demands from activist shareholders to shrink or spin off its investment banking division.
  • The Observer: Telecoms regulator Ofcom has ruled that Virgin Media could have breached consumer protection rules by charging customers up to £240 for ending their contract early.
  • The Sunday Times: Amanda Staveley has hired Jonathan Laidlaw QC to launch a private criminal prosecution against Barclays after a crown court dismissed charges against the bank related to its £12 billion emergency fundraising from Qatar during the 2008 financial crisis.
  • The Sunday Times: Bookmaker Sportech is close to inking a deal in the US that will pave the way for its expansion into sports betting.
  • The Sunday Telegraph: Simec Energy, a subsidiary of Sanjeev Gupta’s £10 billion GFG Alliance, has teamed up with Dutch fuel innovator N+P to cut carbon emissions from its Uskmouth coal plant in Wales while reducing landfill waste.
  • The Sunday Telegraph: Qatar Airways boss Akbar Al Baker has admitted it could be forced to seek a government bailout if a blockade by the country’s regional neighbours continues.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Sunday Telegraph (Questor share tips): DS Smith may have online packaging all wrapped up but the shares don’t look cheap.
  • The Sunday Times: Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank might increase its offer for Virgin Money within days in a move that could create Britain’s biggest challenger bank.
  • Mail on Sunday: Mediclinic, which already owns nearly 30% of private hospitals operator Spire, could make a fresh takeover attempt as the six-month window restricting it from making another bid under UK takeover rules has now ended.
  • The Sunday Times: Sugru, the struggling company which makes a new type of mouldable glue, was bought by German sticky tape maker Tesa for mere £7.6 million last week leaving thousands of investors out of pocket.
  • The Sunday Times: Cake Box has appointed the broker Shore Capital to advise on the listing, which will see the business float on the junior AIM market, valuing the company at between £40 million and £50 million.
  • The Sunday Times: The private equity tycoon Guy Hands may buy property developer Quintain from the US private equity firm Lone Star for £2.5 billion.
  • The Sunday Telegraph (Comment): Behind the blockade: How oil-rich Qatar is coping with sanctions and being cut off by its powerful Arab neighbours.
  • The Sunday Telegraph (Comment): Is Archie Norman too late? M&S may be past the point of no return.
  • The Observer (Comment): Tax evasion isn’t just for the west: it conspires to keep Africa poor too.

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