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Thursday Papers: Dutch firm ING to cut 2,350 jobs

And pension funds’ switch into bonds signals death of the ‘cult of equity’.

 
Thursday Papers: Dutch firm ING to cut 2,350 jobs

Top stories

  • The Independent: ING Groep NV has revealed plans to cut 2,350 jobs as the Dutch bank and insurance company said its net profit fell to €609 million from €1.69 billion a year ago.
  • Financial Times: Barack Obama returned to Washington on Wednesday after his convincing electoral victory over Mitt Romney, braced for emergency negotiations with Congress over the budgetary impasse that threatens to send the US economy back into recession.
  • Financial Times: UK pension funds are holding more bonds than equities for the first time since the so-called cult of equity in the 1950s, say leading City fund managers.
  • Daily Mail: BAE Systems is on the cusp of sealing a deal to sell 60 Typhoon fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates.
  • Financial Times: An Argentine judge has ordered the immediate freeze of the assets of Chevron, the US oil major, in the South American country to enforce an Ecuadorean court order awarding $19 billion in damages to Amazonian villagers over environmental contamination.
  • Financial Times: Several EADS offices in Germany were raided by German state prosecutors and police on Tuesday as part of an investigation into alleged bribes paid to smooth the sale of Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets to Austria five years ago.
  • The Independent: Pirc, one of Britain's leading shareholder advisory groups, has urged Xstrata investors to reject the commodities trader Glencore's $33billion takeover offer.
  • The Daily Telegraph: More than $130 billion has been wiped off the value of Apple in less than two months after the technology giant's shares dropped by a fifth since hitting a record high in September.
  • The Independent: Iberia, the Spanish airline that merged with British Airways to become International Airlines Group last year, is to axe up to 7,000 jobs on Friday, union bosses have warned.
  • Financial Times: ExxonMobil is seeking to sell its stake in a multibillion-dollar oil project in Iraq, underscoring the growing tensions between Iraq’s central government and the autonomous region of Kurdistan.
  • Daily Mail: Shares of BG Group dropped a further 42.5 pence or 3.9% to 1054.5 pence on Wednesday, making a catastrophic collapse of just over 20% in a little over a week since it warned investors to expect no output growth in 2013.
  • The Guardian: FirstGroup is negotiating an extension to its Great Western rail franchise as it continues to hold out the threat of legal action over the British government's decision to overturn awarding it the west coast mainline.
  • The Independent: FirstGroup has frozen its dividend in response to the West Coast Main Line franchise fiasco, and refused to rule out taking legal action against the Department for Transport.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Cantab Capital Partners, the Cambridge-based hedge fund set up by Ewan Kirk and Erich Schlaikjer, an astrophysicist and former Goldman Sachs partner, is to stop accepting new money after its assets under management doubled this year to $4.5 billion.
  • The Independent: Betfair has pulled out of the German market after a newly imposed tax levy on sports betting made its online operations there unprofitable.
  • The Guardian: The administrators of Comet have begun slashing the price of unsold stock as they gear up to press the button on a full blown fire sale.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Dixons Retail's chief executive has pledged to try to save some of the staff facing job cuts at collapsed electricals chain, Comet, where almost 7,000 jobs are at risk.
  • The Guardian: The threat of breaking up banks should be retained by the government, Andy Haldane, responsible for financial stability at the Bank of England said, as he outlined proposed changes to the ringfencing idea recommended by the Independent Commission on Banking.
  • Financial Times: The Greek parliament narrowly approved a fresh austerity package on Wednesday night, opening the way for international lenders to transfer a long-delayed €31.5 billion slice of funding.
  • Financial Times: Europe’s ability to compete against the US as a manufacturing centre is being damaged by rising energy costs as North America benefits from cheap natural shale gas, Germany’s biggest companies have warned.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Maltby Colliery, a coal mine is South Yorkshire, is likely to be closed with the loss of about 550 jobs.
  • Financial Times: YPF, Argentina’s renationalised energy company, posted third quarter net profits of $158 million, 51% lower than a year earlier.
  • Financial Times: The weakness in the film division pulled Time Warner’s revenues down 3% to $6.8 billion for the third quarter.
  • The Guardian: Jaguar Land Rover sold 84,749 cars, up 29% on the same period last year as pre-tax profits doubled to £431 million.
  • Financial Times: Sprint has agreed to buy a swath of spectrum from US Cellular across the midwest region for $480 million, the first deal fuelled by SoftBank’s recent investment in the fourth-largest US wireless carrier.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Network Rail and BT are among companies urging MPs to press ahead with a new law to try to limit metal thieves who are costing the economy an estimated £770 million a year.
  • The Guardian: Burberry said on Wednesday it had made a profit before tax and one-off items of £173 million, up 6%, in the six months to 30 September.
  • The Independent: Shop Direct, owned by Sir Frederick and Sir David Barclay since 2002, posted a pre-tax loss of £57.7 million for the 12 months to 30 June, although this was a 37% improvement on the previous year.
  • Financial Times: Julian Roberts, the chief executive of Old Mutual, said the “conditions aren’t right” for a disposal of its US asset management operation, which lost a greater than expected £1 billion worth of aggregate client money in the quarter.
  • Financial Times: IZettle, the Swedish mobile payments start-up backed by MasterCard and American Express, has accelerated its expansion across Europe by launching its card-reading technology in Germany and the UK.
  • Financial Times: The value extracted from European consumers’ personal data were worth €315 billion in 2011 and has the potential to grow to nearly €1 trillion annually in 2020, according to new research conducted by Boston Consulting Group.
  • The Guardian: Polymetal shares rally as scuba divers discover gold-laden freighter two weeks after it disappeared in Okhotsk sea.
  • Financial Times: Aer Lingus has said it has been forced to spend €50 million in legal and consultancy fees to fight Ryanair’s repeated takeover bids.
  • Financial Times: Veolia Environnement, the struggling French water utility, said operating profits fell by a quarter to €841 million in the first nine months of 2012 but that it was on track with a plan to cut its €15 billion of net debt.
  • Financial Times: Pearson, the parent company of Financial Times, is being investigated in the UK over possible conflicts of interest within its role as both a publisher of textbooks and an issuer of academic qualifications, as regulators seek to ensure that schools buying its teaching resources do not get any unfair advantages.
  • The Independent: Laurence Orbach was forced to quit as the chairman and chief executive of the independent book publisher Quarto by the activist investor Harwood Capital at an emergency general meeting in London on Wednesday.
  • Financial Times: Wm Morrison, the supermarket group, is set to part company with Richard Hodgson, the group’s commercial director, as its sales continue to deteriorate.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Gulf Oil, the lubricants division of the Mumbai-based Hinduja Group, has bought US industrial fluids manufacturer Houghton International for $1 billion, in the largest outbound acquisition by an Indian company this year.
  • The Daily Telegraph: International Airlines Group, owner of British Airways and Iberia, is looking at mounting a full takeover of Vueling, Spain's second biggest domestic airline.
  • Financial Times: Rathbone Brothers has bought the private client business of Taylor Young Investment Management and said it aims to raise at least £24 million to fund more acquisition opportunities arising from the volatile economic climate.
  • The Independent: The accountancy firm BDO, the sixth-biggest in Britain, is to merge with the UK arm of rival PKF, the ninth-biggest, to create a business with 3,500 staff and £400 million in revenues that will aim to challenge the "big four" auditors.
  • The Guardian (Comment): A fundamental strategic error at the outset means the eurozone crisis continues to fester.
  • The Guardian (Comment): As disillusionment with capitalism sets in, the co-operative movement is offering alternatives to the profit-driven model.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Put politicians back in charge of the Bank of England.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Real wages, adjusted for inflation, are up 62% on average in the UK during the 25 years between 1986 and 2011. Everyone is better off. But do we pass the L'Oreal test? Are we worth it?
  • Financial Times (Lex): Obama and Wall St: The first term was characterised by an unseemly degree of animosity between Washington and the financial sector. The president should now pursue a truce.
  • Financial Times (Lex): BNP Paribas: robust third-quarter retail and investment banking performances off last year’s Greece-tainted base reflect the French bank’s capacity to make up for lost time.
  • Financial Times (Lex): US corporate bonds: the financial prospects of some US companies look better than the US government’s, at least on first blush.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Vestas: the wind turbine maker’s woes derive from poor decision-making, intense Chinese competition, and falling subsidies in key markets such as the US.

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