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Thursday Papers: Lloyds outlines ambitious targets as profits miss forecasts

And UK explores blocking GKN takeover on national security grounds as defence secretary raises concerns over hostile £7 billion Melrose bid.

Thursday Papers: Lloyds outlines ambitious targets as profits miss forecasts

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Lloyds Banking Group has set ambitious targets to improve its profitability over the next three years, as it moves on from the payment protection insurance mis-selling scandal that has been hampering its recovery.
  • Financial Times: The UK is investigating whether the hostile £7 billion bid for GKN, the aerospace and automotive supplier, can be blocked on national security grounds.
  • The Times: The Bank of England could upgrade its forecast for UK growth later in the year if the government strikes a deal with the European Union on the Brexit “end state”, the governor has signalled.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The AA has defended its eye-watering debt pile after warning on profits, slashing its dividend and ramping up spending after a difficult period for the breakdown recovery and insurance company, which ousted its former boss Bob Mackenzie last year.
  • Financial Times: Glencore surprised investors with a bumper $2.9 billion payout after higher metals prices helped the miner and commodity trader report the highest annual earnings in its 44-year history.
  • Financial Times: Theresa May is bracing for Unilever to choose the Netherlands over the UK for its new unified headquarters, after months of political pressure from both sides and amid an “emotional” atmosphere supercharged by Brexit.
  • The Daily Telegraph: MPs have announced an investigation into whether Bitcoin technology poses a risk to central banking, a move that could presage a crackdown on the cryptocurrency.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: French telecoms company Orange has reported the first revenue growth in its home market for almost a decade, as it benefited from the woes of its local rivals in mobile.
  • Financial Times: Accor, Europe’s largest hotelier by room numbers, has been boosted by a robust tourist market in Europe and Asia.
  • Daily Mail: Shares in Amazon have hit $1,500 for the first time in yet another major milestone.
  • The Times: A buoyant Christmas and new store openings helped to lift sales at Hotel Chocolat in the second half of last year, with revenues rising by 15%.
  • The Guardian: Metro Bank has reported its first annual profit, driven by a boom in residential mortgages and strong commercial lending.
  • The Times: Apple is seeking to buy cobalt directly from mining companies amid a looming shortage of the metal, a key ingredient for the lithium-ion batteries in its iPhones and iPads.
  • The Guardian: Britain’s biggest housebuilder, Barratt Developments, is considering moving the production of blocks used in construction from Germany to Britain, an example of the steps some businesses are taking to mitigate against risks from Brexit.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Wesfarmers' botched takeover of Homebase forced it to book a massive slump in profits today, casting further doubt on the logic behind the £340 million deal.
  • The Times: The implications of a tough winter in America and fears of trouble down the line in Britain sent a shiver through investors in First Group yesterday as the transport operator issued a profit warning.
  • The Guardian: Carillion was in serious financial difficulty by the middle of 2016 but directors were “placating the City” by failing to disclose major problems, according to a former executive at the collapsed government contractor.
  • The Times: The row over border checks covering a planned direct rail link between Amsterdam and London is costing the operator of the Channel Tunnel millions of euros each quarter, its chief executive has said.
  • The Guardian: The storage depot at the centre of the KFC chicken crisis had not been registered or inspected before problems emerged this week, and could have been closed down for breaching safety rules, a local council has revealed.
  • The Times: The twin pressures of London’s falling residential market and local politics have forced Capital & Counties to reduce the value of its grand Earls Court residential development by a further £131 million.
  • The Daily Telegraph: New ITV chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall has ditched a long-running campaign by the broadcaster to force Virgin Media to pay tens of millions of pounds per year to carry its main channel.
  • Financial Times: The end of the era of cheap money is set to lead to Enron-style collapses of companies in the much-hyped global renewable energy sector, according to the chief executive of one of the world’s largest wind power producers Iberdrola.
  • The Guardian: India’s customs department has revived allegations of a $600 million financial fraud against the Adani Group, challenging an order clearing the mining giant last year as “erroneous, illegal and improper”.
  • Financial Times: The new chief executive of Deutsche Börse has said he wants the Frankfurt exchange to win at least a quarter of the market for clearing euro interest rate swaps from London by 2019 and called on politicians for more support in its efforts.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Times (Tempus share tips): HOLD Metro Bank; HOLD AA.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Questor share tips): BUY Future; HOLD Craneware.
  • The Times: The founders of Spotify are to maintain an iron grip on their company when it goes public this year by employing a controversial share structure that is popular among Silicon Valley tycoons but scorned by many investors.
  • Financial Times: Broadcom has lowered its offer for Qualcomm, in the latest twist in a long-running hostile takeover battle between the rival chipmakers that would be the largest technology deal in history.
  • Financial Times: Activist hedge fund Elliott Capital Advisors has built a near-5% stake in Fidessa, a position it revealed after the UK financial technology company agreed to a £1.4 billion cash takeover by Swiss banking software group Temenos.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Interserve is to sell its power business as part of the restructuring of its industrial division as it battles to reduce costs.

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MPs and fund groups pile pressure on Aviva over prefs

by Daniel Grote on Mar 21, 2018 at 10:54

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