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Thursday Papers: Steel pensioners ‘shamelessly’ exploited, say MPs

And GKN aims to return £2.5 billion to shareholders over the next three years.

Thursday Papers: Steel pensioners ‘shamelessly’ exploited, say MPs

Top stories

  • Financial Times: British Steel pension savers were “shamelessly” exploited by “dubious financial advisers” after a restructuring of the scheme last year, according to a stinging parliamentary report that sharply criticised the Pensions Regulator and Financial Conduct Authority.
  • The Daily Telegraph: GKN aims to return £2.5 billion to shareholders over the next three years, with the cash payment forming the key plank of its strategy to fight off hostile suitor Melrose.
  • The Times: A bitter Jacob Zuma quit as South Africa’s president last night, ending a two-week power struggle with his successor Cyril Ramaphosa that has paralysed the country’s politics and threatened long-term damage to the ruling African National Congress party.
  • Financial Times: Dalian Wanda has agreed to sell its 17% stake in Spanish football club Atlético Madrid, the latest in a string of divestments by the acquisitive Chinese group as it pays down overseas debt.
  • Financial Times: Investor fears of an overheating US economy intensified after the US government reported that consumer prices rose faster in January than most economists had anticipated, the latest sign that long-dormant inflation is on the rise.
  • Financial Times: Ireland plans to finish the building work this year for new customs booths and freight inspection points in Dublin as the country’s largest sea terminal prepares for the “inevitability” of border controls after Brexit.
  • Financial Times: Credit Suisse chief executive Tidjane Thiam has vigorously defended his bank’s creation of a $2.2 billion financial product that lost 96% of its value in a single night of market turmoil and is now being closed.

Business and economics

  • The Guardian: Wall Street shrugged off signs of building US inflation despite lingering fears that a rapid increase in prices would force the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates.
  • The Times: Sterling will plunge more than 15% from current levels if Britain leaves the European Union in a disorderly fashion, the IMF has warned.
  • Financial Times: Plus500, the online trading platform, beat market expectations to post high double-digit growth in 2017 driven by an influx of new customers using its cryptocurrency derivatives, even as regulators prepare an imminent crackdown on the sector.
  • Daily Mail: Coca Cola HBC, one of the leading bottlers of the famous fizzy drink, has reported what it dubbed an ‘exceptional’ set of results for 2017 with sales revenue up 4.9%.
  • The Guardian: The Goldman Sachs boss, Lloyd Blankfein, has added his voice to the chorus warning that Donald Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax cut and spending plans could lead to an overheated US economy.
  • The Daily Telegraph: FTSE 100 drug company Shire has warned investors to expect lower profits this year as sales come under pressure from a growing number of copycat medicines.
  • Financial Times: Supercell suffered its first ever fall in profits and a significant drop in sales as the Finnish group became the latest star of the mobile gaming industry to struggle.
  • Daily Mail: Uber's annual losses ballooned by almost 65% last year, soaring to £3.3 billion compared with £2 billion in 2016.
  • Daily Mail: Fashion retailer H&M has warned investors that sales are likely to fall again this year.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The chief executive of Galliford Try has said that the cost of a troublesome road project in Aberdeen – one of the contracts which sunk fellow contractor Carillion – will be more than £150 million higher than it had initially thought.
  • The Daily Telegraph: An independent US trade body on Wednesday said it rejected hefty duties on Bombardier's C-Series jets partly because Boeing lost no sales or revenue when Delta Air Lines ordered the aircraft in 2016 from the Canadian planemaker.
  • Daily Mail: Tata Steel will plough around £75 million into its Port Talbot steelworks, soothing fears about its commitment to the industry.
  • The Times: More than £1 billion of annual investment in the UK could be jeopardised if international broadcasters are denied “passporting” rights after Brexit, a report says.
  • The Guardian: Ryan Murphy, the creator of hit shows including Glee, Nip/Tuck and American Crime Story, has signed a $300 million (£216 million) deal to make shows exclusively for Netflix for the coming five years.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Toshiba has replaced its chairman and chief executive with an ex-banker who is charged with transforming the fortunes of the beleaguered company following huge losses and an accounting scandal; Nobuaki Kurumatani will succeed chairman Satoshi Tsunakawa, marking the first time the Japanese conglomerate has appointed an outsider to run the company in more than 50 years.
  • The Guardian: Jim Ratcliffe, the multibillionaire chemicals tycoon and Brexit supporter, has handed a contract to create a “British” successor to the Land Rover Defender to MBtech a German company.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Persimmon boss Jeff Fairburn has failed to subdue the anger felt by shareholders over a £110 million payout despite promising to give a “substantial” amount to charity.
  • The Times: Punjab National Bank in India has claimed that it is a victim of a scam involving fraudulent guarantees worth up to $1.8 billion which have been linked to Nirav Modi, the celebrity jeweller to stars such as Kate Winslet and Dakota Johnson.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Times (Tempus share tips): HOLD Shire; HOLD Galliford Try.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Questor share tips): BUY Sociedad Quimica y Minera for speculative purpose; BUY Gama Aviation.
  • Financial Times: Swiss speciality chemicals producer Clariant spent more than SFr50 million ($53.5 million) on a failed $20 billion merger and defending itself against US activist investors opposed to the deal, putting a dent into an otherwise strong rise in annual profits.
  • The Times: Sandell Asset Management, which holds a 1.75% position in Booker, said last week that it intended to vote against Tesco’s proposed £3.7 billion takeover of the cash-and-carry wholesaler to Tesco to pay more for Booker Group.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The Murdoch clan are under mounting pressure to increase their takeover bid for Sky in the wake of the pay-TV giant’s successful Premier League rights auction.
  • Financial Times: Bristol-Myers Squibb has signed a record partnership deal worth up to $3.6 billion with Nektar Therapeutics for the rights to an experimental cancer medicine, as drugmakers race to boost the number of patients who respond to immunotherapies.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Serco has shaved almost £20 million off the price of 15 healthcare contracts it is taking over from failed contractor Carillion after revising the sale agreement in the wake of the company’s collapse.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): The Fed can't legally save the world financial system in another 'Lehman' crisis.

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The Expert View: M&S, Thomas Cook and British Land

by Michelle McGagh on May 22, 2018 at 05:00

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