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Thursday Papers: Tesco profits surpass £1bn mark

And City scrambles to sever ties with Russian companies as the threats of military attack on Syria grew.

Thursday Papers: Tesco profits surpass £1bn mark

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Annual profits of the UK’s largest grocer Tesco exceeded £1 billion as the supermarket overcame a wider gloom on the high street.
  • The Times: The City scrambled on Wednesday to sever ties with Russian companies hit by US sanctions as threats of military attacks on Syria escalating hostilities between Washington and Moscow.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Hammerson has turned down an increased bid from French rival Kléppiere which valued the shopping centre owner at more than £5 billion saying the offer undervalues the company.
  • Financial Times: The UK is planning to use its £13.9 billion aid budget to push British exporters and pension funds to invest in poorer parts of Africa and Asia.
  • Financial Times: Russia is prepared to provide short-term liquidity to Rusal, the aluminium producer led by Oleg Deripaska that has been hit by US sanctions.
  • Financial Times: US president Donald Trump on Wednesday tweeted that Russia should prepare for a US strike against Syria.

Business and economics

  • The Daily Telegraph: Embattled advertising giant WPP has managed to hold on to one of its key accounts, broadcaster Sky, which is believed to be worth about £425 million.
  • The Times: A deal that is being finalised between the London and Shanghai stock exchanges would allow investors in mainland China to invest directly in British-listed companies within months.
  • The Guardian: Chinese owner of House of Fraser will begin stocking “premium Chinese brands” in its department stores to improve the image of goods made in China and support Beijing’s trillion-dollar “Belt and Road” international trade plan.
  • Financial Times: Ant Financial, the payments affiliate of China’s Alibaba Group, is eying at least $9 billion in a funding round that would make it one of the world’s most highly valued companies.
  • Daily Mail: Share price of online fashion retailer Asos tumbled on the announcement of plans to spend £250 million on boosting its infrastructure.
  • Financial Times: Barry Callebaut, the world’s biggest supplier of chocolate and cocoa products, reported 8% increase in sales to 1.02 million tonnes in the six months to 28 February, powered by increases in all regions but especially Asia.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Aerospace heavyweights Rolls-Royce and Boeing have backed Reaction Engines, the British company developing engines capable of powering aircraft at 2,500mph, raising hopes of developing supersonic aircrafts.
  • Financial Times: Russian lender Sberbank has been one of the worst-hit stocks despite not being targeted by the US.
  • The Times: Uncertainty over the UK’s exit from the European Union had “continued to impact confidence” of recruiter Page Group as it reported profit fall of 7.1% to £33.8 million in Britain.
  • Daily Mail: Shop Direct is putting nearly 2,000 jobs at risk by closing three of its sites in Greater Manchester.
  • The Times: Profits at Britain’s biggest builder of retirement homes, McCarthy & Stone, could suffer from the government plans to ban ground rents.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Apple might have to pay $502 million to VirnetX after the iPhone maker lost the latest round of a patent dispute over secure messaging features in its apps.
  • Financial Times: Big-spending Paris Saint-Germain has allegedly overstated the sponsorship contracts the club valued at €200 million at the Qatari-owned football club, preliminary investigations by UEFA showed.
  • The Guardian: Britain’s competition watchdog Competition and Markets Authority has appointed Andrew Tyrie, the former chair of the Treasury select committee, as its new chairman.
  • The Daily Telegraph: New EU rules to limit the amount of toxin in fertilisers will give Russia an absolute advantage over the market and power over European food supply, industry experts have warned.
  • The Times: Greenfell disaster probe has found that the energy company Cadent had failed to keep adequate records causing gas pipes in up to more than 1,000 tower blocks to miss regular maintenance inspections.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Times (Tempus share tips): BUY Croda; BUY Easyhotel.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Questor share tips): Loyal customers, essential products, strong growth and proven managers – BUY PTSG.
  • The Guardian: Bus and rail company FirstGroup has spurned a takeover bid from the US buyout firm Apollo.
  • The Guardian: Trinity Mirror's £200 million deal to buy Richard Desmond’s Express and Star newspapers will be investigated by the competition regulator over concerns that it will reduce media plurality in the national newspaper market.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Mobeus Equity Partners has bought 30% stake in Geotech, a supplier to the High Speed 2 (HS2) rail project.
  • The Times: The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan is set to buy a 40% stake in European Camping Group from Carlyle and the Paris-based Montefiore Investment.
  • Financial Times (Comment): Volatility looks set to stay with many big swings in 2018.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Putin's futureless economy can't match his power posturing.
  • The Times (Comment): The eurozone has been expanding, but there are worrying signs ahead.
  • Financial Times (Comment): Facebook’s Zuckerberg pulls off acrobatics at congressional circus.

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