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Tuesday Papers: Iran storms back into glutted oil market

And the UK was accused of failing to stand up for the steel industry as Chinese steel imports push mills to brink of ‘catastrophe’.

 
Tuesday Papers: Iran storms back into glutted oil market

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Iran announced its full return to the global oil market by ordering an immediate increase in production, prompting warnings from fellow Opec members that it risks prolonging the biggest price crash in a decade.
  • Financial Times: Union leaders have warned the government that Britain’s steel industry faces “catastrophe” unless ministers block Chinese attempts to achieve “market economy status” at the WTO later this year.
  • The Guardian: The prospect of ultra-low interest rates persisting for years to come has been conjured up by a leading Bank of England policymaker after a further fall in oil prices and shares in London sinking to their lowest level since late 2012.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Asda is cutting hundreds of jobs at its Leeds headquarters after falling behind its rivals during the key Christmas trading period.
  • Financial Times: European insurers such as Axa, Aviva and Allianz, along with MassMutual and American Family in the US and Ping An in Asia have all set up specialist venture capital funds dedicated to investing in start-ups that may be relevant for their core businesses.
  • Daily Mail: The Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks slashes their float price to £2 billion as stock market turmoil continues.
  • Financial Times: Adidas has ended its year-long hunt for a new chief executive by poaching Henkel boss Kasper Rorsted to succeed its veteran leader, Herbert Hainer.

Business and economics

  • Daily Mail: The FTSE 100 index closed below the 5800 level last night for the first time in more than three years as the price of oil crashed to a level not seen since 2003.
  • Financial Times: Cairn Energy has urged India’s government to seize a “last chance” to end a bitter $1.6 billion tax row affecting the UK-based oil explorer, before a lengthy international arbitration process gets under way this week.
  • Financial Times: Concerns about the €40 billion of non-performing loans on the balance sheet of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena reduced the market capitalisation of Italy’s third-largest lender by assets to just €2.2 billion as its shares hit a record low.
  • Financial Times: Lufax has completed a fundraising round that the Chinese peer-to-peer lenders says values it at $18.5 billion, as investors bet on non-traditional lending in a market where banks have failed to meet demand.
  • Financial Times: Chinese investors are on the hunt for the UK’s next unicorns - start-ups that reach a $1 billion valuation - with the launch of a £500 million, London-based venture capital fund to invest in European technology companies.
  • The Independent: Executives from Hollywood studios and Sky TV have arrived in Brussels for a hearing on pay TV that could affect the entire system of film and broadcasting licences across Europe.
  • Financial Times: The Zafira, a family car sold by the European arm of General Motors, has come under fresh scrutiny for its emissions performance in the wake of the Volkswagen diesel scandal.
  • The Independent: BT is creating 1,000 new customer service jobs in the UK as part of an £80 million investment to boost performance and restore its reputation after being criticised for poor customer service.
  • Financial Times: Casino has reiterated its determination to keep its investment-grade status even as rating agency Standard & Poor’s put the French retailer on “negative watch”, causing its shares to tumble.
  • The Guardian: Up to 300 jobs are at risk at London-based ready meals company Bakkavor Meals after it lost a contract to supply Tesco with mashed potato.
  • Daily Mail: Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou is to vote down the pay proposals of the bosses at EasyHotel in a row over the way the business is run.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Britain's biggest motor insurers have joined forces to respond to the rise of driverless cars, as the technology threatens to turn their industry upside down and hit profits.
  • Financial Times: The chief executive of Wolseley, the UK building materials merchant, has announced plans to retire.
  • Financial Times: Elisabeth Murdoch is set for a return to the television industry - five years after selling her production company, Shine, for £415 million.
  • Financial Times: ITV director of television Peter Fincham is to leave the broadcaster after an eight-year spell that included the airing of the runaway success Downton Abbey but also a recent slump in audiences.
  • Financial Times: Zhou Chengjian, the billionaire founder of one of China’s most famous fashion brands has returned to work a week after his company said he had gone missing, the latest in a series of entrepreneurs and financiers apparently embroiled in Beijing’s anti-corruption campaign.
  • The Independent: Uber will partner with aerospace giant Airbus to introduce helicopters to its on-demand service.
  • Financial Times: Amec Foster Wheeler is now looking for a new boss after dispensing with Samir Brikho, who led Amec for nine years and oversaw the takeover of Foster Wheeler in late 2014.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Australian retail-to-coal mining conglomerate Wesfarmers has agreed to buy Homebase for £340 million in a deal expected to make it easier for J Sainsbury to bid for the parent of the struggling British hardware chain Home Retail Group.
  • Financial Times: Noble Group’s sale of its 49% stake in Noble Agri would raise at least $750 million and let Asia’s largest commodity trader defend its investment grade credit rating, which had come under threat because of weak results.
  • The Daily Telegraph: BT could be forced to sell Openreach, the network of copper wires and fibre cables it operates at arms-length, as an unintended consequence of its recent merger with EE.
  • Financial Times: Ingenico, the French payments processing group, has launched an online and mobile division as it prepares to take the fight to rivals such as UK-based Worldpay.
  • Financial Times (Comment): Fortune favours the chief who joins industry at the right time.
  • Financial Times (Comment): Patience needed for volatile US small-caps.
  • Financial Times (Lex): SoftBank/Sprint: it’s risky to make cuts to service in a highly competitive market.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Three-O2: the competition watchdog’s stance on the acquisition will prove noteworthy for European telecoms.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Williams-Sonoma: bricks and mortar retailers just can’t win.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Poland downgrade: it is hard to see how attacks on the media affect the country’s ability to service its debts.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Chinese M&A: outward-bound deals worth $12 billion so far this year.

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The Expert View: WPP, Costain and WH Smith

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