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Wednesday Papers: Carillion held just £29m in cash when it collapsed

And Ferrero snaps up Nestlé’s US confectionery arm for $2.8 billion in cash making the Italian company third-largest sweets group in US market.

 
Wednesday Papers: Carillion held just £29m in cash when it collapsed

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Carillion was left with just £29 million in cash when it collapsed, according to a document that reveals the extent of the construction company’s financial black hole.
  • Financial Times: Italy’s Ferrero has won the auction for Nestlé’s US confectionery business, paying $2.8 billion cash for brands that include Butterfinger, Crunch, Nerds and LaffyTaffy, and helping further its ambition of gaining a significant presence in the US chocolate market.
  • The Times: The bill facing BP for the Deepwater Horizon disaster will top $65 billion after higher compensation settlements than had been expected forced it to book a fresh $1.7 billion charge.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The number of homeowners moving house is at the highest level in 10 years, according to analysis by Lloyds Bank, despite warnings that the level of transactions has slumped.
  • Financial Times: General Electric is looking at a further break-up, its chief executive said on Tuesday, extending its retreat from the conglomerate model it championed in the Jack Welch era.
  • Financial Times: Acrimony between Donald Trump and Democrats over explosive remarks by the president last week has undermined hopes of a deal on government funding and immigration, with aides now working towards a spending fix that would last only a few weeks.

Business and economics

  • The Guardian: The dramatic collapse of Carillion has started to hit thousands of the firm’s suppliers, as the real world impact of the demise starts to emerge.
  • Daily Mail: Collapsed Carillion was owed £200 million for work on the 2022 World Cup as it plunged into crisis.
  • Financial Times: Private investors were among those hardest hit by the collapse of Carillion after piling into the outsourcer in recent months despite profit warnings and fears for its sustainability.
  • Financial Times: PwC’s role in the liquidation process of the collapsed contractor Carillion has come under scrutiny after it emerged that the auditor already has two separate, and apparently conflicting roles, including one advising the defunct company’s pension trustees.
  • The Times: A $22 billion tax writedown pushed Citibank to its largest ever quarterly loss as evidence emerged that it had suffered hundreds of millions of dollars in losses linked with the Steinhoff accounting scandal.
  • The Daily Telegraph: In a letter sent to heads of FTSE 100 firms and global business chiefs, Larry Fink, the chief executive of BlackRock chief executive, told companies they must make "a positive contribution to society" and not just deliver profits for shareholders.
  • The Guardian: The price of bitcoin was sent plummeting 18% as it and other cryptocurrencies yo-yo in value over fears of a wider trading crackdown spurred by renewed potential of South Korean regulatory action.
  • Daily Mail: High-street chain Greggs is set to open up to 130 new bakeries this year following solid sales growth in 2017.
  • The Times: JD Sports revised up its profit forecast for the second time this year after announcing that like-for-like sales had risen by 3 per cent since July, including the festive period.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Premier Foods has toasted a rise in festive sales, boosted by price inflation, record sales of mince pies and a revamped range of Batchelor Super Noodles, but said that talks about selling the division that produces them are "exploratory".
  • The Daily Telegraph: Low-cost fitness operator The Gym hailed a record openings and a surge in memberships last year, as it teamed up with supermarkets and hotels to share space.
  • The Times: The chairman of Dunelm claimed yesterday that the homewares seller was “well on the way to becoming a genuine multi-channel retailer” after it reported strong sales over the Christmas period.
  • The Guardian: Doorstep lender Provident Financial expects to post a £120 million loss at its consumer credit business after struggling to win back customers following a botched reorganisation of the 130-year-old business last year.
  • Financial Times: Tate & Lyle chief executive Javed Ahmed is to step down after nine eventful years and will be succeeded by Nick Hampton, the finance director who joined the ingredients group in the middle of a crisis three years ago.
  • Daily Mail: Barclays has been accused of endangering 250,000 workers' nest eggs after dumping responsibility for its pension fund onto its casino banking arm.
  • The Times: European competition regulators have conducted an unannounced inspection of a data company RISI recently bought by Euromoney, the publishing and events group, as part of an investigation into price-fixing in the cardboard and paper sack industry.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Uber has introduced a cap on how many hours its drivers in the UK can work after criticism that long shifts are putting passengers at risk.
  • Financial Times: AP Moller-Maersk and IBM are setting up a joint venture to use blockchain technology to try to help make the companies’ supply chains more efficient and safer.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Times (Tempus share tips): BUY Tate & Lyle; BUY The Gym Group; SELL Ashmore.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Questor share tips): HOLD National Grid; HOLD Card Factory.
  • The Times: Informa has made a takeover approach for a rival that could create a company with a £9 billion market value.
  • The Times: The pension fund trustees overseeing a £1 billion deficit in the retirement schemes of GKN have put themselves at the centre of the battle for the FTSE 100 engineer, saying that any takeover deal for the company will need to go through them first.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Dalian Wanda has sold its landmark hotel and residential development in Nine Elms which is still under construction as it comes under increasing pressure to cut down its foreign investments.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): What would Churchill have made of Brexit, given his support for a 'United States of Europe'?
  • The Times (Comment): Carillion ‘building a Rolls but paid for a Mini’.
  • The Times (Comment): Sterling may be on the rise, but the rollercoaster has a long way to go.

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