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Wednesday Papers: Osborne pressed to cut taxes on business

And Greece given nine days to complete reforms or forfeit €130 billion bailout.

Wednesday Papers: Osborne pressed to cut taxes on business

Top stories

  • Financial Times: British Chancellor George Osborne has come under renewed pressure from the Conservative right to cut business taxes and simplify labour laws in next month’s Budget.
  • Financial Times: The Greek government is racing to complete a lengthy checklist of reforms demanded by international lenders before the end of February to unlock a €130 billion bail-out agreed in the early hours of Tuesday morning after months of high-stakes bargaining.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The European Central Bank's lending of more than €800 billion to eurozone banks has done little to stop them cutting back on lending to businesses, according to Standard & Poor's.
  • The Guardian: The Dow Jones industrial average edged up through the 13,000 level on Tuesday for the first time since May 2008.
  • Financial Times: While agreeing to forgo up to €5 billion in potential profits on its Greek bonds, the European Central Bank has protected itself against forced losses on its bond holdings and will not make direct payments to Athens.
  • The Guardian: Britain's leading experts on tax and spending gave George Osborne the all-clear for modest budget giveaways after the latest figures for the public finances showed the biggest monthly surplus in four years.

Business and economics

  • The Daily Telegraph: A battle over an increased eurozone bail-out fund and IMF support for the European Union's single currency threatens to derail the latest Greek bailout.
  • Financial Times: European banks sold off over €20 billion of property loans during 2011 as pressure on lenders to cut exposure to the troubled sector intensified ahead of tough regulatory changes.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Germany and France moved even closer to full fiscal union by announcing they will be "harmonising" their corporate tax rates by 2013.
  • Financial Times: Opposition, business and trade union leaders are stepping up pressure on Lisbon to renegotiate the terms of Portugal’s €78 billion bail-out agreement.
  • Financial Times: City of London police are investigating a suspected $150 million trading fraud attempted by a former trader at Threadneedle, the asset manager.
  • Financial Times: CME, the world’s largest futures exchange, said on Tuesday it had increased its stake in the Dubai exchange to 50% from 25%, while the Oman Investment Fund had raised its holding to 29%.
  • The Daily Telegraph: HSBC is preparing to issue and sell new shares in itself to fund the bonuses of its highest-paid staff working in the UK.
  • Financial Times: Anglo American’s planned joint venture with Lafarge to create a £1.8 billion building materials group was thrown into question on Tuesday after the Competition Commission warned that it could increase the risk of prices being rigged.
  • The Daily Telegraph: BP has agreed a settlement with a worker injured in the Gulf of Mexico disaster, in a move further raising hopes the oil giant could yet settle other claims and avert the trial due to begin on Monday to determine damages and fines related to spill.
  • Financial Times: US authorities have launched an investigation into Cobalt International Energy’s operations in Angola, where the Goldman Sachs-backed group is developing one of the world’s most promising oil frontiers; the company has been accused of offering payment to foreign officials to win business.
  • Daily Express: Pre-tax profits of pawnbroker ¬Albemarle & Bond rose by 12% to £12 million on a pledge book up 7% to £38.3 million as people pawned their gold, jewellery and timepieces in ever great numbers during the first half to December.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Segro, Europe's largest industrial property company, wants to sell up to £500 million of non-core assets this year as part of its strategy to focus on London and core economic hubs on the Continent.
  • Financial Times: Vitol, world’s largest independent oil trader, says oil prices could jump this year to a record high above $150 because of growing tensions with Iran.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Investors have more than £9 billion tied up in underperforming "dog" funds, from which the UK's biggest fund managers make more than £133 million in fees each year.
  • Financial Times: Egyptian bourse leads world this year with its index rising nearly 40% this year.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Barnes & Noble said that sales at its Nook division, which includes electronics books as well as the devices, jumped 39% to $542 million in the three months to the end of January.
  • Financial Times: Google is getting more aggressive in prioritising its own services in search results at the expense of independent sites, according to Adam Medros, a senior TripAdvisor executive.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The London Stock Exchange has reached an agreement with Google to provide real-time market data for the search engine's financial offering.
  • Financial Times: Alibaba Group, China’s largest ecommerce company which is 40% owned by Yahoo, has proposed to take its Hong Kong-listed unit private.
  • The Guardian: Drax is scrapping plans to build two biomass plants in the UK with Germany's Siemens citing lack of financial help from the government for the decision which involved an investment of around £1.4 billion.
  • The Independent: Scottish and Southern Energy is Wednesday scrapping its confusing range of deals and is slashing 68 different tariffs offers to just four.
  • The Daily Telegraph: In what appear to be the first signs of a turnaround at the Orange and T-Mobile operator, Everything Everywhere signed up 313,000 new contract customers in the fourth quarter, outweighing a sharper than expected 241,000 drop in pay-as-you-go customers.
  • Financial Times: Everything Everywhere, the UK joint venture of France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom, will return to the bond market this year to raise funds for the auction of the so-called 4G bandwidth needed for next-generation mobile services.
  • The Independent: Surging demand for pork, beef and dairy in China and India saw profits at the British animal breeding group Genus jump 22% to £23.3 million in the six months to December.
  • Daily Mail: Kraft has said it has already generated about $400 million in revenue synergies to date, which is on track to reach the goal of $1 billion.
  • Financial Times: The hedge fund run by John Paulson has been sued by Hugh Culverhouse, a former investor, who alleges that the firm failed to conduct appropriate due diligence on Sino Forest that cost Paulson & Co’s funds approximately $460 million in losses when its share price collapsed last year.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Amec, the builder of oil and gas infrastructure, has launched a £400 million share buy-back.
  • Financial Times: London-based buy-out firm BC Partners has completed one of the largest private equity capital raisings since the global financial crisis by collecting €6.5 billion for its latest European fund.
  • Financial Times: Kazuo Okada, the Japanese billionaire at the centre of a dispute with Wynn Resorts, is seeking a restraining order against its board to prevent it from redeeming his 20% stake in the company, which operates casinos in Las Vegas and Macao.
  • Financial Times: Ryanair said it would cut five routes from its summer schedule at Edinburgh Airport just as shortlisted bidders in the contest to acquire one of the UK’s fastest growing airports begin due diligence.
  • Financial Times: PSA Peugeot Citroën and General Motors are in advanced talks about an alliance that would see the French and US groups join forces to build cars and components in Europe.
  • Financial Times: Mazda, the Japanese carmaker, is planning to raise about $2.1 billion in capital to expand its production network overseas.
  • Financial Times: Qinetiq, the privatised defence technology contractor, provoked fury among trade unions on Tuesday by announcing plans to derecognise them for collective bargaining purposes.
  • Financial Times: William Weldon will retire this year as chief executive of Johnson & Johnson; he will be replaced by Alex Gorsky, a J&J veteran currently serving as executive vice-chairman of medical devices and diagnostics.
  • Financial Times: Macy’s, which sells clothing and accessories, cosmetics, home furnishings and other consumer goods, reported total net sales of $8.72 billion, an increase of 5.5%, compared with the same period last year.
  • Financial Times: Glasgow-based Devro increased sales by 6.6% to £227.7 million in the year to December, while operating profits before exceptionals rose by 15.5% to £42.7 million.
  • Financial Times: Gooch & Housego, the industrial laser specialist, has lowered its full-year pre-tax profits by 24% to £7.9 million after a slowdown in demand from China.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Wells Fargo has agreed to buy BNP Paribas’ North American energy business; the acquisition price of the cash deal, which BNP said was a “premium” to the face value, was not disclosed.
  • Financial Times: Temenos and Misys are expected to agree the full terms of their planned $2 billion merger within days.
  • Financial Times: Several analysts, such as those at Credit Suisse and HSBC, have lifted their target price for TNT Express to about €10.
  • Financial Times: Edinburgh Woollen Mill, the UK retailer that bought Jane Norman, has returned to the auction of Peacocks as an 11th hour bidder for the value fashion chain.
  • The Guardian (Comment): The government's new homes bonus is not working and the gimmicks likely to be unveiled at the budget won't create the houses we need.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Eurozone leaders have put off the day of reckoning for a few more months but the latest €130 billion rescue package for Greece offers no path out of the crisis and is hostage to explosive political passions.
  • Financial Times (The Lex Column): Greece: a miracle is required to get Athens to meet the almost impossible targets it has been set by its friends in Brussels and Berlin
  • Financial Times (The Lex Column): Walmart: it has yet to prove that it can wrest further efficiencies from its stores but management deserves credit for maintaining the status quo.
  • Financial Times (The Lex Column): Alibaba: shareholders should accept the parent group’s offer to buy them out and take the company private.

1 comment so far. Why not have your say?

Anonymous 1 needed this 'off the record'

Feb 22, 2012 at 09:59

The quickest way to boost growth is to boost consumption. Cutting business taxes won't do this as businesses remain in a cycle of hoarding cash and not investing. The solution is a to cut income tax (a VAT will be absorbed by the struggling retailers). Not often the Lib Dems have the right idea is it?

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