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Friday Papers: Brussels turns up pressure over Libor

Friday Papers: Brussels turns up pressure over Libor

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Brussels will take France and Luxembourg to the EU Court of Justice for having lower than usual tax rates for ebooks, a move that has helped online retailers such as Amazon save billions of euros.
  • Financial Times: Nat Rothschild has been defeated in his bid to replace the board of Bumi.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The 'Big Four' audit firms will on Friday be accused of a serious breach in alignment with shareholder interests as the Competition Commission reveals the findings of its landmark investigation into their dominance.
  • Financial Times: KKR has bid $3.68 billion for Gardner Denver, the troubled industrial equipment maker that put itself up for sale last fall.
  • Financial Times: Carlyle, one of the world’s largest alternative asset managers, reported a 28% drop in economic net income to $182 million in the fourth quarter, falling short of analysts’ expectations.
  • The Independent: HP posted a 16% drop in quarterly profits last night – but expectations were so low that it still managed to surpass analyst hopes.
  • The Independent: Some 12,000 pensioners were left without annuity payouts after a blunder by insurance giant Legal & General.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: CSR has broken the billion-dollar mark, reporting full-year sales of $1.025 billion and beating analysts’ expectations.
  • Financial Times: Birmingham, the city that brought industrial steam power to the world, will on Friday seek to revitalise its fortunes with the launch of the UK’s largest city-centre enterprise zone.
  • Financial Times: PayPal, the online payment services company owned by eBay, is entering the mobile payments race in the UK with its own chip-and-pin service this summer.
  • Financial Times: Premier Foods’ trading profit, before group overheads, from bread halved last year, and tumbled at the grocery division, underlining the magnitude of the task facing Gavin Darby, who took up the reins at the company just two weeks ago.
  • The Independent: The media regulator Ofcom is backing a plan by ITV to slash its regional news output in exchange for offering more localised bulletins across England.
  • Financial Times: Banks and broker-dealers ensnared in the Libor-rigging scandal are facing fresh pressure to settle with Europe’s top competition authority as it expands the scope of its probes.
  • Financial Times: The European Central Bank said it earned €1.1 billion last year in interest income from its share of a €208 billion portfolio of sovereign debt issued by Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland.
  • Financial Times: Citigroup tried to quell a shareholder revolt over executive pay by scrapping an old bonus scheme and setting tougher targets for its new chief executive.
  • Financial Times: The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is suing the New York Mercantile Exchange, a unit of CME Group, and two former employees for allegedly giving secret customer trading information to an external broker.
  • Financial Times: AIG racked up a $4 billion net loss in the fourth quarter of 2012, hit by superstorm Sandy and a loss on the sale of its aircraft leasing unit.
  • Financial Times: Weak demand for coking coal has pushed New World Resources, the FTSE 250 miner controlled by Czech billionaire Zdenek Bakala, into loss.
  • Financial Times: Bankia will next week reveal an annual net loss of more than €19 billion, the largest in Spanish corporate history.
  • Financial Times: New housing starts dropped 11 per cent to 98,280 last year, the lowest level since the worst of the recession in 2009, according to the Department for Communities and Local Government.
  • Financial Times: A majority of easyJet shareholders have backed Sir Mike Rake as chairman despite a campaign by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the company’s founder and largest shareholder, to oust him.
  • Financial Times: Google ramped up its assault on the laptop market against Microsoft and Apple on Thursday as it unveiled the first machine to have been designed and built in-house, and the first to come with a touch-sensitive screen.
  • Financial Times: Five US financial groups have provided more than $45 billion in home mortgage debt relief to distressed borrowers as part of a landmark settlement agreed last year over alleged foreclosure violations.
  • Financial Times: Crude oil prices were hit by concerns about the duration of the US Federal Reserve’s monetary easing and weaker than expected European economic data, as investors moved to take profits.
  • Financial Times: For the first time since 1997, policy makers at the UK central bank admit that price rises are likely to stick above 2% for the next two years.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The Bank of England has a case for restarting its asset purchase programme, and may need to increase it by up to £175 billion, senior policymaker David Miles has said.
  • Financial Times: The US government has painted a bearish outlook for the prices of corn, wheat and soyabean, projecting that the country’s farm production in 2013 will bounce back sharply from the devastation of last year’s drought, bringing relief to consumers worldwide.
  • The Guardian: BP should be on the hook for an additional $25 billion to restore environmental damage from the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, even if the company is hit with a record-breaking $17.6 billion in fines at a civil trial next week, campaign groups said on Thursday.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Lego's revenues rose by a quarter last year as children continued to favour the traditional toy over hi-tech alternatives, helping to make the Danish company behind the building blocks the world's second-largest toy maker by sales.
  • Financial Times: Institutional investors will be able to trade some of their key MSCI benchmark indices as futures in Europe after the index provider announced plans to list them on the region’s main derivatives exchanges.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Asda, the UK's second largest supermarket group, has warned that sales slowed in the final quarter of 2012 as the "challenged" economy weighed on consumer spending.
  • The Daily Telegraph: BAE Systems shrugged off a fall in revenue amid shrinking defence budgets and heightened uncertainty in the US to reveal a £1 billion share buyback and a growing international business.
  • The Guardian: Ladbrokes, Britain's second-largest bookmaker, expects to see payback this year from a £50 million investment in an online business that had failed to keep pace with rivals.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Sports Direct, the retailer founded by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, has avoided the tumultuous conditions on the high street and emerged as one of the retail industry's winter winners with a sharp rise in sales.
  • The Guardian: BrewDog, the independent brewer that at one time made the world's strongest beer, is to open its first bars outside the UK this year as it cashes in on a growing interest in locally brewed ales.
  • Daily Mail: The parent company of Bisto, Mr Kipling and Hovis has revealed an 11% increase in annual profits today, having rigorously pursued its own austerity measures.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: The owners of Evonik Industries, RAG Foundation and CVC Capital Partners, have planned to place a more than €1 billion stake with institutional investors in a prelude to a revived initial public offering of the German speciality chemicals company this year.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Private equity investor 3i has crystallised a loss of around £200 million on its investment in Enterprise after Spanish company Ferrovial announced it had bought Britain's biggest street-sweeping business.
  • Financial Times: Goldman Sachs has sold a 75% stake in Ariel Re, the Bermuda-based reinsurance company bought by the Wall Street bank less than a year ago, according to people familiar with the deal.
  • Financial Times: Chesapeake Energy has said it is close to selling oilfields in the Mississippi Lime region of Oklahoma and Kansas as the US shale gas and oil producer tries to reduce large debts built up over the past decade.
  • Financial Times: Michael Kors, the upmarket handbag and fashion brand, has unveiled plans for a secondary public offering on behalf of investors including the company’s founder just 14 months after its initial public offering.
  • Financial Times (Lombard): The Bumi affair will continue blotting the escutcheon of the City long after Rothschild’s failed attempt to replace the board is forgotten.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Hewlett-Packard: Like Dell, HP is furiously reorienting its business – but assuming the Dell management buyout happens, HP will do so in the public markets with everyone watching.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Axa and Allianz: They have similar businesses, with general insurance, life insurance and asset management each accounting for about a third of profits.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Carlyle: private equity rescues companies from short-sighted battery by the markets but it is now the group that takes the beating for reporting lumpy results.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Walmart: the retailer blames delayed tax refunds handed to typical lower to middle income customers for a bout of softness in its sales.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): France is to freeze spending on defence, higher education and research in a frantic bid to meet European Union deficit targets this year, tightening fiscal policy yet further as the country slides into deep slump.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Devaluation has now become an end in itself at the Bank but it's no panacea.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): Nat Rothschild took his heroic last stand against the discredited Bumi board in the company of his mother, the Lady Serena Mary Rothschild.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): Morrisons is the only grocer to have pursued a strategy to integrate its supply chain so that it controls its own supply process from calf to check-out.
  • The Independent (Comment): The defeat at Bumi probably represents Nat Rothschild's Gettysburg moment. The American Civil War did not end following that actually rather indecisive battle, but the writing was on the wall.

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