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Friday Papers: Rio chief quits after $14bn writedown

Friday Papers: Rio chief quits after $14bn writedown

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Tom Albanese has paid the price for failures at Rio Tinto, stepping down as chief executive following $14 billion in writedowns at the Anglo-Australian group’s aluminium and coal businesses.
  • Financial Times: The Cayman Islands are poised to break with decades of secrecy by opening thousands of companies and hedge funds domiciled on the offshore Caribbean territory to greater scrutiny.
  • Financial Times: The safety crisis surrounding Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner deepened on Thursday with virtually all of the aircraft grounded after aviation regulators worldwide ordered indefinite suspensions of flights.
  • The Guardian: Tom Albanese, ousted from Rio Tinto on Thursday after a series of disastrous acquisitions, pocketed almost £22 million in cash and share options during his stint leading the mining company.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The Financial Times is being touted for sale by investment banks including Nomura and Bank of America Merrill Lynch for up to £1 billion.
  • Financial Times: Algerian security forces armed with attack helicopters and rockets on Thursday stormed the remote natural gas facility where Islamists were holding dozens of foreigners hostage in a bloody show of force likely to resonate across the region.
  • The Guardian: Financier Nat Rothschild said on Thursday he had written to London-listed miner Bumi to express his loss of confidence in an independent investigation being carried out into possible wrongdoing at some of Bumi's operations.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Bumi, the coal miner at the centre of a bitter power struggle, plans to use a law firm report into more than $2 billion of alleged missing funds to launch potentially explosive compensation claims.
  • Financial Times: Bank of America and Citigroup, the most scarred survivors from the 2008 crisis, both reported earnings that missed market expectations; Citi saw net income climb 25% to $1.2 billion in the fourth quarter, while BofA’s net income for the period fell from $2 billion to $732 million.
  • Financial Times: Barclays is weighing whether to recoup some or all of the £290 million Libor rate-rigging fine imposed by regulators last year from the 2012 bonus pool of its investment bankers.
  • The Independent: A total of 65 wells were drilled in 2012, up from 49 the year before, as government tax breaks in last year's budget fuelled the revival in the UK section of the North Sea, according to Deloitte.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The administrators to HMV have received more than 50 expressions of interest in the entertainment retailer, boosting hopes that the 92-year-old company can still be rescued.
  • Financial Times: Google has completed a £1 billion deal to build a new UK headquarters on 2.4 acres of disused land behind King’s Cross Station, underlining the global technology industry’s commitment to London.

Business and economics

  • The Guardian: Barclays' new boss has told staff they should leave if they do not want to sign up to a set of standards aimed at rebuilding the British bank's reputation after a string of scandals.
  • The Guardian: Two multimillionaire brothers from Manchester, Shaid and Waheed Luqman, who are said to have defrauded £100 million from the property loans business they ran, have fled the UK despite having had their passports confiscated.
  • Financial Times: Britain’s banks are in talks with the City watchdog to enlist its support for a deadline to be imposed for compensation claims in one of the UK’s costliest consumer scandals.
  • Financial Times: The Swiss franc fell to its weakest level in 20 months as traders took advantage of the improved sentiment in Europe to dump what has been one of the most popular havens for investors during the eurozone crisis.
  • Financial Times: France has warned David Cameron against seeking an EU “à la carte”, amid clear annoyance in Paris over the British prime minister’s stance on Europe.
  • Financial Times: The timing of the looming debt ceiling fight in the middle of US tax filing season is making the task of both Treasury and Congress more difficult than it was during the last stand-off over the borrowing limit in the summer of 2011.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Europe's housing slump is engulfing large parts of the eurozone core as recession deepens, with prices to keep sliding for another two years, Standard & Poor's has warned.
  • Daily Mail: The pound hit a nine-month low against the euro on Thursday amid worries over the UK economy and Britain’s future in Europe.
  • Financial Times: Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly, the BAE fixer accused of helping Europe’s biggest defence supplier spend €12.6 million across central and eastern Europe to influence arms purchases, was found not guilty of money laundering on Thursday.
  • Financial Times: Intel’s fourth-quarter revenues of $13.5 billion were in line with Wall Street expectations but down 3% on a year earlier; earnings of 48 cents a share beat analyst forecasts of 45 cents.
  • Financial Times: ASML, the world’s largest maker of computer chip manufacturing equipment by revenues, reported new orders in the fourth quarter of 2012 down 25% from the previous quarter, disappointing shareholders who have sent the stock to record levels recently.
  • The Independent: Struggling Croydon is to be "returned to its former glory" by a £1 billion plan to build Britain's biggest shopping centre.
  • Financial Times: A judge has given a scathing assessment of lending practices at Allied Irish Banks and Bank of Scotland at the height of the credit boom as he jailed Achilleas Kallakis, 44, and co-defendant Alexander Williams, also 44, who conspired to defraud the lenders in one of Britain’s biggest property loan scams.
  • Financial Times: Peter Cruddas, the former co-treasurer of the Conservative party and founder of CMC Markets, is taking over as chief executive of the spread betting company, replacing Doug Richards who has held the position since 2010.
  • Financial Times: E*Trade has turned to a former top banker at Barclays to turn round its business, naming Paul Idzik as its fifth chief executive since 2007.
  • The Independent: Asos grew its UK retail revenues by 34% to £35.7 million over the month to 31 December, which smashed City expectations.
  • Daily Mail: Premier Foods is on track to report annual pre-tax profits of around £32 million according to analyst Clive Black at Shore Capital.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Argos and Dixons have led a fightback on the high street after reporting sharp increases in Christmas sales thanks to demand for tablet devices such as the iPad Mini.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Guardian: YouTube owner Google is poised to take a stake of close to 10% in Vevo, the music video website founded by record company majors Universal and Sony, in a deal thought to be worth about $50 million.
  • Financial Times: Canada’s Sun Life Financial and Khazanah, the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, agreed on Thursday to buy CIMB-Aviva from Aviva and its joint venture partner, the lender CIMB.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Canada's British Colombia Investment Management Corporation has teamed up with Australian investor Macquarie to mount a £1billion takeover bid for Stansted airport.
  • The Daily Telegraph: American telecoms giant AT&T is seeking to buy a Britain’s EE.
  • The Guardian (Comment): EU countries must reject the impossible dream of export-led growth and instead concentrate on their domestic economies.
  • The Guardian (Comment): A star programmer fired for outsourcing his own job has learned a harsh lesson: exploitation is a job for employers, not staff.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Rio Tinto needs a new strategy when it comes to acquisitions - to stop doing them would be the best one.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): The economic gloom obscures the innovation historians will write about.
  • Daily Mail (Comment – Alex Brummer): The rapid fire exit of Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albanese and strategy director Doug Ritchie should not come as a major shock.
  • Financial Times (Lex): UnitedHealth: insurer’s stock likely to remain cheap until at least 2014 when US healthcare act is implemented and its full impact on future profits can be weighed.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Citigroup: new chief may be holding on to reserves for quarters with his stamp on them but investors are impatient to know his plan for boosting profitability.
  • Financial Times (Lex): American hangover for AB InBev: the brewer’s managers were delighted when they finally managed to snare rival Modelo last year. But regulatory concerns could damage the deal.
  • Financial Times (Lex): US well-placed for shale revolution: country has the production capacity, infrastructure and deep pockets to fully exploit its energy reserves, and achieve its goal of self-sufficiency.

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