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Monday Papers: Greece battles to avert €5bn default

Monday Papers: Greece battles to avert €5bn default

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Greece is battling to raise funds to avoid defaulting on a €5 billion debt repayment this week as international lenders remain deadlocked over how to reduce the size of its overall debt.
  • Financial Times: George Osborne is being urged by leading Tory MPs to raise council tax on mansions and expensive homes as part of a deal with the Liberal Democrats that would see the chancellor cut welfare benefits in real terms next year.
  • The Independent: The race for the contract to decommission £6.1 billion of British nuclear waste will finally get under way at the start of next month.
  • Daily Mail: Barclays is back in the firing line amid claims US prosecutors are probing whether it made improper payments to win a banking licence in Saudi Arabia.
  • The Guardian: Vince Cable has raised doubts over the future of BAE Systems' historic shipyard at Portsmouth after the business secretary questioned the viability of a £150 million project that would guarantee production at the site, and secure 1,300 jobs, beyond 2014.
  • Financial Times: Xstrata and Glencore are moving to boost shareholder turnout in an upcoming vote on their proposed merger, as the verdict on the miner and commodity trader’s $80 billion tie-up looks set to be tight.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Royal Bank of Scotland has kick-started the process to dispose of the 316-branch business rejected by Santander, formally appointing investment bank UBS to run the sale.
  • The Independent: Leading shareholders in the advertising giant WPP have warned its chief executive, Sir Martin Sorrell, that he faces another nasty battle with them unless he agrees to a significant cut on his £13 million pay package.
  • The Guardian: Lloyds Banking Group could shortly find itself the owner of a string of care homes housing many thousands of Britain's most vulnerable elderly residents, as a second wave of financial troubles hits companies linked to failed Southern Cross Healthcare.
  • Financial Times: Apple has settled its first patent battle over smartphone makers using Google's Android platform, agreeing a 10-year licensing deal with HTC, the struggling Taiwanese manufacturer.
  • Financial Times: A group of investors led by Jan Kulczyk, Poland’s richest man, and Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund are bankrolling a $700 million company investing in mineral exploration and extraction in Africa and South America.
  • Financial Times: Volkswagen said rising German energy prices had forced it to switch the buying of some parts from domestic to foreign suppliers, with Europe’s largest carmaker warning that the trend could eventually threaten entire manufacturing sectors in the country.
  • The Independent: Royal Mail will unveil a surge in its half-year profits on Tuesday, a key proviso of a flotation in the third quarter of next year, and that the government is ready to start talking to potential City investors.
  • Financial Times: The costs of complying with the Solvency II rules have helped push up the costs of insurers by an average of about 75% over the past three years and some insurers have experienced rises of as much as 400%, a study by Reynolds Porter Chamberlain found.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Three of Britain's largest water companies paid little or no tax on profits of close to £1.5 billion, despite handing out millions of pounds in awards to investors.
  • The Independent: Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs clawed back a record £21 billion from tax avoiders and evaders last year, as the Government's clampdown finally bore fruit.
  • Financial Times: Facebook users are complaining that products and causes are appearing in the “Likes” category of their accounts even though they have no memory of ever clicking on the Like button for those companies and campaigns.
  • Daily Mail: JJB Sport collapsed leaving £210 million in debts to unsecured creditors; Adidas was owed £10 million, while Nike and Umbro were each owed £8 million.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Guo Shuqing, the securities regulator, said China would increase the quotas that are allocated to foreign institutions for investing in its closely guarded capital markets.
  • The Guardian: London can expect to lose its crown as the leading global centre for high finance this year amid a barrage of City job cuts, falling bonuses and competition from rival hubs led by New York, Hong Kong and Singapore, according to a study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research.
  • Financial Times: European money market funds have moved almost a fifth of their assets, equivalent to about €100 billion, over the past two years from the UK, US and eurozone periphery to Germany, France, the Netherlands and the Nordics as well as Asia and the Middle East, according to a new report by Fitch Ratings.
  • Financial Times: Just one in five mid to senior-level jobs in the City are filled by women and only 6% of managing directors are female, a survey by Astbury Marsden has found.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The Serious Fraud Office is suffering from quality failings in staff, training and results according to a hard hitting Government report to be published this month.
  • Financial Times: Yoshihiko Noda, the Japanese prime minister, has pledged to join talks on a domestically controversial pan-Pacific free trade agreement, signalling his intention to make trade a key battleground of the nation’s upcoming general election.
  • Financial Times: Japan’s economy shrank 0.9% between July and September, the steepest decline since the earthquake-hit first quarter of 2011, as exporters suffered big falls in shipments to key markets such as China and Europe.
  • Financial Times: Individual investors in Japan are spurning Chinese assets, in an echo of the boycotts by Chinese consumers of Japanese products amid a territorial spat between Asia’s two largest economies.
  • The Independent: Starbucks coffee shops across the country will be the target of demonstrations by anti-tax avoidance activists, the protest group UK Uncut has announced.
  • Financial Times: KKR is launching two investment funds to be distributed to individuals by Charles Schwab, the US brokerage; it is the latest sign of the pressure on private equity firms to become more like traditional asset management firms.
  • The Daily Telegraph: 3i, the private equity firm, is set to launch a $500 million Brazil fund next year.
  • Daily Mail: Prudential will on Monday end centuries of tradition and become the first insurer to set the same rates for men and women.
  • Financial Times: Investors will on Monday register one of the biggest protest votes this year, in a move against Redrow’s senior non-executive director, Alan Jackson, because of his failure to block an attempt to buy the housebuilder on the cheap.
  • Daily Mail: Shareholders in ailing hotel group MWB are believed to be furious that Chairman Eric Sanderson went ahead with a two-week holiday despite the financial crisis.
  • The Independent: John Lewis department stores saw sales in the week to November 10 increase 11.4% on the same week last year to £85 million.
  • Financial Times: Net cash at Anite that specialises in simulating mobile networks rose by a third in the first half to £16.8 million.
  • Daily Mail: AlertMe, whose products allow you to use a mobile phone to turn on your heating, has announced plans to expand on the Continent; the £7.4 million turnover firm has announced a joint venture with utility giant Essent in the Netherlands.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Petronas, Malaysia’s state-owned oil and gas group, has embarked on a two-pronged effort to overturn Canada’s opposition to its proposed C$5.3 billion acquisition of Progress Energy Resources, offering to revamp the Progress board and insisting that Petronas is run like a publicly listed company.
  • Daily Mail: The proposed £1.4 billion merger between Britvic and Irn-Bru owner AG Barr remains in question after Harris Associates, a key investor, reportedly hit out at the terms of the deal.
  • Financial Times: The EU is to serve formal objections against Ryanair’s third proposed takeover of Aer Lingus, after Europe’s largest low-cost carrier by revenues failed to offer concessions that address all Brussels’ competition concerns about the deal.
  • The Guardian (Comment): Bad management isn't new at the BBC, but let's keep things in perspective. There's no reason it can't rebuild
  • The Guardian (Comment): When the water company was privatised the City residents were promised a utopia of private sector efficiency.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): World cannot afford second Fiscal Cliff after Europe’s failed attempt.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): We've been on the back foot with the EU ever since we joined.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): Culture change is needed to turn around Greece.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Fraser and Neave: the takeover of this Asian conglomerate exposes hidden value but does not necessarily unlock it.
  • Financial Times (Lex): JC Penney: the company could easily endure a terrible holiday. Poor results in the first quarter of next year could change the outlook, however.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Election trading: gun makers’ shares surged after US election because according to speculation enthusiasts are stockpiling fearful the president will seek tighter controls.

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