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Thursday Papers: Qatar lined up for £10bn UK fund

Thursday Papers: Qatar lined up for £10bn UK fund

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Qatar has begun talks with the UK government to invest up to £10 billion from the gas-rich Middle Eastern state into key infrastructure projects in Britain.
  • The Guardian: London's financial sector was on Wednesday night bracing itself for another official investigation into alleged price-fixing following reports that a US regulator is considering launching an inquiry into the City's gold and silver markets.
  • The Independent: If interest rates stay low the British Treasury could be in line for a £50 billion windfall.
  • Financial Times: Sergio Ermotti was the highest earner at UBS last year with a pay package that is expected to be more than $8.4 million, making him one of the highest paid bank chief executives in Europe.
  • Financial Times: Google’s head of Android, Andy Rubin, is stepping back from his role on the smartphone platform, the latest in a series of sudden management changes at the top of the world’s largest technology companies.
  • The Guardian: Businesses may be wasting billions of pounds a year buying up keyword advertising on search engines such as Google, a new report by eBay has claimed.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Autonomy founder Mike Lynch has attacked Hewlett-Packard for its lack of innovation as he defended the controversial £7.1 billion sale of the company he founded.
  • The Independent: Russian oligarchs who ran the oil group TNK-BP with BP have sounded out Lord Browne and Tony Hayward, two former chief executives from the UK oil giant, about investing jointly in international oil projects.
  • Daily Mail: Zaure Zaurbekova, the finance director of FTSE 100 mining giant ENRC, has been dragged into a row over corruption allegations, after parts of an internal probe were leaked.
  • Financial Times: The UK government’s Insolvency Service is all but insolvent as the agency, after reporting an underlying deficit of £12 million last year, is heading for a deficit of £5 million to £7 million for 2012-13.
  • Financial Times: Fairfax Media reported on Wednesday that the US Department of Justice and Australian Federal Police were trying to determine whether BHP had obtained a “business advantage” through its 2008 Olympic sponsorship and hospitality programme.
  • The Guardian: Small business groups have accused John Lewis of greed and a betrayal of its own partnership ethos after it was revealed the company has demanded rebates of up to 5.25% from the majority of its 3,000 suppliers despite announcing record profits.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Unveiling its full year results for 2012, Prudential said pre-tax profits rose to £2.8 billion in 2012, a 54% increase on the previous year; the insurer also announced that it was increasing its full year dividend by 15.9% to 29.19 pence per share.
  • Financial Times: Toyota on Wednesday agreed to its union’s request that average bonuses for its workers in Japan be raised to Y2.05 million ($21,390) per person from Y1.77 million last year; that is the highest since the carmaker paid an average Y2.51 million bonus in 2008.
  • The Guardian: Thomas Cook promises to become more 'hi-tech and high-touch' as it rolls out turnaround strategy and another £50 million of cost cuts.
  • Financial Times: Tim Cook, chief executive of Apple, has been ordered to testify in a lawsuit brought by the US government against alleged price-fixing in the ebook market.
  • The Independent: Lloyds Banking Group came under attack on Wednesday after announcing a further 550 job cuts.
  • Financial Times: IBM has begun developing data analysis technology to improve the treatment of traumatic brain injury, the latest move in the company’s broader effort to apply its “big data” software to the healthcare sector.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Germany has ignored calls from its eurozone partners for more economic stimulus by tabling plans to cut spending and balance its budget ahead of schedule on the eve of an EU summit dedicated to growth.
  • Financial Times: The European Parliament wielded its new powers to reject for the first time a long-term EU budget agreed by leaders of the bloc’s 27 member states, setting the stage for a negotiation between the two sides.
  • The Guardian: Ireland's hopes of becoming the first eurozone country to emerge from a financial crisis bailout received a boost on Wednesday following a successful €5 billion bond sale that will meet the country's financing needs until well into 2014.
  • The Independent: Italy's hung parliament cost the country dearly in the bond markets on Wednesday as the nation sold €5.3 billion in debt.
  • Financial Times: Ed Miliband will on Thursday commit a Labour government to setting up a network of regional banks in an attempt to create “a wholly new banking system” able to supply business with the credit it needs.
  • Financial Times: The European Union’s planned bonus cap is likely to drive up fixed salary costs at the big UK banks by £500 million annually, according to Andrew Bailey, who will head the Prudential Regulation Authority when it opens its doors next month.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Some of Britain’s banks need more capital to achieve financial stability, Andrew Bailey, the incoming deputy governor of the Bank of England who will take charge of regulating the country’s banks, has warned.
  • The Guardian: Simon Walker, the boss of the influential Institute of Directors, has launched a stinging attack on the pay packets handed out at Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays, which together paid 523 of their bankers more than £1 million in the scandal-hit year of 2012.
  • Financial Times: US consumers showed surprising resilience in the face of higher taxes as retail sales rose 1.1% in February – the largest rise since September.
  • The Daily Telegraph: A committee of British MPs is to launch an inquiry into Britain's retail industry after a wave of companies collapsed into administration.
  • The Guardian: The number of bottles of champagne shipped from France to the UK - by far the largest export market - fell by 6.1% to 32.4 million last year, but the value edged up by 0.5% to €470 million.
  • Financial Times: China must be “on high alert” against inflation, central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan said on Wednesday, striking a hawkish tone at his most important news conference of the year.
  • Financial Times: China’s State Reserves Bureau, one of the most powerful movers in global metals markets, is to buy 300,000 tonnes of aluminium in the coming weeks, in one of the most significant attempts to support the struggling Chinese metals industry since the 2008-09 crisis.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The weakening pound and further monetary easing may send London’s FTSE 100 above the 7,000 mark to record levels in the coming year, according strategists at Goldman Sachs.
  • Financial Times: Shares in Carlos Slim’s América Móvil fell 7.8% on Wednesday as investors saw tougher competition ahead in the home market of Latin America’s biggest telecoms operator.
  • Financial Times: Citigroup’s head of risk Brian Leach has put himself at odds with Wall Street dealers after calling for derivatives to move to exchange trading.
  • The Guardian: Zara owner Inditex tapped fashion-hungry consumers in new markets in 2012 to grow net profit by 22% to €2.4 billion even as austerity-hit shoppers in Europe tightened belts.
  • Financial Times: TIAA-Cref, a leading US asset manager, is putting $5 million behind a new agricultural research centre in Illinois in an effort to turn farmland into an asset class that rivals commercial real estate.
  • Financial Times: Pre-tax profits of G4S dived by a third from £257 million in the previous year to £175 million last year as an expected £10 million profit on the trophy Olympics contract turned into an £88 million loss.
  • Financial Times: Vodafone, one of the longest-running sponsors of Formula One, will pull out of the sport at the end of the season after a review of its marketing strategy.
  • The Guardian: French Connection has slumped to a £10.5 million loss in the year to the end of January after suffering "very difficult" trading particularly at Christmas.
  • Financial Times: Cathay Pacific Airways, the Hong Kong-based airline, said its net profit dropped 83% to $118 million in 2012 as cargo shipments from mainland China were weak and the airline was buffeted by higher fuel costs.
  • The Daily Telegraph: WM Morrison Supermarkets is to parachute Scott Weavers-Wright, the chief executive of its baby equipment retailer Kiddicare, into its new online grocery business in an attempt to help the company compete with rivals.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: T-Mobile USA’s planned reverse takeover of MetroPCS has won approval from regulators, but still faces opposition from two hedge funds - P Schoenfeld Asset Management and Paulson & Co.
  • The Guardian: Tesco on Wednesday paid nearly £50 million for Giraffe, a family-friendly chain of restaurants with just 48 outlets, mainly in upmarket London suburbs.
  • The Guardian (Comment): The eurozone's largest economy must try harder. It has far more to lose from a collapse than any other country.
  • The Guardian (Comment): The pound crashes and a triple dip looms, but according to the British chancellor bad news is only proof that his policies are working.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Labour's toxic legacy has become a bad excuse for doing nothing.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): The Chancellor gives with one hand he takes away with the other.
  • Daily Mail (Comment – Alex Brummer): The challenges faced by George Osborne as he sits down to put the final touches to next Wednesday’s Budget speech can never have seemed so daunting; in addition to the political and borrowing tests, the British chancellor potentially faces one of Britain’s oldest economic foes – a new age of stagflation.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Boeing: the aircraft manufacturer appears to have put the much-publicised battery troubles of the widebodied Dreamliner behind and ridden the success of the 737.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Prudential: UK-based life insurer is on track to hit its targets this year, but it also needs to resolve the debate about splitting up the company.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Eon and RWE: investors should note the differences between the German utilities as they try to maintain credit ratings and capacity to pay dividends while shedding assets and cutting costs.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Cathay Pacific: airline is focusing on premium business and tight cost control but is that enough in an industry always be susceptible to factors beyond its control.

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