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View the article online at http://citywire.co.uk/wealth-manager/article/a735537

Friday Papers: RBS plans dramatic scaling back

by Himanshu Singh on Feb 21, 2014 at 04:24

Friday Papers: RBS plans dramatic scaling back

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Royal Bank of Scotland is preparing a dramatic retrenchment that would see it become a much smaller UK retail and commercial bank in a move that is expected to slash staff numbers by at least 30,000 in the coming years.
  • Financial Times: Centrica has said household fuel bills for the past months could be as much as 10 per cent lower than normal because of mild winter weather.
  • Daily Mail: An exodus of customers and the warmer weather has seen profits slump at both British Gas and parent company Centrica; profits at British Gas fell 6% to £571 million as the number of customers taking electricity, gas or both fuels from the group fell by 362,000.
  • Daily Mail: Interest rates are likely to rise next spring, Martin Weale, a key Bank of England policymaker said yesterday, in what economists have described as the clearest forward guidance yet.
  • Financial Times: Lloyds Banking Group is expected to waive its right to impose heavy losses on investors in £8.4 billion of “bail-in bonds” that it issued to shore up its capital position amid the financial crisis.
  • Financial Times: The battle between Facebook and Google to dominate the next phase of digital growth has propelled the value of tech deals done so far this year to $50bn – a level not seen since the height of the dotcom bubble.

Business and economics

  • Daily Mail: A spike in passengers buying tickets with mobile phones boosted half-year profits at bus and rail operator Go-Ahead.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Groupon says profits likely to dip again in the current quarter after recent purchases.
  • The Guardian: Amazon is hitting back at Netflix in the UK by rebranding its LoveFilm video-on-demand service; the online retailer will fold film and TV rental arm into its Prime subscription service for combined price of £79 a year.
  • The Independent: Activist investor Nelson Peltz has warned Pepsi he is taking his plans to split the company’s beverage and snack units directly to its shareholders.
  • Daily Express: Defence giant BAE Systems pledged to stick to its defence business despite saying that government ­spending cuts would hit its profits this year, prompting ­investors to wipe £1 billion off its value.
  • The Guardian: Clothing giant Gap stepped into the increasingly heated minimum wage debate by telling staff it would set a $9 minimum hourly rate this year and and raise it to $10 next year.
  • Financial Times: Danone, the world’s biggest yoghurt maker by sales, has lowered expectations over the likely pace of recovery this year after it reported its first annual profit decline in a decade.
  • Daily Express: EE, which was the first to launch 4G services, said it had boosted its 4G customer numbers by 816,000 to about two million early last month.
  • Daily Express: Asda yesterday said the retail industry was going through a “significant and permanent” change as it reported a drop in sales over the Christmas period.
  • Financial Times: Swiss Re’s search for a new chief financial officer is over, after the reinsurer promoted David Cole to replace the departing George Quinn.
  • Daily Mail: Investors in BAE Systems saw more than £1 billion wiped off the value of their shares after the defence giant revealed the extent of its troubles in the US, where it is being hit hard by cuts in the Pentagon budget.
  • Daily Mail: Nationwide has reported an influx of customers as it continues to benefit from the tarnished reputation of the High Street’s scandal-hit banks; Britain’s biggest building society said 316,000 new current accounts were opened in the nine months to the end of last year - a 20% jump on the same period the previous year.
  • The Daily Telegraph: US computer giant reports that profits rose 16% to $1.4 billion in the last fiscal quarter.
  • Daily Mail: Lloyd's offshoot TSB is to be domiciled in London amid growing fears of an independent Scotland.
  • Daily Express: Flybe has unveiled plans to raise £155 million from shareholders to revive its struggling UK business.
  • Financial Times: Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi began its global expansion on Thursday as its popular midrange handsets went on sale in Singapore.
  • Financial Times: Rexam’s chief executive expects a stronger year of growth ahead but warned currency fluctuations will be a major concern for the British canmaker.
  • Financial Times: Total sales at Puma, the German sportswear company, for the last three months of 2013 fell more than 13% to €698 million; adjusted for currency effects, the dip was 4.7% from the same quarter of 2012.
  • Daily Mail: Investor confidence in emerging markets has collapsed, making the sector among the least popular to invest in whereas last year it took the top spot, a new poll reveals; the UK is now considered the most attractive target for stock market investments.
  • The Guardian: The number of new homes started in England rose by almost a quarter in 2013, but experts said the pace of construction remains well below that needed to tackle the country's housing crisis.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The Scottish financial services giant Standard Life is expected to warn that the referendum vote poses risks to its business when it reports full year results next week.
  • Financial Times: Boots, the high street chemist, will start stocking an e-cigarette made by Imperial Tobacco’s subsidiary Fontem Ventures as big tobacco companies start to tighten their grip on the fast-growing product category, now worth $3 billion globally.
  • Financial Times: Time Inc is aiming for a sports media hat-trick by teaming up with US baseball, hockey and basketball leagues for the launch of 120 Sports, a new digital sports network.
  • Financial Times: Accor, the French hotel group, said a savings plan coupled with growth in key European markets helped it return to profit last year.
  • Financial Times: Deutsche Bank on Thursday finally reached a settlement with the heirs of media magnate Leo Kirch; the German lender said it had paid €775 million to the Kirch estate.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Independent: Richard Desmond has resigned from the board of Channel 5's operating company in a further sign that he is preparing for a possible sale of the broadcaster.
  • Financial Times: A proposal from Russia’s rapidly growing oil giant Rosneft to take a stake in Transneft’s pipeline monopoly has triggered a fierce war of words between the two state-owned companies.
  • Financial Times: Air France-KLM is to buy a stake in Brazil’s second-largest airline to improve its long-haul business as the flag carrier struggles with continued weakness in Europe and looks to branch out further into emerging markets.
  • Financial Times: Google has invested in another two cyber security start-ups this week; Ionic Security on Thursday announced it raised $25.5 million in a fundraising round led by Google Ventures and specialist cyber security investors Jafco Ventures, as well as existing investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers; another company, ThreatStream, raised $4 million in a series A funding round led by Google Ventures.
  • Financial Times: BBVA has agreed to buy Simple, a fast-expanding digital bank in the US, in a move that highlights the growing importance of technology and the internet for the traditionally staid retail banking industry.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): Has Silicon Valley lost touch with reality? Facebook's £11.4 billion WhatsApp deal sparks tech bubble fears.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): Banks head for the low road amid growing fears of an independent Scotland.
  • The Independent (Comment): A simple question for BAE Systems' chief executive, Ian King: Have you spoken to the Ministry of Defence about the possible consequences for BAE's operations in Scotland should there be a "yes" vote for independence?
  • Financial Times (Lex): Pepsi / Coke: Pepsi has the advantage of selling snacks along with drinks. If only they could take advantage.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Technip: the French oil services company was inevitably pushed down by its customers last year. It is still waiting for a recovery in oil prices and production.

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