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View the article online at http://citywire.co.uk/wealth-manager/article/a724484

Monday Papers: RSA to hold talks on credit rating

by Himanshu Singh on Dec 16, 2013 at 03:48

Monday Papers: RSA to hold talks on credit rating

Top stories

  • Financial Times: The chairman of RSA is to hold urgent talks with rating agencies this week in a bid to avert a downgrade that could further erode the scandal-hit insurer’s financial stability.
  • The Independent: The most sweeping reforms to banking in more than a generation face their final hurdle in the House of Lords tonight amid criticism that they could spell the end for "free" retail banking.
  • Financial Times: Vodafone has been served with a €250 million lawsuit for allegedly breaching its contracts and causing harm to a Greek retail partner.
  • Daily Mail: Lending to UK firms by foreign banks has plummeted nearly 40% since the credit crunch began; figures show the value of loans has dropped from a peak of £221 billion at the end of 2008 to £137 billion today.
  • Financial Times: The chairman of JCB has warned that 2013 results will be disappointing because of a sharp slowdown in India, its largest market by sales, as it joined a parade of global companies who are worried about their prospects in the Bric nations.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Cereal harvests are up but UK food prices will rise in the long term; food experts are already forecasting that rising prices will return in a few years, spurred on by the changing eating habits of China's increasing urbanised population.
  • The Independent: New figures from the British Retail Consortium show footfall on high streets last month was 2.9% lower than a year ago and was "negative across the board" in every region of the UK that was surveyed.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Renault will piggyback on global partner Nissan’s product and strategy in its overdue entry to the Chinese carmaking market as it seeks a rapid catch-up with international competitors.
  • The Guardian: Virgin Money, the financial services company that took over Northern Rock, is expected to offer current accounts for the first time next year.
  • Financial Times: Royal Bank of Scotland faces the possibility of having its global trade finance business effectively frozen by the courts, as a long-running legal row with its software supplier comes to a head.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The Bank of England has forced Standard Chartered to strip its finance director, Richard Meddings, of his responsibility for risk at the emerging markets focused lender.
  • The Guardian: House prices could rise by as much as 8% next year unless there is a flood of new properties on to the housing market, according to the property website Rightmove.
  • The Independent: KPMG has prevented British partners sharing the whole of the year's profit for "the first time in living memory", according to the firm’s UK chairman; more than £20 million has been held back for investment, primarily in technology, out of a profit of £455 million, itself a leap of 27% on last year.
  • Financial Times: Trafigura, one of the world’s top commodity trading houses, has posted record profits of $2.2 billion, boosted by the sale of a stake in Puma Energy, its oil terminals and petrol station business.
  • Financial Times: Indian bankers’ long-entrenched gloom on their moribund new listings market is turning a corner, with the head of Bank of America Merrill Lynch in India the first to predict a reopening next year.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Mike Ashley's Sports Direct could be penalised by Adidas which is refusing to sell World Cup 2014 shirts via the retailer.
  • The Guardian: Aldermore, one of Britain's newest banks, has become the latest lender to launch products under the government's extended Help to Buy scheme.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Birds Eye owner asks lenders for extra breathing space; parent company Iglo seeks amendment to loan covenant as new chief executive sets out to double sales over the next six years.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Australia 'to be an energy superpower' by mid 2017; Morgan Stanley report predicts that gas exports will help country eliminate its current account deficit for the first time in four decades.
  • Daily Express: Bonuses could be cut and clawed back at Lloyds Banking Group, in the wake of the £28 million fine it received for running bonus schemes that encouraged mis-selling to customers.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Private equity firms invested a record amount in infrastructure in Latin America this year; in 2013, buyout firms invested more than $3.5 billion in deals in the transport, logistics, oil, energy and telecoms sectors, more than double last year’s total of $1.7 billion.
  • Financial Times: Google has snapped up Boston Dynamics, the creator of the world’s fastest running robot and other eerily realistic animal-like machines, supplied to the US military.
  • Financial Times: Credit Suisse will finance an online marketplace for investment banking and hedge fund software, in the latest attempt by a bank to reduce the sector’s rapidly spiralling technology costs.
  • Financial Times: The businessmen behind Cove Energy, the Aim-listed oil explorer sold for $1.9 billion last year, have won the backing of Carlyle Group to maintain interest in licences being drilled by Anadarko off New Zealand.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Ernst & Young figures show dealmaking at its lowest level for eight years despite improving economic confidence.
  • Financial Times: Japanese insurer Sompo is in advanced talks to buy the Lloyd’s of London franchise Canopius Group for about £600 million as the takeover target’s chief executive is lined up to run the historic UK insurance market.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Europe’s telecoms lag badly on the capital spending front, but consolidation in a revenue-constrained sector will not be easy.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Iran investment: Tehran might face fewer sanctions in the new year – but those that remain will still be tightly enforced.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Pemex: Mexico’s energy reforms are radical but unfinished.
  • The Independent (Comment): George Osborne has failed the very tests he set himself in 2010 – and we are poorer as a result.
  • The Independent (Comment): Channel 4 is in need of some decent public relations, after a year in which its ratings have suffered more than those of any of the other major broadcasters.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): True economic independence means having an independent central bank and your own currency and being outside the EU, says Neil MacKinnon, economist with VTB Capital.

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