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Friday Papers: Balfour Beatty and Carillion in £3bn merger talks

Friday Papers: Balfour Beatty and Carillion in £3bn merger talks

Top stories

  • The Daily Telegraph: Balfour Beatty, the UK’s biggest construction company, is in talks with rival Carillion about a potential £3.05 billion merger to create a "market leading" giant.
  • Financial Times: Junk bonds are on track for their worst monthly return in nearly a year, with investors fretting the era of easy US central bank money is at an end and calling time on a bull run for one of the market’s riskier asset classes.
  • Financial Times: Lloyds Banking Group is preparing to announce early next week that it will pay fines of £200m-£300m to US and UK regulators to settle allegations that the British bank manipulated major interest rate benchmarks.
  • Financial Times: PSA Peugeot Citroën and Fiat-Chrysler have discussed a deal that would have created the world’s fifth-largest carmaker producing about 8 million cars and giving both struggling companies global scale.
  • The Guardian: Amazon has reported a rise in sales on Thursday but posted a bigger-than-expected $126 million (£74 million) loss for its second quarter, sending shares sharply lower in after-hours trading.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The IMF has cut its global growth forecast for 2014 from 3.7% to 3.4% in the latest update to its World Economic Outlook.
  • Financial Times: Barclays has hit out against a US lawsuit alleging the bank misled clients about the level of high-frequency trading activity in its anonymous “dark pool” venue.
  • The Guardian: Britain's retailers enjoyed the strongest quarter in more than a decade between April and June, but consumers were less willing to spend towards the end of the period, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Richard Brindle, the founder of Lancashire has taken home more than £80 million after standing aside from the Lloyd’s of London insurer, including a package of cash and warrants that wiped more than a third off shareholders’ return on equity.
  • Financial Times: Goldman Sachs is spearheading an effort among Wall Street’s leading banks to develop a chat tool called “Babble” that could replace the instant messaging service on Bloomberg LP’s ubiquitous terminals.
  • Financial Times: The City of London’s biggest brokers are contemplating far-reaching changes to their business models ahead of proposed rule changes that could hit profits at smaller brokers and fund managers.
  • Financial Times: A £1 billion plan to create an Asian business district in a rundown part of east London’s docklands will go ahead after the local council gave planning permission.
  • Financial Times: MPs have called for a review of the leadership of the Bank of England’s court of directors in two years; they are pushing for the court to take on a beefed-up role in holding the institution’s executive to account.
  • Financial Times: British car factories continued to ramp up production in the first half of the year as the country’s resurgent automotive industry targets decade-high output in 2014.
  • Financial Times: Gatwick airport on Thursday sought to win over local people to its plan for a second runway by offering £256 million towards jet noise reduction measures, road improvements and the purchasing of houses for demolition.
  • Financial Times: China State Grid is close to finalising a €2 billion investment in Italy’s national power grid, the latest deal struck by China since the eurozone financial crisis into government-owned infrastructure in Europe.
  • Financial Times: BlackBerry is in talks with rival technology groups about partnerships to compete with the newly forged alliance between Apple and IBM.
  • Financial Times: Tough new rules are set to push banks to take a hit on their balance sheets for losses they expect to make in the future in the culmination of a five-year project to make company accounts paint a more accurate picture.
  • Financial Times: Iain Conn, BP’s head of downstream businesses, has quit the oil major and is holding talks with Centrica about taking over from Sam Laidlaw as chief executive of the UK’s biggest energy supplier to UK households.
  • Financial Times: The head of Rolls-Royce’s aerospace division has insisted he can further improve the profitability of its passenger jet engine business, as the UK company also targets new sources of growth including the fast-developing market for military drones.
  • Financial Times: The sale of London’s landmark Grosvenor House hotel could become an all-Indian affair, as detained tycoon Subrata Roy weighs a £550 million bid from the Poonawallas, one of the country’s wealthiest business families, with interests from vaccines to horse stud farms.
  • Financial Times: Iberia has agreed a deal to cut up to 1,427 jobs among its pilots and ground staff, bringing to a conclusion its negotiations with trade unions as it works through its restructuring programme.
  • Financial Times: Embattled British car parts supplier Unipart Automotive has gone into administration just weeks after it scrambled to secure a rescue deal.
  • Financial Times: Daily Mail and General Trust’s hopes of reaching a digital tipping point were temporarily dashed, as advertising growth at MailOnline failed to fully offset print advertising and circulation declines elsewhere within the group.
  • Financial Times: Repsol, the Spanish energy group, on Thursday released forecast-beating results for the second quarter, with net earnings almost doubling compared with the previous year to €520 million.
  • Financial Times: Martin Currie, the Edinburgh-based equity specialist, is to be acquired by US asset manager Legg Mason, marking the end of more than 130 years as an independent and privately owned fund boutique.
  • Financial Times: Chinese regulators are a step closer to sanctioning US mobile phone chipmaker Qualcomm, which puts chips in most of China’s 4G smartphones; n investigation into Qualcomm has determined that the company constitutes a monopoly, although no punishment has been decided.
  • Financial Times: Ricardo Espírito Santo Salgado, former executive chairman of Banco Espírito Santo and patriarch of Portugal’s most celebrated banking dynasty, was detained on Thursday in an investigation into suspected tax evasion and money laundering.
  • Financial Times: Net income for General Motors, the biggest US carmaker by sales, fell more than 80% from last year as costs and special charges for its vehicle recalls slashed net income by $1.5 billion to $200 million.
  • Financial Times: Unilever, the consumer goods group, reported a bigger than expected drop in first-half sales after a continued slowdown in emerging markets, where weakening currencies wiped €413 million off operating profits at the Anglo-Dutch company.
  • Financial Times: Shares in DIY retailer Kingfisher fell more than 7% on Thursday after a drop in second-quarter sales, partly driven by poor sales of World Cup novelties, including England-themed garden gnomes.
  • Daily Mail: Budget airline easyJet was counting the cost of unrest and political tensions affecting Israel, Egypt and Russia after its latest trading update prompted the City to scale back forecasts for annual profits.
  • Daily Mail: Official figures are set to show the UK economy has returned to pre-recession levels, ending the longest downturn in post-war history.
  • The Guardian: French judges have ordered the Swiss bank UBS to pay a €1.1 billion (£873 million) guarantee while it investigates charges that it helped rich clients hide money from the taxman.
  • The Guardian: Standard Chartered was under intense pressure on Thursday after being forced to issue a statement backing its chairman, Sir John Peace, and chief executive, Peter Sands.
  • The Independent: Cyber-criminals have attempted to extort cash from the European Central Bank (ECB) after hacking into its computers to steal personal details.
  • The Independent: The energy regulator has fined electricity network providers SSE and UK Power Networks £3.3 million after an investigation into prolonged power cuts over Christmas concluded that they could have handled the situation better.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Ford recorded first profit in Europe for three years as confidence in the European economy buoyed demand for the Ford Focus and Mondeo.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Britain’s Ministry of Defence has awarded a Carillion joint venture contracts worth up to £2.8 billion to manage its estate; The deal – won with joint venture partner Amey – involves maintaining and upgrading the entire military estate for the MoD, including RAF Cranwell, Catterick Garrison, Sandhurst, RAF Lyneham and MoD Stafford.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Walmart: way to grow.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Bank provisions: be prepared.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Nokia: tower of strength.
  • Financial Times (Lex): General Motors: past tense.

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