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Friday Papers: Centrica hit by record fall in share price

Friday Papers: Centrica hit by record fall in share price

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Centrica suffered its worst single-day stock market loss on Thursday after the British energy supplier issued a profit warning because of problems at its North American business and reported hundreds of thousands of lost customers in the UK.
  • Financial Times: The eurozone’s “booming” economy powered ahead in November with jobs growth and new manufacturing orders reaching 17-year highs as a stronger currency did little to dampen robust foreign demand for the region’s exports.
  • The Times: Workers face two “lost decades” without earnings growth and it will be the 2060s before Britain’s debt falls back to the level it was before the financial crisis, leading economic think tanks warned yesterday.
  • The Daily Telegraph: BGL Group has been eyeing a £2 billion listing of Comparethemarket.com since at least last July but has now decided to drop that process after the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) said on Thursday that it was buying a 30% stake in the conglomerate for £675 million.
  • Financial Times: Britain’s biggest water and sewage company Thames Water has said it will close its Cayman Islands subsidiaries following months of pressure over its opaque corporate structure.
  • Financial Times: Rovio Entertainment lost a fifth of its market value on Thursday after the Angry Birds maker swung to third-quarter losses in its first results as a public company.
  • Financial Times: Chinese biotech groups are on target to raise about $10bn this year from venture capital funding, initial public offerings and licensing deals with overseas pharma companies, in what is partly a bet that Chinese-developed drugs can compete globally.

Business and economics

  • The Daily Telegraph: Britain's police, paramedics and fire crews are to be armed with Samsung smartphones after the South Korean giant landed a Government contract worth up to £210 million to supply 250,000 handsets for a new emergency communications network.
  • The Guardian: Employers and unions have called for a rethink of the government’s apprenticeship policies after a 59% fall in those taking up trainee posts since a new scheme was launched in April.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Severn Trent has pledged to help Britain’s housing crisis by selling its surplus land to developers while hitting back at the looming threat of the Labour party’s re-nationalisation agenda.
  • Daily Mail: Shares in Mothercare have slumped over 16% after the retailer posted a £16.8 million half-year loss and warned of a 'softening' UK market.
  • The Guardian: Just Eat is on course to enter the FTSE 100 after its stock market value rose higher than Sainsbury’s.
  • Financial Times: ThyssenKrupp, the German group selling out of steelmaking to focus on capital goods, posted better than expected earnings for its full year, sending shares higher.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Britain’s booming craft beer industry helped delivery firm APC Overnight post a 30% growth in pre-tax profits to £3 million last year.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Fears about Brexit and consumer spending have led pub owner Mitchells & Butlers to ditch its interim dividend and put its next full-year payout under review.
  • Financial Times: Babcock hit a five-year low on Thursday as cash flow worries pushed the defence outsourcer towards FTSE 100 ejection.
  • The Times: Empiric Student Property has scaled back its dividends for shareholders after identifying “a number of financial and operational inefficiencies” within the company that dented its profit margins.
  • Financial Times: Businesses in the UK are stockpiling goods because of worries that Brexit could disrupt their international supply chains, according to consultants KPMG.
  • The Guardian: Tumble dryers and other white goods made by Whirlpool caused more than three times as many fires in London over the last eight years as the next worst offending manufacturer.
  • Financial Times: Mitsubishi Materials has admitted its subsidiaries falsified data about products used in crucial parts of aircraft and cars, dragging another of Japan’s largest manufacturers into the data falsification scandal at Kobe Steel.
  • The Guardian: Harrods has begun the biggest redevelopment in the department store’s 170-year history to increase its appeal to wealthy overseas shoppers flocking to Britain to exploit the weak pound.
  • Daily Mail: Unilver has reportedly hired headhunters to search for a successor to long-serving boss Paul Polman.
  • The Daily Telegraph: HSBC’s joint global banking boss Matthew Westerman is leaving the lender less than two years after joining from Goldman Sachs.
  • The Times: TCI Fund Management, the activist fund attempting to have the chairman of the London Stock Exchange voted off the board at a forthcoming shareholder meeting, could bring legal action against the exchange’s directors.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Telecoms regulators have imposed temporary price caps and other restrictions on BT after a court rejected a plan to allow rivals to take control fibre-optic lines.
  • The Times: Men working at the Bank of England are paid nearly a quarter more than their female counterparts, highlighting once again the gender disparity at the central bank.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Times (Tempus share tips): HOLD Majestic Wines; HOLD John Menzies.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Zoopla Property Group told investors that it will not be making another swoop for the price comparison site Gocompare.com after its chairman Sir Peter Wood said the previous bid of 110p-a-share "fundamentally undervalued" the firm and was opportunistic.
  • The Times: Ophir Energy has postponed a final investment decision on a $2 billion deepwater gas project in west Africa until next year after it struggled to raise money.

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