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Friday Papers: European groups warn on Russia sanctions

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Friday Papers: European groups warn on Russia sanctions

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Companies across the eurozone warned that the crisis in Russia and Ukraine is already taking its toll on business, as stringent sanctions imposed on Moscow sent ripples through European boardrooms.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Argentina has threatened to take the US to the International Court of Justice for judicial malpractice, accusing the country of gross incompetence for allowing two small hedge funds to push the Argentine state into default, regardless of the mayhem caused for other creditors and the damage to ordinary people.
  • The Guardian: Profits at Lloyds Banking Group more than halved in the first six months of the year as its bill for the payment protection insurance scandal increased by £600 million and it paid out penalties for rigging interest rates.
  • Financial Times: At least £122 billion of property in England and Wales is held through companies in offshore tax havens where ownership is difficult to trace, a Financial Times analysis of Land Registry data has found.
  • Financial Times: Iliad, the upstart French telecoms group, has made a surprise bid for control of T-Mobile US that values the third-largest US carrier at $29.5 billion and upends expectations that it would sell to rival Sprint Nextel.
  • Financial Times: Investors in European banks received a harsh reminder of the risks posed by tougher regulation and closer scrutiny of financial balance sheets on Thursday as two big lenders, BNP Paribas and Banco Espírito Santo, announced record losses despite an improving economic outlook.
  • Financial Times: Africa-focused oil group Afren has suspended its chief executive pending an investigation into “unauthorised payments”, stoking concerns about corporate governance at African companies seeking to raise capital in London.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Eurozone has fallen further towards deflation trap as prices rose at near-five-year low of 0.4% in July putting additional pressure on European Central Bank.
  • The Guardian: More than 4,000 households in England used the government's Help to Buy loan scheme to buy properties in June, the highest monthly total since the scheme began in 2013.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: The number of wealthy Russians granted elite “investor visas”, which speed settlement in Britain, more than doubled in the first quarter of this year.
  • Financial Times: Britain is aiming to become the world leader in medical DNA research, following a public-private agreement to invest a further £300 million in the government’s 100,000 Genomes Project over the next four years.
  • Financial Times: Property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz has received a £1.5 million settlement from the UK’s Serious Fraud Office, days after his older brother Vincent agreed to a £3 million settlement, concluding the brothers’ civil damages claim.
  • Financial Times: Sberbank, Russia’s largest lender, will be blocked from accessing Europe’s medium- and long-term money markets under new wide-ranging EU sanctions against The Kremlin.
  • Financial Times: Banco Espírito Santo is racing against the clock to avert a government rescue by hurriedly patching together a private-sector capital increase after a first-half net loss of €3.58 billion left the Portuguese lender dangerously weakened.
  • Financial Times: Royal Dutch Shell has been hit by a further $2 billion writedown at its struggling North American businesses, as souring investments in the country’s shale revolution continued to weigh on earnings.
  • Financial Times: Facebook has created an app to offer free basic internet services to users in emerging markets as part of its push to “connect everyone” and expand its userbase beyond the 1.3 billion people who already use the social network.
  • Financial Times: Incoming Infosys chief executive Vishal Sikka plans to move away from “low-cost, mundane” software services and focus on new high-growth business lines as he grapples with improving performance at the struggling Indian IT outsourcer.
  • Financial Times: Lloyds Banking Group is struggling to find a way to claw back bonuses from employees responsible for rate rigging as most have already had their awards paid out in full.
  • Financial Times: Diageo, the world’s biggest spirits group, reported an 11% drop in full-year net profit as it bore the brunt of the emerging market downturn, where it was forced to take a writedown in the value of its Chinese baijiu brand, the 600-year-old white spirit.
  • Financial Times: Erste Group reported a €1.03 billion net loss in the second quarter, as it wrote down its Romanian business and set aside money to comply with a Hungarian law forcing banks to compensate borrowers for “unfair” conditions on foreign-currency loans.
  • Financial Times: Banco Santander capped an upbeat earnings season for the Spanish banking sector on Thursday by revealing a better than expected 38% rise in second-quarter profits and a further fall in its bad loan ratio.
  • Financial Times: BNP Paribas reported a record €4.32 billion loss in the second quarter after a criminal charge and a big fine for violating US sanction controls in Sudan and other countries, and said it was strengthening its internal compliance.
  • Financial Times: Charges related to risky power transmission projects once again took the shine off Siemens third-quarter results and the engineering company warned its energy business would remain “a challenge” in coming quarters.
  • Financial Times: BAE Systems has expressed optimism that Eurofighter Typhoon, the combat aircraft, could secure more orders from the Middle East.
  • Financial Times: Toscafund has become the latest London hedge fund to open an office in the US as the $3 billion manager seeks to build on American demand for its brand of stock picking and activist investing.
  • Financial Times: AstraZeneca raised its full-year earnings guidance on Thursday as Pascal Soriot, chief executive, declared “significant progress” in the company’s turnround efforts.
  • Financial Times: Revenue at Samsung Electronics’ flagship mobile device business fell by a fifth in the second quarter from a year earlier, as the South Korean group confirmed a sharp fall in profit for the period.
  • Financial Times: Rolls-Royce’s chief executive insisted he was confident the UK engine maker can meet its forecasts for 2014, in spite of downgrading the outlook for its marine unit for the second time this year.
  • Financial Times: Schroders reported record pre-tax profits on Thursday as the UK’s second-biggest listed asset manager attracted new business, despite competition from passive funds that have cut costs to the bone.
  • Financial Times: Eni, the Italian oil and gas group, announced a 51% rise in its net profit for the second quarter of the year, with long-term gas contract renegotiations offsetting weak demand and lower availability of Libyan supplies.
  • Financial Times: Generali’s chief executive said the Italian insurer is “back in the race” with rivals Allianz and Axa, announcing it would hit 2015 targets ahead of schedule after first-half profit rose to its highest level in 10 years.
  • Financial Times: A capacity glut triggered lower ticket prices and hit Lufthansa’s second-quarter profits as Europe’s biggest airline by sales warned markets would remain weak in the second half.
  • Financial Times: Carrefour showed signs that its back-to-basics strategy is paying off after first-half operating profit beat expectations.
  • Financial Times: Metro reported a slump in sales in all markets except Germany between April and June, as currency effects and conditions in Ukraine continued to weigh on the German retail group.
  • Daily Mail: A long-term strategy to turnaround the fortunes of Thomas Cook appeared to be on track today as the tour operator reported a boost in quarterly underlying profits to £33 million.
  • Daily Express: The telecoms giant, BT, which in 2012 paid £738 million for the rights to show Premier League football on its BT Sport TV channels for three years, said revenues from its consumer division rose 10% to just over £1 billion in the three months to 30 June.
  • Daily Express: Merlin, which runs Madame Tussauds and Sea Life aquariums, is looking to open 20 Legoland Parks and has earmarked Korea and China; the move follows a five-fold increase in half-year pre-tax profits to £40 million.
  • The Guardian: The investment decisions of UK pension funds and insurers pose a threat to financial stability and economic growth, the Bank of England has warned.
  • The Guardian: Two bosses from the bank that almost bankrupted Ireland have been given 240 hours of community service for an illegal multimillion-euro loan scheme to rich investors.
  • The Guardian: Target Corp appointed former PepsiCo Inc executive Brian Cornell as CEO and chairman as it tries to regain customer confidence following a devastating data breach that hurt the retailer’s earnings and reputation.
  • The Independent: Shares in Adidas fell more than 10% in early trading after the sportswear group warned worsening conditions in Russia could hit profits.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Centrica said that energy regulator, Ofgem, is publishing inaccurately high estimates of company profits confusing consumers over profit.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Naver, South Korea’s biggest internet company by sales, disappointed the market with its second-quarter results amid speculation over a possible flotation of Line, its fast-growing mobile “chat app”.
  • Financial Times: Europe’s largest broadcasting group, RTL, has made an unusual bet on the growth of online video, paying $144 million for a majority stake in digital advertising marketplace SpotXchange.
  • Financial Times: A row has erupted after Balfour Beatty walked out of talks over a £3 billion merger with rival Carillion and questioned the credibility of its management team.
  • Financial Times: UK private equity company 3i Group is exploring a sale of Agent Provocateur, the British luxury lingerie retailer.
  • Daily Mail: The British engineering consultancy behind Tower Bridge and the Sydney Harbour Bridge is being bought by a Dutch rival; Hyder Consulting has agreed to be snapped up by Arcadis in a £256 million deal.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Stocks: the value is out there.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Sony: random walk.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Banco Espírito Santo: holey credit.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Windstream: tax windfall.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Shell: a slick effort.

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