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Monday Papers: Oil and gas company debt soars

Monday Papers: Oil and gas company debt soars

Top stories

  • The Daily Telegraph: The world’s leading oil and gas companies are taking on debt and selling assets on an unprecedented scale to cover a shortfall in cash, calling into question the long-term viability of large parts of the industry.
  • Financial Times: Italy Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said the eurozone’s third-largest economy was on track to hit its EU-mandated budget targets this year despite falling back into recession in the second quarter and defended the speed at which his reforms were moving.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Balfour and Carillion reviveed merger talks; the two FTSE 250 construction giants had called off talks over a £3 billion tie-up but a deal is once again on the cards after Carillion made concessions to Balfour.
  • Financial Times: Wall Street and corporate America will breathe a collective sigh of relief when US Senator Carl Levin retires this year, leaving his feared Senate subcommittee with new leadership in the next Congress.
  • Financial Times: The new Indian government will launch its eagerly awaited $10 billion divestment plan for state companies with the sale next month of 5% of Steel Authority of India (Sail), the country’s biggest steel group by volume.
  • Financial Times: Kinder Morgan, which runs 80,000 miles of oil and gas pipelines in North America, plans to spend $44 billion to buy out the outside investors in its family of companies, in a deal that ranks as the second largest in the energy sector.
  • Daily Mail: Alex Salmond has admitted there is no acceptable 'Plan B' if an independent Scotland is barred from using the British pound.
  • The Independent: President Vladimir Putin lauded Russia’s “old and reliable partner” Exxon Mobil on Sunday as he gave the go-ahead for the US energy company and its Russian ally Rosneft to begin drilling a $700 million (£420 million) oil well in the Arctic Ocean.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: A tax avoidance crackdown is set to turn the spotlight on previously undetected inheritance tax planning schemes, where HM Revenue & Customs suspects “substantial” sums are at risk.
  • Financial Times: The appointment of a new deputy governor at the Bank of England risks tilting the balance on its powerful Financial Policy Committee in favour of BoE insiders at a time when the body is amassing new powers over the financial system, critics say.
  • Financial Times: The UK’s car sales boom is starting to splutter as years of credit-fuelled spending catches up with a saturated market, and ingenious financing schemes that propped up the market begin to leave drivers out of pocket.
  • Financial Times: Britain’s employers are hiring at a rapid pace but very few have increased the starting salaries they offer, denting hopes for a recovery in wages after six lean years.
  • Financial Times: Less than three months after exiting an international rescue programme, rejecting the safety net of a precautionary credit line and forgoing a final instalment of bailout funds, the country has been shaken by the collapse of its largest listed lender.
  • Financial Times: A regional slowdown and the threat of escalating tensions with Russia have hit confidence in Germany, adding to worries about the stalling recovery in the eurozone.
  • Financial Times: The criminal investigation into former traders at Royal Bank of Scotland over the Libor scandal is set to drag on well into next year, dashing hopes that the government-controlled lender can swiftly put past scandals behind it.
  • Financial Times: Khazanah, the country’s sovereign wealth fund, ended weeks of uncertainty over the immediate fate of Malaysia Airlines by announcing a planned buyout of minority shareholders that will take the airline into its hands.
  • Financial Times: Since Bridgepoint’s £345 million leveraged buyout in 2008, Pret has successfully tested its concept of freshly baked natural food with urban working crowds of large American cities, Paris and Hong Kong; the opening of a shop in Shanghai this autumn will help establish the brand’s growth prospects in a potentially huge market.
  • Financial Times: Countries including Pakistan, Tunisia and South Africa are drawing up plans to issue government bonds that comply with Islamic law as they seek to take advantage of strong investor demand for emerging market sovereign debt.
  • Financial Times: Blackstone is stepping up its investments in data and technology companies that will enable it to bypass its traditional bankers and brokers, complicating the lucrative relationship between the world’s largest private equity company and Wall Street.
  • Financial Times: South Africa’s central bank has put crisis-hit African Bank Investments, the country’s biggest lender of unsecured loans, under curatorship as it outlined a rescue plan that will involve a near $1 billion capital injection.
  • Financial Times: Grosvenor, the property company owned by the Duke of Westminster, is looking to exploit a market slump in China by building its first housing development project in the country.
  • Financial Times: A new venture capital fund seeks to bridge the divide between Wall Street banks and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs by bringing together seasoned bankers and tech executives to support start-ups aiming to disrupt modern finance.
  • Financial Times: A landmark terror financing trial is set to begin in New York on Monday as Jordan’s Arab Bank is pitted against the families and victims of attacks allegedly carried out by Hamas between 2001 and 2004.
  • Financial Times: Chris Finlayson, the former chief executive of BG Group, has found a new home as chairman of InterOil, the New York-listed oil and gas company developing one of the largest natural gas fields to be discovered in Asia in recent years.
  • Daily Mail: The new boss of FTSE 100 miner Vedanta has overhauled its pay structure in a bid to address an ‘unacceptable’ rate of fatalities; Tom Albanese, the former boss of Rio Tinto, has made Vedanta’s dismal safety record his priority since taking over earlier this year.
  • Daily Mail: Wind farms in France and Ireland could receive UK Government subsidies under a new scheme so long as they export power to the UK.
  • Daily Mail: Airline and tour operator Monarch is in talks with outside investors to raise £60million to help secure its future; the Swiss-owned firm has launched a review of its finances but its founding family has also hired restructuring specialists from PricewaterhouseCoopers should talks with investors fail and trading conditions worsen.
  • Daily Express: Pub landlord Punch Taverns is tipped to take a step towards shoring up its business this week when it finally agrees a shake-up of its £2.3 billion debt pile.
  • The Guardian: Starting salaries are expected to remain low for the rest of the year after a wide ranging jobs survey found only 2% of employers handed an above-inflation pay rise to new recruits in the last year.
  • The Guardian: Greene King is to take its long-running battle to prove the legality of a controversial tax avoidance scheme to the court of appeal despite two defeats in the lower tax courts and condemnation from a Treasury minister and other MPs.
  • The Independent: National Grid has been accused of a “management failure” that has allegedly seen hundreds of workers left out of pocket, as the power giant’s fractious relationship with unions hits new lows.
  • The Independent: Former energy regulators have urged competition authorities to keep Ofgem staff away from their investigation into household bills, claiming that the watchdog itself is partly to blame for high prices.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Lord Chadlington is set to depart from PR company Huntsworth; the chief executive of the public relations firm, who is a friend of David Cameron, is stepping down after nine years at the helm.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Aberdeen chief has warned on Ukraine crisis risks; Martin Gilbert, boss of Aberdeen Asset Management, said that investors have overlooked geopolitical risks.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Brevan Howard is battling to stop a co-founder from launching a competitor in a court case that throws open details of the publicity-shy $37 billion hedge fund for the first time.
  • Financial Times: Rocket Internet, the Berlin-based start-up accelerator which invests in ecommerce start-ups and helps them expand rapidly, has fixed €3.3 billion valuation as the floor for the company’s offer price at an expected IPO in Frankfurt this autumn.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Fiat Chrysler: addio del passato.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Italian banks: time to combine.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Private equity: goodbye to all that.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comments): Something is deeply amiss in the IPO market.

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