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Saturday Papers: Total joins UK’s pursuit of shale boom

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Saturday Papers: Total joins UK’s pursuit of shale boom

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Total of France is to become the first major oil company to explore for shale gas in the UK, in a big boost for government efforts to create a US-style fracking boom on British soil.
  • Daily Mail: The National Institute of Economic and Social Research said gross domestic product in UK rose by 0.7% in the final three months of last year; that was down from 0.8% in the third quarter and the second quarter.
  • Daily Mail: Unemployment in the US fell to its lowest level for five years last month but American firms created far fewer jobs than expected, figures showed yesterday; the Labour Department said the jobless rate dropped from 7% in November to 6.7% in December - the lowest level since October 2008.
  • Financial Times: Activist investors including Elliott Associates, one of the most aggressive US hedge funds, have built a stake in struggling grocer Wm Morrison and are pushing for a radical shake-up of its property portfolio.

Business and economics

  • Daily Mail: Royal Mail hikes price for companies' delivery services by up to 4.1%.
  • Daily Mail: Watch-maker Swatch managed to defy the downturn, posting a record 8.3% rise in sales for 2013.
  • The Guardian: British consumers bought 550,000 tonnes less red meat in 2013 as sales of frozen burgers and ready meals containing beef slid in the wake of the horse meat scandal.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Wood Mackenzie believes 14 new fields with the capacity to produce 438 million barrels of oil equivalent will be brought on stream by the industry in 2014 in North Sea.
  • Financial Times: SAP remains on track to book more than €1 billion in annual sales from the cloud.
  • Daily Mail: Shoppers shrugged off the New Year gales and floods to take advantage of discounts at John Lewis, boosting sales by 23.6%, over the past week.
  • Financial Times: Infosys bolstered its full-year revenue guidance after surpassing analysts’ third-quarter expectations, raising hopes of a sustained recovery at India’s third-largest IT outsourcer under returned executive chairman NR Narayana Murthy.
  • The Independent: Lotus suffered a 40% slide in the number of sports cars sold as losses at the Malaysian-owned engineer worsened dramatically last year.
  • The Guardian: Banks have increased the pace of granting compensation to small businesses over allegations that they were mis-sold complex financial products, with payouts reaching £158.6 million in December.
  • Daily Mail: The Office for National Statistics said output in the construction sector fell by 4% in November, its sharpest fall since June 2012.
  • Financial Times: Berkeley Group has won planning permission to redevelop the News International publishing site on former dockland in Wapping, east London.
  • The Guardian: Hackers stole personal information with details of up to 70 million people – a third of American adults – including phone numbers, email and home addresses, the US retail chain Target admitted on Friday.
  • The Guardian: China became the world's largest trading nation in 2013, overtaking the US in what Beijing described as "a landmark milestone" for the country.
  • The Independent: Matthew Williamson, the fashion designer famous for his friendships with stars including Kate Moss and Sienna Miller, plans to restructure and grow his business this year, after it made £1.6 million pre-tax loss in 2012.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Apollo Global Management has raised the largest fund since the credit crash; the New York-based fund manager, co-founded by Leon Black, the US financier, amassed $17.5 billion from third party investors including sovereign wealth funds, university endowments and public pension funds, it said in a statement on Thursday.
  • Financial Times: Cineworld has launched a push into rapidly growing European economies with a deal to create the continent’s second-largest multiplex chain by market share; the UK’s biggest cinema group is to acquire Cinema City International, a Warsaw-listed chain.
  • Financial Times: Travelex’s private equity owner, Apax Partners, is considering a sale of its stake in the world’s biggest operator of airport foreign exchange shops this year.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): The antics of the Rev Paul Flowers and his progress to the chair at the Co-operative Bank have, in their own way, been a godsend to the new management of the bank and the regulators.
  • The Guardian (Editorial): Those out-of-town stores look embarrassing and expensive, especially with so many people joining the online revolution.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Shell: new chief executive needs to break cycle of underperformance.
  • Financial Times (Lex): UK bookies: William Hill and Ladbrokes in for tough year.
  • Financial Times (Lex): SAP: disappointing fourth-quarter earnings add to questions over valuation.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Infosys: Indian outsourcer goes back to basics as founder returns.
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