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Thursday Papers: Toyota agrees to $1bn US settlement

Thursday Papers: Toyota agrees to $1bn US settlement

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Toyota Motor has agreed to pay as much as $1.4 billion to settle US litigation claims that its vehicles suddenly and unintentionally accelerated, according to court filings made public Wednesday.
  • Financial Times: Europe risks losing new petrochemical investments to the US and other countries because of its reluctance to embrace shale gas, Mohamed al-Mady, chief executive of Saudi Arabia’s Sabic, the world’s biggest petrochemical group by market value, has warned.
  • Daily Mail: Online sales have skyrocketed to record levels this Christmas, as UK internet users made 84 million visits to retail websites even as Santa was filling his sack on Christmas Eve, a rise of 86% on last year.
  • Daily Mail: An incredible £2.1 billion-worth of unwanted presents have been handed over this year alone in the UK, with average adult receiving two unwanted presents, worth £43.50 in total, research by classified ads website Gumtree.com reveals.
  • Financial Times: Samsung Electronics is seeking a ban on US imports and sales of some of Ericsson’s products, the latest legal action over patents in the competitive mobile phone market.
  • The Guardian: Samsung could face fines running to billions of pounds from the European commission over its attempts to use its "standard-essential" patents on 3G to ban sales of Apple's iPhone and iPad in Europe.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Ivan Tavrin, the chief executive of MegaFon, has bought $155 million stake in the London-listed Russian mobile phone operator.
  • Financial Times: Executives who have left the BBC will have their pay-offs scrutinised by the public spending watchdog amid growing concern at large severance packages.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The FTSE 100 has registered one of its weakest "Santa rallies" since the financial crisis, as worries over America's impending fiscal cliff weighed on the traditional end-of-year gain.
  • Financial Times: The yen hit a fresh 2012 low of Y85.56 against the dollar after the Bank of Japan released the minutes of its last meeting and Shinzo Abe was sworn in as the new Japanese prime minister.
  • The Independent: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 1.5% to 10,230.36 on Wednesday, continuing a run that has seen it climb to its highest for nine months, as Shinzo Abe was voted in as the new Prime Minister of the world’s third-largest economy.
  • Financial Times: More than two-thirds of 93 MPs surveyed by Ipsos Mori said they agreed there should be a separation between the two forms of banking as a way of preventing risky practices in investment banks from hurting ordinary savers.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: The British Bankers’ Association will on Thursday write to its 200 member banks to tell them about the two-pronged initiative – to set up a consumer panel and an advisory council – on opening itself to the wider society.
  • Financial Times: US private equity groups are using more debt to fund acquisitions than at any time since the start of the financial crisis as the cost of financing dips to an all-time low.
  • Financial Times: Increased staff turnover in the banking sector has led to more companies pushing for so-called “key man” provisions in merger deals to ensure they are not penalised if advisers move firm.
  • Financial Times: British Chancellor George Osborne has announced the award of £21.5 million in investment funds to UK universities to develop commercial uses for the Nobel Prize-winning material graphene.
  • The Guardian: Britain moved up to sixth in the global economic league table during 2012, overtaking Brazil despite a year of flatlining activity, a survey from the Centre for Economic and Business Research has found.
  • Financial Times: Tim Geithner, the US Treasury Secretary, says the US will hit its borrowing limit on 31 December, adding an extra volatile element to the stalled budget talks between the White House and Congress that also have an end of year deadline.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Washington has issued a blistering attack on China for persistent breaches of world trade rules and abuse of industrial secrets, accusing Beijing of failing to abide by treaty obligations.
  • The Daily Telegraph: France should review its 3% deficit target with Brussels, the International Monetary Fund has said, as it warned that the country's already high tax burden risked dampening economic activity further.
  • Financial Times: World production of steel will rise by a muted 2.9% during 2013, helped by a 3.5% year-on-year increase in output in China, according to a survey of 20 steel executives and analysts; average prices are expected to climb by just 2.3%.
  • Financial Times: The Essex seaside town of Southend has topped the regional ranking of top house price risers for the year, according to the latest data from mortgage lender Halifax, adding to growing evidence of a north-south divide in UK house price trends.
  • The Guardian: A damning report by safety experts has revealed that staff at Britain's most important nuclear site did "not have the level of capability required to respond to nuclear emergencies effectively".
  • Daily Mail: A trouble-strewn year for gold miner Randgold Resources took another unwelcome twist, as it downgraded production estimates following a fire at its Tongon mine in Cote d’Ivoire on Christmas eve.
  • Financial Times: A jury has awarded $1.17 billion in damages against Marvell, the US semiconductor maker, for infringing hard drive-related patents owned by Carnegie Mellon University.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Crispin Odey, one of the UK’s most successful hedge fund managers, suffered a pay cut of more than a third this year but still took home £9.4 million.
  • Financial Times: SMFG, one of Japan’s big three banks, plans to expand its Asian consumer finance business to target the growing middle classes in southeast Asia and China.
  • The Guardian: Christmas sales at John Lewis, the almost 150-year-old retailer, smashed through £150 million for the first time with takings at its 39 stores and website hitting £157.8 million, a 26.5% increase on the same week a year ago.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Diageo has opened a whisky clubhouse in Beijing to meet growing demand.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: South Korea’s KT Corp has submitted a preliminary bid for Vivendi’s controlling stake in Morocco’s largest telecoms operator, Maroc Telecom, as it seeks to expand in emerging markets.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The Anglo-Irish firm behind Magners C&C Group, has added US rival, Vermont Hard Cider Company, to its portfolio of drinks brands for $305 million.
  • Financial Times: Digital Globe Services, a US online advertising group, plans to raise about £9 million with a flotation in London early next year.
  • The Guardian (Comment): A series of banking scandals, outrage over tax avoidance and more eurozone procrastination have implications for next year.
  • The Guardian (Comment): Berlin's mantra about spending cuts in the eurozone is bringing unemployment and spreading hopelessness across Europe.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): It may have been a positive year for the FTSE 100, with the index rising 6.85%, but UK gains look positively pedestrian when compared with the rest of the world.
  • Financial Times (Lex): LSE / LCH.Clearnet: Christmas came early for London Stock Exchange and LCH, but their revised offer agreement was certainly no cracker
  • Financial Times (Lex): European buybacks: European executives are not falling over themselves to buy back their companies’ shares but, before cheering, investors should ponder the reasons
  • Financial Times (Lex): Junk bond ETFs: ETFs are growing in popularity in the junk bond market for the same reasons investors like them elsewhere: fees are low and the liquidity is high.
  • Financial Times (Lex): While ‘merger of equals’ might soothe staff, it should alarm investors: mergers tend not to carry a premium, so shareholders need to ask why one is not being offered.

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