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Tuesday Papers: ‘Abusive’ Barclays tax plans blocked

Tuesday Papers: ‘Abusive’ Barclays tax plans blocked

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Barclays has been blocked from implementing two “highly abusive” tax schemes that could have cost the Treasury £500 million.
  • Financial Times: Senior UK ‘code staff’ at HSBC received $1.2 million in salaries and bonuses last year while similar positions overseas were given $2.3 million.
  • The Independent: HSBC on Monday reported the largest profit made by any bank in the Western world in 2011 with a 15% rise to $21.9 billion.
  • The Daily Telegraph: German politicians approved the €130 billion bail-out for Greece but remained unconvinced by Angela Merkel’s warning that abandoning Greece would be “incalculable and therefore irresponsible”.
  • The Independent: Britain's biggest companies paid the exchequer a total of £67.7 billion in the year to March 2011 – the largest collective tax receipt in three years.
  • Daily Mail: The highest-earning 1% of Britons pay almost 30% of all income taxes; the 308,000 on the 50p top rate – who earn more than £150,000 – pay £47 billion a year to the Treasury.
  • Financial Times: Greece shrugged off a downgrade to “selective default” on Monday by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The British Treasury Select Committee is to launch an investigation into whether the Government's "interference" on pay and bonuses is damaging state-backed banks.
  • The Daily Telegraph: BP is reported to be close to agreeing a $14 billion settlement with the thousands of businesses and individuals who are suing the UK oil group over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: The EU raised €3 billion in new 20-year bonds with order books rising above €5 billion as yields priced at about 3.4% or 90 basis points over German bonds of a similar maturity.
  • Financial Times: Transocean, the owner of the drilling rig at the centre of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, attributed the annual net loss of $5.63 billion to a $5.2 billion non-cash charge resulting from a goodwill impairment associated with its drilling unit and an estimated $1 billion loss from the spill.
  • Daily Mail: United Utilities has drawn up plans for a £2.6 billion pipeline to send water from the North to the drought-hit South.
  • Financial Times: AP Møller-Maersk group’s 2011 profits went down 33% to $3.38 billion against $5.02 billion for 2010.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Pre-tax profits of Senior, the aero-engineering group, soared 40% to a record £72.7 million last year on revenues of £640.7 million.
  • Financial Times: HSBC fell short of a goal to provide £12.9 billion of loans to small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK last year, blaming muted demand from these borrowers.
  • Daily Mail: Housebuilder Bovis announced a 74% jump in pre-tax profits to £32.1 million last year.
  • Financial Times: Henry Kravis and George Roberts each took home a pay-out of around $94 million last year from KKR, the private equity group they helped to found.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Cookson – the FTSE 250 industrial materials group – has unveiled an 11.7% increase in full-year profits to £211.6 million, sending its shares 3.5% higher to 694 pence.
  • The Guardian: Barack Obama helped put the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline back on track on Monday, endorsing construction on a key southern portion of the controversial project that runs from Cushing, Oklahoma to Port Arthur, Texas.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Apple has been knocked out of an annual top 10 list of consumer "superbrands", making way for the likes of battery maker Duracell and paint company Dulux, according to a survey by Superbrands.
  • The Guardian: Britain's biggest insurer, Prudential, is considering moving its headquarters from London to escape tough new capital rules for European insurers.
  • Financial Times: Glen Moreno has resigned as deputy chairman of Lloyds Banking Group, adding further to the disruption at the part-nationalised lender.
  • The Guardian: Shares of India’s Essar Energy fell 15% on Monday mainly due to profits shortfall at the oil-refining division and a delay to three power projects.
  • Financial Times: Banco Sabadell has unveiled a €913 million cash call following the Catalan lender’s takeover of the rescued savings bank CAM.
  • The Independent: The Lloyd's of London firm Hiscox has announced profits of £17.3 million, compared with £211.4 million last time, a fall of 92%.
  • Financial Times: Seth Waugh, who built Deutsche Bank into a serious force in fixed income on Wall Street, is stepping down as head of North America in the latest in a series of management changes at Germany’s biggest bank.
  • The Daily Telegraph: O2 is poised to launch a mobile money transfer app to rival Barclays’ “Pingit”, effectively opening the technology to all banks.
  • Financial Times: David Ross, the multimillionaire entrepreneur and chairman of Cosalt, has failed in his bid to take the beleaguered engineering services company private.
  • Financial Times: Blackstone has agreed to provide $2 billion of financing to Cheniere Energy Partners to fund the construction of a natural gas liquefaction plant.
  • Financial Times: Tesco has introduced a further tranche of its £500 million Big Price Drop, announcing cuts to 450 lines, including staples such as pasta, and focusing on its own-label goods.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Hopes that Olympus's troubles would lead it to make a clean break with the past were dashed as the scandal-hit Japanese company appointed a new board peopled with banking advisers, investors and other related parties.
  • Financial Times: Visa, the world’s largest payment processor, has announced a “worldwide partnership” with UK telecoms group Vodafone that will allow mobile phone customers to pay for goods and services using their handset.
  • The Independent: The Co-operative Group's food division is suffering a trading crisis in the Somerfield stores that it acquired nearly three years ago in a £1.6 billion deal.
  • Financial Times: Italy’s Finmeccanica defence group, already reeling from corruption probes at home, is reported to be under investigation in India over suspicions of irregularities involving a €560 million helicopter deal.
  • The Independent: Crew Clothing posted a 27% leap in pre-tax profits to £3.24 million over the year to 30 October.
  • Financial Times: Pearson, the owner of the Financial Times, beat analysts’ expectations in 2011 with adjusted earnings per share of 86.5 pence; the group’s board has proposed a 9% increase in the dividend to 42 pence.
  • Financial Times: Motorola Solutions has agreed to spend nearly $1.2 billion buying back the bulk of the stock held by Carl Icahn, who played a key role in prompting the old Motorola to split into two companies last year.
  • The Independent: Reed Elsevier, the FTSE 100-listed publisher of academic journals, has withdrawn its support for controversial legislation in the US that would restrict free access to research papers.
  • Daily Mail: Primark-owner Associated British Foods said sales between September and February grew by 2%, excluding store openings, which is lower than last year’s 3% growth.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Cinven and Goldman Sachs are set to sell their stakes in Ahlsell, the Swedish tool distributor, to European buy-out group CVC, in a deal that would value the business at €1.8 billion, including debt.
  • Financial Times: Dropbox, the digital file-sharing company that raised $250 million in financing last year, has made its first acquisition, taking over Cove, a start-up founded by three former, and highly regarded, Facebook engineers.
  • Financial Times: Bunzl, the napkins-to-syringes business, shelled out £185 million on 10 targets and added one more on Monday with the purchase of Chicago-based CDW Merchants.
  • The Guarding (Comment): Trust business, British PM David Cameron tells us, self-regulation is a force for social good. Silly me – I thought it was an invitation to disaster.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): The judgment of history is unlikely to be kind on Britain's former prime minister, Gordon Brown, yet amid the wreckage it is sometimes forgotten that some things he did in fact get right.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): China’s spectacular catch-up growth is nearing its limits, leaving the country prey to the "middle income trap" over coming years unless Beijing embraces the free market and relaxes its suffocating grip over the economy.
  • Financial Times (The Lex Column): Prudential: Asia contributes 25% of operating profits so the Pru may have business reasons for going east. Regulatory ones look like sabre-rattling.
  • Financial Times (The Lex Column): Vedanta: proposed restructuring starts with the merger of Vedanta’s Indian iron ore subsidiary Sesa Goa and copper producer Sterlite Industries.
  • Financial Times (The Lex Column): Transocean: difficulties for the owner of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig go beyond the immediate problem of the pending civil trial.
  • Financial Times (The Lex Column): HSBC: the Asia-focused bank has made some progress but needs to do more cost-cutting and restructuring – yet any reorganisation along global lines looks ambitious.
  • The Independent (Tips - Investment Column): London Stock Exchange: hold

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