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Wednesday Papers: Banks pay out $100bn in US fines

Wednesday Papers: Banks pay out $100bn in US fines

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Wall Street banks and their foreign rivals have paid out $100 billion in US legal settlements since the financial crisis.
  • Financial Times: The UK government moved a step closer to returning Lloyds Banking Group to the private sector before next year’s election after it announced plans to sell more than £4 billion worth of its shares in the bank.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Cheaper petrol and diesel prices help to push consumer prices inflation to a four-year low as UK inflation falls to 1.7%.
  • The Guardian: Postal unions have reacted angrily and raised the prospect of industrial action after Royal Mail announced plans to cut 1,600 jobs in the postal group's first big round of redundancies since it was privatised in October.
  • Financial Times: The British government may shift the burden of its bank tax on to foreign institutions and away from UK retail banks, experts say, amid claims that UK lenders are among the most heavily taxed in the world.
  • Financial Times: Santander UK is to be hit with a £12.5 million fine – one of the biggest ever retail banking penalties – for providing unsuitable investment advice to customers in its branches.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: The world’s top three platinum producers warned on Tuesday that a more than eight-week wage strike in South Africa has cost them $1 billion in lost revenues and was making mines and shafts unviable.
  • Financial Times: Stephen Hester, the banker dragged into successive pay rows when he led Royal Bank of Scotland, is now facing questions from some shareholders in his new employer, RSA, regarding his bonus plans.
  • Financial Times: Vince Cable, the business secretary, will threaten fresh measures to curb executive pay if companies ignore the spirit of his “say on pay” reforms.
  • Financial Times: CBI head has strongly criticised the idea of Scottish independence, saying the nationalist economic vision “does not add up”.
  • Financial Times: MPs have backed plans to review the penalties for failure to pay the TV licence fee, paving the way for the possible decriminalisation of non-payment.
  • Financial Times: UK house prices are rising at the fastest rate in almost four years, according to official figures that show the housing market’s revival is spreading beyond London.
  • Financial Times: Britain is facing fresh scrutiny from Brussels over its flagship tax break for intellectual property, because of concerns it could be an illegal state subsidy.
  • Financial Times: Falling demand in continental Europe has prompted Japanese automaker Honda to cut production at its Swindon plant by three shifts to two, putting at risk 340 permanent roles; some 160 temporary jobs that are due to expire this year will not be extended.
  • Financial Times: Expanding Gatwick would regenerate a swath of the South East from London to the coast and create thousands of jobs, the airport argued as it stepped up its campaign to be allowed to build a second runway.
  • Financial Times: One of the biggest barriers to the European Central Bank buying government bonds to save the eurozone from deflation was removed after the head of Germany’s Bundesbank offered his first sign of support for quantitative easing.
  • Financial Times: Venezuelan bonds have rallied strongly in response to a change in foreign exchange policy on Monday, when the government sold dollars to private sector buyers at a rate that is eight times higher than the official one.
  • Financial Times: Mike Cavanagh, one of the favourites to succeed Jamie Dimon as chief executive of JP Morgan Chase, has quit the US bank to become co-president at Carlyle, the private equity house.
  • Financial Times: Investors have flocked to Yahoo, an ageing dotcom darling, seduced by its stake in what promises to be the face of a new internet boom: the soon-to-go-public Alibaba, heading for a valuation of up to $200 billion.
  • Financial Times: Departing Lufthansa chief warns of threat posed by fast-expanding Gulf airlines to Europe’s legacy carriers.
  • Financial Times: Nat Rothschild’s ill-fated business alliance with Indonesia’s Bakrie family has ended after the tie-up that created Bumi plc was unwound in a $500 million deal.
  • Financial Times: Legal & General has become the first life insurance company to forecast the loss of revenues caused by last week’s changes to the pension rules – predicting that the £12 billion-a-year market for individual annuity contracts could more than halve in size.
  • Financial Times: BP said one of its US refineries had leaked an undisclosed amount of crude oil into Lake Michigan.
  • Financial Times: A consortium comprising Centrica, the owner of British Gas, and two private equity groups have struck a deal to buy Bord Gáis Energy, the retail arm of Ireland’s state gas company, Bord Gáis Éireann, for €1.1 billion.
  • Financial Times: EasyJet said its first-half losses would be less than expected after a mild winter helped it cut costs.
  • Financial Times: The world’s biggest cruise operator, Carnival, has been taking more bookings this year but is selling them for less, leaving it facing a second-quarter loss.
  • Financial Times: PwC, the professional services firm, said that it had been appointed as administrator to the pawnbroker Albemarle, which had suspended its shares a day earlier.
  • Financial Times: Banco Santander said it plans to write €30 billion in new loans to small and medium-sized companies in Spain this year, an increase of 24% compared with the previous year.
  • Financial Times: BlackBerry plans to sell virtual goods to users of its BBM messaging service, which until now has been prized more for its strong security than cutesy cartoon features.
  • Financial Times: Partners Group, one of Europe’s largest private equity fund managers, is reorganising itself to operate more independently from its founders.
  • Financial Times: Coca-Cola said claims its executive pay package was a “raw deal” for investors were “misinformed” as the world’s largest soft drinks maker found itself in a public battle with one of its shareholders.
  • Financial Times: Online gambling group 888 Holdings handed shareholders a one-off dividend after declaring a 30% rise in pre-tax profits in its full-year results on the back of strong growth in its casino and poker products.
  • Financial Times: AG Barr, the Scottish maker of Irn-Bru, said on Tuesday that it had outperformed the UK soft drinks market with a 9% rise in full-year profits, as it sidestepped assessing the business impact of possible Scottish independence.
  • Financial Times: Wolseley, the British plumbing supplies group, has outlined plans to make a number of bolt-on acquisitions over the coming months as it looks to build on improved profits in its first half.
  • Financial Times: Profits at Panmure Gordon doubled over 2013 as the corporate broker reaped the rewards of buoyant equity markets and an increased appetite for IPOs.
  • Financial Times: Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks will close 28 “unsustainable branches” and invest £45 million in customer improvements over the next nine months, as part of an overhaul of their retail banking operations.
  • The Guardian: Rolls-Royce has been accused of sacking a senior engineer after he blew the whistle on allegations of potentially serious problems with the company's jet engines.
  • The Guardian: The top management team of the Co-operative Group is facing calls to hand back controversial retention payments in an effort to repair its relationship with the 7 million members of the troubled mutual.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Plans for Russia to build UK nuclear reactors is now "under consideration in the light of recent developments in Ukraine".
  • The Daily Telegraph: Ratings agency Moody's warns of growing risks from the rapid rise in loans from Hong Kong banks owned by some of China's biggest lenders.
  • The Independent: The European Commission has given the luxury goods industry special status and declared it a driver of a “European industrial renaissance” as part of its plan to increase jobs and exports in the sector.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Last-minute jitters among investors led game developer King to price its US initial public offering at the midpoint of its range, as the company behind the blockbuster Candy Crush Saga faced concerns over its ability to repeat the app’s success.
  • Financial Times: Kim Dotcom, the internet entrepreneur who has been accused of masterminding the largest copyright infringement in US history and remains wanted by the FBI, is planning to list his latest venture on the New Zealand stock exchange.
  • Financial Times: Intel is stepping up its pace of progress in the wearable technology market with the acquisition of Basis Science, maker of a health-tracking watch.
  • Financial Times: Facebook is making a $2 billion bet that virtual reality headsets will be the next big social platform after computers and smartphones, with the sudden acquisition of Oculus VR.
  • Financial Times: DIY chain Kingfisher is to return £200 million to shareholders this year and seek a partner for its struggling Chinese business.
  • Daily Express: Quercus, the publisher behind The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo thrillers, is entering a new chapter after agreeing to a takeover by French-owned Hachette UK.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Reliance Industries: Political risk works both ways on gas price increases.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Greek banks: new investors may not share hedge funds’ success.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Luxottica: Luxury eyewear maker’s strategic partnership.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Nokia: What is the group worth once the handsets are gone?
  • Financial Times (Lex): Disney: Even top content creators are making defensive buys.
  • The Independent (Comment): Plenty of talk but still not enough action by the banks.

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