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Wednesday Papers: Buffett defends Burger King’s tax deal

Wednesday Papers: Buffett defends Burger King’s tax deal

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Warren Buffett has defended his involvement in a tax inversion deal that will transfer Burger King’s headquarters to Canada as part of its $11.4 billion acquisition of coffee and doughnuts chain Tim Hortons.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Europe will remain heavily reliant on Russian energy for at least the next decade as policymakers will have no choice but to continue buying gas from Russia until at least the mid-2020s and "potentially much longer", according to Fitch.
  • Financial Times: Royal Bank of Scotland is facing a multimillion pound fine from the UK financial regulator over its mortgage record keeping and advice to borrowers, sources said.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Saudi and Iran sounded petrol price warning for British motorists as Middle Eastern superpowers claimed weakness in oil prices will be shortlived.
  • Financial Times: In the latest sign of Chinese developers’ desperation to unload inventory into a weak property market, China Vanke Co is offering discounts of up to $325,000 to homebuyers who shop on Alibaba’s Taobao, an e-commerce platform.
  • Financial Times: The independent oil and gas companies at the forefront of the US shale revolution have substantially improved their financial position – boosting confidence that the rapid growth in production can continue.
  • The Guardian: UK house prices will end the year 9.5% higher than they started it, but the strength of increases this year means that in London the market could flatline in 2016, property firm Savills said on Tuesday, as it revised its forecasts for the next five years.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Scottish independence vote could prompt pensions crisis as EU pension rules could threaten the cash flow of the UK's largest companies, warned JP Morgan.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: With less than four weeks to go until the referendum on 18 September, the state of battle remains frustratingly unclear, according to Charlie Jeffery, vice-principal for public policy at the University of Edinburgh.
  • Financial Times: South Africa has narrowly avoided dipping into a recession, but the weak expansion of the second quarter suggests the government would struggle to deliver on its promise of revitalising Africa’s most developed economy.
  • Financial Times: The World Health Organisation has called for the regulation of electronic cigarettes as both tobacco and medical products, dealing a blow to the industry which had hoped the devices would escape the strict curbs placed on smoking.
  • Financial Times: The chief executive of Wells Fargo has warned that the biggest US mortgage provider will avoid providing home loans to people with lower credit scores unless federal authorities reduce the threat that the banks will bear the costs for soured loans.
  • Financial Times: Standard & Poor’s is offering medium-sized European companies a “ratings lite” product that would have less onerous financial reporting requirements than its historical credit ratings, saying it wants to help them cut out banks and borrow direct from the capital markets.
  • Financial Times: Two former Porsche executives must stand trial over the sports car maker’s failed attempt to take over Volkswagen, a Stuttgart court has ruled, paving the way for one of the most keenly awaited cases in German corporate history.
  • Financial Times: Shares in Telecity fell about 7% in early trading on Tuesday after the British data centre operator announced the abrupt departure of its long-serving chief executive, leaving uncertainty over his successor.
  • Financial Times: Accor hotels group reported a 14.5% increase in operating profit for the first half of the year due to lower financing costs and the delaying of some expenses to the second half of the year.
  • Financial Times: BYD, the struggling Chinese automaker, has unveiled a new electric vehicle developed with Daimler of Germany as it attempts to engineer a reversal of its declining fortunes.
  • Financial Times: New Delhi-based Snapdeal, which is backed by eBay, on Tuesday announced a tie-up with Tata Value Homes, an arm of India’s salt-to-steel Tata conglomerate, to sell apartments on its site, as it tests the limits of what Indian consumers will purchase over the internet.
  • Financial Times: India has fined major carmakers for suppressing competition in the market for spare parts, just days after authorities in China doled out similar penalties; the Competition Commission of India imposed a total fine of Rs25.54 billion ($422 million) on 14 automotive groups.
  • Financial Times: Chris Rokos, a former star trader at Brevan Howard, has revealed in court documents precise details of how much money he made for Europe’s largest hedge fund as part of a legal battle over him setting up a rival investment group.
  • Financial Times: Four former executives at BayernLB have reached a settlement over criminal charges of breach of trust relating to the German Landesbank’s botched purchase of Austrian bank Hypo Alpe Adria on the eve of the financial crisis.
  • Financial Times: The head of Nespresso – owned by Swiss food group Nestlé – is set to announce a SFr500 million ($546 million) six-year farmer welfare and environmental programme, which includes SFr15 million of investment in South Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya.
  • Financial Times: A rise of almost 10% in sterling’s trade-weighted value over the year to end-June has been sharply felt across British industry, with companies from the engine maker Rolls-Royce to the drinks group Diageo and the retailer Mothercare reporting a hit.
  • Financial Times: Petrofac maintained its full-year earnings guidance and a commitment to match last year’s dividend despite suffering a 44% fall in interim profit.
  • Financial Times: Higher costs and a subdued copper price drove down profits at Antofagasta but the UK-listed miner said it saw a more balanced market than had been predicted for the industrial metal.
  • Financial Times: Pictet said that it made a net profit of SFr203 million ($222 million) in the first half of 2014, as the bank reported results for the first time in its 209-year history.
  • Financial Times: HSBC has vowed to fight a $250 million lawsuit that alleges it aided and abetted a “major international fraud”.
  • Daily Mail: The number of homes sold through the Government’s Right-to-Buy scheme is up more than a third compared with last year; atigures from the Department for Communities and Local Government show 2,845 houses were bought through the scheme between April and June this year.
  • Daily Mail: Rioters tried to set fire to a copper plant owned by Glencore’s Zambian subsidiary amid violent clashes that have stunned the FTSE 100 commodities giant; Mopani Copper Mines came under attack from up to 70 rioters throwing rocks, amid rumours that sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions from the plant had put seven people in hospital.
  • Daily Express: Tain operator Stagecoach Group says it is full steam ahead for its rail business as it waits to hear if it has won the bidding to run the East Coast franchise; Virgin Rail, owned by Stagecoach and Sir Richard Branson, holds the West Coast franchise until March 2017 and the Department for Transport has the option to extend it until 2018.
  • Daily Express: Nearly £165 million was wiped off the value of Regus yesterday after the office provider warned its profits would be hit as it stepped up expansion.
  • The Guardian: The discount grocer Aldi has become the latest supermarket to introduce "healthier tills" at all of its stores across the UK, though the change will not happen until January 2015.
  • The Guardian: WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell has warned that the prospect of Scotland voting for independence and Britain leaving the European Union could weaken the UK economy, adding to worries over heightened geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and the Middle East.
  • The Guardian: The number of homes across Britain valued at £1 million or more has increased by 49% over the past year, according to figures published on Tuesday.
  • The Independent: Top bankers have complained that the City watchdog is over-using its powers to force managers to take responsibility for improvements it wants financial firms to make.
  • The Independent: A new British handbag brand, Village England, that is targeting shoppers who have found Mulberry too expensive has opened its first shop as its wholesale sales jump by nearly a third.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Apple is set to start making iPad with 12.9-inch screen early next year, with the iPhone 6 also set for a larger display.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Argentina default: George Soros sued US bank in London over $500 million payment as hedge funds take legal action against Bank of New York Mellon for freezing payment by Argentina, which has also banned the lender from operating in the country.

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