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Wednesday Papers: City warns against loss of EU influence

Wednesday Papers: City warns against loss of EU influence

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Britain’s banks have launched a strong intervention in the debate over the nation’s membership of the European Union, calling for closer ties with Brussels and urging the government to raise its game in order to make the single market work.
  • Financial Times: JP Morgan has bowed out of a potentially lucrative role in the $1 billion Hong Kong listing of a Chinese chemicals company due to the investigation into the US bank’s hiring of princelings.
  • Daily Mail: Britain’s economic outlook received another boost yesterday when the International Monetary Fund raised its growth forecast for the UK to 2.4% this year; only the US is given a higher forecast growth rate in the World Economic Outlook at 2.8%; the report said UK growth for 2013 will come in at 1.7% and will slow to 2.2% in 2015.
  • The Guardian: Business lending fell towards the end of last year as banks continued to squeeze funding to small and medium-sized businesses despite attempts by the Bank of England to boost finance to the sector; lending figures from the Bank showed businesses paid back £4.3 billion more than they borrowed in the three months to the end of November.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Mohamed El-Erian, the chief executive of the world's largest bond fund, Pimco, will leave in March.
  • Financial Times: IBM chief executive Ginni Rometty and other senior executives volunteered to give up their bonuses for 2013 as the US technology conglomerate revealed it had suffered an accelerating revenue decline in the final months of last year.

Business and economics

  • The Guardian: The fast-food chain Subway is planning to nearly double the number of its outlets in the UK and Ireland to 3,000 over the next six years, creating about 13,000 new jobs.
  • Financial Times: Two FTSE 100 engineers, Melrose and IMI, said separately they would return cash to shareholders on Tuesday, following disposals.
  • Daily Mail: The choice of the Co-operative Bank to take over more than 600 branches of state-backed Lloyds Banking Group was ‘swayed by political considerations’, the head of a failed rival bid has told MPs; Lord Levene, former chairman of NBNK Investments, told the Treasury Select Committee that the competition to buy the branches was run in ‘bad faith’.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Financial services firms will have to stump up an extra £28 million next year to cover the cost of compensating customers of companies that go bust.
  • Financial Times: Public Bicycle-Sharing Company that runs the popular bike-sharing schemes in New York, London and Sydney has gone bankrupt, after two US cities withheld C$5.6 million in payments amid widespread software glitches.
  • The Guardian: The International Energy Agency (IEA) said world oil consumption would increase by 1.3 million barrels per day (bpd) this year, 50,000 bpd higher than previously forecast.
  • Financial Times: Andrew Page will step down as chief executive of the Restaurant Group after an 12-year stretch that saw the company grow from a £75 million market capitalisation to being a £1.2 billion member of the FTSE 250.
  • Financial Times: Shape Security, a new company backed by Eric Schmidt and Google Ventures, is promising to use constantly morphing computer code to transform the fight against cyber criminals.
  • Financial Times: Nelson Peltz, the activist investor, will drop his campaign for PepsiCo to buy Mondelez International, the snacks business behind Oreo cookies, Cadbury chocolate and Trident gum, after Mondelez added him to its board on Tuesday.
  • The Guardian: Carphone Warehouse was hit by a 13% fall in new connections and a 7% decline in revenues during the Christmas trading period as the demand for pay as you go deals collapsed; firm reports quarterly revenues of £922 million, down from £990 million for same period last year, while new connections fell to 2,360.
  • Daily Mail: Unilever has shrugged off an economic slowdown in emerging markets to deliver improved annual sales and profits; it reported underlying sales growth of 4.1% for the final three months of 2013, which was boosted by 8.4% growth in emerging markets; PZ Cussons said new and improved products helped it post an 8 per cent rise in earnings in its first half.
  • Financial Times: Hochschild Mining predicted annual output would increase 70% over the next four years after it met its production target last year.
  • The Guardian: Shares in International Airlines Group are up 6.5p or 1.5% at 432.3p on hopes of an agreement between its Spanish business Iberia and unions over productivity improvements.
  • Financial Times: Sales at French spirits group Rémy Cointreau fell sharply during the last three months of 2013 as Chinese demand for its cognac continued to shrink.
  • The Guardian: Will Lewis, the News Corp executive who was a key player in the internal investigation of the media group’s UK hacking scandal, has been appointed interim CEO of Dow Jones, parent company of the Wall Street Journal.
  • Financial Times: The shift in the European energy landscape from thermal power has hit profits at Alstom as utilities cut back on orders for traditional coal and gas-fired plants.
  • The Guardian: A rare 29.6-carat blue diamond that could be worth millions of pounds has been discovered in South Africa; analyst says acorn-sized diamond found at Cullinan mine near Pretoria could fetch $15 million-$20 million at auction.
  • Financial Times: Cairn Energy plans to drill nine exploration wells this year, as part of a $400 million exploration campaign that will make 2014 the busiest year for the company in a decade.
  • The Independent: The Daily Telegraph editor Tony Gallagher has left his job in a shock departure after nearly five years in the role.
  • The Guardian: New orders at Britain's factories grew at the strongest rate in almost three years in the three months to January as economic uncertainty faded; a total of 34% of manufacturers reported an increase in new orders over the period, while 21% reported a fall according to the CBI's latest industrial trends survey.
  • Financial Times: RBS’s distressed property assets division is kick-starting the development of thousands of homes, including a new Scottish town, as the bank steps up efforts to shed its distressed property holdings.
  • Financial Times: Shares of Gome, China’s second-largest home appliance retailer, rose 6% on Tuesday after the company reported strong sales growth last year.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Guardian: Guardian Media Group is selling its 50.1% stake in Auto Trader owner Trader Media Group to private equity firm Apax Partners in a deal thought to be worth £600 million to £700 million to the Guardian publisher.
  • The Independent: The value of assets held by hedge funds, private-equity firms and real-estate fund managers reached $6 trillion last year as investors regained their appetite for risk, figures from data specialist Preqin revealed.
  • Financial Times: Shares in Alcoa rose at their fastest pace since November after analysts at JPMorgan upgraded the company to ‘overweight’ on signs that the global aluminium market is tightening.
  • Financial Times: Verizon Communications confirmed reports that it will buy Intel’s struggling start-up internet TV service, Intel Media, from the semiconductor chipmaker.
  • Financial Times: BC Partners is considering plans to float Phones4U this year on the London Stock Exchange.
  • The Guardian: InterContinental Hotels could hand back up to $2 billion to shareholders over the next two years, around a quarter of its market value.
  • The Daily Telegraph: HG Capital seals second car leasing acquisition; the private equity firm to announce £200 million acquisition of Zenith in coming days.
  • The Independent: Third Point, the hedge fund run by activist investor Daniel Loeb, has taken a significant shareholding in Dow Chemical and is urging the company to explore a spin off of its petrochemical business so it can concentrate on being a specialty chemicals firm.
  • Financial Times: US demand for oil grew by more than China’s last year for the first time since 1999, according to the International Energy Agency, giving the strongest indication of how abundant energy supplies are driving an economic resurgence in the US.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Private equity owners EQT are taking steps towards a London flotation of the Cafe Ritazza and Upper Crust food group.
  • Financial Times: Dubai-based private equity investor Abraaj has bought a majority stake in Turkey’s fourth-largest dairy company despite the country’s political and economic turmoil.
  • The Guardian (Comment): There's no quick fix for the UK's personal debt crisis; welfare changes mean many councils and housing associations now view debt as a welfare issue rather than a money management problem.
  • The Independent (Comment): Was NBNK denied the chance to buy Lloyds Banking Group's 600-branch Verde business because of a devilish conspiracy organised by politicians in support of the Co-op?
  • Financial Times (Comment): Avoiding a profit warning in its year-end update last week might have been expected to lift the pressure on Ladbrokes’ management. It has not.

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