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View the article online at http://citywire.co.uk/wealth-manager/article/a635707

Tuesday Papers: EX-Barclays chair Agius in line for lucrative consultancy role

by Himanshu Singh on Nov 20, 2012 at 07:50

Tuesday Papers: EX-Barclays chair Agius in line for lucrative consultancy role

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Paul Otellini is stepping down from the top job at Intel, leaving no clear successor in place for the first time as the world’s biggest chipmaker struggles to find its way in the fast-growing smartphones and tablets markets.
  • Financial Times: Ocado, the online grocery business beloved of middle England, was granted a financial lifeline as lenders extended its banking facilities and it raised £36 million from investors.
  • The Daily Telegraph: France has suffered a serious blow to its economic credentials after being stripped of its prized AAA credit rating by Moody’s.
  • Financial Times: The New York attorney-general is preparing to file a lawsuit against Credit Suisse, alleging the Swiss bank misled investors who lost more than $11 billion on mortgage-backed securities.
  • Financial Times: Guy Hands, the private equity boss, is set to become one of the UK’s largest landlords after Terra Firma, the buyout group he founded, moved to acquire 40,000 homes in a £3.2 billion deal.
  • Financial Times: HSBC is weighing a sale of its $9.5 billion stake in Ping An Insurance, China’s second-biggest insurer by assets, as the bank withdraws from non-core businesses amid a global drive to improve profitability.
  • The Guardian: ING has agreed a deal with European regulators as per which it will repay the €3 billion it owes in state aid plus a 50% penalty in four installments.
  • Daily Mail: Business leaders and politicians at the CBI conference in the UK suffered a serious embarrassment on Monday as Vion, a major Dutch food business employing 13,000 people, announced it is pulling out of the UK.
  • The Guardian: A magazine for satellite TV customers published by BSkyB was used as a tax avoidance scheme that saved the company up to £40 million a year in VAT.
  • Financial Times: Lloyds Banking Group is selling a £1.46 billion portfolio of distressed Irish property loans to a private equity group linked to Apollo Global Management for a tenth of their face value in the latest phase of its exit from the Irish market.
  • The Guardian: Wynn Resorts will pay out a $750 million special dividend to shareholders on Tuesday as the company tries to get ahead of possible rule changes in the US that could increase taxes on dividends.
  • Daily Mail: Marcus Agius, the former chairman of Barclays who resigned over the Libor-rate rigging scandal, may be kept on in a lucrative consultancy role, it has emerged.
  • Financial Times: A lawsuit by Hank Greenberg, AIG’s former chief executive, alleging the Federal Reserve Bank of New York broke the law during the 2008 government bailout of the failing insurance company was dismissed on Monday.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Lamprell issued its fifth profit warning since May on Monday, as it said losses would touch $105 million this year, but its shares jumped 17.3% on hopes it had finally turned a corner.
  • Financial Times: JP Morgan Chase replaced chief financial officer Doug Braunstein on Monday with Marianne Lake, a 43-year-old internal recruit, now charged with managing the US’s biggest bank by assets and dealing with the aftermath of the “London whale” trading scandal.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: George Osborne is considering a new tax raid on the pension contributions of richer voters, after rejecting the idea of a “wealth tax” based on higher council rates for luxury homes and apartments.
  • The Guardian: Banks have "surrendered" over payment protection insurance, according to Sir Charles Dunstone, a former non-executive director of HBOS who doubted mis-selling had taken place on a scale to justify the £12 billion industry-wide compensation bill.
  • Financial Times: Qatar has signed a deal with Italy’s state investment fund aimed at investing up to €2 billion in Italian companies over the next four years.
  • Financial Times: US banks are racing to fill a little-noticed capital shortfall by issuing billions of dollars of preferred shares, taking advantage of low interest rates and investors’ need for yield.
  • Financial Times: The European Central Bank faces checks on its powers as a single bank supervisor under the latest EU bid to break the deadlocked banking union talks by granting nervous member states more safeguards against Frankfurt.
  • Financial Times: India’s telecoms sector faces fresh uncertainty and the prospect of a second round of spectrum auctions, after high prices led this week’s contest to fail in a number of the nation’s most important mobile markets.
  • Financial Times: Turkey has concluded its largest ever share offering, raising $2.5 billion from the sale of a 24% stake in Halk Bank.
  • Financial Times: Olam, the Singapore-listed agricultural trader, has launched an impassioned defence of its integrity after comments from Carson Block, founder of Muddy Waters Research and a well-known US short-seller, caused its shares to plunge by 20.9%.
  • Financial Times: Trading of US equities on “dark pools” has grown by almost a half in the past three years to account for nearly a third of total market volume.
  • The Independent: Lonmin, the struggling South African platinum miner, has gained clearance to proceed with a crucial $817 million rights issue after shareholders voted in favour of the offering.
  • The Guardian: Job losses at Comet have exceeded 1,000, after the crisis-hit electronics retailer announced another 735 redundancies in its home-delivery network and head office.
  • Financial Times: Royal Bank of Scotland’s Irish operation added to pressure on the part-nationalised bank, as Ulster Bank was fined nearly €2 million for breaching capital and liquidity requirements last year.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Michael Sharp, the chief executive of Debenhams, is to receive a one-off bonus of more than £300,000 because of the “strong business performance” since his appointment.
  • Financial Times: Fonterra, a 10,500-member co-operative that collects almost 90% of New Zealand’s milk and is the world’s largest processor of dairy products, is seeking to raise at least $408 million this month from a fund that will track its financial performance.
  • Financial Times: Eurozone finance ministers are inching towards a provisional deal to pay Greece up to €44 billion of long-overdue aid, but are still struggling to find a compromise over longer-term measures to reduce Greece’s ballooning debt.
  • Financial Times: For the first time in more than 50 years UK pension funds are holding more bonds than equities.
  • Financial Times: Eurozone securitisation – the packaging-up and reselling of loans – has contracted to the lowest since at least the start of the region’s debt crisis as banks have reined back lending activity, especially to Spain’s housing market.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Cisco is paying $1.2 billion to boost its internet-cloud networking capabilities with the acquisition of Meraki, a six-year-old San Francisco-based company backed by Google.
  • Financial Times: Chesnara, the operator of closed life insurance businesses including Countrywide Assured and Save & Prosper, has said it is still on the lookout for acquisitions after reporting solid results for the nine months to end-September.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, who owns Chelsea FC, may soon bid for Capital & Counties.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Mobile phone operator O2 could be floated as its parent company Telefonica battles against a mountain of debt, analysts have claimed.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Business lobby groups have been surprisingly quiet in the fast developing debate over Britain's position in Europe – up until Monday that is.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Ocado: this supermarket on wheels doesn't look much like a cashbox.
  • Daily Mail (Comment – Alex Brummer): In CBI President Sir Roger Carr’s rose-tinted view of the world, poor practice has changed as a result of regulation, legislation, stewardship and boardroom discipline. Truth is that remuneration committees have continued to make outlandish awards.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Intel: the problem is that Intel’s mobile computing problem is getting worse.
  • Financial Times (Lex): HSBC: unlike other companies HSBC is looking to prune, rather than expand, its presence in China. But the move makes sense for the bank.
  • Financial Times (Lex): SAS: the Scandinavian airline has won vital backing for its cost-cutting plans. Turbulence in the sector, though, is far from over.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Shadow banking: the Financial Stability Board’s scrutiny of shadow banking is welcome. But it must avoid stifling its constructive attributes.

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