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May 18, 2012

Martin Marietta appeal moved to eve of Vulcan meet

By Tom Hals

(Reuters) – Martin Marietta Materials Inc’s (MLM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) appeal of a lower court ruling that halted its $5 billion hostile tender for rival gravel maker Vulcan Materials Co (VMC.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) was postponed to May 31, the day before a key Vulcan shareholders meeting.

The Delaware Supreme Court had originally scheduled the oral argument for May 25.

May 18, 2012
via Breakingviews

Cyprus’ bank bailout may not be the last

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By George Hay

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Is nomen omen? Last month Cyprus appointed an economist called Panicos Demetriades as central bank governor. On Friday, the euro zone minnow committed to pump 1.8 billion euros, or 10 percent of GDP, into Cyprus Popular Bank (CPB) if its second largest lender can’t raise it privately. What’s more, this may just be a holding operation. If Greece quits the euro, Cypriot banks and the state itself will need more help.

May 16, 2012

Greek banks’ twin crutches are rickety

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions
expressed are his own)

By George Hay

LONDON, May 16 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Greek banks are in
suspended animation. The stricken state’s lenders had been
waiting for elections on May 6 to deliver not only a new
government, but also much-needed details on how they will be
recapitalised. Instead, domestic political deadlock means they
will have to wait another month for a new election. In the
meantime, deposit flight has accelerated. The country’s
president revealed that depositors had taken 700 million euros
out of the system on Monday alone.

May 14, 2012

Dimon’s ‘stupid’ admission: catnip for lawyers?

WILMINGTON, Del, May 14 (Reuters) – Jamie Dimon sounded more
like a plaintiff’s attorney than a chief executive when he
described JPMorgan Chase & Co over the weekend as
“stupid” and “sloppy” for its $2 billion trading loss.

But for any shareholder seeking to seize on those comments
as grist for a securities lawsuit against the bank and its
executives, it likely will be tough to use Dimon’s words against
him, according to lawyers and legal experts.

May 10, 2012

Ford jests CEO Mulally will stay until he’s 80

, May 10 (Reuters) – If Warren Buffett can
run a company in his 80s, why can’t Ford’s Alan Mulally?

Top executives at Ford Motor Co have fielded questions
for months about just when Mulally, 66, plans to retire as the
company’s chief executive. So far the No. 2 U.S. automaker has
kept his plans quiet – mostly.

May 10, 2012
via Breakingviews

Dresdner bonus ruling thankfully won’t spark trend

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By George Hay

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Investment bankers have just found a way to make themselves even less popular. Over a hundred former Dresdner Bank employees on May 9 won their claim in London’s High Court against Commerzbank, for non-payment of almost 52 million pounds of bonuses awarded in 2008. The case is likely to enrage taxpayers. Thankfully, though, it won’t spark a trend.

May 4, 2012

Court halts Martin Marietta’s bid for Vulcan

By Tom Hals

(Reuters) – Martin Marietta Materials Inc (MLM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is barred for four months from pursuing its proxy contest and $5.3 billion hostile bid for construction materials maker Vulcan Materials Co (VMC.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), a Delaware judge ruled on Friday.

Delaware Judge Leo Strine found that Martin Marietta had violated a nondisclosure agreement with its larger rival and used confidential information in forming its bid and proxy fight.

May 4, 2012

CalSTRS says Wal-Mart top leadership in question

May 4 (Reuters) – The second-largest U.S. public pension
fund said that allegations of bribery in Mexico and a cover-up
by top management at Wal-Mart Stores Inc raise the
question of whether top leadership should remain in place at the
company.

But officials with the California State Teachers’ Retirement
System, which sued current and former Wal-Mart executives on
Thursday, stopped short of calling for CEO Mike Duke to step
down.

May 4, 2012
via Breakingviews

State stranglehold on RBS now only slightly looser

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By George Hay

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Royal Bank of Scotland is about to achieve a milestone. Chief Executive Stephen Hester’s five-year plan to remove the bank from intensive care by shrinking its balance sheet is entering its final phase. Better still, the UK group’s first quarter results held up despite it performing open-heart surgery on its battered investment banking arm. But while RBS is heading the right way, it remains in a state headlock.

May 2, 2012
via Breakingviews

Lloyds investors’ long wait may soon be over

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By George Hay

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Lloyds Banking Group’s battered investors may be nearing redemption. Before the financial crisis, the UK’s biggest mortgage lender was the epitome of a stolid, dividend-paying stock. Since 2008, when it agreed to rescue HBOS and wound up 40 percent state-owned, its shareholders have not received a single payout. But an end to the drought is in sight.

    • About George

      "George Hay writes about the banking and property sectors. He joined from Thomson Financial News, where he was a companies correspondent. Before that he worked at United Business Media, where he was news editor of Building Magazine. He has a first in English Literature from Edinburgh University, and was nominated in two categories at the 2009 Business Journalist of the Year Awards."
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