Chief Correspondent, UK Company News, London
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Oct 21, 2011

Thomas Cook strikes bank deal, gets winter buffer

LONDON (Reuters) – Thomas Cook (TCG.L: Quote, Profile, Research) has struck a deal with its banks, sending battered shares in the holiday group soaring after a string of profit warnings that cost the company its chief executive and shareholders their dividend.

Europe’s second biggest tour operator still has a lot to do after losing three quarters of its market value since mid-January, analysts cautioned, noting that it may yet have to tap shareholders for fresh funds.

Oct 4, 2011

Heritage Oil gains Libya foothold with $20 mln deal

LONDON, Oct 4 (Reuters) – Heritage Oil has bought a
51 percent stake in Benghazi-based Sahara Oil Services Holdings
Limited for $19.5 million, allowing the British oil explorer to
play what it hopes will be a significant role in developing
Libya’s oil and gas industry.

“SOS has the necessary long term permits and licences to
provide onshore and offshore oil field services in Libya as well
as the rights to own and operate oil and gas licences,” Heritage
said in a statement on Tuesday. “Through this acquisition
Heritage is exploring ways to gain access to key producing
fields and other licence opportunities in Libya.”

Sep 27, 2011

Exclusive: Libya assures UK firms on key role in rebuild

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s help in overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi will never be forgotten and British companies can expect to play an instrumental role in rebuilding Libya, a senior diplomat told executives on Tuesday.

“I would like to thank the British people and their government for their invaluable support,” Mahmud Nacua, a long-time Libyan exile and now charge d’affaires at the country’s embassy in London, told a private meeting of business people arranged by the British government.

Sep 23, 2011

Secrets of a “super-fixer” in Libya

BENGHAZI/LONDON (Reuters) – Flanked by two colleagues, a 60-something Englishman quietly worked the lobby of Benghazi’s Tibesti Hotel last week, targeting people likely to be the power brokers in a new Libya.

Approached by a Reuters reporter, the man declined to give his name or even shake hands, describing himself as “a very private person.”

Jul 19, 2011
via UK News

Constitution in crisis as tyrannical journalists devour cowed politicians


A sordid tale of excess and brutality, of a world dominated by journalists with their ears to the keyhole, of tyrannical newspapers wielding remarkable power and of a political class not only cowed, but consumed, by that power.

Sound familiar? With two of Britain’s most senior policemen out of a job, the prime minister under pressure for his serenading of News Corp and one of the world’s most powerful press barons, in the form of Rupert Murdoch, summoned to testify to parliament, it would be one way of describing the current state of affairs.

Jul 15, 2011

Insight: Rebekah Brooks to revisit her parliamentary past

LONDON (Reuters) – Rebekah Brooks has reduced a prime minister to tears, threatened a member of parliament who inquired about bullying at her newspaper and told another troublesome politician she was surprised he wasn’t out cruising for gay sex.

Brooks resigned on Friday as the head of News International, Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper arm. Together with Murdoch and his son James, who leads the international operations of Murdoch’s media empire, the former editor will still face politicians probing News Corp’s hacking scandal next week.

Jul 8, 2011

Murdoch rivals jump, BSkyB wavers as paper shut

LONDON, July 8 (Reuters) – BSkyB stock wavered as
uncertainty persisted over whether Rupert Murdoch’s decision to
shut the News of the World newspaper in response to a hacking
scandal would help his battle to take full control of the
British satellite broadcaster.

Shares in the owners of rival publications such as the
Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Mail jumped, however, as analysts
predicted they would be quick to hoover up readers and
advertisers left behind by the demise of the News of the World.

May 5, 2011
via UK News

Ignore the data, Royal Wedding and sunshine give Britain Plc a Q2 kickstart


A lot of the economic data in recent days has made for pretty grim reading, reinforcing expectations that interest rates will remain at record lows for some months yet.

But a string of bullish updates from British retailers and manufacturers suggest that the second quarter could have got off to a flying start, with fine weather, the Easter holiday and the Royal Wedding all improving the national mood.

Apr 8, 2011

Special Report: Why London can live without its big banks

LONDON (Reuters) – “Let me be crystal clear,” Barclays’ star investment banker and new Chief Executive Bob Diamond told members of the British parliament in January. “We are going to be here in the United Kingdom, and this is the place that we want to succeed.”

It may be a reflection of how bankers still struggle to be taken at their word in the wake of the global financial crisis, but Diamond’s statement convinced nobody. Rumors that Barclays and its bigger rival HSBC are ready to move their headquarters to Hong Kong or New York have flourished ever since.

Mar 21, 2011
via UK News

Libya crisis could scupper British aircraft carriers once and for all


So the world has unfurled a no-fly zone over Libya, apparently undeterred by the lack of Royal Navy aircraft carriers. Judging by the uniforms gracing the steps of 10 Downing Street on Friday and the attacks launched over the weekend, Britain’s military top brass haven’t been put off either.

Liam Fox and General David Richards in Downing Street

The Libya crisis has, until now, provided a platform for the “Save our Aircraft Carriers Campaign” to champion its cause but in the process they’ve thrown down some whopping red herrings.

    • About Paul

      "I took over the team covering British business news in September 2008, just as Lehman Brothers collapsed and banks plunged into crisis. Prior to that, I ran Reuters operations in Ireland, covering the Celtic Tiger boom and IRA disarmament. From 2000 to 2004, I worked in Frankfurt reporting on the European Central Bank and making daily TV appearances on the BBC World Business Report. I have also reported from Athens and Dublin during the euro zone crisis. Follow me on twitter at"
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