Press Round-up – January 17

By Reuters Staff
January 17, 2012

S&P downgrades euro zone bailout fund
Standard & Poor’s on Monday stripped the eurozone’s rescue fund of its AAA credit rating, potentially constraining its ability to contain the region’s debt crisis and focusing attention on efforts to create a more robust successor.  (FT)

Italy’s Monti seeks help on borrowing
Italy’s prime minister Mario Monti has pleaded for Germany and other creditor countries to do more to help lower his country’s borrowing costs, warning there would be a “powerful backlash” among voters in the eurozone’s struggling periphery if they did not. (FT)

Millions wipe off ship owner’s fortune
More than £300 million has been wiped off the paper fortune of Micky Arison, the multibillionaire boss of the company that owned the stricken cruise liner Costa Concordia. (Guardian)

Debt crisis nearing end, says HSBC chief
The European debt crisis is likely to be over in a “reasonably short timeframe,” the chairman of HSBC Douglas Flint has predicted. (Telegraph)

UK mobile operator Orange set to fold
One of Britain’s best-known brands is set to disappear after the owner of Orange, Everything Everywhere, said that it was considering renaming the mobile operator. (Times)

RBS closes sale of aircraft leasing business
Royal Bank of Scotland on Monday night finalised the sale of its aircraft leasing business to one of Japan’s biggest banks, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, for $7.3 billion, in the biggest single disposal since the state-backed bank’s government bail out in 2008. (FT)

Saudi Arabia targets $100 crude price
Saudi Arabia is aiming to keep oil prices at about $100 a barrel, a third above its previous public target, in a sign that Riyadh needs higher oil revenues to sustain a big rise in public spending. (FT)

Oil prices rise following Iran threat
Oil prices climbed 97 cents to $111.22 a barrel on Monday, after Iran issued fresh threats to cut off up to 17 million barrels per day of oil supply from world markets by shutting down the Strait of Hormuz. (Telegraph)

BAE Systems looks abroad to save shipyards
BAE Systems, Europe’s largest defence contractor, is in talks with Brazil and Turkey to secure orders for the company’s most advanced warship in the hopes it could save its UK shipyards from closure. (FT)

Irreland’s NAMA appoints 16 advisors to dispose of loans
Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency has appointed a panel of 16 advisers from across the financial services sector as the bad bank steps up its efforts to sell 31 billion euro of property loans.  (FT)

German yoghurt giant takes over UK milk producer
The first big takeover of the year was sealed on Monday as Britain’s biggest milk producer Robert Wiseman agreed a 280 million pound bid from Germany’s yoghurts and desserts giant Muller. (Independent)

Morrison’s interest in Iceland Foods cools
British retailer Wm Morrison’s interest in Iceland Foods is cooling, raising doubts about whether the UK’s fourth-biggest supermarket chain by market share will mount a 1.5 billion pound bid for the frozen food specialist. (FT)

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