Press Round-up – February 24

February 24, 2012

Madrid presses EU to ease deficit targets
Spain is pressing the European Commission to ease the country’s strict budget deficit target for this year, arguing that pessimism about the Spanish economy shows the potential risks of too much austerity. “There are conversations under way,” said one Madrid official. (FT)

Osborne revives plan to let bosses ‘hire and fire at will’
Controversial plans to make it easier for companies to “hire and fire” workers may be revived by George Osborne in next month’s Budget but have provoked a fresh battle with the Liberal Democrats. (Independent)

LSE draws fire over Borsa synergies
The London Stock Exchange’s takeover of the Milan bourse “has not fulfilled expectations either in Italy or London” in terms of stimulating cross-border capital flows or increased investment in Italian companies, the Italian securities regulator has said. (FT)

OFT chief to bow out after seven bruising years
John Fingleton is to close the file on his career at the Office of Fair Trading after seven years of taking on – and falling out with – some of Britain’s most powerful industries and business leaders. Mr Fingleton, 46, chief executive since 2005, said he will leave this year. (Times)

Genel faces delay to premium listing plan
Genel Energy, the Kurdistan-focused explorer backed by financier Nat Rothschild and Tony Hayward, is unlikely to gain a premium London Stock Exchange listing in the first half of this year, its chief executive said. Mr Hayward said the company was engaged “in a very constructive dialogue with the UK Listing Authority”.  (FT)

Smartphone growth sparks investment call
There will be more mobile connections than people in the world for the first time this year but the rapid proliferation of smartphones and tablets is causing unprecedented strain on global telecoms networks, according to Franco Bernabe, chief executive of Telecom Italia.   (FT)

Critics step up calls for suspension of A4e
Emma Harrison, chairman of A4e, faced renewed calls for the company’s suspension from the government’s welfare-to-work programme, after she resigned as David Cameron’s “family champion” following allegations of fraud against A4e.   (FT)

China’s blueprint for opening markets
China should accelerate the loosening of capital controls, its central bank said, in a report outlining the path to a freely tradeable currency and more open capital markets. (FT)

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