Press Round-up – March 19

By Reuters Staff
March 19, 2012

Cameron unveils plans to sell roads and motorways
British Prime Minister David Cameron will on Monday clear the way for a multibillion-pound semi-privatisation of trunk roads and motorways as he announces plans to allow sovereign wealth funds from countries such as China to lease roads in England and Wales. (Guardian)

Barclays brothers face legal battle over hotel group
The tycoons who own the Daily Telegraph and the Ritz Hotel will on Monday face accusations in the UK high court that they led a conspiracy to seize control of three of London’s plushest hotels by illegal means. (Times)

Tax abuse action expected in Osborne’s budget
Big business in Britain is facing a permanent tax crackdown on abusive avoidance schemes under plans to be unveiled in Wednesday’s Budget. (Telegraph)

UPS agrees to buy TNT Express in 5 billion euro deal
UPS, the U.S. package delivery company, has agreed a deal to buy its European rival TNT Express in a takeover that is likely to value the Dutch delivery company at about 5 billion euros. (FT)

Greece over halfway to recovery, says PM
Greece’s caretaker prime minister insists that a “large, silent majority” of Greeks are willing to do whatever is needed to stay in the euro zone, despite near-daily anti-austerity demonstrations. (FT)

Banking quintet unite for hedging tool
Five banks have joined forces to create a hedging tool designed to improve the health of their balance sheets and protect them against market sell-offs as international regulations force institutions to increase the quality of their assets.(FT)

Goldman looks to monoline insurance move
Goldman Sachs is considering offering so-called “monoline” insurance, as it explores new business areas ahead of incoming financial regulation expected to hit its lucrative trading operations. (FT)

Bumi shareholder looks to simplify structure
The Indonesian entrepreneur who bailed out the country’s powerful Bakrie family by buying a $1 billion stake in coal miner Bumi is to implement a potentially major restructuring programme when he becomes the company’s executive chairman. (FT)

RBS boosts proportion of SME loan approvals
Royal Bank of Scotland has increased the proportion of small business loan applications that it approves, outstripping UK rivals, in a trend that will hearten government ministers but may concern shareholders. (FT)

Telecoms antitrust probe details revealed
Europe’s top antitrust enforcer last month forged ahead with an investigation into whether the continent’s five largest telecoms groups rigged mobile technology standards, in spite of their chief executives offering personal assurances to work through a pan-industry body. (FT)

Blackstone to take on SocGen property loans
Blackstone is set to take control of 100 million euros worth of commercial property loans owned by Societe Generale as the French bank pushes to shed its exposure to global real estate. (FT)

Diageo steps up pressure on tequila business
Diageo, the world’s largest spirits company by sales, is stepping up the pressure on the family owners of tequila maker Jose Cuervo, demanding a resolution to year-long talks over an acquisition within the next few months. (FT)

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