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Press Round-up – March 22

By Reuters Staff
March 22, 2012

ECB eyes exit for crisis fund
The European Central Bank is falling behind on a 40 billion euros asset purchase programme launched at the height of the euro zone crisis, in a sign it could be dropped as a first step towards unwinding huge emergency support for the region’s financial system. (FT)

North Sea tax reforms ‘to lead to major investment’
An extra 50 billion pounds could be pumped into the North Sea oil and gas industry thanks to a new package of tax reforms announced in Wednesday’s budget.  (Telegraph)

FSA celebrates victory over land-bank con men
The FSA has hailed victory in their battle against land-bank scammers – the popular practice of tricking people into investing in land at inflated values – after a group of con men was ordered to pay back 32 million pounds by the British High Court. (Times)
Challenge expected to O’Reilly grip on Irish media group
The O’Reilly family grip on the management of Independent News & Media is coming under fresh pressure with two large shareholders seeking to oust the chief executive of the Irish media group at its June annual meeting.   (FT)

UK government plans air traffic sale
The British government is set to announce next week that it will auction part of its stake in the UK’s air traffic controller – a sale that would raise about 250 million pounds for the Treasury and underscore British Prime Minister David Cameron’s commitment to opening up more infrastructure to private investment.  (FT)

Comeback of the ‘dash for trash’
The “dash for trash” that emerged at the nadir of the financial crisis in 2009 has made a comeback this year as investors have piled into the riskiest corporate bonds they can find. (FT)

Alaska champions $40 billion pipeline plan
BP, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips are in discussions about a $40 billion project to export liquefied natural gas to Asia from Alaska, potentially opening up large but stranded reserves that currently have no route to market.   (FT)

Morgan Stanley asked for Italian payout
Morgan Stanley asked Italy to cancel billions of dollars worth of outstanding derivatives contracts, generating a 2.57 billion euros payout from the Italian Treasury to the investment bank. (FT)

Lloyds to sell buyout loans to Bain unit
Lloyds Banking Group has stepped up efforts to shrink its balance sheet by agreeing to sell a 500 million pound portfolio of mostly UK leveraged loans for private equity buyouts to the debt investment arm of Bain Capital, according to people familiar with the matter. (FT)

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