UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

Press Round-up – April 4

BTG Pactual IPO to value bank at $15 billion
BTG Pactual is set to float later this month in a deal that will value the rapidly growing Brazilian investment bank’s equity at up to $15 billion and the shareholdings of a swathe of executives at more than $150 million each.   (FT)

Dutch bicycle group in talks to buy Raleigh
Raleigh Cycle, maker of the bicycles in Britain, could be sold to Accell, a Dutch bicycle-making company. (Telegraph)

China to let in more foreign investment
China has almost tripled the amount of money foreign institutions can invest in its capital markets, in the latest move aimed at loosening strict capital controls and internationalising the renminbi.(FT)

Cairn buys North Sea oil explorers for $450 million
Cairn Energy has agreed a cash and shares deal with the Rothschild family to acquire Agora Oil, an oil and gas exploration company with assets in the North Sea, for $450 million. (FT)

Press Round-up – April 3

Investors hit back at Trinity Mirror
Big investors in Trinity Mirror have hit back at proposed changes to the pay scheme for Sly Bailey, its chief executive, saying that cuts to directors’ remuneration packages do not go far enough.   (FT)

UK explorers struggle to strike Falklands oil
Desire Petroleum and Borders & Southern Petroleum, two of five London-listed exploration businesses with interests in the Falklands Islands, announced annual pre-tax losses of $42.5 million and $1.74 million on Monday. (Guardian)

Press Round-up – April 2

European rules alarm fund managers
Some fund managers’ worst fears over pan-European regulation have re-emerged, prompting the hedge fund and private equity industries to hit back at technical standards proposed by Brussels that they say will damage business and shut out the U.S. and Asia.  (FT)

International businesses attack retrospective Indian tax law
The international business community has launched a blistering attack on the Indian government for a retrospective tax grab against multinational companies. (Telegraph)

Press Round-up – March 30

Treasury urged to halt brain drain
Treasury bosses will need to stem a flood of staff departures and beef up pay if the department is to be effective in dealing with future financial crises, according to an internal report. (Times)

BOE faces calls for full review of handling of financial crisis
The Bank of England is facing calls to publish a full account of how it handled the financial crisis after the Treasury admitted it had made mistakes when the UK’s banking system was on the brink of collapse. (Guardian)

Press Round-up – March 29

Nokia stepping up SIM battle with Apple
The battle between Nokia and Apple over the design of future miniature Sim cards for mobile phones has escalated, with the Finnish group threatening to withhold essential technology for Apple’s template, impeding the rival proposal. (FT)

Cattles chiefs banned for deception
Three former senior managers at Cattles have been fined 700,000 pounds and banned from working in financial services for misleading investors about the extent of bad loans at the failed doorstep lender. (Times)

from The Great Debate:

Britain’s austerity experiment is faltering

It was the Welsh sage Alan Watkins who remarked that a budget that looked good the day it was delivered to the British Parliament was sure to look terrible a week later, and vice versa. The avalanche of new information dumped by the Treasury is simply too much to grasp at a single sitting, and governments tend to bury bad news in a welter of statistics. And so it proved with finance minister George Osborne’s budget served up last week.

The immediate headlines stressed that rich Brits would pay less income tax – down from 50 percent to 45 percent – but it only took a day before even traditional Conservative cheerleaders like the Daily Mail were condemning Osborne for funding tax breaks for bankers and billionaires by stealing from those living in retirement. The paper’s cover screamed: “Osborne picks the pockets of pensioners.”

Press Round-up – March 28

Victims of RBS swap scandal call for inquiry
Calls for an inquiry into the interest rate swap mis-selling scandal intensified on Tuesday after Royal Bank of Scotland was accused of forcing one of the UK’s largest business park owners into administration. (Telegraph)

Gazprom deal highlights Kremlin business links
The family of Igor Shuvalov, Russia’s first deputy prime minister, bought nearly $18 million in Gazprom shares through an offshore company as the government prepared to liberalise share trading, a reform which greatly increased their market value, documents show.  (FT)

Probe launched into insurance sales claim

The Ministry of Justice has launched an investigation into claims management companies following a glut of invalid compensation claims filed on behalf of consumers allegedly mis-sold personal protection insurance (PPI). (FT)

Press Round-up – March 27

Ailing Astra pays boss £9.1 million last year
The chief executive of AstraZeneca enjoyed a pay package worth 9.1 million pounds last year, despite a groundswell of concern in the London’s financial district about the embattled drugs company’s spluttering medical research pipeline. (Times)

Goldman eyes electronic bond trading
Goldman Sachs is considering how to roll out electronic trading technology to its fixed income business – one of its biggest revenue generators – as it prepares for new regulation.   (FT)

Press Round-up – March 26

Merkel set to allow euro zone firewall to increase
Germany is poised to bow to international pressure and allow a temporary increase in the euro zone’s financial “firewall” this week, to prevent the crisis in the region’s periphery spreading to other member states. (FT)

NBNK set to bid for Lloyds branches
British banking venture NBNK is on Monday expected to launch a bid for 632 Lloyds Banking Group branches in a move that could torpedo the Co-op’s efforts to buy the assets and reopen the sale process. (Telegraph)

Press Round-up – March 23

Delays raise doubts over Lloyd’s Co-Op deal
Cracks appeared on Thursday in Lloyds Banking Group’s plans to sell its “mini-Lloyds” business to the Co-operative Group after it admitted that it had fallen behind schedule on agreeing an outline deal.  (Times)

BP prepares for return to North Sea
Britain’s government has been accused of taking a huge risk with the Scottish environment after giving BP approval to drill its first deepwater exploration well in British waters since the Gulf of Mexico disaster. (Times)