UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

Press Round-up – January 16


Greece’s creditors seek end to deadlock
Greece’s international creditors are considering an appeal to French and German leaders to break a deadlock in negotiations over the size of the losses to be taken by banks and other bondholders as part of a 100 billion euros deal seen as crucial to bringing the country’s debt under control. (FT)

Osborne to unveil new deal with China
British finance minister George Osborne will hail a ground-breaking agreement with China on Monday that will bring a multibillion pound boost to the UK’s financial services district. (Times)

UK prison sell-off opens door to privatisation
Seven private companies are bidding for 2 billion pounds of contracts to run nine English jails in what is being regarded by many as the first move towards the wide privatisation of the British Prison Service. (Times)

Three set to bid for Anadarko’s Brazil unit
Three of Europe’s biggest oil companies are set to vie for Anadarko Petroleum’s Brazilian business, valued at more than $3 billion, as interest from global groups in this new frontier for deep water exploration grows. (FT)
Saudis set to open up access to bourse
Saudi Arabia, the Middle East’s biggest economy and the world’s largest oil exporter, is expected to allow foreigners to invest directly on its $340 billion stock market for the first time later this year. (FT)

from Breakingviews:

RBS has tough fight to put value in wholesale arm

By Margaret Doyle

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Royal Bank of Scotland, the state-owned UK lender, is cutting its investment bank, again, and is merging it with its international payments unit. The new division aims to make more than the 12 percent groupwide cost of capital. It must do at least that to have any value. But it is a big ask given regulatory and political headwinds.

from Breakingviews:

Tesco’s ambitions earthed by UK retail reality

By Edward Hadas

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

When Philip Clarke took over from the Sir Terry Leahy as Tesco’s chief executive in March 2011, he seemed to have one of the sweetest corporate inheritances around. The company was strong in its British home market and growing well elsewhere, although the U.S. expansion remained a work in progress.

Press Round-up – January 13


UniCredit cash call to hit core investors
Aabar, the Abu Dhabi investment fund, the Libyan Investment Authority and the Libyan Central Bank, all core investors in UniCredit, are expected to be heavily diluted in the 7.5 billion euros cash call by the Italian bank. (FT)

Investors take plunge on European debt
Spain and Italy carried out successful debt sales as the euro enjoyed a rare good news day on Thursday, bolstered by the cautious view of Mario Draghi that the crisis in the single currency zone was stabilising. (Times)

Today in the Newspapers – January 12


Osborne turns screw on RBS over bonuses
British finance minister George Osborne piled on the pressure for pay restraint at Royal Bank of Scotland, saying that he personally wanted to talk to the management before any bonuses were paid out in the coming months. (Times)

French rivals compete for wind farm share
French utilities EDF and GDF Suez are set to compete for a large share of a 10 billion euro off-shore wind development off the coast of France. (FT)

Today in the newspapers – January 11


EU to block DB-NYSE link
European competition officials have recommended blocking the tie-up between Deutsche Boerse and NYSE Euronext , the German and U.S. exchange operators, setting in motion three weeks of frantic lobbying to salvage the deal. (FT) (Times)

Osborne to raid UK pension pot
British finance minister George Osborne is planning to raid the 140 billion pound council pension fund to pay for new roads, bridges and homes. (Times)

from John Lloyd:

No Union, please, we’re English

The opinions expressed are his own.

In France, it is les Anglais. In Germany, die Engländer. In Italy, gli Inglesi. In Russia, Anglichane.

The peoples of the United Kingdom, for most other peoples, are habitually “English.”

from Breakingviews:

UK banks need government to solve funding squeeze

By George Hay
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.The Bank of England is tooling itself up. The UK central bank announced on Dec. 6 a new facility to help domestic lenders if the euro zone crisis causes a fully-fledged freeze in short-term funding markets. But banks may still need more help.

The BoE already has two ways to combat liquidity squeezes. It allows banks to borrow against liquid collateral for three or six months through its Indexed Long-Term Repo (ILTR) auctions. And it allows desperate banks to swap illiquid collateral for gilts for up to a year via its Discount Window Facility (DWF) – in return for a fat fee and big haircuts.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Time for UEFA to revert to goal difference in Champions League

My head is hurting after all the mathematics that has been needed to work out qualification chances in the Champions League.

It is all because UEFA believes head-to-heads rather than goal difference in all group games should be the first deciding factor.

from Left field:

Spain, Nadal and the Davis Cup

By Greg Rusedski

The Davis Cup final between Spain and Argentina was always going to be a great tie. The atmosphere was electric due to the huge Argentinian contingent in Seville who were present to support their team. Both the Spanish and Argentinian fans got into the tie and with 26,000 plus spectators the atmosphere was more like a football match.

The tie all depended on how well Juan Martin Del Potro played on the opening day. The feeling was that he had to win his opening match on day one for Argentina to have a chance to win the tie. No one was going to beat Rafa on clay, and the only player to have done so all year was Djokovic. The other problem for Del Potro was that Nadal and David Ferrer were 25 and 0 on clay in Davis Cup. Yes, Nadal and Ferrer were a little tired after the ATP World Tour Finals but playing on clay at home was a huge advantage. Nadal looked physically strong at the ATP World Tour Finals but was unlucky to have picked up a stomach bug and never recovered properly for the event. This was bad news for the Argentinians because he was going to take out his frustration on the clay courts of Seville.