PRESS DIGEST - British Business - April 25

Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:05pm EDT

The following are the top stories on the business pages of British newspapers. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

The Telegraph:

MINISTER DEFENDS EAST COAST RE-PRIVATISATION Train services on the state-run East Coast Main Line are not as reliable as hoped, rail minister Simon Burns has said, as the UK government begins the process of re-privatising the line. ()

THORNTONS SHARES JUMP AFTER SOLID TRADING UPDATE Sales of Thorntons chocolates in British supermarkets has overtaken those in the company's own high street stores for the first time. ()

The Guardian:

CO-OP PULLS OUT OF TALKS TO BUY LLOYDS BRANCHES After more than a year of discussions, the Co-Operative Group gives up on its ambition to challenge the big four high street banks. ()

LUCOZADE AND RIBENA UP FOR SALE The popular soft drink brands, which date back to 1927 and 1938 respectively, were put on the block by their current owner GlaxoSmithKline on Wednesday. ()

The Times:

BANKS STAY COOL DESPITE LENDING BOOST Bankers yesterday played down suggestions that the Funding for Lending Scheme would deliver a dramatic boost to small business lending - only hours after the Bank of England had launched a long-awaited revamp. ()

RICH RICCI PROVES HIS WORTH BEFORE HEADING FOR EXIT Investment banking propped up Barclays' profits in the opening quarter but could not prevent the lender suffering a 25 percent fall in returns. ()

The Independent:

BRINGING AMAZON TO BOOK: 160,000 SIGN INDEPENDENT SHOPS PETITION AMID TAX ANGER The world's largest online retailer Amazon.com has come under renewed pressure to pay corporation tax in Britain after a petition signed by more than 160,000 people was handed in to Number 10 today. ()

SPORTS DIRECT EMPLOYEES HIT JACKPOT AGAIN WITH 50,000 STG PAYOUT Sports Direct International is to hand its staff a payout worth more than 50,000 pounds ($76,300)this summer after the sportswear giant met its profit targets under a lucrative share scheme. ()

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