PRESS DIGEST- British Business - Jan. 22

Tue Jan 21, 2014 7:44pm EST

Jan 22 - 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

BRITAIN'S BANKS URGE STRONGER TIES WITH BRUSSELS

Britain's banks have urged the Government to strengthen ties with Brussels, as the single market is vital to the success of the country's financial services sector. The British Bankers' Association has sent a paper to the Treasury's "balance of competences" review, which studies the balance of power between the EU and Westminster.

IMF ENDORSES CARNEY STIMULUS AS IT UPGRADES UK

The International Monetary Fund has handed a boost to the Governor of the Bank of England by pledging its support for continued economic stimulus, even as it ramped up growth projections for Britain's economy. The organisation forecast on Tuesday that Britain will grow by 2.4 percent this year, against the 1.9 percent prediction it made in October.

The Guardian

UNILEVER COULD PULL OUT OF BRITAIN IF IT LEFT EU, WARNS MULTINATIONAL'S BOSS

The UK would be better off staying inside the European Union "than kicking against the table" and voting to leave, the boss of one of the world's largest consumer goods companies has said. Paul Polman, the Dutch chief executive of the consumer multinational Unilever, said the company could review its UK investment if Britain left the EU.

LLOYDS BANK - CO-OP DEAL WAS SWAYED BY POLITICS, LORD LEVENE TELLS MPS

State-backed Lloyds Banking Group was "swayed by political considerations" when it chose the Co-operative Bank to take over more than 600 branches, the head of a failed rival bid told MPs.

The Times

UK CHIEFS "AMONG WORLD'S MOST OPTIMISTIC" AT DAVOS

Britain's bosses are planning a hiring spree and new investment this year after rediscovering their economic mojo. According to PwC's annual global CEO survey, UK business leaders started the year among the most optimistic in the world. Two thirds plan to employ more, against a global average of half, and half expect to drive growth through "product and service innovation".

HOBAN NAMED FOR "INTERFERING" IN LLOYDS BRANCH SALE

Mark Hoban, the former Financial Secretary to the Treasury, has been named as one of the politicians who appeared to interfere in Lloyds' ill-fated auction of more than 600 branches by Lord Levene of Portsoken.

Sky News

HUNT PAYDAY DELAYED AS 35 MLN POUNDS SALE COLLAPSES

A company takeover that would have netted Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, a 17 million pounds jackpot has collapsed after the prospective buyer failed to agree the terms of a deal. Sky News understands that negotiations between Inflexion Private Equity and Hotcourses, a provider of online education listings, broke down in recent weeks.

HORSEMEAT SCANDAL FIRM FINDUS PLOTS PAYOUT

One of the companies at the centre of last year's horsemeat scandal is plotting a financial restructuring that will lead to a multimillion-pound payout for its owners. Sky News has learnt that Findus is planning to launch a bond worth up to 200 million pounds in the coming weeks to take advantage of attractive financing markets.

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