REFILE-Sunday British Business - March 2

Sun Mar 2, 2014 7:50am EST

LONDON Mar 2 (Reuters) - British newspapers reported the following business stories on Sunday. Reuters has not independently verified these media reports and does not vouch for their accuracy. The Sunday Times RBS DRAWS UP RESCUE PLAN FOR AILING IRISH ARM Royal Bank of Scotland is working on a radical plan to salvage its troubled Irish business by merging it with a number of rivals. A team inside RBS is looking at tie-ups between Ulster Bank and other lenders, such as Permanent TSB or the Irish subsidiaries of Danske Bank or KBC Group . STANDARD CHARTERED JOINS RUSH TO DODGE BONUS CAP Standard Chartered will this week become the latest bank to reveal plans to dodge a European cap on bonuses by using a loophole. Standard Chartered is expected to reveal that it plans to use a new system of "allowances" to get round the bonus cap. CHINESE CAR GIANT GOBBLES UP MIDLANDS ELECTRIC VAN MAKER China has grabbed another slice of the West's automotive industry with the acquisition of a promising British electric vehicle company. China's Geely has bought Emerald Automotive, a developer of lightweight hybrid electric vans, as part of a 120 million pounds ($201 million) expansion into green vehicles. CAMELOT TOOK 75 MLN STG FROM GOOD CAUSES TO FUND PRIZES Camelot took 75 million pounds from the National Lottery's fund for good causes to help pay for the re-launch of the game last year, when ticket prices were doubled. AIRBUS WEIGHS NEW ROLLS-ROYCE ENGINES FOR SUPERJUMBO Airbus is exploring the possibility of fitting new engines to its A330 airliners and A380 superjumbos as demand grows for planes that are cheaper to run. NPOWER'S OWNER SET FOR 4 BLN STG HIT The German owner of Npower is set to write off hundreds of millions of pounds on the value of its British power plants in the latest sign of a deepening crisis among the big six energy suppliers. RWE will reveal the British loss as part of an expected 4 billion pounds writedown of the value of its fleet of power stations. LAND ROVER ROARS INTO SAUDI ARABIA Jaguar Land Rover is to pump 100 million pounds into a new factory in Saudi Arabia that will make 100,000 cars a year to meet booming demand in the Middle East. GOLDMAN EYES SUB-PRIME LENDER Goldman Sachs is leading a pack of bidders for Kensington, the sub-prime mortgage lender put up for sale by Investec. Challenger banks including Virgin Money and Metro Bank are also believed to be looking at a takeover, along with the buy-to-let mortgage specialist Paragon. CHANGE OF HELM AT SAIL MAKER One of the world's top sail makers has been sold in a deal valuing it at $130 million including debt. Oakley Capital has brought a majority stake in North Technology Group, the owner of U.S.-based North Sails. The Sunday Telegraph RBS: FREE BANKING COULD END The end of free banking for customers is probably only a matter of time, with direct charges for current accounts almost inevitable, the chief executive of RBS tells the Sunday Telegraph in an interview. McEwan warned that the end of free-if-in-credit banking was coming as it would lead to greater transparency about how banks funded themselves. He made clear, though, he had no plans to begin phasing out free accounts at the moment. ELECTRONICS RETAILER MAPLIN UP FOR SALE Maplin, the UK's largest specialist electronics retailer, is up for sale following a series of approaches to the business's owner, Montagu Private Equity. DUBAI'S HEAD OF FINANCE REVEALS EMIRATES LISTING PLAN Dubai is considering listing some of its largest and most valuable state-controlled companies such as airline Emirates in a move that could raise billions of pounds in revenue. STANDARD CHARTERED PUSHED ON GROWTH FEARS Investors in Standard Chartered want the emerging markets-focused bank to "put their capital position beyond doubt". Major shareholders have told the Telegraph that the bank should use this week's results to explain its capital position in detail. JOHNSTON TO LAUNCH RIGHTS ISSUE Johnston Press, the newspaper group behind The Scotsman and The Yorkshire Post, is to go to shareholders for funds as it attempts to cut its massive debt pile. Johnston Press is looking to raise at least 75 million pounds in a rights issue to be launched in the coming weeks. CHRISTMAS SUCCESS PUTS JOHN LEWIS IN LINE FOR 370 MLN POUND PROFIT The John Lewis Partnership is set to reveal profits of 370 million pounds this week after the business enjoyed one of the most successful Christmas trading periods in its history. WIND FARM EARNINGS HIT BY PLANS TO FREEZE CARBON TAX Wind farm owners across Britain will earn tens of millions of pounds less than expected because of plans by the government to freeze the carbon tax. ALLIANCE TRUST TO WARN OF INDEPENDENCE RISK Alliance Trust, the Dundee-based investment and savings business, is poised to become the next public company to warn that Scottish independence poses a risk to its business. The Mail on Sunday RBS SHATTERS HOPES OF WINDFALL FOR OSBORNE Hopes that RBS would buy back a 'dividend access share' held by the government this year have been dashed.