PRESS DIGEST- British Business - May 12

Sun May 11, 2014 9:38pm EDT

May 12 (Reuters) - 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

FIRST BRITISH SHALE GAS 'TO FUEL HOMES NEXT YEAR'

Cuadrilla is preparing to submit planning applications by the end of this month to frack at two sites in Lancashire next year and start supplying fuel to British homes by late 2015. (link.reuters.com/vaz29v)

INVESTORS TELL ASTRA TO ENGAGE

Shareholders in AstraZeneca have told the company's management they must engage with Pfizer if and when the U.S. drugs giant returns with a higher offer. (link.reuters.com/waz29v)

The Guardian

MPS TO DEMAND PFIZER PROTECT BRITISH SCIENTISTS' JOBS FOR AT LEAST A DECADE

MPs will this week demand that the U.S. drugs company Pfizer guarantee British scientists' jobs for at least 10 years as its boss Ian Read flies in to face parliamentary scrutiny over his proposed 60 billion pound takeover of AstraZeneca. (link.reuters.com/xaz29v)

MIDCOUNTIES BACKS CALL FOR URGENT REFORMS IN THE CO-OPERATIVE GROUP

Britain's largest independent Co-operative society, the Midcounties, is to throw its weight behind the urgent reforms of the Co-operative Group that Paul Myners has warned are needed if the 150-year-old mutual organisation is to survive. (link.reuters.com/zaz29v)

The Times

HENDERSON SET TO CASH IN ON LAING WITH 1.5 BLN POUND FLOTATION

One of the biggest names in British construction, John Laing, is being prepared for a possible return to the stock market through a flotation that could value the business at as much as 1.5 billion pounds. (link.reuters.com/bez29v)

BAT SEEKS TO OFFSET SLOW GROWTH WITH A MEGA-DEAL

Britain's largest tobacco group, British American Tobacco , has hired bankers to advise on multibillion-pound acquisition opportunities in America, including possible deals with Reynolds American and Lorillard. (link.reuters.com/gez29v)

The Independent

PFIZER BOSS IAN READ FLIES IN TO PUT ASTRAZENECA TAKEOVER CASE TO MPS

The chief executive of U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer will arrive in the UK on Monday to persuade the government that its 60 billion pound plus hostile takeover of British rival AstraZeneca should be allowed. (link.reuters.com/hez29v)

VULTURE FUNDS TIGHTEN THEIR GRIP TO RESCUE CO-OP BANK

The Co-op Bank has completed a 400 million pound cash call in a move that will reduce the Co-operative Group's stake from 30 percent to just over 20 percent and result in the loss of one of its directors from the board. (link.reuters.com/jez29v) (Reporting by Tasim Zahid in Bangalore)