(Adds futures, further company news)
LONDON Aug 15 Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen edging
higher at the open on Friday, with September futures on the index up 0.3
percent at 0620 GMT. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please
* The UK blue chip index closed up 28.58 points, or 0.4 percent, at 6,685.26
points on Thursday.
* BHP BILLITON : The global miner said on Friday it is leaning
towards shedding its unwanted assets through a spin-off to shareholders, as a
report said the world's biggest miner planned to form a separate $14 billion
company for its aluminium, manganese, nickel, Cannington silver mine and South
African energy coal assets.
* BALFOUR BEATTY : The construction firm has reaffirmed its
rejection of a merger proposal from rival Carillion, it said on Friday.
* GSK British corporate investigator Peter Humphrey and his American
wife Yu Yingzeng do not plan to appeal a Chinese court's decision to sentence
them to prison, a lawyer told Reuters on Friday.
They were detained last year following work they did for British
pharmaceuticals giant GSK, which is at the centre of a separate government
corruption investigation involving hundreds of millions of dollars.
* POWER UTILITIES: Bahrain-based Arcapita Bank has hired JP Morgan
to lead a share listing for Irish energy firm Viridian Group, two sources
familiar with the matter said on Thursday, in a deal that one said could give
the firm a value, including debt, of nearly 1 billion pounds ($1.7 billion).
* The second release of Britain's second-quarter GDP data, due at 0830 GMT,
is expected to show the UK economy grew by 0.8 percent quarter-on-quarter in the
three months to the end of June.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
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(Reporting By Francesco Canepa; editing by Blaise Robinson)