September 1, 2013 / 12:55 PM / 4 years ago

PRESS DIGEST-Sunday British Business-Sept 1

LONDON, Sept 1 (Reuters) - British newspapers reported the following business stories on Sunday:

The Sunday Times:

VODAFONE TO ESCAPE TAX ON $130 BLN U.S. SALE

Vodafone Group is expected to pay only $5 billion in tax on the $130 billion sale of its stake in American mobile network Verizon this week.

Vodafone shareholders have told the Sunday Times they expect to receive about 70 percent of the sale proceeds. The newspaper, citing insiders, added that Verizon would help raise funds by launching a $20 billion bond issue and borrowing $40 billion from a club of five or six investment banks.

BANK WARNED LOW RATE PLAN RISKS DISASTER

An influential group of economists on Sunday attacked Bank of England governor Mark Carney’s forward guidance policy, warning it was based on a “flawed model” and risked “accelerating inflation or worsening boom-bust cycles”.

The criticism by members of the shadow monetary policy committee comes after Carney reiterated his pledge last week not to consider a hike in interest rates until the unemployment rate drops from its current rate of 7.8 percent to 7 percent. That was unlikely for another three years, he said.

Many members of the shadow MPC believe the Bank should begin nudging up rates now and that the forward guidance would delay necessary rate rises.

EX-RIO CHIEF IN VEDANTA TALKS

Ex-Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albanese is in talks about a senior board role at Vedanta Resources , including potentially taking over as CEO of the Indian natural resources firm, the Sunday Times said without citing sources.

TWITTER EYES $15BN FLOAT

Twitter has begun laying the ground for a stock market float next year in which the tech firm could be valued at up to $15 billion, the Sunday Times said, citing senior bankers.

The float could come as early as the first quarter of 2014, sources told the newspaper, adding that the firm is expected to select several investment banks to handle the listing in the coming weeks.

DUBAI IN LINE FOR BIG STAKE IN BBA JETS

Dubai could become the biggest shareholder in British aircraft services firm BBA Aviation as part of a possible 2 billion pound ($3 billion) tie-up between the company and American firm StandardAero.

Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE), which owns U.S.-based engine repair and maintenance business StandardAero, could take a stake of up to 25 percent in the enlarged business, the British newspaper said.

PUB CHAIN OFF TO IRELAND

British pub chain JD Wetherspoon is preparing to open its first pub in Ireland in the Dublin suburb of Blackrock, the Sunday Times said, citing the firm.

CHINA CLEARS OUT BRITISH GOLD VAULTS

A record 797 tons of gold worth an estimated $37 billion was sold out of British vaults to foreign buyers, mostly in China and India, in the first six months of the year, according to research from investment bank Macquarie.

IMPERIAL BUYS CHINESE INVENTOR OF E-CIGARETTE

Imperial Tobacco is paying $75 million for the e-cigarette division of Chinese firm Dragonite, the Sunday Times said, citing the firm.

The British newspaper said Imperial had confirmed the acquisition but highlighted that the deal had yet to be approved by Dragonite’s shareholders.

WAGON WHEELS BOSSES MULL BID

Bosses at Burton‘s, the maker of Wagon Wheels and Jammie Dodgers biscuits, are lining up a buyout of the firm after its owners put it up for sale, the Sunday Times said without citing sources.

Private equity firms have been eager to back their bid, the newspaper said. Burton‘s, owned by U.S. private equity and hedge fund firm Apollo Global Management, and Canadian bank, CIBC, is expected to go for between 300-350 million pounds($541 million).

BERKELEY BUYS QVC OFFICES

Housebuilder Berkeley Group has bought the former head office of the QVC shopping channel in Battersea, southwest London, for 105 million pounds ($162.43 million), the Sunday Times said without citing sources.

The Sunday Telegraph:

CO-OP BANK INVESTORS EXPRESS ANGER OVER RESCUE DEAL

Senior fund managers have warned the Co-op that it risks full-scale investor rebellion unless it begins engaging with its bondholders ahead of the launch of a controversial 1.5 billion pound ($2.32 billion) emergency recapitalisation of its banking arm.

The Co-op has insisted that investors will have to wait until the end of October to see the details of the so-called “exchange offer”, which would see bondholders take haircuts on the value of their investments in order to raise cash for the bank.

AIRLINES IN EMERGENCY SYRIA PLAN

Major carriers Emirates, Etihad and British Airways are drawing up emergency plans including re-routing planes ahead of a potential military attack on Syria.

All three airlines confirmed contingency plans would be in place for such a situation, the British newspaper said. A number of long-haul airlines fly through or close to Syrian air space to service other major destinations and link to air traffic hubs in Europe such as Heathrow.

GO-AHEAD FORCED TO PULL OUT OF DLR CONTEST

Bus and rail group Go-Ahead has been forced to withdraw from a competition to run London’s Docklands Light Railway services after confirming it had parted ways with its French joint venture partner Colas Rail.

The Sunday Express:

RBS BRANCHES COULD FORM BASIS FOR NEW CHALLENGER

The 315 branches to be sold by RBS could be used as the basis for a new national challenger bank as at least one potential buyer considers adding more sites to the network.

A consortium of Corsair Capital, Standard Life Investments and the Church of England, one of three competing bidders, could look to expand the branch network over the long term, the newspaper said citing sources close to the bidder.

TABLETS BUOY DIXONS

Dixons, the owner of Currys and PC World, is this week expected to report a 6 percent rise in UK like-for-like sales for the first quarter, the Sunday Express said.

Mail on Sunday:

20,000 HIGH STREET SHOPS ON THE BRINK OF COLLAPSE

Around 20,000 independent retail businesses are on the brink of collapse, according to a report to be handed to MPs on Wednesday, which calls for a radical overhaul of Britain’s town centres.

Recommendations in the report, launched by ex-Wickes boss Bill Grimsey, include an immediate reverse of a plan to delay a review of business rates from 2015 to 2017.

FOR SALE: POWER STATION LIGHTING 1.5 MLN HOMES

Severn Power, one of Britain’s newest gas-fired power stations could be sold for up to 500 million pounds ($773.46 million) after it was put on the block by owner Dong Energy.

The Danish firm has hired advisers from Blackstone to find a buyer, the British newspaper said, citing city sources.

CO-OP CHIEF FACES MPS’ CALLS TO CUT 4.6 MLN STG PAY PACKET

Former Co-operative Bank chief Neville Richardson is expected to face calls from MPs to hand back part of a 4.6 million pound ($7.12 million) pay package earned in his final year at the crisis-struck bank.

The appearance before the Treasury Select Committee on Wednesday will be Richardson’s first public outing since he left the bank in 2011.

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