LONDON, Sept 8 British newspapers reported the
following business stories on Sunday:
The Sunday Times
GLENCORE TO DOUBLE MERGER SAVINGS
Glencore is expected to tell investors this week
that cost savings from its blockbuster $46 billion merger with
Xstrata will be twice what it predicted.
When the merger closed four months ago CEO Ivan Glasenberg
said he expected to squeeze $500 million of synergies from the
combination. He is set to increase that figure to at least $1
billion this week at an investor day in central London on
JOHN LAING COULD BE PUT UP FOR SALE
Construction group John Laing is being groomed for sale
after its owner Henderson, the asset manager, appointed the
investment bank Greenhill to explore "strategic options" for the
Greenhill is looking at selling the business to a rival or
floating it. The move comes just months after Henderson settled
a high-profile legal case with 22 pension funds over the deal,
seven years ago, in which it took control of John Laing for 530
SERCO RISKS BAR FROM DEFENCE CONTRACT
Serco could be excluded from a huge defence
outsourcing deal after becoming caught up in two government
probes into claims that it overcharged the Ministry of Justice
for tagging criminals and falsified prisoner transfer documents.
Serco is part of a consortium led by American engineering
consultancy CH2M Hill that wants to run the Defence, Equipment &
Support (DE&S) agency responsible for buying fighter jets, tanks
and warships for the Ministry of Defence. Last week Philip
Dunne, the minister for defence equipment, support and
technology, hinted that CH2M Hill would need to consider
ditching Serco to have any chance of clinching the deal.
CHANCELLOR TO OK ROYAL MAIL AND LLOYDS FUNDRAISING
British chancellor George Osborne could this week give the go
ahead to the 3 billion pound market listing of Royal Mail and
the sale of about 5 billion pounds ($7.81 billion) of shares in
Lloyds Banking Group.
City sources said announcements on both deals could come
late this week, barring last-minute hitches but postal unions
still think the "intention to float" notice, could be delayed by
disputes over pay and pensions.
ZOOPLA EYES POSSIBLE 1 BLN STG FLOAT
Britain's second- biggest online estate agent Zoopla is
exploring a stock market float that could value the firm at more
than 1 billion pounds.
The six-year-old property website has hired Credit Suisse to
explore growth opportunities with a float the most likely option
for the group, which could be worth up to 1.3 billion pounds,
according to bankers.
The Sunday Telegraph
MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS EYES 3 BLN STG IPO
Merlin Entertainments, the owner of Britain's Madame Tussauds
and Legoland attractions, will offer more than 10 percent of its
shares to retail investors in a 3 billion pound-plus stock
market listing before Christmas.
Chief executive Nick Varney wants to offer a significant
proportion of its shares at flotation to small investors, given
the high profile of its brands among the general public. Varney
has been meeting institutional investors over the last week to
smooth a path towards an IPO in a bid to avoid a repeat of its
failed attempt at a stock market listing in 2010.
WONGA'S INDIA DEAL TO TRIGGER OVERSEAS EXPANSION
Pay day lender Wonga will try to tap into India's booming
economy after buying a 75 percent stake in domestic lender Nahar
Chennai-based Nahar Credits is historically focused on
commercial loans to small companies, a business which has now
been closed. But its existing licence permits lending to
individuals, which will allow Wonga to tap into the country's
growing middle classes in need of short-term finance. Wonga paid
3.2 million pounds for the stake.
TSB PROMISES A RETURN TO 'TRADITIONAL BANKING'
British bank TSB will focus on local customers and local
businesses when it returns to the British high street this week
after an 18-year absence.
The bank, formed from the separation of a 631-branch unit
from Lloyds Banking Group, begins operating as a
stand-alone business on Monday, and will use a local economy
index to show how savers' deposits are being put to work into
the local economy. Chief Executive Paul Pester has made a vow to
its 4.5 million customers that their money will not be used in
CBI URGES CREATION OF UK INFRASTRUCTURE COMMISSION
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has called for a
new body to oversee the country's long-term infrastructure
spending plans to be set-up to end the "feast and famine" cycle
of spending on UK projects.
The CBI wants a new National Infrastructure Commission to
evaluate the UK's needs up to 30 years ahead after the World
Economic Form's global competitiveness index showed Britain now
sits 28th worldwide in terms of its quality of infrastructure,
trailing Saudi Arabia and Barbados.
BANK LEVERAGE RULE COULD BACKFIRE-BBA
The British Bankers' Association said forcing banks to hold
greater amounts of capital under a new "leverage ratio" rule
could lead lenders to give up on less risky business.
The BBA warned that a requirement to hold Tier 1 capital
equivalent to at least 3 percent of banks' total assets might
encourage lenders to pursue more risky activity at the expense
of lower-risk, but lower-return, business.
The BBA said the calls to introduce an even higher leverage
ratio requirement of 4 percent would particularly hit banks
involved in low-risk businesses such as prime mortgage lending.
CORRUPTION FOUND IN BP GULF OF MEXICO SETTLEMENT PROGRAMME
Senior staff working for the body responsible for paying out
compensation claims linked to BP's Gulf of Mexico oil
spill settlement engaged in improper and unethical conduct,
according to an independent investigation.
A report into the probe, led by former FBI director Louis
Freeh, found the behaviour of some staff of court-appointed
claims administrator Patrick Juneau was "possibly criminal",
citing conflicts of interest and pervasive misconduct. However,
the report said the conduct did not warrant shutting down
payments to victims of the company's 2010 spill.
LTC BLACK CAB PRODUCTION TO RE-START
Production of London Taxi Company (LTC) black cabs will
resume this week almost a year after the firm went into
administration and made 136 workers redundant.
The company, founded in 1919, was rescued by Li Shufu, of
Shanghai-based Geely Automotive, and Volvo,
in February for 11.4 million pounds. LTC has spent the past six
months modernising its brand and said it already had orders to
supply 400 vehicles to Saudi Arabia and Australia.
The Mail on Sunday
VODAFONE EYES 6 BLN STG MAROC TELECOM DEAL
Vodafone is lining 6 billion pound swoop on Maroc
Telecom after it agreed to sell its 45 percent stake in Verizon
Wireless for $130billion.
The British mobile phone group has identified several takeover
targets, including Maroc Telecom and France's SFR, following the
cash-and-shares deal with Verizon, said the report,
HARRODS BANK TURNAROUND TO TAKE THREE YEARS
The turnaround of Harrods Bank to profitability will take at
least another three years after a boardroom overhaul.
The private bank made its fourth annual loss in the year to
January and said it continues to rely on 'parental support' from
present Harrods' owner Qatar Holding. General manager Malcolm
McLean, who began the turnaround after the acquisition of
Harrods by Qatar Holding, has stepped down to be replaced by
David Cathie, a former chief executive of wealth manager Adam &
Co., while four other directors were replaced during the year.
The Independent on Sunday
WETHERSPOON STAFF TO SHARE 22 MLN STG BONUS POT
Pubs chain JD Wetherspoon will hand over a 22 million
pounds bonus pot to more than 20,000 kitchen and bar staff on
zero hours contracts this week.
The average 1,000 pounds-plus bonus will be a welcome boost
to the thousands of staff who are on little more than the 6.09
pound per hour minimum wage. It was revealed in August that
close to 80 percent of the cheap-ale pub chain's 30,000
employees are on zero-hour contracts, which have been criticised
for not having guaranteed hours or a schedule.
DEMAND FOR LONDON OFFICES SOARS
Demand for offices in London has surged by nearly 40 percent
over the past year, as ambitious companies look to expand on the
back of a resurgent economy, according to new data from
commercial estate agent DeVono.
While 90 percent of the skyscraper space in The Shard, on
the South Bank, is still unoccupied, and building projects in
the City have stalled due to lack of funding, commercial real
estate in the City's borderlands - such as King's Cross,
Clerkenwell and Shoreditch - is in high demand by companies
searching for better value.
OVERSEAS TAKEOVERS OF UK FIRMS ON THE RISE
Takeovers of UK companies by foreign firms are at a six-year
high as investors increasingly look to Britain for successful
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show foreign
companies spent 23.4 billion pounds on British takeovers in the
three months to the end of June, up from 3.5 billion pounds in
the previous three months. The figure is the highest since the
second quarter of 2007 and includes the deal for software
start-up Monoidics, bought by Facebook in July, and baby food
maker Ella's Kitchen, which was taken over by U.S. giant Hain
Celestial in May.
ROYAL MAIL TO PAY OUT HALF OF PROFITS
Royal Mail will offer up to half its annual profits in
dividends after its 3 billion pound privatisation, which is
expected to be announced this week.
The board will meet this week to discuss final arrangements
for the flotation, but has already backed the proposed dividend
payment, which would make the flotation attractive to
institutional and retail investors, in principle.