MENAFN - ProactiveInvestors - UK
Newspaper Briefing, including 'Stormy seas mean the rich are looking for dry land' - The Times
(MENAFN - ProactiveInvestors - UK) Apple expected to announce Mac update: Apple is expected to announce an upgrade to its core range of computers this week as it seeks to capitalise on the popularity the iPhone and iPad to almost double laptop sales within three years.
Mac computers have always been popular in the media industry but have struggled to expand their share of the total market beyond about 5%.
Revenue under pressure as Vodafone pays no U.K. tax: Vodafone did not pay a penny in corporate tax in Britain last year in an alleged deal with the taxman. The revelation comes as HM Revenue and Customs prepares to defend a legal challenge to a tax waiver given to Goldman Sachs. The Public Accounts Committee criticised HMRC last year for being too soft on multinational companies in disputes.
Britain can win big again - the lesson that Olympic strategy has for business: British business should be inspired by the U.K.'s successful Olympics strategy to take on and beat the best in the world, leading figures in business, sport and politics will tell the Times CEO Summit. Some of the country's top entrepreneurs will point to Britain's success at the Beijing Games and the delivery of the London 2012 project as models for business in an increasingly competitive globalised world.
The natural beauty of house price rises: House prices in the most picturesque parts of England have risen by an average of 110,000 over the past decade, equivalent to an increase of 911 a month, according to new research. The study from Lloyds TSB indicates that average prices in the country's areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs) increased by 87% from 125,860 to 235,215.
Stormy seas mean the rich are looking for dry land: The world's millionaires are keener than ever on pumping funds into precious jewellery, art and vintage wines as they take money out of financial markets thrown into disarray by economic uncertainty. A Barclays' study of investment in so-called "treasure" found that high-net-worth individuals held an average of 9.6% of their assets in valuable, aspirational luxuries.
Flotation delayed until the storm subsides: The key with any sales push is to grab would-be customers' attention, and Santander U.K. did just that when it unveiled an Isa that will pay out extra if the golfer Rory McIlroy wins one of the sport's four major championships. But in the background moves are afoot that could reap rather more serious rewards for the bank's 1.7 million shareholders.
Gold miner clears key obstacle on the road to London listing: A gold miner controlled by two of Russia's richest men has settled a legal dispute with one of Kazakhstan's most powerful families. The Assaubayevs have agreed to buy back several goldmines in Kazakhstan for 385 million from Polyus Gold International, Russia's biggest gold mining company.
First McDonald's conquered China; now comes counterattack: Americans may soon get used to hearing "would you like fried rice with that?" if the Chief Executive of Yum! Brands succeeds in creating China's first international fast-food chain. Twenty-five years after the first Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet opened in Tiananmen Square, David Novak says that it is time to go the other way.
Family trees that offer rich pickings: Facebook already knows everything about you, but even that might not be enough. It could soon have information on your family dating back hundreds of years, if it goes ahead with a deal to buy Ancestry.com. The social networking site is one of a number of groups reportedly interested in buying the company that has turned a worldwide interest in genealogy into a billion-dollar business.
Water shortage 'to hinder world's economic growth': Seven of the world's 10 most populated regions face such severe water shortages over the next three decades that they threaten to derail the growth which hundreds of millions of people in the developing world are banking on to lift them out of poverty.
Aberdeen is top spot for business starts-ups: Aberdeen was the only major U.K. city to create more businesses than it lost as the U.K. emerged from recession in 2010, as the hydrocarbon capital of the North Sea benefited from the booming oil price. The city created a net 80 new businesses in the year, representing 3.7 per 10,000 of its population, as scores of often small, independent, companies flocked there to explore for and produce oil and to offer support services, research has shown.
New domain names to break grip of tech giants: A massive overhaul of internet domain names takes place this week, which will unlock the market dominance of a handful of multibillion-dollar technology giants. At present, there are only 22 generic domain names, not including country codes like .co.uk, with the likes of the Nasdaq-listed groups VeriSign and Neustar running .com and .biz respectively.
Cable to water down curbs on executive pay: Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, plans to water down his hardest hitting measure to curb excessive executive pay. Chief Executives are likely to be spared an annual binding vote on their pay and bonuses, which had been proposed by Mr Cable in a paper on tackling boardroom greed.
Jordan picks easyJet as Olympics carrier: Jordan has become the first country to make a budget airline its official Olympic Games carrier, with the announcement on Monday that easyJet will fly its athletes and support staff between Amman and London this summer.
Big U.K. funds urge rethink on incentives: Some of the U.K.'s biggest fund managers are pushing banks and other blue-chip companies to adopt a dramatic change in pay practices, overhauling so-called long-term incentive plans to make them genuinely long term.
Banks to win ground on Vickers plan: The U.K.'s biggest banks are expected to win a potentially crucial concession for their small business operations as the government unveils its long-awaited response to proposals set out by the Vickers commission. George Osborne will set out detailed plans to reshape Britain's banking system in his Mansion House speech on Thursday, accompanied by a white paper.
Plus investors urge ICAP to sweeten offer: Dissident investors in Plus Markets Group are calling on ICAP, which is bidding for the company's stock exchange business, to make an improved offer or face a possible rejection of its bid next week.
Findus lenders face ownership choice: Senior lenders to Findus will this week decide whether to stick with the frozen food maker's existing Owner, Lion Capital, or take up a 230 million offer from Triton Partners, a rival private equity firm. Findus, which generated 1.1 billion of sales in 2010 and employs 6,000 people, has proved a tricky investment for Lion Capital, a number of whose consumer-facing assets have turned sour as shoppers spend less at the tills.
WPP to consult investors after pay vote: WPP will begin wide-ranging talks with investors following Wednesday's vote on remuneration in an attempt to strike a compromise over the contentious 6.8 million pay package being awarded to Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive.
Chinese U.S. listings: full-speed reverse: It is just as well that so many Chinese companies that listed in the U.S. through reverse mergers are trying to get out. So-called "advisers" promised the glamour of a New York listing to smallish Chinese companies that either did not understand the importance of corporate governance or simply wanted the money. Egregious examples of each have poisoned the well for all: since their peak at the end of 2009, Chinese reverse-merger stocks have dropped by more than two-thirds, according to a Bloomberg index, aided by short sellers, fears of fraud and poor liquidity. By contrast, an index of the largest U.S.-listed Chinese groups " the likes of Baidu, Sinopec and China Mobile " is up by 10%. Smaller U.S. companies, with which the reverse mergers are more comparable, have gained a fifth. Take-private offers worth nearly 3 billion are pending and almost 4 billion have already been completed, according to Dealogic. But premiums have dropped. From almost 50% in 2009, they are averaging 38% this year. Some deals have private equity backing in the expectation that they will eventually relist, say in Hong Kong.
Sberbank/DenizBank: Turkish delight: Dexia, the bank being broken up by the Belgian and French governments after two bailouts in three years, has sold its most valuable remaining asset, DenizBank in Turkey. Sberbank of Russia will pay TL6.5 billion-TL7.1 billion (3.6 billion-3.9 billion) for a bank that Dexia bought only six years ago. The deal is a further example of the cherry-picking of prize assets of distressed European banks by buyers unscathed by the global and Eurozone crises. The purchase is Sberbank's biggest yet and follows its ‚505 million acquisition of Austrian lender Volksbanken's international business in February. At first glance, it has not overpaid for DenizBank. Sberbank is paying 1.4-1.5 times book value, a slim discount to listed rivals Garanti Bank and Finansbank. With expectations of economic growth of about 3% this year, there is no shortage of interest in the country's banks. Spain's BBVA paid ‚4.2 billion for a quarter of Garanti Bank in 2010, equivalent to 2 times book value. And when Citigroup sold a 10% stake in Akbank, one of the country's biggest lenders, investor appetite saw the sale 1.6 times subscribed. Nor is the deal a stretch for the Russian bank: it equates to a 100 basis point decline in its core tier one capital ratio, to 10.6%.
Spain's bailout: questions persist: The slow build-up to Spain's banking crisis means numerous analyses are on offer. Multiplicity, though, does not bring unanimity. The International Monetary Fund thinks domestic bank capital buffers could be brought up to the new Basel III standards for an aggregate ‚40 billion (mainly by bolstering second-tier banks). The promised assistance of up to ‚100 billion would then provide a generous margin. But rating agency Fitch puts the requirement at ‚50 billion-‚60 billion " or, if Ireland's pattern of property-related losses repeats itself, ‚90 billion-‚100 billion. Some private sector forecasts are even more pessimistic: Barclays Capital estimates a basic ‚70 billion-‚80 billion, rising to ‚126 billion in an extreme stress scenario. All of which underscores how interrelated bank sector losses are with Spain's broader economic malaise. Property-related loans were 37% of gross domestic output at the end of 2011: corporate debt was 186%, the highest in the Eurozone, aside from Ireland. Yet the economy is likely to contract by 2% this year; unemployment is 24% and rising; and perhaps 1 million residential units overhang the property market.
The Daily Telegraph
Banks warn of costs from saver safeguards: Bankers have warned George Osborne they will be pressured by bondholders and other corporate borrowers to increase rates to compensate for losing ground in the compensation pecking order.
Virgin Active plans expansion into Asia: Virgin Active is planning to open clubs in Asia for the first time as the health club business shifts its focus east in the face of the economic slowdown in Europe.
Employers forced to take the role of schoolteacher: More than four in 10 employers are being forced to provide remedial training in English, maths and IT because school-leavers and college students lack basic skills when they start earning a living; it is shown in research published.
Sir Terry Leahy condemns 'medieval' high streets: The supermarket giant he led for 14 years has been accused of killing off the high street, but Sir Terry insisted the changes were the result of a "natural balance".
Bank account fraud reaches new heights: Fraud involving current accounts soared to a new peak in the first quarter; it is disclosed in a survey. The data shows 44 in every 10,000 applications for current accounts were found to be fraudulent, an increase of 23% on the fourth quarter last year.
The Questor Column:
Rolls-Royce is a real growth engine: Rolls is structured into four divisions: Aerospace, Defence Aerospace, Marine and Energy. The company experienced some rare negative headlines after a fleet of new Qantas A380s was grounded after an explosion in a Rolls engine. Earlier this year the latest Trent XWB engine took to the skies for the first time and Rolls opened a new manufacturing and training facility in Singapore, close to growth markets. There are high barriers to entry in its business because of the breadth of Rolls' intellectual property and its history of innovation. Because of this reputation, its order book stood at 62.2 billion at the end of last year. Currently, this stands at more than 50,000 engines. The shares are not going cheap, trading on a December 2012 earnings multiple of 14.3 times, falling to 13. However, because of the aftermarket effect, profits are likely to continue to rise for many years. Rolls is seeking to double revenues over 10 years through organic growth. The yield, at 2.4%, is not the reason to own the shares. Rolls-Royce at 818.5p. Questor Says "Buy".
Centrica a buy for income and growth: The shares were named as a tip of 2012 after slumping last year following a profit warning. The shares have outperformed the wider market, rising 8% compared with the FTSE 100's 2% fall. Questor expects this outperformance to continue, as price cuts earlier this year appear to have eased the political pressure on the sector. Fears of political interference were a significant part of last year's 13% share price fall. An exploration partnership with Norway's Statoil to look for oil in the U.K. and Norwegian North Sea has also been extended until June 2013. After last year's falls, Centrica shares are yielding a very attractive 5.3%, rising to 5.7%. The cash-generative nature of the business means this looks secure and it is covered by earnings 1.7 times. The valuation is also cheap by historical standards, with the current earnings multiple being 11.747, falling to 10.6. Centrica's next update will be its interim results on 26 July, and the shares are a buy for both income and growth ahead of those figures. Centrica at 315.2p. Questor Says "Buy".
Britain should stay in EU, says report by Eurosceptic thinktank: A British exit from the European Union would pose "unpredictable political and economic risks", the country's leading Eurosceptic thinktank argues in a report that will have a significant impact on the debate in the Tory party.
BAA's third Heathrow runway plans back on the agenda: The government will not block BAA from submitting proposals for a third Heathrow runway in a forthcoming revamp of policy on aviation hubs, in a move that heads off the threat of legal action by the Airport Owner.
Sierra Leone fortunes change as diamond trade brings back investment: Lying in Sierra Leone's mineral-rich eastern belt, the Koidu Holdings diamond mine and others like it were once at the heart of the country's decade-long civil war. Six hours from the capital, Freetown, burned-out houses are testament to the conflict that coined the term "blood diamonds" as warring factions fought to control lucrative diamond fields.
No-fuss sacking payouts included in employment law overhaul: Rules making it easier for companies to sack their workers by offering them immediate payouts if they agree to leave without any fuss will be unveiled this week as part of the government's controversial overhaul of employment law.
Facebook flotation may have cost UBS 350 million: The Swiss investment bank UBS may have lost as much as 350 million (226 million) during Facebook's flawed flotation last month, according to reports.
The U.K.'s prospects improve but Eurozone crisis casts a shadow over long-term growth: The U.K.'s prospects have improved, a survey shows, but the Eurozone crisis has cast a shadow over longer-term growth prospects. BDO's Output Index, which reflects the current experience of those in U.K. business and predicts GDP one quarter ahead, climbed to 96.7 in May from 95.8 in April.
BAE Systems ready to bid again for fighter jet deal with India: Britain's BAE Systems is preparing a fresh bid for the world's biggest fighter jet order despite India's rejection of its Eurofighter Typhoon for France's Dassault Rafale.
AstraZeneca makes progress with trials of diabetes treatment: AstraZeneca made some progress with trials of its dapagliflozin diabetes treatment. Earlier this year it failed to win U.S. clearances for the once"a"day medicine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had asked for more data on its effectiveness, which analysts believed was due to concerns over liver toxicity.
More pressure for Tesco Boss Phil Clarke as revamp plans fail to gain momentum: Tesco Boss Phil Clarke will find himself under further pressure when lacklustre first quarter results are expected to show his recovery plan has failed to gain momentum.
Markets set to bounce as Spain gets 80 billion bailout: Share prices are expected to rise, though financial markets are forecast to remain volatile, after Eurozone leaders agreed to a ‚100 billion (80 billion) bailout for Spain.
Hollywood deal for British firm: British film company Intandem has secured 1.1 million from the California Film Commission to co-produce a Hollywood comedy, 10 Things I Hate About Life. Intandem Films was one of 10 out of 300 applicants that won a share of 64 million of state tax credits to help finance films and TV.
Metro bank's growth plans: Metro Bank has raised 126 million to step up growth as it challenges the big high-street banks. It plans to extend its chain of 12 branches through seven openings in London and the Home Counties. Metro hopes to have 200 by 2020.
Floats low but firms are awash with cash: While the number of new Aim flotations has remained low there has been a boom in cash raised by listed companies, a study shows. U.S. analysts Aim Advisers, who carried out the research, said the strength of the junior market showed investor confidence was still high.
The Scottish Herald
Private sector growth slows to 17-month low: Growth in Scotland's private sector slowed to a crawl in May according to research findings that may trigger renewed fears the country will suffer a double-dip recession.
Dieselec plans expansion after profits increase: Dieselec Thistle is preparing to expand after shrugging off the uncertainty regarding the economy to record dramatic growth in profits. Backed by the Pirrie brothers' Nevis Capital, the company has quadrupled profits to 2 million over the past two years helped by its success in winning work from the public sector despite cuts in Government spending.
Online equity portfolio service opens up: Two former Scottish Widows Investment Directors have set up a new research service and are aiming to attract thousands of high net worth individuals as members. SlimCat Investments, based in Edinburgh, creates online equity portfolios for long-term investors and charges a fixed-price fee of 150.
Entrepreneur powers ahead with solar energy expansion: In this week's SME Focus we hear from a born entrepreneur who is adapting to the challenges involved in working in a sector in which firms have to adapt to fast-developing technology and a shifting regulatory environment.
Metro in 126 million fund boost: Metro Bank, the new high street lender centred on London and the Home Counties of England, has raised 126 million which it will use to accelerate the expansion of its branch network.
Cambridge banking loans option for Scottish SMEs: Established SMEs in Scotland will be able to apply for loans from a new bank formed by a Cambridge University college with a pension fund. Trinity Hall and Cambridge Local Government Pension Fund say they have established Cambridge & Counties Bank because many SMEs are finding it difficult to secure finance.
Elimpus secures 50,000 to fund planned expansion: A technology company has moved into larger premises thanks to 50,000 funding from regeneration and investment body U.K. Steel Enterprise.
Scots economic growth stalling as euro zone debt crisis takes its toll: The impact of the euro zone debt crisis on Scotland's economy will be laid bare this morning when figures show the private sector grew in May at its slowest pace since the start of last year.
Markets on knife-edge after vast bailout agreed for Spanish banks: Financial markets open on the brink of yet more volatility after the euro zone crisis deepened as Spain paved the way at the weekend for a ‚100 billion (80 billion) bailout of its beleaguered banking sector.
Diageo moves ahead of rival as it boosts international sales growth: Drinks giant Diageo is leading the race into emerging markets ahead of French rival Pernod Ricard, and looks set to be first to get half its sales from these growth areas as it serves drinkers from Moscow to Mumbai, analysts have forecast.
Fears as China output slows: China's factory output rose by 9.6% year-on-year in May, missing expectations and further entrenching concerns that the world's second-largest economy may slip into its worst downturn in years. Economists had expected China's industrial output to rise by 9.9% in May, improving slightly from the three-year lows of 9.3% struck in April.
UAE back into 11 billion fiscal surplus for 2011: The United Arab Emirates' public finances swung into a surplus of 2.9% of economic output in 2011 after two years of deficits as robust oil income offset an increase in government spending, a report by the International Monetary Fund showed.
Oasis hires DC Advisory to look at ways to fund expansion plan: Oasis has hired DC Advisory to look at its long-term expansion options. The firm hopes to buy existing branches and open new ones to double its number of outlets to 400, and has asked DC to size up fresh investment, further private equity involvement or a trade sale to fund the expansion.
Decision close on 1.3 billion bids for London Metal Exchange: The final bidders are vying for the London Metal Exchange and a winner could be chosen soon. InterContinental Exchange (ICE) and Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEx) are both believed to have tabled bids of around 1.3 billion for the 135-year-old LME, the City's last open-outcry trading pit.
Roche won't revisit Illumina bid: Roche has no plans to warm up its play for Illumina after its takeover bid for the U.S. firm failed, and will pursue smaller takeovers instead, Chief Executive Severin Schwan said.
MENA News Headlines
|May 26 2013||Frankfurt weathers euro crisis better than rivals ,AFP|
(MENAFN - AFP) With banking union brewing and London mulling an EU exit, is Frankfurt ready to take on the mantle as Europe's unchallenged financial capital?
Although the epicentre of the euro, ...|
|May 26 2013||Scientists cast doubt on Alzheimer's cancer drug study ,AFP|
(MENAFN - AFP) Four separate teams of scientists have said they were unable to replicate a highly publicized study that last year touted a cancer drug's success against Alzheimer's disease in ...|
|May 26 2013||Little-known Slovak wines outsparkle global competitors ,AFP|
(MENAFN - AFP) Deep shades of red and vermilion catch the light as connoisseurs raise their half-full glasses to examine the colour of the wine before sinking their noses in to inhale enticing ...|
|May 26 2013||GI's were liberators yes, but also trouble in Normandy ,AFP|
(MENAFN - AFP) The image of American GI's who landed in Normandy in June 1944 has long been choreographed as one of handsome young men liberating an occupied country. A new book, however, paints a ...|
|May 26 2013||Assets of Saudi banks hit USD471.3b in Q1: SAMA ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) announced that assets of the Kingdom's banks grew by USD10.11 billion in the first 3 months of the year, hitting USD471.3 billion, reported Emirates ...|
|May 26 2013||Arabtec Terna secures USD107.7m Saudi contract ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Arabtec Holding announced that its subsidiary, Arabtec Terna, has secured a USD107.7 million Saudi contract from Aldara Medical Corporation, reported Reuters.
Arabtec Terna will be in ...|
|May 26 2013||UAE- MAF expects investments of USD1b in 2013 ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Majid Al Futtaim Holding (MAF) announced that it predicts its current year's investments to hit USD1 billion, reported Arabian Business.
According to the CEO, Iyad Malas, the USD680 ...|
|May 26 2013||Jordan's 2013 growth outlook at 3.5%: CB ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) According to the Central Bank governor Ziad Fariz, Jordan is expecting a 3.5-percent economic growth for the current year, reported Arabian Business.
He also said that this expectation is ...|
|May 26 2013||Sharjah eyes more Korean, Asian tourists and investments ahead of Seoul summit ,Emirates News Agency (WAM)|
|(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) The Third UAE-Korea Economic Partnership Forum that opens tomorrow will help provide a direct impetus to the travel and tourism industry in Sharjah and the UAE ...|
|May 26 2013||Central Bank of the UAE, TRA sign MoU ,Emirates News Agency (WAM)|
|(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) Central Bank of the UAE represented by the Department of Information Technology and the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) represented by Computer ...|