What the other papers say this morning - 29 January 2014

FINANCIAL TIMES

AO.com aims for £1bn valuation
AO.com, the online electricals retailer, is aiming for a £1bn valuation when it floats on the London Stock Exchange later this year – more than treble the market capitalisation it was hoping to achieve just four months ago. Several investors have told the Financial Times that the retailer, formerly known as Appliances Online, is now aiming to achieve a valuation of £1bn-£1.2bn, compared with the £300m estimated when it appointed banking advisers in September.

MoD to hand over running of bases
The Ministry of Defence is expected to appoint a private sector partner to manage its entire military estate – from airfields to training bases – within weeks in a trailblazing deal that will pave the way for sales of properties including Deepcut barracks estate in Surrey.

Iraq eyes return to Opec system
Iraq has for the first time begun preparing for a return to the Opec production quota system, in a shift of policy that reduces the prospect of oversupply and lower prices in global oil markets.

Daimler loses senior board member
Daimler, the German car and truckmaker, has been rocked by the sudden departure of board member Andreas Renschler.

THE TIMES

Treasury takes aim at carbon tax
Treasury officials are working on plans to hold the rate of the carbon tax, which primarily penalises coal and gas plants and ultimately is paid for by consumers. The move comes in the wake of the Government’s decision in December to knock £50 off energy bills after cutting other green levies.

New lender seeks to help SMEs
Two former Barclays executives have launched a new lender to plug the “gap” in small and medium-sized businesses’ balance sheets left by banks demanding security on assets that many start-ups struggle to find.

The Daily Telegraph

Lloyds starts £1.5bn-plus TSB float
Lloyds Banking Group has pushed the button on its £1.5bn-plus float of TSB after rejecting an 11th-hour approach from a group of institutional investors. TSB’s management, led by chief executive Paul Pester, has begun meeting potential investors to ask them to back the pending flotation of the 631-branch business.

Obama’s minimum wage gesture
President Barack Obama is to try and inject some much-needed political momentum into his flagging second term by announcing in his State of the Union address that he will raise the minimum wage for government workers.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Foreign investment in France falls
New investments by foreign businesses in France fell sharply in 2013 by 77 per cent, contrasting with significant pickups in Germany and Spain, an indication of the scale of the challenge facing President François Hollande as he reaches out to business to help spark growth.

Kone CEO to step down in March
Kone Oyj chief executive Matti Alahuhta will step down on March 31, after a nine-year tenure during which the elevator maker's market capitalization has soared on the back of profitable growth and rapid expansion in China.