REPSOL CHIEF HEADS FOR SHOWDOWN WITH CRITIC
After months of speculation, Repsol’s Antonio Brufau tomorrow will be forced to defend his job as executive chairman of the Spanish oil and gas group against one of his fiercest critics. Luis del Rivero, chairman of Sacyr Vallehermoso construction and property company , wants to unseat the oil boss as the first step in a plan to carve up the group and sell part of it to focus on the domestic refining operations. An extraordinary board meeting has been called for to resolve the issue.
PARIS PILES PRESSURE ON RENAULT
Renault was ordered by the French government yesterday to keep the production of its new Clio small car in France rather than shift it to lower-cost Turkey. Christian Estrosi, industry minister, told Patrick Pelata, Renault’s chief operating officer, that the government, which holds a 15 per cent stake in Renault, opposed any plans to move production of the best-selling model to the company’s Bursa factory in Turkey when the new Clio mark IV is launched in 2013.
INVESTOR APPETITE DRIVES GOLD TO NEW PEAK
Investors bought more gold than buyers of jewellery for the first time in three decades in 2009, highlighting the increasing impact of speculators on bullion prices. GFMS, the consultancy that compiles benchmark supply and demand data on the metal, said investment demand doubled to 1,820 tonnes last year, while jewellery purchases fell 23 per cent to 1,687 tonnes, a 21-year low. The data provide the clearest indication of the huge role investors played in driving gold to a record high of $1,226.10 a troy ounce in December. GFMS says a “large amount of money” is poised to enter the gold market this year.
DUBAI WORLD TRIES TO KEEP BANKS AT BAY
Dubai World is ready to propose a formal six-month standstill agreement on $22bn (£13.5bn) of debts by the end of the month. The proposal will mark the next stage in the restructuring of the government-owned conglomerate since it sent shockwaves through international markets last November with the admission that it was unable to meet its obligations.
SECURITY FEARS THREATEN SMART METER PLAN
The £8.1bn rollout of smart meters in Britain could be knocked off course unless the government and Ofgem, the energy regulator, act urgently to convince the public that the information provided will be held securely. Fears that data on energy consumption could be misused by criminals have curtailed their introduction.
The Daily Telegraph
PAY CUT LEAVES HP BOSS MARK HURD WITH JUST $30M
Mark Hurd, the chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, the US computer manufacturer, took a 29 per cent pay cut last year, but still collected $30.3m (£18.6m). Mark Hurd, who has led HP since February 2005, saw his total pay package fall by $12m from the $42.4m he received in 2008. In a regulatory filing HP said Mr Hurd’s basic pay dropped to $1.27m from $1.45m in 2008.
BEER SUPPLIES TO RUN DRY AMID BELGIAN BREWERY PROTESTS
Shops in Belgium running out of Stella, Leffe and Jupiler as Anheuser-Busch InBev workers blockade breweries owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev in protests over job cuts. Belgian beer-drinkers hoping to forget the recession over a few pints of their favourite brew are in for a shock.
WALL STREET JOURNAL
SIEMENS NAMES US HEAD
Siemens AG selected management consultant Eric Spiegel as president and chief executive of Siemens Corp, the US division of the German industrial conglomerate. Spiegel, previously a vice president and senior partner at Booz & Co, starts the new position on 18 January and will be based in Washington, D.C.
MORGAN STANLEY AND GOLDMAN SACHS FIGHT FOR FIRST
Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group are jockeying over when to release their earnings reports for 2009. Each is hoping to better control the public perceptions of their respective releases. Goldman is trying to deflect some attention from its bonus pool and highlight the differences between its profitable year and Morgan’s lackluster results. Morgan, would prefer to avoid comparisons.