VEKSELBERG FACES RECORD FINE IN OERLIKON CASE
Swiss authorities are seeking to impose a record SFr120m ($114m) fine on Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg and two Austrian investors for allegedly breaching reporting rules in building stakes in the troubled Oerlikon industrial group. The fine – which was announced on Thursday – was immediately rejected by Renova, Mr Vekselberg’s holding company. The amount sought by the authorities far exceeds customary penalties of about SFr50,000 for proven breaches.
PORTUGUESE MINISTER HITS OUT AT RATINGS AGENCIES
Portugal’s finance minister yesterday condemned international credit rating agencies for damaging his country’s economy by making mistaken risk assessments. The attack came as yields on Portuguese government bonds rose to a six-month high on the back of a lukewarm response by rating agencies to the Lisbon government’s budget proposals for cutting a record deficit. “Many of the problems we face are related to errors in risk evaluation that have been made, in part, by the rating agencies,” said Fernando Teixeira dos Santos.
CHINA XD ELECTRIC FLOPS ON SHANGHAI DEBUT
The Shanghai stock market, famous for sending initial public offering shares skyrocketing on their first day of trading, set a subdued new landmark yesterday when China XD Electric became the first IPO in more than five years to fall on its first day of trading. Shares in the mainland’s biggest maker of electricity transmission and distribution equipment fell 1.4 per cent to Rmb7.79 in Shanghai from the IPO price of Rmb7.90. Shanghai’s benchmark composite index rose 0.25 per cent on the day.
BP BOARD SET FOR BIG SHAKE-UP
Carl-Henric Svanberg, BP’s new chairman, has embarked on a boardroom shake-up at the oil group as it prepares to announce an expected 80 per cent surge in quarterly profits to $4.7 bn(£2.9bn) next week. The company’s board met this week for the first time under the leadership of Svanberg, who took up the role on 1 January to approve a replacement for Sir Tom McKillop, the former chairman of RBS who was forced to step down as a non-executive director of BP last year.
FIRST TIME BUYERS SUFFER
The banks’ stringent lending criteria are excluding hundreds of thousands of would-be first-time buyers from the housing ladder. The average deposit demanded from a first-time buyer has risen by 124 per cent in two years, according to research from Hometrack, the property data group.
The Daily Telegraph
RECESSION HITS PENSION POTS
The average household has seen the value of its retirement savings reduced by more than £10,000 as a result of the recession, official figures released have disclosed. More than £400bn was wiped off the combined value of the country’s pensions in a single year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Companies also reduced the amount they were putting into workers’ pension schemes for the first time in years.
SARKOZY ATTACKS FLAWS OF MARKET CAPITALISM
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has launched a wide-ranging attack on the structure of market capitalism, saying currency exchange rates must be controlled and that the greed and irresponsibility of the system has not been tackled.
WALL STREET JOURNAL BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON IN TALKS TO BUY PNC UNIT
Bank of New York Mellon Corp. is in final-stage discussions to acquire a unit of PNC Financial Services Group Inc. for close to $2.5BN, said people familiar with the matter. The unit is PNC Global Investment Servicing, a Wilmington, Del.-based unit that provides back-office processing for financial advisers, fund managers and brokers.
AIG GETS STRONG RESPONSE ON BONUS CUTS
Most employees currently at the financial-products unit of American International Group have indicated they will accept cuts in a batch of March retention awards if the bonuses are paid out as early as next week, people familiar with the matter said. AIG sought the arrangements to help meet requests from the government.