USAF STARTS BID TO REPLACE AGEING TANKERS
The US Air Force will attempt to kick-start its long-delayed, multi-billion dollar competition to replace its ageing fleet of refuelling tankers this week with a new set of bidding rules. It promises the competition, mired in controversy for more than six years, will be “full and open” but doubts remain over how much of a contest it will be. One of the two bid teams, led by Northrop Grumman in partnership with EADS, the Franco-German parent of Airbus, has already warned it will not take part unless the air force makes significant changes to a draft set of rules released last September.
3i SELLS NORDIC HEALTHCARE FIRM FOR €850M
Ambea, the Nordic hospitals and nursing homes operator, has become the latest “pass-the-parcel” deal between private equity groups, after it was sold by the UK’s 3i to its German buy-out rival Triton in a deal worth €850m. A recent recovery in debt markets has encouraged private equity groups to become more ambitious about buying companies again, after sitting on the sidelines during two years of financial turmoil.
CISCO JOINS GOOGLE IN ULTRA-FAST BROADBAND RACE
Cisco Systems is developing an ultra-high-speed system for internet access in partnership with a number of US service providers, according to people close to the company. The move by the US telecommunications equipment maker comes just weeks after Google promised it would build an ultra-high-speed fibre-optic system. The Federal Communications Commission is preparing to unveil its national broadband strategy next month. Cisco’s move does not conflict with existing broadband network operators.
TREASURY ESCAPES BILL FOR BILLIONS IN TAX REFUNDS
The Treasury may escape a bill for billions of pounds in tax refunds after winning the latest round of a test case against British American Tobacco. The UK’s Court of Appeal said yesterday that companies seeking refunds for taxes that were unlawfully imposed by HMRC must do so within six years of the taxes being collected.
MICROSOFT ADDS SOCIAL NETWORK TO OUTLOOK
Microsoft has incorporated online social networking features into its desktop e-mail software. Features to be incorporated into the next version of Microsoft Outlook, as part of its Office software applications, will turn the e-mail service into a hub of social information. The move underlines the importance of social networks.
The Daily Telegraph
FARMERS TOLD TO PRODUCE MORE FOOD TO PREVENT HIGH INFLATION
UK farmers need to grow more food to prevent a repetition of recent price increases and increase the country's food security, the rural affairs secretary warned yesterday. Hilary Benn, secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, said that the UK must become more self-sufficient and develop the means to increase food production for less money.
CONSERVATIVES CAN’T REVERSE LABOUR TAX RISES, ADMITS CAMERON
David Cameron has admitted he cannot promise to reverse planned increases in National Insurance if the Conservatives come to power. Despite repeated hints that the Tories would reverse at least part of the NI rise due next year, Cameron has conceded that he cannot find public spending cuts to raise the money to stop the tax hike.
WALL STREET JOURNAL
CARREFOUR TO CLOSE 21 STORES IN BELGIUM
Carrefour announced a broad restructuring of its Belgian operations, cutting nearly 1,700 staff and closing 21 stores. Past efforts to rejuvenate the Belgian business were discouraging, and its cost structure is making the operation unprofitable, the company said. Carrefour said the hourly rates it pays employees are higher than those of local competitors.
“TOXIC” BONUS POOL ROSE 72 PER CENT AT CREDIT SUISSE
Shares in a $5bn pool of toxic assets distributed as 2009 bonus pay for Credit Suisse Group investment bankers returned 72 per cent last year, people familiar with the situation said. Known as the Partner Asset Facility, the plan was originally billed as a way for Credit Suisse bankers to “eat their own cooking.”