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WHAT THE OTHER PAPERS SAY THIS MORNING

FINANCIAL TIMES

EMI BANK DEBT BATTLE LEAVES ARTISTS WARY
Uncertainty over EMI’s financial future is deterring some leading music industry managers and lawyers from signing artists to its record label as its parent company battles with its bankers over the debt burden of its 2007 buy-out. Terra Firma, the private equity firm run by Guy Hands, has won over one vocal early critic of its buy-out of EMI: Tim Clark, the manager of singer Robbie Williams. Two years ago, Clark accused Hands of acting like a plantation owner but he has told the Financial Times he was “incredibly pleased” with EMI’s handling of his client’s latest album.

CHINA’S STATE LENDERS PLAN $11BN CASH CALL
China’s state-controlled banks are rushing to raise money from public markets to shore up their balance sheets after a year of unprecedented loan growth and the introduction of stricter capital requirements by regulators. This week alone, Chinese lenders have announced plans to raise up to Rmb76bn ($11bn) through equity and bond sales, with at least Rmb150bn ($22bn) of bank fundraising in the pipeline, according to analys t calculations.

EMPLOYERS RAISE CONTRIBUTIONS TO STAFF PENSION POTS
Britain’s biggest employers have increased their contributions to workers’ defined contribution schemes in spite of the economic slowdown, according to a review of FTSE?100 companies to be released today. The survey, conducted by Towers Watson, a professional services firm, found that the average maximum contribution available to workers taking full advantage of the “matching” contributions from their employer, is now 16.5 per cent of salary.

THE TIMES

ROYAL LIVER GROUP FACES £7.8M COMPENSATION BILL
The Royal Liver insurance group is to pay up to £7.8m to compensate thousands of customers who were sold unsuitable pensions or investment products. The mutual insurer agreed to fund the compensation scheme after the Financial Services Authority found a catalogue of failings at Park Row Associates, its independent financial adviser.

INVESTOR OPPOSED TO BABCOCK BID IS SELLING VT SHARES
The largest investor in VT Group has been selling shares in the defence contractor since the £1.2 billion takeover approach from Babcock International became public. Filings by InvescoPerpetual show that the fund management group has sold nearly 1 per cent of VT recently, having built up a 12 per cent stake.

The Daily Telegraph

POUND FACES A “SAVAGE” REACTION IF DEFICIT CUT TOO AGGRESSIVELY, UBS WARNS
There will be a run on the pound if the next Government tackles Britain’s deficit too aggressively, one of the world’s largest currency traders has warned. With the economy barely crawling out of recession, a rapid fiscal retrenchment would be treated to a “savage” reaction in foreign exchange markets, according to a new report by strategists at Swiss bank UBS.

CITY MINISTER MYNERS TELLS BANK HEADS TO WAIVE BONUSES
Lord Myners, the City minister, has raised the pressure on the bosses of HSBC and Standard Chartered to follow the example set by other UK bank chiefs and waive their bonuses this year. He commended bankers who had so far waived their bonuses.

WALL STREET JOURNAL

COCA-COLA NEARS DEAL TO BUY BULK OF ITS LARGEST BOTTLER
In a strategic about-face driven by big changes in consumer tastes, Coca-Cola was nearing a deal late yesterday to buy the bulk of its largest bottler, according to people familiar with the matter. As part of the deal, Coke would buy Coca-Cola Enterprises North American operations, the people said.

GREECE’S WOES HIT TOP BANK AS PIRAEUS’S PROFIT SLUMPS
Piraeus Bank SA, the first of Greece’s four biggest lenders to report full-year results, said nonperforming loans climbed in 2009, contributing to a slump in net profit. Piraeus, one of four banks downgraded on Tuesday by Fitch Ratings over concerns about Greek banks’ funding costs and profitability, said profit fell to џ202 million.