The Sunday Telegraph
NIGERIA’S STATE OIL TO GO PRIVATE
Nigeria’s state-owned National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has initiated talks with investment banks including Standard Chartered, JP Morgan, and Deutsche Bank to explore financing options as it changes into a fully privatised commercial company.
GAMING GIANT TO SEEK LISTING
Gala Coral, which is set to be rescued by its lenders in a £750m deal, will seek to list on the stock market in less than three years. Britain’s biggest gaming operator has been at the centre of a bitter restructuring that has pitted its private equity owners, Permira, Candover and Cinven against it debt holders as junior lenders have wrestled for control. The deal will cut Gala’s debt burden from £2.6bn to £1.85bn.
THE SUNDAY TIMES
CHEMICALS KING SEEKS GULF CASH
Ineos, Britain’s largest private company, is in talks with Middle Eastern and Chinese investors that could lead to a partial sale of the debt-laden business. The company is struggling with £6.4bn borrowings which the founder, Jim Ratcliffe, built up buying assets from the likes of BP and ICI. In 12 years he has turned the Hampshire-based firm into a global chemicals giant with £31bn annual sales and 15,000 staff.
USWITCH SOLD FOR £234M LOSS
The former owner of Uswitch lost £234m when it sold the struggling price comparison website, it has been revealed. Scripps, the American publishing group, sold the company to Forward Group, the investment firm of Birmingham entrepreneur Ray Chamberlain, just before Christmas.
BRITISH LAND RECRUITS PARTNERS
British Land is to partner sovereign wealth and other sources of institutional cash to capitalise on the large sales expected to emerge from banks and other reluctant owners of real estate. Chris Grigg, chief executive, said British Land would share the risk of large deals expected to come out from “short-term owners” of property.
SHIPPING LINE SEEKS CAPITAL
The world’s third-largest container shipping line is seeking capital from outside investors for the first time in an attempt to tackle a liquidity crisis that has dragged on for months and left it unable to complete payments for new ships. Marseilles-based CMA CGM has held talks with Louis Dreyfus Group, Goldman Sachs and Butler Capital Partners, among others.
The Daily Telegrapgh
VEDANTA IN POSSIBLE DEMERGER
Vedanta Resources, the mining group, could become the latest FTSE company to push for a demerger after property giant Liberty International unveiled plans last week to demerge into two businesses. The India-based mining group has drawn up plans to spin-off its $20bn (£13bn) aluminium division. The new business, which could be spun off as early as this summer, would be the world's fourth largest alumunium producer.
BLACKS SUPPLIERS MAY BOYCOTT
Suppliers to Blacks Leisure have threatened to boycott the outdoor and camping equipment retailer if Mike Ashley, founder of Sports Direct, seizes control of the chain. Among those said to be considering a boycott is North Face, the leading outdoor sports brand and a key supplier to Blacks.
OPEC’S GRIP WEAKEND BY IRAQ
Opec fears that its grip on the global supply of oil is being threatened by the rising output of Iraq’s oilfields and the prospect of billions of dollars of multinational investment in the world’s leading untapped oil resource. Iraqi oil exports in February were at their highest for two decades, at an average of 2.08m barrels per day, and the country plans to lift that to 2.15m for the rest of the year.
FREEZE CIG DUTY TO HIT CRIMINALS
Japan Tobacco International (JTI), Britain’s second-biggest cigarette manufacturer, is urging the chancellor to freeze duty on cigarettes to cut the chance for criminals to profit from sales of illicit tobacco. Up to 54 per cent of handrolling tobacco and 17 per cent of cigarettes consumed in the UK are smuggled, costing the Treasury £3 billion in lost tax revenue in 2007-08.