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WHAT THE OTHER PAPERS SAY THIS MORNING

FINANCIAL TIMES
TOSCAFUND HAS EYE ON £500M OF MORTGAGES
Toscafund, the London-based hedge fund founded by ex-Credit Lyonnais star analyst Martin Hughes, is raising capital to acquire up to £500m of UK residential mortgages. The group has already closed a £250m fund of UK sub-prime mortgages, launched late last year, sources told the Financial Times.

FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN CENTRAL BANKER JOINS GOLDMAN
Tito Mboweni, the former governor of South Africa’s Reserve Bank, is to join Goldman Sachs as an international adviser in June. Mboweni, who stood down in November, has been one of the most influential economic policymakers in post-apartheid South Africa, with his cautious approach to monetary policy widely praised for helping assure stability.

DE BEERS TO CUT DIAMOND PRODUCTION
De Beers believes that the supply of diamonds is running out over the long term, prompting the world’s biggest miner of the gems to reduce production in an attempt to extend the life of its mines. Assuming the move moderated production, rough diamond prices could rise by at least five per cent per year for the next five years, said Des Kilalea, analyst at RBC Capital Markets.

VOLKSWAGEN ANGLES FOR TRUCK PARTNERSHIP
Volkswagen is bracing itself for a management revamp in a move by Europe’s largest carmaker to accelerate the formation of a heavy truck alliance. Jochem Heizmann, VW head of production, is set to be given a prominent role at Scania. The headstrong manager is also seen as the most likely candidate to be given responsibility for the truck operations at VW’s management board.

THE TIMES
TESCO PLANS FOUR ‘MINI-VILLAGES’ COMPLETE WITH SUPERMARKETS
Tesco already provides everything you need to stock a home, from groceries to garden furniture. Now it is going to build the house as well. The supermarket chain plans to develop four “mini-villages” in the South East along with “mixed-use living and leisure” schemes in Ipswich and northeast England.

PRIVATE EQUITY VETERAN RETURNS WITH THIRST FOR OIL AND GAS
The former chief executive of the private equity group 3i is plotting a return to the stockmarket at the helm of a new acquisition vehicle that aims to buy assets in the oil and gas industry. Philip Yea is to head Maycastle Energy, which plans to raise up to £200m through a listing on the main London market next month.

The Daily Telegraph
SMITHS GROUP OFFERS IN-FLIGHT INTERNET AND MOBILE PHONE CALLS
Travellers may have to wave goodbye to one of the last refuges from the BlackBerry and mobile phone, if a new wireless internet connection for planes from Smiths Group takes off. Smiths Group has signed up to a $30m (£20m) contract with internet provider Row 44 to supply its broadband service to US low-cost airline Southwest, and has received interest from a number of international airlines, including European carriers.

LLOYDS COULD SELL CRYSTAL PALACE’S FOOTBALL GROUND TO DEVELOPERS
Lloyds Banking Group is facing an awkward dilemma over whether to sell Selhurst Park football ground cut-price to Crystal Palace fans or accept a better offer from property developers who may turn the pitch into a supermarket.

WALL STREET JOURNAL
FRENCH BANK TEAMS UP FOR CHINESE EXPERIMENT
A leading Chinese securities firm and a French bank with a brokerage in Hong Kong are teaming up to conduct an interesting experiment in the testing ground of China’s capital markets. The tie-up between Crédit Agricole and Citic Securities would see a foreign player for the first time join forces with a top-tier Chinese securities firm to underwrite and trade shares in the domestic market.

LOCUSTS THREATEN AUSTRALIAN RICE REBOUND
A plague of swarming locusts is casting a shadow over Australia’s efforts to revive its rice production. While the plant-destroying insects don’t pose much of a threat to the current rice crop, because most of it has already been gathered, farmers are already worried about 2011’s harvest.