ROLLS-ROYCE SPIRITS BUOYED BY GHOST
Rolls-Royce says it will at least double its sales this year, thanks to the launch of its new Ghost model and a resurgance in demand for its high-priced cars around the world. Sales of the BMW-owned brand’s cars in China, where Rolls-Royce has seven dealerships, will for the first time this year exceed those in its home market, according to the chief executive.
VODAFONE LINKS PAY TO SHARE OF MARKET
Vodafone has made taking market share from rivals a key part of its remuneration for senior management in 2010-11. The mobile phone group’s annual report, published on Wednesday, said management’s annual bonus would give greater emphasis to increasing revenue market share.
BT TOLD TO SHARE INFRASTRUCTURE
BT must provide competitors with the same sort of access to the telecoms company’s new super-fast broadband infrastructure it currently provides to its legacy network, the European Commission has ruled. Telecoms companies investing in high-speed fibre-based networks had hoped they would be freed from regulatory obligations originally designed in the pre-internet era. But Brussels on Wednesday said it wants BT’s rivals to have access to its fibre network through “physical unbundling” of the lines.
AFREN TO BUY BLACK MARLIN OF CANADA FOR £75M
Afren has agreed to buy Canada’s Black Marlin for $100m in a deal that would give the West Africa-focused oil explorer a significant foothold in the East of the continent. The agreed deal doubles Afren’s resource base in what is the FTSE 250 oil explorer’s first large corporate acquisition.
EUROPE LAUNCHES CREDIT RATINGS OFFENSIVE
The big three credit ratings agencies were threatened yesterday with fines and the creation of a new state-backed competitor, only weeks after European leaders attacked them for exacerbating Greece’s problems with downgrades. The agencies will be subject to a new European supervisory body with the power to hand out fines and suspensions under plans unveiled in Brussels.
HOUSE PRICE RISES ‘UNSUSTAINABLE’ AS LENDING FALLS
Net mortgage lending rose by less than expected in April, renewing fears that house prices may be on course for a “double dip”. Stripping out repayments and redemptions, mortgage lending rose by £490m in April, data from the Bank of England showed.
The Daily Telegraph
QUEEN'S BANKER COUTTS AXES JOBS AS OWNER RBS CUTS COSTS
Royal Bank of Scotland is cutting one in seven jobs from its UK wealth management business, which includes the Queen’s banker Coutts & Co. The part-nationalised lender will remove 500 jobs over the next three years from the 3,500 at Coutts and Adam & Co. The 1,500 staff in RBS Coutts, its overseas wealth management operation, will be unaffected.
TRAFFICMASTER SOLD TO US PRIVATE EQUITY FOR £73M
Trafficmaster, the vehicle tracking company, has been bought by a San Francisco-based private equity group for £73.2m. Vector Capital has agreed to pay Trafficmaster shareholders 47p a share, a 40pc premium to the average price over the three months before the announcement of the first approach on April 27.
WALL STREET JOURNAL
EUROZONE PPI JUMPED IN APRIL
Eurozone producer prices posted their sharpest gain for 21 months in April fueled by higher prices for energy and intermediate goods, data from the European Union's Eurostat statistics office showed Wednesday. The figures add to recent surveys of purchasing managers in the currency bloc’s manufacturing sector that suggest inflationary pressures are building.
UK BUSINESS MINISTRY SEEKS QUICK DECISIONS ON AUTO FUNDING
The UK’s business ministry will ask the Treasury to speed up decisions on government financial backing for the auto industry, underscoring pressures faced by the country to get its finances into shape. A spokeswoman said the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills will ask the Treasury to fast track a decision.