BARCLAYS REFUSES TO USE TARGETS
The head of Barclays’ small business division has firmly refused to sign up to UK lending targets in a move that could fuel government criticism of the industry’s willingness to ease credit constraints in the economy. Speaking to the FT after Barclays broadened the remit of its business bank to include companies with turnover of up to £5m, Steve Cooper hit out at the prospect of government-set targets, which he said could encourage irresponsible lending.
AQUARIUS TO BOOST OUTPUT
Aquarius Platinum, the world’s fourth-largest platinum producer, will boost production by 100,000 ounces next year to meet demand from the car industries in Europe and Japan. The South Africa-based miner returned to profitability in its full-year results yesterday, reporting a pre-tax profit of $58.4m (£37.2m).
CENTRICA AGREES A DEAL FOR 97 CANADIAN GAS WELLS
Centrica has agreed to buy 97 natural gas wells and 42,000 acres of land in western Canada, in a deal that will help move its North American operation from supplying energy to being an integrated production and supply business. Centrica’s wholly owned US subsidiary will pay Canada’s Suncor Energy C$375m (£229m) in cash for land, wells and infrastructure.
PSION PRESSES ON WITH REVAMP AFTER RETURN TO BLACK
Psion, the handheld computing devices maker, expressed confidence that its 18-month turnround plan would bear fruit in the next year after reporting steady first-half figures. The group said its order intake for the first half rose 6 per cent while its forward order book for the second half was 14 per cent higher compared with the same period last year.
CITY ARMY CALLED UP IN WAR OF THE OLIGARCHS
Oleg Deripaska is urging City investors to back his war against a fellow Russian oligarch over the world’s biggest nickel miner, saying that he could double its value if he won control. Mr Deripaska wants to put a new board, a new management team and a new legal structure in place at Norilsk Nickel, and was in London yesterday to drum up support.
TESCO’S CHEAPEST EVER MOBILE DEAL
Tesco Mobile has today thrown down a challenge to its rivals by launching the UK’s cheapest mobile phone contract. The no-frills deal will cost just £6 a month, is available online and over the phone and provides customers with unlimited texts and 100 minutes a month to use how they choose. Customers will also benefit from Clubcard points on their bills.
The Daily Telegraph
GEORGE BUSH'S HONEYMOON RESORT SEA ISLAND FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY
Sea Island might have provided famous guests including Anna Kournikova, Bill Gates, John Travolta and George Bush memories to cherish, but for Lloyds Banking Group a stay at the luxury resort has proved to be the holiday from hell. The lender looks set to lose tens of millions of pounds after investing in the resort off the coast of Georgia in the US.
DYSON RECEIVES THOUSANDS OF APPLICATIONS FOR ENGINEERING JOBS
Dyson has been swamped with 4,000 applications for just 350 engineering jobs, but it is still far short of recruiting the total number of people it needs. But in a sign that skills shortages are still plaguing the engineering sector, Dyson has hired so far only 100 people despite being overloaded with candidates.
WALL STREET JOURNAL
FOOD MAKERS CHEW OVER PRICES
Nestlé has joined a growing list of global food makers warning about higher prices for key commodities like tea and cocoa, which could pinch margins and ripple through the grocery store in the remainder of the year. Higher costs add to the hassles for consumer-goods companies, which are dealing with sluggish demand for premium products.
ECB BUYS IRISH GOVERNMENT BONDS TO CALM MARKET
The European Central Bank has bought short-dated Irish government bonds over the past 24 hours in a bid to calm rising market volatility stemming from concerns on the creditworthiness of Irish banks, two people familiar with the matter said. The move came after volatility rose sharply in short-term Irish bonds amid low trading volumes.