NATIONAL GRID AWAITS RULING ON CHARGES
National Grid will receive a long-awaited ruling from New York state regulators on the amount that it can charge its customers. A positive outcome would give the company breathing space to improve the performance of its US business. A negative outcome, suggested by a draft ruling last week, would increase the pressure on Steve Holliday, chief executive, to sell the US operations.
ARDEN PARTNERS LAPSES INTO THE RED
Arden Partners topped off a difficult 2010 by swinging to a pre-tax loss, as the group struggled in tough market conditions that were compounded by upheaval in its ranks. In the 12 months to October 31, Arden reported a pre-tax loss of £512,000, compared with a profit of £1.52m in 2009.
INTEL FIGHTS TO AVOID FULL EU PROBE INTO MCAFEE DEAL
Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker by sales, is fighting to avoid a full probe by European competition regulators into its proposed $7.7bn acquisition of McAfee, the US security software company. Although the deal has been approved by US regulators, sources in Brussels, say a decision whether to proceed to an in-depth inquiry, which could at least stall the deal for some months, is finely balanced.
EU ANTITRUST OFFICIALS SWOOP ON TRUCKMAKERS
The world’s biggest truckmakers have been raided by European antitrust officials after suspected breaches of competition rules, potentially exposing the recession-hit industry to heavy fines. Daimler, Sweden’s Scania and Volvo, the second-largest producer, and Germany’s MAN all confirmed that they received “surprise” visits.
TESCO REVELS IN THE BEAUTY OF ITS LATEST BRIGHT IDEA
It already runs its own bank, sells mobile phones contracts and develops flats — now Tesco is offering to style its customers’ hair. In its latest departure from the “pile-’em-high, sell-’em-cheap” philosophy of its founder Sir Jack Cohen, Tesco is opening its first beauty parlour, following hard on the heels of the manicures and threading treatments being offered to customers on a trial basis at two of its larger stores.
ESSAR REVIVES REFINERY TALKS AS IT SEEKS KEY TO THE HEART OF NORTHERN ENGLAND
Essar Energy has moved a step closer to the acquisition of Britain’s second-biggest oil refinery from Royal Dutch Shell with the launch of a $500m bond issue. It said that the proceeds would be used to pursue acquisitions.
The Daily Telegraph
BIG BANKS RUNNING AN OLIGOPOLY, SAYS VIRGIN MONEY CHIEF
Britain’s banks were accused of running an “oligopoly” by the chief executive of Virgin Money, as she said the market for retail banking could benefit from the break-up of the country’s largest lenders. Jayne-Anne Gadhia, chief executive of Virgin Money, told a meeting of the Treasury Select Committee that the UK’s five biggest lenders had an “effective oligopoly” and said more needed to be done to improve competition.
WORLD NEEDS $100 TRILLION MORE CREDIT, SAYS WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM
The world's expected economic growth will have to be supported by an extra $100 trillion (£63 trillion) in credit over the next decade, according to a World Economic Forum report, ahead of its anual Davos meeting.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
J&J WON’T GIVE FULL BONUSES TO EMPLOYEES
Johnson & Johnson won’t give eligible employees their full bonuses for 2010, citing hits to the company's reputation and the “mixed performance” for the year. In an email sent to employees throughout the health-care giant last week, J&J’s senior executives said those eligible for performance bonuses would get paid 90 per cent of the recommended sum.
RENAULT MANAGER SUES FOR DEFAMATION
One of the three Renault managers accused of selling company secrets sued the auto maker yesterday for defamation, raising the stakes in a mysterious case involving electric vehicles. The suit is from Bertrand Rochette, a senior manager in Renault’s electric-vehicle programme.