LLOYDS’ BISCHOFF COUNTERS CALLS FOR CHANGE
The chairman of Lloyds Banking Group has countered suggestions from some investors that he should step down ahead of the bank’s reprivatisation. “In one or two years I suspect I’ll still be here,” Sir Win Bischoff told the Financial Times. The government is expected to begin selling down its 41 per cent stake in Lloyds as early as the first half of next year.
BIG BANKS TO TAKE HIT ON CAPITAL SURCHARGE
The world’s biggest banks are likely to be hit by capital surcharges that increase progressively based on a lender’s size, how connected it is to other banks and how easily it could be replaced in a crisis, global regulators have told the Financial Times. The proposals would be good news for the huge, but domestically focused Chinese and Japanese banks and for second-tier European and US banks.
VINE LIFE FOR MOËT AS IT BRANCHES INTO CHINA
Champagne production is confined to 80,000 acres of French terroir about 100 miles east of Paris, but Moët Hennessy will soon be producing upmarket bubbly from a new winery in north-west China. Moët, which owns historic champagne brands Dom Pérignon, Veuve Cliquot and Krug, has joined forces with a Chinese state-owned agricultural group to develop a sparkling wine in the remote Ningxia Hui region.
LAFARGE ADVANCES TOWARDS DIVESTMENT TARGET
Lafarge has agreed to sell a number of its US cement and concrete assets to Colombian cement maker Cementos Argos for $760m. The deal is an important step in meeting the divestment targets the heavily indebted French group set this year.
RENAULT FAMILY REOPENS OLD WAR WOUNDS TO BURY NAZI SLUR
Renault is once again facing unwanted scrutiny over its wartime record after the founder’s grandchildren began legal proceedings against the French state to restore his reputation, which they claim was tarnished by allegations that he collaborated with the Nazis. Louis Renault’s heirs are suing the government over what they say was the illegal nationalisation of the company in November 1944.
NIGHTCLUB GETS EXTRA TIME IN LAST DITCH FIGHT FOR RECOVERY
Britain’s biggest nightclub operator has been forced to seek a relaxation of its banking covenants for the second time in two months as it fights a desperate battle to return to growth. Luminar has been given until the end of August by its banks to find a longer-term solution to its debt burden.
The Daily Telegraph
ENRC OUTPUT UP, WARNS ON COSTS
Output at Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation grew substantially in the first quarter, but the FTSE 100 Kazakh company warned that costs are rising. Aluminium production rose 38pc, ferrochrome was ahead by 4.2pc and iron ore pellet rose by 2.6pc, while copper and cobalt also grew. The company said it benefited from “strong production and sales volumes and a positive pricing environment, partially offset by higher costs”.
IFS: FAMILIES HAVE LOST £500 OVER LAST 12 MONTHS
Households have suffered the most significant drop in their income in the past year since 1981, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has suggested. A combination of stagnant wage increases and high inflation means the typical family will have lost more than £500 over the past 12 months.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
ENEL NET PROFIT RISES 14 PER CENT
Enel SpA Thursday said first-quarter net profit rose 14 per cent, above expectations, due to lower financial charges on a reduced debt pile and a smaller tax bill. The Rome-based utility said net profit was €1.20 billion ($1.70 billion), up from €1.05 billion in the January-March period of 2010. Revenue increased to €19.54 billion, up 7.8 per cent from a year earlier.
OIL EXECUTIVES DEFEND TAX BREAKS
Big Oil and its taxes became foils Thursday in the running argument between Democrats and Republicans over how to narrow the US federal deficit. Top executives of five of the biggest oil companies operating in the US sat at a witness table for more than 3 1/2 hours as Democratic members of the Senate Finance Committee challenged them to give up tax breaks as part of the effort to cut the deficit.