WHAT THE OTHER PAPERS SAY THIS MORNING

FINANCIAL TIMES

LIBYA BET $1BN ON SOCGEN SHARES
Société Générale structured a $1bn bet on its own shares for Libya’s sovereign wealth fund after the Jérôme Kerviel fraud, the Financial

Times has learnt.Documents seen by the FT show the transaction – the Libyan Investment Authority’s biggest investment in five years – had lost 72 per cent of its value by the middle of last year. The LIA entered into the transaction in early March 2008, barely a month after Mr Kerviel’s €50bn of rogue trades left the bank with losses of €5bn. At the time SocGen was struggling to reassure investors and plug a hole in its balance sheet.

KAISERS’ PREDICT RIOT OF INTEREST IN BESPOKE ALBUM
Fans of Kaiser Chiefs, the British indie rock stalwarts, will on Friday be invited to create a bespoke version of their new album – choosing tracklisting and cover design – in the latest attempt by the record industry to adjust to a shift in buying habits among music fans. The band,

which has enjoyed success with songs such as “I Predict a Riot” and the chart-topping album Yours Truly, Angry Mob, released its new album The Future is Medieval not via iTunes but through a website that went live at 7am.

NEW STATE SCHOOLS SET FOR PRIVATE FINANCE
A wave of 100 new state schools could be built using private funding as part of a strategy to allow the Department for Education to cope with its meagre capital budget, the most pressing problem facing Michael Gove, education secretary. A first tranche of 20 schools would open in 2014-15 under the plans, which are yet to be agreed by the Treasury.

THE TIMES

HOTELS PROFITS A FRACTION OF WHAT THEY CLAIMED
Fears over potential financial irregularities at von Essen hotels grew yesterday when it emerged that last year’s profits may have been only a third of the figure reported. The Times understands that administrators have reconstructed the 2010 accounts to show what appears to be underlying profits of about £8 million from turnover of £51 million.

WATCHDOG BACKS BROADGATE LISTING
English Heritage will today say that it is recommending the listing of the Broadgate office complex in the City. It is thought the architectural watchdog’s recommendation rests on the need to preserve the “sense of space” that the 32-acre complex created when it became an exemplar of a new type of office development in the late 1980s.

The Daily Telegraph

US FACES CREDIT-RATING REVIEW FROM MOODY'S
A second credit rating agency has threatened to put the US under review for a possible downgrade unless politicians put their squabbles aside and agree to raise the statutory debt limit. Moody's said the world's biggest economy's AAA-rating is under threat because the country will run out of money unless policymakers agree to increase the limit on the national debt above the current $14.3 trillion.

LOTUS CUTS JOBS AFTER LOSING OUT ON GOVERNMENT FUNDING
Sports car manufacturer Lotus is planning up to 99 job cuts at its Norfolk plant after losing out on £27.5m of government funding. Staff at the Hethel site have been told their jobs could be at risk.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

WAMU WINS FIGHT TO KEEP $69 MILLION IN RETIREE SAVINGS
Washington Mutual, the former parent of the thrift that went under in the largest banking collapse in US history, on Wednesday won a court fight to hang on to $69m in retirement savings socked away by rank-and-file employees of an acquired thrift, Home Savings of America.

CCB BOSS SEES A FREER YUAN
China is likely to accelerate the opening of its currency system in the next five years as the government seeks to make the yuan more widely used internationally, China Construction Bank Corp chairman Guo Shuqing said. In an interview, the head of China’s second-largest bank acknowledged a bubble in China’s housing market, but argued that limited leverage in the property sector would curb the impact of any downturn in prices.