views

WHAT THE OTHER PAPERS SAY THIS MORNING

FINANCIAL TIMES

BONUSES FOR LEHMAN LONDON STAFF
Lehman Brothers, the collapsed Wall Street investment bank, is hiring bankers and paying generous bonuses in London to stop employees defecting. Lehman’s European business is recruiting middle and back office staff to help administrators PwC wade through the millions of transactions that must be reconciled with clients and trading partners to determine what is owed or can be claimed. A judge overseeing Lehman’s US bankruptcy in New York last week approved an extra $50m (€35m) in bonus pay-outs to some 230 derivatives traders working to unwind the dead bank’s $10bn portfolio.

INVESTORS COOL ON AUDIT CONVERGENCE
Convergence of US and international accounting standards is less important than making accounting rules more relevant to investment decisions, according to a poll of investors.

A survey by CFA Institute, an international association of more than 16,000 investment professionals, showed that three quarters of respondents believe that improving standards so they are more useful for making investment decisions is “at least as important if not more important” than reducing complexity or convergence.

HAMMERSON COMPLETES SHOPPING CENTRE DEAL
Hammerson has completed the largest acquisition by a real estate investment trust this year with a £297m deal to buy the Silverburn shopping centre near Glasgow in partnership with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. The centre was in effect sold by Lloyds Banking Group after the owner went into receivership. It is the latest sign that the bank is taking a harder line on problem property loans.

THE TIMES

DEVELOPERS SUSPEND SHOPPING CENTRE PROJECTS
The recent spate of shopping centres welcoming customers for the first time is, it seems, about to end. The amount of shopping centre floor space under construction is barely half that of last year and about 60 per cent below the levels seen in late 2007. According to data from Colliers CRE, only 2.7m sq ft (240,000 sq m) of new shopping centre space is set to open next year, compared with a record eight million sq ft last year.

BP PROMISES LEGAL BATTLE OVER $100M TEXAS CITY AWARD
A $100m (£62m) award imposed on BP for safety infringements at its troubled Texas City refinery is likely to be cut to a fraction of that figure, legal experts believe. The oil giant is planning to appeal against the damages awarded.

The Daily Telegraph

BRITAIN’S BANKS TO HOLD BACK RECOVERY, WARNS S&P
Britain’s banks will hold back an economic recovery due to their “significant debt burden”, one of the world’s leading credit rating agencies has warned. Standard & Poor’s yesterday lowered the collective rating of Britain’s banks in anticipation of “high credit losses”.

EU LAWS TO COST UK £184BN BY 2010
The top 100 most costly European Union regulations introduced in the UK since 1998 will cost the economy £184bn by 2020, according to Open Europe. The think tank said that without laws including the working times regulations – the most costly according to Open Europe – the government could eliminate its entire budget deficit. It argued that many new laws originating in Brussels were overly prescriptive and burdensome.

WALL STREET JOURNAL

TOTAL AIMS TO BOOST CHINA TIES
Total is looking to expand its cooperation with China’s leading oil producer on a range of fronts, including a multibillion-dollar natural-gas project in northern China and prospective overseas deals in Iran and Venezuela, its chief executive said. The cooperation reflects Christophe de Margerie’s belief that Total is better off trying to forge partnerships with rising competitors from China than strictly trying to compete.

NEWS CORP TO RAISE STAKE IN SKY DEUTSCHLAND
Sky Deutschland said it will conduct a capital increase through which its major shareholder News Corp. will raise its stake in the company. The pay-TV operator also lowered its net earnings guidance for 2011. The MDAX-listed broadcaster will issue up to 49m new shares.