LAFARGE IN TALKS TO SELL PLASTERBOARD ARM
Lafarge is closing in on the sale of its plasterboard business as the French cement maker pushes ahead with its debt reduction programme and attempts to recover its investment grade credit rating. The world’s second-largest cement company by revenue said on Thursday it had entered exclusive negotiations with Etex, the Belgian building materials group.
HOSPITAL FAILURE PROPOSALS CRITICISED
NHS leaders have warned that a planned new failure regime for hospitals will lead to costly delays in tackling struggling services and divert funds from other parts of the health service. Under proposals seen by the Financial Times the original plan for a commercial style insolvency regime for hospitals will be replaced by one that will assume that most services receive a degree of protection.
BUSINESSES HIT BY REGIONAL FUNDING SHORTFALL
Hundreds of businesses up and down the country will be left empty-handed in the lottery for regional funds, the government admitted on Thursday, as it emerged that the remaining pot of cash set aside for the regions had been more than three times oversubscribed.
GLENCORE TO STOP REPORTING QUARTERLY RESULTS
Glencore has decided to stop reporting its results every quarter, in a move that is likely to soothe tensions with Xstrata, the mining company in which it owns a 34 per cent stake. The commodities trader on Thursday offered to pay up to $2.4m to persuade bondholders to approve a change in the conditions of one of its bonds, which would allow it to drop the requirement for quarterly reporting.
NESTLE TAKES HEALTHY OPTION WITH KIWI FRUIT DEAL
Nestlé has turned to the kiwi fruit to try to tackle constipation in its latest move into the medical nutrition market. The Swiss food giant’s health sciences division has taken an 18 per cent stake in Vital Foods, a New Zealand-based company that uses the fruit to make products to prevent and treat gastrointestinal conditions.
WILL-WRITERS TO FACE LEGAL CLAMPDOWN
The legal regulator has launched an investigation into will-writers after a mystery shopping probe found evidence of sharp sales tactics, poor quality wills containing basic errors and companies disappearing without a trace. There are currently no restrictions on who can draft wills in exchange for money and you do not need to be a solicitor.
The Daily Telegraph
VOLCKER: VICKERS HAS 'MISSED' BIG BANK PROBLEM
Britain’s key proposal for banking reform still misses the “overriding question” of how to cope with financial failures, Paul Volcker has warned. The eminent American economist, who is advising President Barack Obama on financial regulation, delivered a withering assessment of Britain's plans to “ring-fence” retail banking operations.
GOLD ATM MACHINE AT WESTFIELD: MEET THE FIRST CUSTOMER
Gold vending machines are to be placed in every major city in Britain after the country's first machine was switched on in a West London shopping centre. The company behind the gold bar vending machines plans to install 50 across Britain over the next few years, allowing ordinary shoppers to invest in the precious metal.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
FIAT READIES CHRYSLER MERGER
Chrysler Group LLC and Fiat SpA, auto makers that bounced back from severe financial crises a few years ago, are preparing to rejoin the auto industry's top ranks through a merger that would have the financial and production heft to compete globally. Sergio Marchionne, chief executive officer of Chrysler and Fiat, has begun selecting a single executive team to oversee the companies’ business operations.
GROUPON DEALS ATTRACT CONNECTICUT'S SCRUTINY
Connecticut law-enforcement officials are looking into whether online deals site Groupon Inc. is breaking consumer-protection laws that prohibit gift cards from expiring. The state is looking into whether Groupon’s deals should be considered in the same light as gift certificates for which expiration dates are banned.