SIEMENS SHELTERS CASH AT ECB
Siemens withdrew more than half a billion euros in cash deposits from a large French bank two weeks ago and transferred it to the ECB, in a sign of how companies are seeking havens amid Europe’s sovereign debt crisis. The German industrial group withdrew the money partly because of concerns about the future financial health of the bank and partly to benefit from higher interest rates paid by the ECB, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.
LLOYDS TO SELL £1BN OF BAD LOANS
Lloyds has launched the sale of a portfolio of commercial property loans worth £1bn in a sign that the bank is accelerating the process of unwinding its £24bn bad loan book. The highly anticipated sale, which includes loans made at the top of the market on offices, high street shops and factories, is understood to have attracted interest from pension funds, private equity groups and overseas investors.
SOROS HIRES NEW INVESTMENT BOSS
Soros Fund Management has appointed Scott Bessent, a former employee of the firm who headed its London office at the time of its famous bet against sterling, as its new chief investment officer. The move comes barely two months after the hedge fund founded by George Soros announced its intention to return all external investor funds
FRANCE TELECOM STARTS SWISS SALE
France Telecom has begun the sale of its Swiss mobile operations this week in a process that could raise more than €1.5bn before the end of the year for the fourth-largest European telecoms company by revenue. Details of the sale of Orange in Switzerland, which is the third-largest mobile operator in the country, have been sent to about 12 potential bidders.
BRITONS SPEND £9BN A YEAR ON DEBT
One in four Britons are using more than 40 per cent of their wages each month to pay off non-mortgage debt, according to new research from Moneysupermarket.com. The study indicates that average monthly repayments on products such as credit cards and personal loans are £322 per person, 25 per cent of the average UK income at £1,288. Repayments total almost £9.4bn a year.
FEARS THAT ONE IN TEN SHOPS WILL STAY EMPTY
High streets are declining at their fastest rate and more than one in ten shops will remain vacant for the “foreseeable future”, according to a report released today. The British Council of Shopping Centres blames a decrease in consumer spending, an increase in online retail and the boom in supermarket sales.
The Daily Telegraph
EZRA EYES LONDON LISTING
Ezra, the maker of giant floating offshore oil platforms, is considering a dual listing in London once the current market volatility has calmed. Lionel Lee, managing director of the group known in industry as EMAS, said London would be an attractive place to list, but no decisions have been taken on a secondary listing. Ezra, which is currently worth S$800m (£400m), is listed in Singapore and one subsidiary is listed in Norway.
DOW WINS RIGHT TO OLYMPIC WRAP
Global chemical giant Dow will be allowed to promote and display its distinctive red diamond logo on certain sections of the Olympic Stadium for a short time before the 2012 London Games after winning the right to produce the controversial £6m ”wrap”.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
CHRYSLER EXPECTS UAW CONTRACT
Chrysler Group chief executive Sergio Marchionne said he is confident the company can reach a new four-year contract with the United Auto Workers union and will return to Detroit on Tuesday to rejoin negotiations. “I expect to get a deal soon,” Marchionne said at the unveiling of a commercial van in Turin, Italy. “We have to move on and get this issue behind us.”
OPEC HEAD SEES GULF OUTPUT CUT
Gulf oil producers, already facing a weakening demand picture in 2011 and 2012, are expected to cut their output once Libya resumes production, the top Opec official said yesterday. Opec secretary General Abdalla Salem el-Badri, a Libyan, told a forum that Libya could reach pre-unrest production levels within 15 months, as few key facilities were damaged.