GRAFF PLANS $1BN HONG KONG IPO
Graff Diamonds, retailer of some of the world’s most expensive jewellery, is planning a Hong Kong initial public offering that could raise $1bn and value the company’s equity at about $5bn. The London-based company, known for high-end jewellery items such as 100-carat diamond tiaras, is raising capital to expand in Asia.
OSBORNE PUSHES FOR TOLL ON A14
George Osborne and Vince Cable are pushing for a new road toll scheme to unblock a key business artery in England as part of the coalition’s efforts to boost Britain’s flagging economy. The Ministers, backed by No 10, are keen to bring the private sector on board to widen the heavily congested A14, which is used to ferry cargo from the Midlands’ manufacturing base to the Felixstowe docks in Suffolk.
HAIRCUT LEAVES BANKS EXPOSED
The restructuring of Greek sovereign debt risks leaving banks more exposed to future financial crises of other countries, according to the man who helped to orchestrate the so-called “private sector involvement” in the rescue plan for Athens. Banks and other bondholders that volunteer for a 50 per cent cut in the value of Greek sovereign debt could set a precedent for other sovereign haircuts, according to Josef Ackermann, chief executive of Deutsche Bank.
UNIVERSAL REVIVES EMI TALKS
Universal Music has resumed active negotiations with Citigroup over EMI’s recorded music division, according to people close to the talks. But Universal’s offer remains below the price the US bank wants and faces competition from rival bidders as the auction enters what could be its final week. Impala, an independent music trade body, said it could ask regulators to intervene in any deal.
SPAIN STANDING BY TO RUN TRAINS IN BRITAIN
Spanish national rail company Renfe has unveiled ambitious plans to crack the British train market by launching bids for several franchises. Renfe also admitted that it had looked at buying its way into Britain by potentially offering to acquire one of the incumbent operators — an admission that indicates it has taken a look at Go-Ahead Group.
YOUNG IN NORTH AND LONDON LOSE IN THREAT TO BENEFITS FOR WORKSHY
The number of young people signing up for jobseeker’s allowance has risen by more than 100 per cent in 30 constituencies since the coalition came to power. The worst-hit region is the North East, where the number of young people signing on has risen by 43.9 per cent, followed by London with a 38.5 per cent increase.
The Daily Telegraph
OFGEM TO PROBE RISK OF UK GAS DROUGHT
Energy regulator Ofgem has been ordered to launch an investigation into whether the UK’s long-term gas supply is safe, amid mounting worries about rising electricity prices and Britain’s energy security. The Government told the watchdog to weigh up whether “further action is needed to ensure that medium- to long-term gas supplies for consumers remain secure”.
GKN TO SELL WHEELS ARM
Engineering company GKN is preparing to sell its Wheels division for around £130m. The FTSE 100 company has been talking to advisers about selling the unit – which makes wheels for high power tractors, fork lift trucks and wheeled excavators. It recently appointed boutique advisory firm Gleacher Shacklock to work on the deal.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
GLITCHES SHOW HURDLES TO MOSCOW’S FINANCIAL BID
Russia’s biggest equity exchange suspended trade for the second time in two weeks because of a computer glitch, highlighting Moscow’s financial growing pains. Just seven minutes before the normal opening time of trading yesterday, the Micex Stock Exchange disclosed that the trading system wasn’t working and opening was eventually delayed an hour.
WELLS FARGO, MUNICIPALITIES SETTLE BID-RIGGING SUIT
Wells Fargo & Co has reached a civil settlement with municipalities that sued it over the way the banking industry held auctions for municipal bonds, though it still faces government probes. The bank said it would pay at least $37m to plaintiffs in the case, disclosing the 21 October agreement in its quarterly filing.