PRIVATE EQUITY GROUPS BOOST STAKES IN HOT FUNDS
Investors in the secondary leveraged buy-out fund market are using further leverage to finance such purchases, adding another layer of risk and stirring up memories of the debt-fuelled private equity boom ahead of the financial crisis. While private equity groups in Europe and the US are finding it harder to raise capital, the market for stakes in their pre-crisis funds has become so hot that some investors have taken on loans to be able to pay higher prices for such assets.
WELFARE REFORM TARGETS WORKERS’ HOURS
Workers claiming state help with childcare and housing costs will be expected to seek longer hours, or risk sanctions that could include loss of benefits or a requirement to undergo training, in a radical shift in Britain’s welfare system. The proposals will make it one of the most demanding regimes in the world, say experts. The aim is to ensure that people work as many hours as they can, reducing the benefits bill for a cash-strapped Treasury, and, in the process, cracking down on the black economy by providing an incentive for self-employed people to declare earnings accurately.
EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE TO REPAY PARENTS’ LOANS
Everything Everywhere, the UK mobile operator jointly owned by Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom, is planning to pay back £875m ($1.4bn) of loans to its two parent companies in a step towards making itself a wholly independent operation. The group has lined up seven banks to lend it the money to carry out the move, according to bankers close to the process. If the facility gets final approval, it could be one of the largest new borrowing facilities in the UK this year.
RED TAPE PUTS STRANGLEHOLD ON SELL-OFF OF ROYAL MAIL
Privatisation of Royal Mail will not begin until at least 2013 and might not even be complete before the end of the Government’s present term, well-placed sources have confirmed.
The state-owned national postal service faces months of regulatory issues, all but ruling out any sale, partial or otherwise, next year.
REDGHOST METERS ADD £15M TO BRITAIN’S SWOLLEN GAS AND ELECTRICITY BILLS
Energy companies are allowing thousands of households to avoid paying for their electricity and gas — leaving others to foot their bill. According to figures obtained by The Times, about 20,000 households and businesses have “ghost meters” that have not been registered by any energy supplier. The annual cost is around £15m.
The Daily Telegraph
BANKS WRITE OFF RECORD LEVEL OF CORPORATE DEBTS
Britain’s banks and building societies have been writing off more of their corporate debt than at any time on record, official data shows. In the three months to June, “write-offs of loans to non-financial corporations” almost tripled to £2.94bn, according to the Bank of England. The only time the level of losses had ever come close was in the fourth quarter of 2009, as Britain was emerging from recession, when write-offs were £2.5bn.
TOBACCO SECTOR WANTS FREEZE ON CIGARETTE DUTY
The tobacco industry has demanded George Osborne freeze cigarette duty in this month’s Autumn Statement after research found “sin taxes” don’t encourage people to give up. The number of smokers in Eastern Europe did not fall when prices soared.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
NOBLE IN TALKS TO HIRE GOLDMAN'S ALIREZA
One of the top executives of Goldman Sachs Group in Asia is in talks to become chief executive of troubled commodities trader Noble Group, just days after Goldman announced that he was leaving the investment bank, a person familiar with the matter said. Yusuf A. Alireza is leaving Goldman after 19 years at the firm and after just 10 months as co-president in the Asian-Pacific region, excluding Japan.
IBM, CHINESE FIRM FORGE E-COMMERCE PACT
International Business Machines and Chinese electronics retailer Suning Appliance Co. have struck a deal to create e-commerce and Web technology centres in China and the US. IBM will help Suning develop a technology centre in Nanjing, China.