PLEA TO BRUSSELS OVER AUDIT SHAKE-UP
The heads of several midsized audit networks have issued a last-ditch appeal to the European Commssion not to dilute sweeping proposals aimed at reducing the dominance of the four biggest accountants and improving audit quality. In a joint interview with the Financial Times, the chief executives called on Michel Barnier, EU internal market commissioner to hold his nerve as he finalises his recommendations for reforming the sector, which are expected next week.
HEDGE FUND CHIEF BACKS TRANSACTION TAX PLAN
The founder of one of London’s biggest hedge funds has given qualified support for a European tax on financial transactions, breaking ranks with many of his peers fiercely opposed to such a measure. David Harding, the chief executive of the $26bn Winton Capital, said he did not object to moves by European Union politicians to levy the tax – dubbed by UK chancellor George Osborne a “bullet aimed at the heart of London” earlier this month.
BNP EYES SALE OF $700M PRIVATE EQUITY PORTFOLIO
BNP Paribas is weighing a sale of a more than $700m private equity portfolio, underlining how banks are looking to dispose of such assets to shrink their balance sheets and bolster their capital base.
GULF CARRIERS’ GROWING PAINS START TO TELL AT EMIRATES
Etihad and Qatar Airways, the fastest-growing Gulf airlines, are scouting for deals as they strive to match the scale of Emirates Airline, their larger rival. Etihad is looking to buy stakes in European and Asian airlines. Qatar is also interested in airline stakes.
NHS IS ‘WASTING MILLIONS’ ON VACCINES
The NHS is being overcharged by £100m a year for vaccines to immunise British children against diseases such as measles and tuberculosis, according to the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines. Cyrus Poonawalla, whose company Serum Institute of India produces half the world’s vaccines by volume, said that British taxpayers were suffering because of excessive profits earned by big Western drugs companies.
CITY MUST WAIT FOR SKYSCRAPERS TO REVIVE MORIBUND DEMAND FOR OFFICES
The aftermath of Lehman Brothers’ collapse and falling business confidence mean that new office space in the Square Mile has hit a record low, And, according to a survey by Drivers Jonas Deloitte.
The Daily Telegraph
FAREPAK FEES REACH £8.2M
Five years after Farepak went bust, ruining Christmas for nearly 120,000 savers, the fees dealing with the administration have overtaken any amount customers can hope to receive. The great majority of customers are still waiting to receive some of their money back, which is expected to total £5.53m. However, this is dwarfed by £8.2m earned by lawyers, administrators, insurers and media relation executives during both the administration and liquidation of the company.
M&S GIVES CASHMERE GOATS A BREAK BY RECYCLING WORN-OUT SWEATERS
Marks & Spencer is working on a woolly idea to recycle precious cashmere from worn-out jumpers. It has created 500 coats made almost entirely from wool recycled from damaged items.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
OLYMPUS LEADERS URGED TO QUIT BOARD
Olympus Corp’s top executives should resign their board seats but retain their management posts for the time being to keep the company stable, said a former Olympus director who is leading a push to reform the Japanese camera and medical-equipment maker. The concerns were expressed by Koji Miyata, a former senior executive and director who retired from Olympus in 2006.
CATERPILLAR STIRS STATES’ ASPIRATIONS
Forget Kindle Fires and iPads. One of the holiday gifts most coveted by local officials across the US this year is a new Caterpillar construction-equipment factory, likely to be presented to a North American community in late December. The factory would bring 1,000 jobs.