WHAT THE OTHER PAPERS SAY THIS MORNING

FINANCIAL TIMES

GDF SUEZ LAYS OUT FIVE YEAR PLAN
GDF Suez, the world’s biggest independent power producer, is to spend up to €55bn globally over five years as it tries to double its size in Asia and cut its reliance on Europe, where it has been locked in dispute with two of its biggest state customers. Gérard Mestrallet, chief executive, said GDF was planning capital spending of between €9bn and €11bn in each of the years between 2012 and 2017.

TEPCO FACES TAKEOVER BY STATE
Tokyo Electric Power, owner of Japan’s tsunami-crippled nuclear plant, is facing renewed financial pressures that could prompt the government to inject capital and effectively nationalise the company, according to people familiar with the matter. Tepco’s shares lost 11 per cent of their remaining value on yesterday.

WARNER MUSIC DAMPS SELL-OFF TALK
Warner Music’s new owners have cooled speculation that they could sell its music publishing business to defray the cost of Len Blavatnik’s $3.3bn buy-out, as they said the group had a strong independent future even after losing out in the auction for EMI. Citigroup’s sale of EMI’s two divisions, to Vivendi’s Universal Music and Sony, ended a decade-long pursuit of the British music company by its US peer.

WELLS AND SEC AGREE TO SETTLE
Wells Fargo has agreed to pay $148m to settle allegations of rigged bids in the US municipal bond market by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The bank admitted wrongdoing in its DoJ settlement but the SEC agreement followed the agency’s standard, and of late, controversial practice of the bank agreeing to pay fines “without admitting or denying” the regulator’s complaint.

THE TIMES

COUNCIL TAX RISES FACE OBSTACLE
Big council tax rises for next year were ruled out yesterday when the Government effectively imposed a 3.5 per cent cap. Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, announced that any council setting an increase over this amount would trigger a local referendum. If more than 50 per cent of the population opposed the increase, the council would be forced to reverse the decision.

BDO TURNOVER FALLS FARTHER
A dearth of companies going bust contributed to turnover at BDO falling seven per cent last year, the mid-tier accountancy firm said yesterday. BDO’s turnover for the year to July fell for the second consecutive year to £281m as demand for professional services among small and medium-sized businesses remained sluggish.

The Daily Telegraph

AMAZON: WALK OUT OF SHOPS FOR $15
Bricks and mortar retailers are used to feeling threatened by Amazon, but now the online shopping giant has stepped up its assault by offering shoppers up to $15 to walk out of stores empty handed. Amazon has promised to reward customers who use its mobile price comparison app, Price Check, to scan products in store but then buy them on Amazon instead.

FIRMS TO PICK WATER SUPPLIER
Every business in England would be able to choose its water supplier, under radical plans to increase competition in the sector. Companies that currently receive individual bills for each of their sites and have to deal with dozens of water suppliers could potentially opt for just one national bill and could benefit from lower prices.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

EXXON DECLARES GAS KING
Natural gas will replace coal as the leading fuel for generating electricity in the US by 2025, when it will also become the world’s number two overall fuel source thanks to its abundance and a drive for cleaner-burning energy, according to the latest long-term outlook from Exxon Mobil Corp. The closely watched study forecasts global energy demand will grow about 30 per cent by 2040.

BOEING STAFF RATIFY CONTRACT
Boeing machinists have ratified a landmark, four-year contract extension, setting the stage for the likely dismissal of a politically charged dispute between the National Labor Relations Board and the aerospace company. About 74 per cent of voting members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers approved the agreement.