NETWORK RAIL WARNED OVER BONUSES
Senior management at Network Rail should forget about bonuses next year, Justine Greening, the transport secretary, said on yesterday. She was speaking after the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) found that the owner of Britain’s railway infrastructure had failed to meet its punctuality targets and was in breach of its licence obligations.
RBS NEARS £1.4BN PROPERTY DISPOSAL
RBS and Blackstone are set to complete a deal in which the bank will hand over control of £1.4bn of distressed property loans to the US private equity group. The move to offload the loans into a Blackstone-managed fund was likely to be completed last night. It represents the largest such disposal of UK commercial property debt and would end a sale process that has lasted 18 months.
US THREAT AGAINST EU OVER GREEN LEVY ON AIRLINES
The US has threatened to take retaliatory action against the EU unless Brussels drops its plan imminently to start charging any airline flying into the bloc for its carbon pollution. In a sharp escalation of tensions over Brussels’ move to bring aviation into its emissions trading system from 1 January, Hilary Clinton has written to “strongly urge” the EU to halt or suspend its plan.
NEW TWIST IN NORILSK STAKE RIDDLE
The mystery over the ownership of a multibillion-dollar eight per cent stake in Norilsk Nickel has deepened after the international trading house that was proclaimed to be its buyer revealed that it now held less than one per cent of the world’s largest nickel miner. The privately owned trader Trafigura told its bondholders in its annual accounts for the year to September 30 that it owned 0.9 per cent of the $40bn miner.
GULF AIRLINE STEPS UP COMPETITION
Etihad Airways has thrown down the gauntlet to European and Middle Eastern rivals by snatching a 29 per cent stake of Air Berlin. The Abu Dhabi flag carrier is spending $350m (£225.5m) to cement a strategic alliance with the Germany’s second-largest carrier.
TOP FIRMS FUND PIRATE WEBSITES
Leading British companies, including British Telecom, British Gas, Tesco and easyJet, are indirectly subsidising the UK’s multimillion-pound network of websites which allow people to illegally download films and television programmes. Despite being warned by the antipiracy watchdog that they are advertising on such sites, these companies are continuing to do so because of the difficulty that online advertising agencies have in avoiding them.
The Daily Telegraph
PIRC DEMANDS DETAILS OF JAMES MURDOCH’S HACKING EMAIL
A powerful shareholder group has demanded NewsCorp tells investors exactly when it discovered a 2008 email about phone-hacking was sent to James Murdoch, amid growing concerns that it was held back until after BSkyB’s AGM. Pirc said Mr Murdoch’s admission “raises the possibility that someone, somewhere” knew about the important email “when it could have made a difference to the re-election of the BSkyB chair”.
STAYING OUTSIDE EU RISKS MILLIONS OF JOBS, WARN 20 UK BUSINESSMEN
More than 3m British jobs will be put at risk unless Britain remains at the heart of Europe, a group of leading businessmen warn today. In a letter to the Daily Telegraph, 20 businessmen say it is “imperative” that Britain has a place on the negotiating table.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
SWATCH COURT RULING POSES RISKS FOR RIVAL WATCH FIRMS
A Swiss court’s decision to allow Swatch Group AG to cut its supply of parts to rival watchmakers could boost Swatch's sales but also force some smaller Swiss watchmakers out of business. In its final decision, the Federal Administrative Court overruled an attempt by nine companies to force Swatch to supply mechanical-watch movements and other parts, an obligation it previously had to carry out under competition rules.
CONOCO TO DEVELOP ALASKA SITE
The US Army Corps of Engineers issued a permit yesterday to ConocoPhillips that would allow the energy company to develop the first commercial oil well in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska. It comes nearly two years after the corps denied Conoco’s application.