WHAT THE OTHER PAPERS SAY THIS MORNING

FINANCIAL TIMES

SPANISH BANKS FACE EXTRA HIT OF €50BN
Spain says it expects its banks to set aside up to €50bn in further provisions on their bad property assets as part of a new round of reforms for the country’s financial sector. Luis de Guindos, economy minister in the centre-right government that took office two weeks ago after defeating the Socialists, said on Wednesday it was essential that the banks clean up their balance sheets without imposing a burden on the treasury. The €50bn figure, equivalent to about 4 per cent of Spain’s GDP, is higher than private expectations by bankers.

BROWN’S GLOBETROTTING REAPS £1M
Gordon Brown’s company has received income and expenses of more than £1m, on top of his salary as an MP since the general election, although the former prime minister says he has not earned “one penny” for himself. Mr Brown has been paid to give speeches around the world at up to £62,000 a time in countries as diverse as Nigeria and South Korea, according to the Commons’ register of interests.

BEIJING TO NURTURE SHORT-SELLING INDUSTRY WITH LENDING EXCHANGE
China is poised to unveil steps to underpin its short-selling industry in an effort to deepen its capital markets, say securities officials and fund managers. Beijing will set up the Centralised Securities Lending Exchange to facilitate short selling this quarter, and the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the regulator, will be the largest shareholder. Short sellers sell borrowed shares and hope to profit by buying the equivalent securities back later at a lower price and returnig them to the lender. The practice has been curbed in some markets with critics contending it can exacerbate volatility.

THE TIMES

SAVILLS WIDENS REACH IN CITY WITH DEAL FOR NICHE ADVISER
Savills has swooped on a niche Central London investment agency as it expands its presence in the capital’s highly competitive property services market. The Times understands that Savills is about to announce that it will buy Gresham Down Capital Partners in a deal struck before Christmas.

KINDLE IS THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING FOR AMAZON
Amazon’s Kindle e-reader found its way into more than one million stockings at Christmas, although Londoners preferred the glitzier iPad tablet computer. A survey by YouGov found that one in every forty adults celebrated a “Kindle Christmas” and that an estimated 1.3 million e-readers were sold in the festive trading period.

The Daily Telegraph

HUNGARY FACES CRISIS AS TRADERS FEAR BOND DEBT DEFAULT
Hungary was forced to cancel a bond swap auction amid an escalating financial and political crisis that investors fear could trigger another dangerous shockwave in Europe. The Budapest government saw borrowing costs soar and the currency plunge as traders bet that international authorities may abandon Hungary.

BAE WARNS ON SAUDI TYPHOON DEAL
Defence group BAE Systems has warned that it is yet to secure an agreement with Saudi Arabia over the next stage of the country’s Typhoon order, deferring an estimated £500m payment expected in 2011. In a stock market announcement, BAE said it had yet to agree with the Kingdom how much extra it will have to pay for changes to the contract for the next 48 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

VERIZON SEES MARGIN HIT FROM RECORD IPHONE SALES
Verizon Communications said profit margins for its wireless venture dropped by about five per cent in the fourth quarter due to record high sales of the iPhone, the wildly popular smartphone that typically costs more for carriers to buy than other handsets. Verizon Wireless -- co-owned by Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group -- sold 4.2m iPhones in last year’s final three months.

FIRMS HAIL NEW CHIEFS OF DIVERSITY
Some companies are adding a new executive to their C-suite lineup: Chief Diversity Officer. Tasked with creating an environment where women and minorities can flourish, CDOs generally have a hybrid job description that includes recruitment, human resources, marketing, ethics and legal compliance.