STRATEGIC REVAMP FOR LLOYD’S
Lloyd’s of London has begun the biggest strategic review it has undertaken this decade in an attempt to ensure the more than 320-year-old insurance market does not fail in exploiting the gaps in the market thrown up by the financial crisis. The institution, which deals in insurance risks from all over the world, has brought in consultants from Deloitte.
DRAX NAMES UBS AS ITS BROKER
UBS this week secured the mandate to be Drax’s co-corporate broker, alongside Deutsche Bank, pipping Citigroup and Credit Suisse, after a mammoth five-month process in which a longlist of nearly a dozen brokers was cut to the three-strong shortlist. The initial stages involved the normal preparation of written pitch documents, followed up with full-day multimedia presentations.
VENTURE INVESTORS SET OUT TERMS FOR CENTRIA BID
Leading shareholders in Venture Production, the North Sea oil and gas company in which Centrica has a 23.6 per cent stake, have agreed not to sell their stakes too cheaply in the event of a bid for the company. Centrica, which owns British Gas, has been set a deadline of the close of business on Monday to say whether it will make an offer for Venture or be barred from bidding for six months.
FRENCH VIVENDI TARGETS ASSETS IN AFRICA
Vivendi is in talks to buy a controlling stake in the African mobile phone businesses of Zain, the Kuwaiti telecoms group, as the French company seeks to ramp up its exposure to emerging markets. Vivendi made an informal offer to Zain this week, which valued the African assets at $10bn-$11bn (£6.1bn-£6.7bn), according to people familiar with the situation.
M&S ACCUSED OF HYPOCRISY AFTER ROSE ATTACK ON CUT-PRICE FASHION
Marks & Spencer was accused of hypocrisy yesterday when it emerged that the retailer shared suppliers with Primark, only a day after executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose attacked the discount fashion industry over subsistence wages.
COFFEE REPUBLIC BEGINS TO CLOSE DOWN STORES
The administrators to Coffee Republic, the collapsed coffee bar chain, have today announced the closure of 10 of its 19 company-owned stores with the loss of 66 jobs. Richard Hill, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, said the closure of the outlets would leave a core of profitable units which would be sold during the course of next week together with the franchising and concessions business.
The Daily Telegraph
BT SPEEDS UP ITS £1.5BN BROADBAND ROLL-OUT
BT is doubling its efforts to bring super-fast broadband to 1.5m British homes and businesses. The telecoms group said it will roll out 40 megabits per second (Mb) fibre optic broadband internet to 1m homes by March next year, up from previous plans to cover half a million homes. BT said 1.5m homes will have 40Mbs broadband – fast enough to watch live high definition TV – by next summer.
WHITE PAPER’S IMPLICATIONS HARM INSURERS
Life assurers were under severe pressure for a second day in a row after broker Credit Suisse, which also happens to be the adviser to the Treasury on financial stability, said the Government’s blueprint on reforming financial regulation raises questions over the insurers’ solvency.
WALL STREET JOURNAL
RETAILERS REPORT LOWER SALES
From department stores to discounters, sales remained on a downward trend for US retailers in June, more than a year and a half into the recession. Same-store sales dropped 4.9 per cent last month, in line with projections, as retailers contended with an unemployment rate approaching a double digits, the second wettest June in a decade and a lack of stimulus checks that helped spur some buying last year.
NEW YORK SUIT FOR TAGGED.COM
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo plans to file a lawsuit against social-networking internet site Tagged.com, accusing the privately held company of using deceptive email marketing practices and invasion of privacy. “This company stole the address books and identities of millions of people,” Cuomo said.