SIEMENS EYES BIG NETWORK PURCHASES
Siemens is looking out for large acquisitions to expand its power networks and plant automation businesses, in a fundamental strategic shift by the German industrial conglomerate. Joe Kaeser, Siemens’ chief financial officer, said Europe’s largest engineering group by sales had reached the “management maturity” to pursue significant takeovers.
OUATTARA THREATENS TO EXTEND COCOA BAN
Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognised winner of Ivory Coast’s disputed presidential election, has pledged to extend indefinitely the one-month ban on cocoa exports if rival Laurent Gbagbo has not left power by the time the restriction expires on 23 February. The move could push cocoa prices higher
CONCERN OVER PAY “COMPLEXITY”
Leading City investors are pressing companies to reduce the increasing complexity of how they calculate management pay ahead of the UK’s busiest season for annual general meetings. Several institutional shareholders have told the Financial Times that they are concerned about a growing trend of companies introducing ways of calculating performance-linked pay packages that are not tied to share price performance, or involve the use of opaque discretionary criteria.
GROSVENOR TAPS BOND MARKET
Grosvenor, the property company owned by the Duke of Westminster, has tapped the international bond markets to raise £125m to invest in the development of its London estate, including salubrious addresses in Mayfair and Belgravia. It raised £125m through an issue of long-term unsecured loan notes as part of a strategy to diversify funding sources.
COST OF AXEING BRITAIN’S DEFENCES
The full cost of military equipment being scrapped as a result of the government’s defence review will be more than £12bn, The Times can reveal. A further £2.3bn worth of defence kit has been designated as “lost”, Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, will admit to Parliament today. The figures will be announced as part of the Spring Supplementary Estimates released that show accounting changes and any extra spending across government departments approved by the Treasury this year for 2010-11.
FANNIE AND FREDDIE FACE EVICTION IN AMERICA
The Obama Administration took a wrecking ball to its dilapidated housing finance system yesterday by announcing plans to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The Daily Telegraph
IVOLGA PUTS WORLD’S BIGGEST FARM UP FOR SALE
The world’s biggest farm has put up the for-sale sign, after being hit by a collapse in grain prices during the world financial crisis, and then by the droughts and the fires that raged across its territories last summer. Ivolga, a farming conglomerate which controls 1.5m hectares of land across Russia and Kazakhstan, is presently negotiating with Royal Bank of Scotland, which leads its creditors, to restructure a $300m loan it arranged in 2007.
NATIONAL EXPRESS NOT RUFFLED BY HEDGE FUND ELLIOTT
National Express has denied that Elliott Management, an aggressive American hedge fund with 16pc of the transport group, is placing pressure on the company to put itself up for sale.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
J.P. MORGAN PLANS NEW-MEDIA FUND
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., riding the wave of investor interest in fast-growing, privately held technology firms such as Facebook and Twitter, plans to start a fund that would invest in Internet and digital-media companies, people familiar with the matter said. The planned investment fund, run from the New York company’s asset-management unit, is expected to raise between $500m and $750m, these people said.
BORDERS’ WOES HELP E-BOOKS ARTICLE
A bankruptcy filing by Borders Group Inc., which could come within days, will mean fewer places for consumers to buy books, which in turn is expected to speed the pace of online and e-book sales. Borders has been putting the finishing touches on a store-closure programme.