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Newspapers: The Times, Independent, FT, Telegraph, Guardian, Mail, Express, Herald 160517

The Times

Russian rebels win concession as Hambro gives up chair at miner: Peter Hambro is to step down as Executive Chairman of the Russian goldminer he co-founded in 1994 after pressure from shareholders led by the billionaire Viktor Vekselberg.

Moody’s has little respect for Noble debt: Noble Group’s debt has been downgraded further into junk territory by Moody’s, which warned that the commodities trader may not have enough cash and credit to cover maturing debts this year.

Nuts and bolts of buying up rivals still appeals to Unilever: The love of adding still more to its commercial toolkit shows no sign of abating at Unilever, which has made yet another “bolt-on” acquisition by agreeing to buy a portfolio of products from Quala, a fast-growing Latin American consumer goods company.

Brexit bears give up and give sterling time to recover: Sterling is close to crossing back above $1.30 for the first time since September as investors cut their short positions amid hopes that a hard Brexit is less likely and ahead of an expected surge in inflation.

Dignity remains on acquisition trail: Dignity said that its revenue had risen by 15% to £93.3 million in the 13 weeks to March 31, while underlying profit had increased by 20% to £37.4 million.

TUI ‘ready to navigate any Brexit turbulence’: The Boss of TUI Group admitted that Brexit was “potentially concerning”, but insisted that the travel operator had the tools to navigate any turbulence.

Put pensions first, Bosses told: The pensions watchdog is to take a tougher line on companies that pay dividends to shareholders before plugging their pension deficits.

The Independent

Most British workers have stopped taking sick days, survey finds: A slightly sore throat and a bit of a sniffle won’t keep Brits out of work, new research suggests.

U.K. workers should brace for higher unemployment and falling real pay: Unemployment is set to rise and pay packets will be squeezed in the next two years as a Brexit slowdown in the economy begins to bite, according to new analysis.

British families are throwing away 1.4 million bananas every day: British families are throwing away 1.4 million bananas that are perfectly good to eat every day at cost of £80 million a year, new figures have shown.

Oil price jumps 2% as Saudi Arabia and Russia extend production cut: Oil jumped to its highest level in two weeks after the Saudi Arabian and Russian energy Ministers said they are in favour of extending a production-cut deal for nine months.

London is world’s fifth most expensive city for construction despite the pound’s Brexit slump: Despite a dramatic slump in the value of the pound since Britain’s vote to leave the EU, London remains the world’s fifth most expensive city for commercial and residential construction, according to a new study.

Financial Times

Lonmin’s losses widen due to falling production and stronger rand: Losses increased at Lonmin, the South Africa-focused platinum mining company that is battling labour unrest and weak prices, because of falling production and negative currency movements.

 

Chevron investors back off from climate change proposal: Investors have withdrawn a shareholder proposal calling for Chevron to report regularly on the risks it faces from policies to address climate change, after the oil group published an analysis of the issue.

 

Moody’s buys Dutch data analytics group for €3 billion: Moody’s Corp, the U.S. credit rating agency, has agreed its largest ever acquisition with a €3 billion deal to buy Bureau van Dijk, a Dutch provider of business information, from Swedish private equity firm EQT.

 

RateSetter appoints City heavyweight as Chairman: RateSetter has appointed Paul Manduca, the City of London grandee, to become its Chairman in a move designed to prepare the seven-year-old fintech company for an initial public offering in the next few years.

 

Vanguard U.K. online launch set to spark price war: Vanguard, the world’s best-selling asset manager, is launching an online service to sell its funds directly to U.K. investors in a move likely to heap further pressure on both active managers and brokers.

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Ant Financial stalls IPO plan as buying spree continues: The blockbuster listing of Ant Financial, the payments affiliate of Alibaba, has been put on ice until the end of next year at the earliest, according to bankers.

 

Ubben steps down as investment head at ValueAct: Jeff Ubben, the activist investor who built ValueAct into a $16 billion hedge fund, is standing down from daily oversight of its portfolio and handing the reins to his protégé, Mason Morfit.

 

New AIG CEO Brian Duperrault plans to ‘grow’ insurer: AIG’s new CEO Brian Duperreault has committed to keeping the insurance conglomerate intact and signalled he would seek to expand the group after years of shrinkage in the wake of its government rescue during the financial crisis.

 

Grant Thornton taps Peter Bodin to be new Chief Executive: Grant Thornton, the London-based global accountancy firm that has been trying to challenge the dominance of the Big Four accountants, has appointed the former Boss of its Swedish business as its new group Chief Executive.

 

Hospitals and GPs to receive rating based on data security: The healthcare inspectorate is set to be given new powers to assess the state of IT systems in hospitals and surgeries as the NHS recovered from Friday’s cyberattack.

 

Atlantia makes €16 billion bid for rival toll road group Abertisd: Italy’s Atlantia launched a €16.3 billion takeover bid to buy its Spanish rival Abertis on Monday, a deal that would create the world’s largest toll road operator with a combined 14,095km under management in 19 countries.

 

Toshiba forecasts return to profit: Toshiba has forecast a return to profit over the next 12 months although the turnround of the struggling Japanese conglomerate will depend on a highly-complicated sale of its Nand flash memory business.

 

Yoox Net-a-Porter boosted by demand for luxury online: Yoox Net-a-Porter, the Milan-listed luxury e-retailer, is expanding its roster of online brands because of demand from consumers for high-priced watches and jewellery over digital platforms, according to Chief Executive Federico Marchetti.

 

Agrosmart Founder puts soil analysis on farm phones: The company’s technology — which uses data harvested from the sensors it supplies that are installed in farmers’ fields — is now monitoring 50,000 hectares in nine of Brazil’s states. The aim is to boost production of corn, wheat, sugarcane, coffee, fruits and vegetables.

 

Vodafone transfers stake in Kenya operator Safaricom to Vodacom: Vodafone has transferred a 35% stake in Kenyan operator Safaricom to Vodacom, its listed South African business, in the U.K. telecoms group’s latest move to simplify its sprawling global empire.

 

Lex:

Lonmin: shafted, again: Investors who have stumped up $1.68 billion to keep Lonmin afloat since 2009 should be unimpressed. The company’s market capitalisation is now around £300 million. The last cash call, in 2015, was supposed to give Lonmin time to recover. Instead, the platinum miner said on Monday that it may breach debt covenants if trading disappoints. Even a 5% fall in platinum prices would be enough to tip it over the edge.

 

Uber/Google: autonomous employees: Waymo, Google’s self-driving car unit, may not have phoned the feds when an employee, Anthony Levandowski, took proprietary data, set up his own self-driving venture and sold it to Uber for $680 million. However, Waymo did take action — now in arbitration — over the hiring of Waymo employees by Mr Levandowski. More important, it also sued, arguing its trade secrets were stolen. A judge ruled on Monday that, pending a trial, Uber must not use the 14,000 files downloaded by Mr Levandowski and that he must not work on Lidar, a key technology for self-driving cars.

 

AIG: hire purchase: On Monday, as expected, American International Group named Brian Duperreault as its new Chief Executive. He is 70 and cut his teeth at AIG under its sometime Boss Hank Greenburg. Since leaving AIG in the 1990s he has held a series of Executive posts. It will cost tens of millions to extricate him from the last of these.

 

Lombard:

Tui faces a long haul to keep up with full-year itinerary: Flight crews with the Tuifly airline proved as susceptible to illness as Southern Rail staff while in dispute with management. Last summer, Southern had to cancel an average of 83 services a day because so many conductors phoned in sick after proposed changes to their role. Tui’s pilots felt similarly queasy after news of a joint venture, Air Berlin, causing 108 flights to be cancelled on one day last October. It cost Tui €24 million.

 

Nex big thing: Can people on both sides of a deal claim a coup? Michael Spencer has told shareholders in his Nex Group that selling telephone broker ICAP to Tullett Prebon for £1.3 billion “delivered exceptional value”. But he has also had to buy new companies, at a cost of 300 basis points of margin. By contrast, TP-ICAP’s margin improved 12 basis points last year, and Boss John Phizackerley is eyeing £100 million of synergies by 2020. Can both be better off? One can expect the other’s call in a few years’ time.

 

The Daily Telegraph

City warns Corbyn’s ‘Robin Hood’ tax will hit pensioners’ pockets: The City has hit back at Labour’s proposals to impose a ‘Robin Hood’ tax on financial transactions if it wins the General Election, warning that the tax will “inevitably” hit the savings of pensioners.

Lyft teams up with Google to develop driverless cars in blow to Uber: Google’s driverless cars division has teamed up with U.S. ride-hailing business Lyft to develop autonomous technology for vehicles.

Energy investors ‘underwhelmed’ by U.K. renewables market: Energy investors are underwhelmed by the U.K. renewable energy market due to a vacuum in policy direction for the industry’s future.

Booths ‘outsider’ Boss steps down: Booths, the upmarket Northern grocery chain, has parted ways with its first and only ‘outsider’ Chief Executive in a move that returns the leadership of the retailer to family hands.

Spencer returns to ‘laughable’ euro-clearing battle on earnings day: City veteran Michael Spencer has weighed back into the euro-clearing debate barely a month after warning Europe against its plot to take back the $1 trillion market, calling the battle “quite laughable” as his company reported its full-year results.

Johnston Press backs down over bonus boost for Bosses as debt pressures increase: The troubled newspaper owner Johnston Press has caved in to shareholder anger over plans to offer Chief Executive Ashley Highfield a bigger bonus this year, all in cash.

The Guardian

Noel Edmonds accuses Lloyds of ‘foot dragging’ over HBOS payouts: Noel Edmonds has accused Lloyds Banking Group of “foot dragging” over compensation payouts to himself and other victims of the HBOS Reading fraud.

Debt fears as county court judgments soar by more than a third: Nearly 300,000 debt judgments were filed against individuals in English and Welsh county courts in the first three months of 2017, the highest quarterly figure for more than 10 years.

Online betting firm 888 investigated by watchdog: Online gambling company 888 is being investigated by the industry regulator, which has the power to strip betting firms of their licence to do business, amid concern over the tools it uses to help problem gamblers.

BP shareholders urged to reject Chief’s £9 million pay package: BP shareholders are being urged to vote against Executive pay packages this week on the grounds they are too high and not taking climate change seriously.

Andy Murray backs more U.K. startups: Andy Murray, the number one male tennis player in the world, has backed two fledgling British companies on crowdfunding platform Seedrs, including a business behind the world’s first flat folding helmet.

French TV company behind Versailles to invest in U.K. drama: The French maker of the lavish TV period drama Versailles is launching a €50 million (£42.4 million) fund to make English-language dramas with U.K. production companies, in a move influenced by the weakening of the pound since the Brexit vote.

Daily Mail

Posh tonic maker Fever-Tree hits £2 billion after meteoric three-year rise: Since it listed on the London Stock Exchange three years ago, shares in the drinks firm have risen by more than 933% – and show little sign of slowing.

Forcing firms to put workers’ representatives on their boards ought to be a force for good: The terrible scandals of the past year, including the fight for the restoration of the BHS pension fund and disclosure of appalling working conditions at the Sports Direct warehouse at Shirebrook in Derbyshire, badly damaged the image and reputation of free market capitalism. So, it is encouraging that Theresa May wants to calm the animal spirits. Making companies put workers’ representatives on their boards ought to be a force for good.

Shares in security firms soar after NHS hacking attack: Shares in cyber security groups soared as investors bet on a surge in spending by governments and businesses desperate to protect themselves from hacking attacks.

BMO ditches shares in fossil fuel firms after pressure from Archbishop of Canterbury: Investor BMO Asset Management is ditching £20 million of shares in fossil fuel firms due to their environmental impact following pressure from the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is President of its responsible investment council.

Eve Sleep launches on stock market in £140 million flotation: Three friends who wanted to invent a bouncier mattress for sex have launched their start-up on to the stock market in a £140 million flotation.

Daily Express

Tesco, B&Q and John Lewis to launch scheme helping careers of part-time workers: A scheme is being launched to help “unblock” career progression for part-time workers in the retail industry.

Oil price rise pushes FTSE to record high as producers extend production cut: Higher oil prices propelled the FTSE 100 to a record high after leading producers signalled an extension of production cuts into next year.

Bitcoin bubble fears as online currency now more valuable than gold: Bitcoin is fuelling fears of a ‘cryptocurrency’ underground bubble as the digital currency is now more valuable than gold.

GBP/AUD down from 8-month high as British workers face pay squeeze: The pound slipped against the Australian dollar this morning following a report published suggesting that British workers’ will likely face a pay squeeze over the coming year.

The Scottish Herald

£5 billion trust takes Trump in its stride: The £5 billion Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust has highlighted its “very small” exposure to the U.K. economy, as Brexit looms, and signalled continuing confidence in global giants such as Amazon despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s “unpredictable approach”.

Spark Energy moves into telecoms with first takeover: Spark Energy has made its first acquisition since last August’s management buyout, with Sussex-based broadband firm Home Telecom being described as “a perfect fit”.

Problems on giant Shetland field hit Premier: North Sea heavyweight Premier Oil has said the giant Solan field off Shetland achieved only around a third of the expected output in recent months amid continued challenges on what is a flagship project.

Surge in total pay for oil firm Boss: Faroe Petroleum Chief Executive Graham Stewart’s total remuneration rose by around 25% last year when the North Sea-focused oil and gas firm increased production and reserves.

Crude price rises but oil and gas firms remain cautious: Crude prices rose strongly after Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed to do “whatever it takes” to help rebalance the market as research showed the global industry remains very cautious.

All Change as recruitment firm is sold: Glasgow-based Change Recruitment has been sold to venture capitalist Paul Atkinson for an undisclosed sum.

Scottish capital is third most creative in the U.K.: Edinburgh has come third place in a ranking of the U.K.’s top 25 locations for the creative industries, with Glasgow not far behind in fifth.

Storage firm going from strength to strength: Brian Gifford is the first to admit his ultimate goal – to see his company Storage Vault hit the £100 million mark – might appear over-ambitious.

The Scotsman

Harris Tweed producer targets Spanish market as demand rises: The largest producer of Harris Tweed has announced plans to push into Spain, where King Felipe is said to be a fan of the brand.

JP Morgan in Dublin docklands move to address Brexit: JP Morgan has snapped up an office building in Dublin with the capacity to house 1,000 staff as it ramps up its Brexit contingency planning.

Shot in the arm for Inverness life sciences centre: Danish life sciences firm Corporate Health International (CHI) is investing £5.7 million in a new diagnostics centre at Inverness Campus.

Small firms waste ‘millions of hours’ on IT problems: Small and medium-sized businesses across the U.K. could save about five million working hours every week by fixing everyday IT problems, according to a survey of more than 600 business leaders.

U.K. plc fortunes rebound thanks to weaker sterling: U.K.-listed companies appear to have turned a corner after their collective revenues rose for the first time in four years, a report suggested.

City A.M.

Virgin Money walks away from Co-op Bank takeover talks after months of speculation: Virgin Money has walked away from a deal to buy Co-op Bank after months of speculation linking the lender with a move.

Aspen Pharmacare shares hit by European Commission probe into cancer drug price hikes: The European Commission launched an investigation into claims that Aspen Pharmacare has excessively raised the prices of five life-saving cancer drugs.

Hotel finder Trivago’s shares leap as it swings to profit: Trivago’s shares jumped more than 20% as the U.S.-listed firm swung to profit in the first quarter of 2017.

Sugar-free Coke recipes matches classic Coca-Cola sales for the first time as consumers turn to healthier options: Health-conscious consumers are driving up demand for sugar-free alternatives to Coke, as the soft drinks giant reveals that sales of Coke Zero and Diet Coke now match those of regular Coke.

Startup exercise snack company Tribe hits £1 million on Crowdcube in its first day: Tribe, a sports nutrition company, has raised £1 million in an equity crowdfunding round on the first day of its public launch.

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Disclaimer: Statements in this article should not be considered investment advice, which is best sought directly from a qualified professional.