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Newspapers today: The Times, Independent, FT, Telegraph, Guardian, Mail, Express, Herald 090216

The Times

Timico bets on £50 million equity deal: The man who spent £2.5 million to put his company’s name on what is now the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup has sold up.

Saudis shop small for $2 trillion flotation: Saudi Aramco has ignored the charms of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse, which were said to have been vying for the role, and picked Moelis & Co for what is likely to be the world’s biggest flotation.

Glaxo’s next Boss braced for ‘copycats’ threat: Copycat competition to Glaxosmithkline’s blockbuster respiratory drug could start to deliver a heavy blow to profits within weeks of the company’s incoming Chief Executive taking charge.

Bank urges Trump to keep crisis rules: One of the Bank of England’s top policymakers has warned that President Trump could put the world at risk of another financial crisis if he presses ahead with plans to dismantle reforms made over the past eight years.

Easy switching is not worth the hassle but worth the wait: A pioneering savings platform intended to help savers switch painlessly between deposit accounts in pursuit of the highest interest rate has been delayed, Hargreaves Lansdown revealed.

Goldman hedges its bets with New York move: Goldman Sachs is to move its $3.5 billion hedge fund business to New York, a move that sparked speculation last night that it was part of a bigger Brexit strategy.

Capital & Regional Chief takes the chair: Capital & Regional said that Hugh Scott-Barrett, the former banker who has run the shopping centre owner for nearly nine years, would become its Chairman in June after the retirement of John Clare.

Dunelm warns of price rises in pipeline: One of Britain’s biggest homewares retailers has suffered a big fall in profits and warned that shoppers face higher prices in the wake of Brexit.

Atkins aims to build on Trump’s infrastructure plans: Atkins, the consulting engineer that has been in merger talks with its American rival CH2M, is banking on Donald Trump delivering an infrastructure boom.

The Independent

May ‘trying to kill off solar’ before it becomes cheapest electricity: The Government has been accused of trying to kill off Britain’s solar energy industry just as it is about to become one of the cheapest suppliers of electricity – with no need for any kind of state subsidy.

Fifth of U.K. firms are under-investing because of credit constraints: A fifth of firms are under-investing because they do not feel that they can get the bank credit they need to expand, according to new research by the Bank of England.

Donald Trump’s trade war could be great news for the U.K.’s tech firms: Asian investors will turn their back on America and channel billions of pounds worth of investment into Britain’s tech sector following the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, an advisory firm said.

Sports Direct falls victim to cyber-attack but fails to tell workers: Scandal-hit retailer Sports Direct failed to tell its approximately 30,000 employees about a major data breach that took place last autumn and that saw staff’s personal information being accessed by hackers.

Brexit: Spike in number of U.K. bankers looking for Irish jobs: The number of financial sector professionals in Britain and continental Europe looking for jobs in Ireland rocketed in the months after the U.K. voted to leave the European Union, a study shows.

Trump is unsure if strong or weak U.S. dollar is best for the economy: A report alleging that Donald Trump called his national security adviser in the middle of the night for guidance on whether a strong or a weak dollar is good for the economy has sparked criticism and ridicule across social media.

U.K. companies are recruiting fewer women to boardrooms: Of the new recruits to U.K. boards in 2016, 29% were women, down from 32.1% in 2014 and 31.6% in 2012, according to a report which is published every two years by recruitment firm Egon Zehnder.

Weak pay growth forecast for 2017 by Bank of England agents’ survey: The network of regional agents working for the Bank of England have reported that employers plan to scale down pay awards this year, despite the expected jump in inflation due to the plunging pound.

Goldman Sachs claims Trump trade war would hurt U.S. and Chinese growth: Goldman Sachs analysts are looking at how a trade war between the U.S. and China would hurt growth in the world’s biggest economies, and the outlook isn’t pretty.

Disney is worried about a trade war between China and America: The Chief Executive of Disney has warned that a trade war between the U.S. and China would be damaging for business.

Lack of supply continues to support house prices according to latest RICS survey: The housing market continued to lack momentum in January but house prices are still expected to rise this year due to a weak supply of homes for sale, according to the latest survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Brexit four times worse for U.K. economy than previously thought, say MIT economists: Britain’s departure from the European Union could cause output losses of as much as 9.5%, according to new research.

Financial Times

Africa-focused Tullow Oil seeks growth opportunities: Africa-focused explorer Tullow Oil said it was looking towards growth opportunities this year as it continues negotiations over reducing its $4.8 billion of debt.

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Hastings to buy remainder of U.K.’s South East Water: Hastings Funds Management has bought the remaining 50% of South East Water that it does not already own from one of Canada’s biggest pension fund managers and signalled it intends to make further acquisitions in the U.K.

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Eni Chief Claudio Descalzi charged with international corruption: Claudio Descalzi, Chief Executive of Eni, has suffered a setback after Italian prosecutors charged him with international corruption following a lengthy investigation into the Italian energy group’s 2011 purchase of a Nigerian exploration license.

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Deutsche Bank walks away from U.S. swaps clearing: Deutsche Bank is closing its U.S. swaps clearing business as it battles to cut costs amid continued questions over its business model.

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Carlyle struck by losses on hedge fund business: Carlyle, the private equity group, took a $175 million charge from its hedge fund business, leading to a drop in profits for the fourth quarter.

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Teva under police investigation in home market of Israel: Teva Pharmaceuticals, the world’s biggest maker of generic drugs, said on Wednesday it was being investigated by Israeli police in connection with a bribery case it settled with U.S. authorities last year.

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Sanofi points to lower profit for 2017: French drugmaker Sanofi said on Wednesday that profits for 2017 would be flat or slightly lower as it looks to compensate for a slowdown in sales of its blockbuster insulin medication, Lantus.

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Volkswagen threatens legal action against former Chairman: Volkswagen threatened legal action against its former Chairman on Wednesday as the carmaker stepped into a public feud over whether top Executives concealed knowledge about the diesel emissions scandal before it was revealed by U.S. regulators in September 2015.

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Volkswagen Executives accused of violating terms over job cuts: Executives at Volkswagen have been accused of “flagrantly” violating the terms of a cost-cutting deal involving the shedding of 30,000 jobs at the group in fresh problems for the German carmaker following the emissions scandal.

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TVB shares jump 4.9% on takeover offer: Shares in Hong Kong free-to-air television broadcaster TVB jumped 4.9% after the company resumed trading following an unsolicited offer for a 29.9% stake in the company.

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Ivanka Trump oversaw Murdoch daughters’ trust: Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka was a trustee for a large bloc of shares in 21st Century Fox and News Corp that belongs to Rupert Murdoch’s two youngest daughters, underscoring the close ties between the U.S. President’s family and the mogul behind the Fox News Channel.

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HBO streaming and CNN lift Time Warner: Time Warner beat sales estimates in the fourth quarter thanks to performances of its Turner television networks — including CNN, which had a record year, thanks to the U.S. Presidential election — and Warner Brothers movies such as JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts.

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Rush to find natural vanilla substitute as pod prices soar: Vanilla prices have more than tripled in the past two years to $450 per kilogramme, due to hoarding by local middlemen and crop collectors in Madagascar, the world’s largest producer. The surging price has been exacerbated as an increasing number of large food companies have pledged to use “natural” flavourings made from food sources.

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Aldi to invest extra $1.6 billion in U.S. expansion: Aldi said on Wednesday that it would invest an extra $1.6 billion in the U.S., intensifying a battle of the supermarkets as German rival Lidl enters the market and Whole Foods struggles to attract more shoppers.

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Trump berates Nordstrom for dropping Ivanka brand: Donald Trump has lambasted Nordstrom for abandoning his daughter’s fashion label, tweeting that the department store chain had treated Ivanka Trump “so unfairly” when it decided not to buy her brand this season.

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Russian retailer Detsky Mir raises $355 million in ‘litmus test’ IPO: Russia’s largest children’s retailer, Detsky Mir, has raised $355 million on the Moscow stock exchange, valuing the company at roughly $1 billion, in an initial public offering seen as a potential turning point for the Russian market.

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Unilever taps smartphone game to win consumers: Unilever is investing in a Pokémon Go-style smartphone game that gives players physical prizes at the end of a virtual treasure hunt, in a move that demonstrates how consumer goods groups are using increasingly unusual ways to stoke interest in their brands.

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Intel Chief reveals $7 billion push on U.S. manufacturing: Intel Chief Executive Brian Krzanich on Wednesday announced a $7 billion investment in U.S. manufacturing alongside President Donald Trump at the White House, as the chipmaker pledged to complete an Arizona plant on which it started work in 2011.

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Uber offers financial help to struggling French minicab drivers: Uber has proposed temporary financial help for struggling minicab drivers in France — a response from the ride-hailing company to continuous spats over pricing and employee rights with its drivers that culminated in hundreds of them striking before Christmas.

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SoftBank ‘open to all options’ on Sprint’s future: SoftBank, the owner of Sprint, is “open to all options” including an acquisition of rival T-Mobile U.S.A, according to its Chief Executive, amid expectations that U.S. President Donald Trump will be more receptive to megadeals.

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U.K. sets timetable for launch of 5G networks: The U.K. telecoms regulator has set a timetable for the launch of 5G services in Britain by 2020, with early trials set to take place as soon as next year.

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Maersk slumps to only its second annual loss in seven decades: AP Moller-Maersk on Wednesday unveiled one of the biggest losses in Danish corporate history as the conglomerate suffered from a weak container shipping industry and massive writedowns on its oil businesses last year.

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Lex:

Carlsberg: uncertainty principal: Carlsberg used to style itself as “probably” the best beer in the world. The doubt implicit in that qualifier was reflected in weak sales and a mistimed expansion. This left the share price of the world’s fourth-largest brewer trailing rivals such as Heineken and AB InBev. Volumes are still falling. But there are signs the turnround strategy of Chief Executive Cees ‘t Hart is beginning to work.

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SoftBank: much still to prove: On Wednesday, SoftBank reported operating profits for the nine months through December that jumped nearly a fifth. But underlying earnings are only one part of the picture; the company’s fortunes are embodied by the asset values of its portfolio. Foremost is U.S. mobile operator Sprint, which accounts for a third of Softbank’s market value.

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Tullow Oil: near debt experience: One of the metrics that exploration and production company Tullow Oil uses for reporting earnings is even more flattering than ebitda. It is “ebitdax”, which strips out exploration and any embarrassments above and beyond interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation. The London-listed group earned a healthy-looking $941 million in 2016 by this measure. Net debt of $4.8 billion was 5.1 times ebitdax. High, but no disaster.

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Lombard:

€1 billion Body Shop? Balmy!: Body Shop’s anti-capitalist slogan for saving the planet is “Enrich not Exploit”, writes Kate Burgess. A sore point, perhaps for L’Oréal, which is not being enriched by owning the lip balm and body butter retailer. A decade after L’Oréal bought the business — with its 3,000 shops and franchises — for £652 million, half-year operating losses have widened from €7 million to €22 million while sales have fallen 3% to just under €400 million.

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Glaxo’s heady numbers: Having reported £27.9 billion of turnover, it leaves investors to turn to page 57 to discover why this generates £7.8 billion of “core” operating profit but only £2.6 billion of “total” profit. Some of the difference is restructuring costs, which nearly halved to £970 million after much pain. But revaluations of liabilities from joint ventures and the potential cost of completing acquisitions account for £3.9 billion. Little wonder the gap between core and total results has dilated like blood vessels around a soused brain.

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The Daily Telegraph

Volvo’s record results help it gear up for flotation: Volvo has motored closer to a long-awaited flotation after the Swedish car maker delivered a strong set of annual results. Global sales of its upmarket vehicles rose 6.2% to a record 534,000, driving revenues 10% higher to SEK 180 billion (£16.2 billion) and operating profit up 66% to £990 million.

Drax locks in £340 million takeover to corner the business energy market: Drax has won the approval of shareholders to move ahead with plans to buy business energy supplier Opus Energy in a £340 million bid to corner the business energy market.

Severn Trent shakes off rebellion against Dee Water takeover: A bitter shareholder rebellion against Severn Trent’s planned takeover of Dee Water has been quashed by a High Court ruling in favour of the £84 million tie-up.

Rival branch closures boost Handelsbanken U.K.: Swedish bank Handelsbanken plans to continue opening branches in the U.K. even as its bigger British rivals continue to retrench from the high street.

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou set to grill easyJet board over sale of 10 aircraft: The Directors of budget airline easyJet are set to be grilled by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the carrier’s biggest shareholder, over a complex sale and leaseback deal for 10 aircraft at the end of last year.

The Questor Column:

Oil firms have achieved drastic cost savings – but buy Chevron, not BP: The fact that BP seems finally to have put the Gulf of Mexico disaster behind it is welcome news for shareholders. But one figure in the oil giant’s results, released, gives cause for concern. The company said the oil price needed to be $60 a barrel in order for it to break even, compared with $50-$55 previously. It is of course possible that the price will continue to rise, following earlier improvements resulting from the decision of OPEC, the producers’ cartel, to cut production. However, we have misgivings about betting on such an outcome. In short, falls in the oil price have driven explorers to make drastic cost savings. For example, the amount they pay to hire a rig has fallen from about $650,000 a day to nearer $250,000 a day. The Henderson International Income trust cannot own shares in BP as it invests exclusively in overseas firms, but Mr. Lofthouse, who has outperformed his peer group over the past 10 years, according to FE Trustnet, the investment analyst, said he was “happy to hold” BP in other portfolios such as the Henderson Global Equity Income fund. Accordingly, Questor rates BP only a hold, which is still an improvement from the sell rating we gave it a year ago. Questor says ‘Hold’.

The Guardian

Trump envoy says Greece is now more likely to leave the euro: Donald Trump’s administration has put itself on a fresh collision course with the European Union after the President’s candidate to be ambassador in Brussels said Greece should leave the euro and predicted the single currency would not survive more than 18 months in its present form.

Candy brothers accused of blackmail and extortion in high court: The billionaire Candy brothers have faced accusations in the high court of blackmail, extortion and intimidation, as former business partners and once close advisers prepared to give evidence against them in a £132 million claim for damages.

McLaren to create 200 jobs in Sheffield with new £50 million plant: McLaren Automotive is to open a £50 million manufacturing plant in Sheffield that will create more than 200 jobs.

Hundreds of Waitrose jobs may go as retailer plans six store closures: Waitrose is planning to close six stores and remove a level of management in its supermarkets, putting 600 jobs at risk.

U.K. rents expected to rise faster than house prices in next five years: U.K. rents are expected to rise faster than house prices over the next five years, bringing further misery to Britain’s growing army of renters, according to a survey.

No big pay rises for Britons despite inflation, says Bank of England: Hopes of bumper pay rises as the economy shrugs off the effects of the Brexit vote appear to be dashed by a Bank of England survey that predicts a decline in wages growth this year.

Daily Mail

Spinal Tap re-form to slap film studio with a £320 million lawsuit over profits from the hit mockumentary: The stars of cult movie This Is Spinal Tap have staged a comeback to sue a film studio for £320million.

Printer St Ives crashes 14% as deal to supply books for Harper Collins ends: Shares at St Ives crashed 14% after the marketing group revealed its deal to supply books for Harper Collins would not be renewed.

Hargreaves Lansdown raises dividend by 10% after 2016 shares frenzy helped boost profits by 21%: Online broker Hargreaves Lansdown has posted a healthy half year profit, helped by a share dealing frenzy in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Housebuilder Redrow defies Brexit blues as it posts record results with pre-tax profits up by 35%: Defying Brexit blues, housebuilder Redrow has posted another set of record results, with pre-tax profits up by 35% to £140 million.

Daily Express

Rio digs itself out of the mire: Rio Tinto is returning a bumper $3.6 billion (£2.9 billion) to shareholders after digging itself out of a commodity prices slump to post a 12% rise in annual profit.

Eurozone blasts back at IMF’s furious criticism of Greek bailout: The Eurogroup President has hit out at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as relations continue to sour over Greece’s bailout programme, sparking concerns of a fresh debt crisis.

Brexit and Donald Trump will hit Berlin’s economy, warns German business group: Germany’s capital Berlin is set to see a significant slowdown in economic growth, thanks to Britain’s exit from the European Union and the election of Donald Trump, according to a national business group.

Single currency sinks amid Frexit and Greek debt crisis fears: The pound has jumped against the euro amid mounting fears over a toxic cocktail of political risks that threaten the future of the European Union (EU).

L’Oreal to sell The Body Shop for £852 million 10 years after buying it: L’Oreal is mulling €1 billion (£852 million) sale of The Body Shop more than 10 years after snapping up the ethical skincare brand, according to reports.

The Scottish Herald

Pay awards set to fall in spite of jump in inflation: Companies expect to cut the size of pay increases this year, in spite of surging U.K. inflation, a survey by the Bank of England has revealed.

Green energy firms to lobby for rate relief: Businesses operating in the renewables space are calling on the Government to give them transitional relief to deal with the new business rates regime after some were hit with increases in their rateable values of as much as 650%.

Revenue hits new heights for Allied Vehicles: Allied Vehicles, the Glasgow-based car and taxi modification specialist, has posted a 37% increase in operating profit, to £37.5 million as its turnover climbed 12.7% to a record £120 million.

Brexit brings visitor boost to Edinburgh’s Scotch Whisky Experience: The Scotch Whisky Experience, the five-star tourist attraction in the Royal Mile, Edinburgh, has been boosted by the downturn in sterling sparked by the Brexit vote.

Verdant buys Scottish caravan park: Caravan park operator Verdant Leisure has bought a complex in the Scottish Borders in what looks likely to have been a seven figure deal and underlined its appetite for more acquisitions.

Rettie grows profits amid difficult market conditions: Upmarket estate agency Rettie & Co has noted difficult market conditions after increasing annual profits by 180% helped by a reduction in costs.

Airport first for whisky: Loch Lomond Group, the whisky distillers, has launched into the global travel retail market for the first time after a deal with Glasgow Airport.

The Scotsman

Outdoor oven innovator smashes crowdfunding target: A Lothians designer is poised to launch an outdoor oven that can cook pizza in less than two minutes after smashing his fundraising target.

War of words heats up over oil explorer Bowleven: Bowleven, the Edinburgh-based oil and gas explorer, has reiterated its opposition to a hostile takeover bid from Monaco-based Crown Ocean Capital (COC).

Inverness to gain new hotel after £4.4 million Maven deal: Maven Capital Partners’ property arm has acquired an office building in the centre of Inverness in a multi-million-pound deal that will see the site converted into a budget hotel.

Compressors maker Vert powers up after funding boost: Vert Rotors, the specialist gas compressors maker, has taken delivery of new machinery to help it create devices for satellites and medical equipment.

Construction output to fall as major projects finish: Output in Scotland’s construction sector is expected to dip slightly in the next five years as key infrastructure projects are completed, according to data published.

City A.M.

Why Monte dei Paschi shares might get kicked from the blue-chip index: Monte dei Paschi di Siena’s management board need to decide whether it is going to reinstate its shares in the near future, or risk being kicked from Milan’s blue-chip index.

Weak pound delivers earnings boost for GSK: GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has reported core profits of £7.8 billion on full year revenues of £27.9 billion in 2016, a rise of 6% and 14% respectively year-on-year.

Top EU envoy Valdis Dombrovskis jets into town for talks with Chancellor and City Chiefs: One of the EU’s top Commissioners jets into London this morning for a whirlwind pre-Brexit tour of the capital, telling City A.M. that a future deal on financial services must “work for all”.

HS2 faces questions over the hiring of its new Chief Executive and concerns of a “revolving door” to a contractor: High Speed 2 Bosses face questions over the appointment of their Chief Executive just days before MPs sign off on the first stage of the project.

Boeing pens letter to MPs to hit back at Airbus claims it would relish Brexit fallout: Boeing has hit back at warnings raised by Airbus over the potential negative impact of Brexit to its business, and its American rival being keen to take advantage.

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