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Newspapers today: The Times, Independent, FT, Telegraph, Guardian, Mail, Express, Herald 140216

The Times

Ocado may run out of cash to complete overseas licensing deal: Ocado could be out of spare cash to execute an international licensing deal, according to an analyst who adds that short-term payouts to the online food retailer’s management may be unwarranted.

Oil and U.S. push rouble to new high: The rouble has hit its highest level against the dollar for almost two years, driven by optimism about oil prices and encouraging signals on U.S. foreign policy.

EU commissioner heads to Greece for urgent debt talks: The European commissioner for economic and financial affairs will fly to Athens on Wednesday to help find a breakthrough in stalled bailout negotiations threatening to knock Greece out of the euro.

Samsung Boss faces fresh bribery quiz: The head of Samsung has been questioned for a second time and four Executives face arrest as South Korean prosecutors continue their investigation into a multi-layered corruption scandal.

Board overhauls could bring cheaper gas and electricity: One of Britain’s most influential investors has demanded an overhaul of the way the country’s largest infrastructure businesses are run, saying that reform could lead to lower prices.

Stanhope deal helps council build more: A London council has signed a 15-year contract with a property developer to build housing in what is thought to be one of the first deals of its kind.

Crude price falls as Saudi cuts fail to bite: Oil prices fell by 1.9% to $55.65 a barrel in New York last night as Saudi Arabia’s claims of steeper than expected production cuts failed to offset evidence of rising U.S. shale output.

Spanish brands lock horns over rights to bulls: Osborne Group, the sherry maker, has clashed with Jordi Nogués, maker of the BadToro merchandising including T-shirts, over the right to use the word toro, or bull.

Fevertree gingers up its drink range: With Fevertree tonic established as a key player in the revival of the gin market, the adventurous duo have been on their travels once again — this time to source ingredients for a new range of ginger ales aimed at doing for dark spirits, like whisky and rum, what the tonic has done for gin.

Food giant is flavour of the month: The Canadian owner of the Burger King hamburger chain beat quarterly profit expectations, sending shares to a record high (James Dean writes).

Botox maker irons out the wrinkles with $2.5 billion deal: Allergan, the maker of Botox, is to pay $2.5 billion for an American company that claims to be able to reduce the appearance of body fat by “freezing” the growth of fat cells.

Dyson heads overseas for engineers: Dyson has opened a research and development operation in Singapore that will result in hundreds of engineering jobs being created in Asia.

The Independent

U.K. faces dramatic cyber-security skills ‘cliff edge’: A global survey of almost 20,000 security professionals across banks, governments and multinationals concludes that Britain is facing a cyber-security skills “cliff edge” and that companies are “chronically” underprepared for attacks.

Inflation forecast to hit 1.9%: U.K. consumer price inflation is expected to jump to 1.9% on Tuesday, its highest level since June 2014, as the slump in the pound since last June’s Brexit referendum continues to feed through to the high street.

Waitrose is rebranding British meals range which uses New Zealand lamb: Waitrose has rebranded its lamb ready meals after coming under fire from both customers and the farming sector for using misleading labels.

Johnson & Johnson ditches plastic cotton buds over marine pollution: Multinational corporation Johnson & Johnson is to stop selling plastic cotton buds – one of the most common item of litter found on Britain’s beaches – in half the countries of the world after a campaign to cut marine pollution.

Brexit is already hurting Britain’s recruitment: Brexit is already preventing U.K. businesses from accessing top talent from across Europe, according to new research.

Top U.K. companies consider pay scheme shake-up: One in 10 top U.K. companies are considering scrapping so-called long-term incentive plans, which have unleashed sweeping waves of criticism for awarding top Executives huge pay checks.

Amazon admits it may have to pay fine for violating Iran sanctions: Amazon on Friday disclosed Iranian business ties that may have violated U.S. sanctions, warning that it may be penalised after a regulatory review of the activities.

More than a quarter of employers suspect ‘EU staff will quit in 2017’: Sectors of the U.K. economy which are heavily reliant on EU nationals are starting to experience skills and labour shortages, with research suggesting that the squeeze could be down to fewer EU workers seeking jobs in Britain in the wake of last year’s Brexit vote.

Brexit could force young people to retire even later due to low immigration: People under 40 will have to work for an extra year-and-a-half before being able to claim the state pension if the Government drastically cuts immigration after Brexit, new research predicts.

Lidl’s U.K. Prosecco sales surged 79% despite growing trend of Dry January: The trend of Dry January seemingly failed to smother Briton’s love affair with prosecco. Sales of the Italian sparkling wine at discount supermarket Lidl surged a whopping 79% in January compared to the same month last year, despite many people choosing to skip booze for the month in a traditional January detox.

Britain must be made worse-off after leaving EU, says Austrian Chancellor: The European Union must ensure Britain is made worse-off when it leaves the trading bloc and any other result would be a “capitulation”, the Austrian Chancellor said in a press conference on Monday.

Financial Times

Glencore to buy out Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler’s mining stakes: Glencore has struck a deal to buy out billionaire Israeli-mining entrepreneur Dan Gertler’s stakes in two copper and cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in an agreement that values the assets at $960 million.

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‘Trump bump’ sparks birth of new banks: The “Trump bump” has prompted investors to load up on shares in U.S. banks. But it has also rekindled interest in another form of bank investment — building one from scratch.

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Listing of Credit Suisse’s domestic operations facing opposition: The fate of a planned listing of Credit Suisse’s domestic operations is looking uncertain, amid opposition to the float in Switzerland and an admission by Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam that the board had yet to take a final decision on the project.

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GSK claims new HIV combination therapy will be ‘less harmful’: GlaxoSmithKline claimed that its new HIV treatment would be “less harmful and less hassle” than current therapies, as it unveiled clinical trial results for a two-drug cocktail designed to reduce the amount of medicine that patients must take each day.

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U.K.’s last teddy bear maker boosted by Brexit: The U.K.’s last teddy bear manufacturer, Merrythought, is benefiting from greater export opportunities following the U.K.’s vote for Brexit, helping to boost sales by 20% last year.

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Wesfarmers sticks with insider for next Chief: Wesfarmers, the Australian conglomerate that owns the British DIY chain Homebase, has appointed long-time Executive and former Olympic rower Rob Scott as its next managing Director.

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China mobile payments dwarf those in U.S. as fintech booms, research shows: Chinese mobile payments were nearly 50 times greater than those in the U.S. last year, market data show, highlighting Chinese internet companies’ strong position in a market segment viewed as a gateway to the fintech ecosystem.

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Kirin ends Brazilian venture with $700 million sale to Heineken: Kirin has ended its ill-fated venture in Brazil with the ¥77 billion ($700 million) sale of its struggling business to Heineken, as the Japanese brewer shifts its overseas spending to Southeast Asia.

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Apple valued at $700 billion as shares close at record high: Apple stock hit a new all-time high on Monday, driven by investor optimism about a coming iPhone sales “supercycle” and hopes that its $230 billion in overseas cash might soon be put to greater use.

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Infosys rejects founder’s claims of corporate governance failings: The Chairman of Infosys has rejected allegations of governance failings, seeking to defuse an unusual public spat that has threatened the reputation of the iconic Indian IT services company.

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Uber’s Indian drivers strike for fourth day over earnings squeeze: Uber is suffering serious disruption in India, with its drivers on strike for the past four days over cuts to pay and incentives by the ride-hailing app and local rival Ola Cabs.

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China’s Weibo eclipses rival Twitter’s market capitalisation: China’s Weibo is worth more than U.S. rival Twitter, after a rallying share price drove its market capitalisation to $11.3 billion, surpassing the U.S. messaging platform’s $11.1 billion.

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Vodafone asks for EE to map out access to new U.K. network: Vodafone has urged the U.K. government to act to ensure access for mobile companies to a new publicly funded wireless network being built by its rival EE.

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Lex:

Tarullo resignation: bank capital breather: The name that U.S. banks have feared most was neither Dodd nor Frank, originators of the U.S. financial reform passed in 2010. Rather, Wall Street’s bête noire has been Daniel Tarullo, the U.S. Federal Reserve governor most associated with a tough implementation of the law. He has announced that he will resign his post after nine years at the Fed. His departure means far more to U.S. banks than any as-yet nebulous changes to Dodd-Frank which the Trump administration may seek.

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Stada/Cinven: strong medicine needed: One drug company’s “patent cliff” is another’s magic mountain. Generic drugs are in demand as old treatments lose legal protection. In the U.S., 82% of all prescriptions went to no-label generics in 2015, up by a half over a decade. In Europe and Japan that figure is lower, representing an opportunity. But Stada of Germany is not among the generics specialists exploiting it. A bid worth $3.7 billion from U.K. private equity group Cinven, and another from Advent International, should change that.

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The Co-op Bank: mutually-assured destruction: Due to a general incompatibility between God and Mammon, ethical banking has long been seen as something of an oxymoron in both philosophical and business circles. The Co-operative Bank, part-owned by one of the U.K.’s biggest mutual companies, has found out the hard way. Following hubristic expansion, the ethical lender has announced it is putting itself up for sale after admitting it would fail to meet its own capital targets.

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Lombard:

Debt misaligns Reckitt’s risk profile and shareholder returns: Reckitt Benckiser’s pay plan for Rakesh Kapoor, Chief Executive, may be all that is needed to turn U.K. investor groups nasty. Egged on by politicians, they are already grouchy. Last week, a third of shareholders in Thomas Cook, whose remuneration committee Chairman Warren Tucker is also on Reckitt’s board, voted against its Executive bonus scheme. A couple of weeks before, investors forced Imperial Brands to retreat from a big bonus increase for Boss Alison Cooper.

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The Daily Telegraph

Greek finance minister attacks IMF for ‘wasting time’ on bail-out deal: Greece’s finance minister has lashed out at the International Monetary Fund for “wasting time” with internal disagreements as he attacked the Fund for delaying a decision on the embattled nation’s third rescue package.

BAE Systems poised to promote Charles Woodburn as Chief Executive: BAE Systems is poised to confirm Charles Woodburn as its new Chief Executive in a widely anticipated move that marks a generational shift at the defence giant.

Firestone Diamonds smashes expectations with first sale: Fledgling diamond miner Firestone has promised more riches are in store after beating expectations for its first ever sale of gemstones from Lesotho.

Dr Copper rallies as strikes and disruption grip the market: The price of copper has lurched higher after supply disruptions on two continents sent the red metal soaring, boosting mining stocks in London and prompting analysts to warn prolonged stoppages could tilt prices further.

Trading software group Fidessa enjoys profit bounce from fall in sterling: Profits have soared at Fidessa after the trading software group reaped the rewards of the fall in sterling following the vote to leave the European Union.

Engineering firm owned by one of the U.K.’s richest men posts £8.75 million dividend: The engineering company owned by one of the U.K.’s richest men paid a £8.75 million dividend in its most recent results, as it continues its push in the Far East.

Business rates rise threatens London’s restaurants: London’s pubs and restaurants are at risk of sliding off the menu as they struggle with a looming £336.5 million jump in business rates bills.

The Guardian

£1.74 an hour: Jinn couriers complain over low earnings: Some takeaway delivery couriers say they are being paid as little as £1.74 an hour, far below the national minimum wage.

European commission upgrades growth forecast for U.K. economy: The Eurozone will enjoy stronger economy growth than previously thought this year and next but face risks from uncertainty surrounding Donald Trump’s presidency and the U.K.’s negotiations to leave the European Union, according to forecasts by the European commission.

Markets hit new highs over Trump’s change of tone on Japan and China: Signs of a “more emollient tone” from Donald Trump towards Japan and China, along with news that the European commission had raised its growth forecasts for the Eurozone and U.K. economies, combined to send global stock markets to new peaks on Monday.

Diamond rings sparkle for the internet dating generation: Where once a trip to the jewellers was a rite of passage for those wishing to tie the knot, thousands of people, mostly men, are now prepared to buy an engagement ring online.

Unite workers at BMW threaten action over plans to shut U.K. pension scheme: More than 7,000 BMW workers are threatening industrial action over the German carmaker’s plans to shut the final salary pension scheme.

Daily Mail

RBS shares rise 2.5% as investors hope for another 15,000 job cuts with bank on track for a loss of more than £2 billion this year: While suggestions that RBS could cut 15,000 jobs was bad for staff, investors cheered the likely cost-saving measures. Reports surfaced this weekend that the bank could be about to slash more jobs as it tries to return to profitability.

Misery for Prada as strong U.K. sales can’t stop pain of slowing demand in the U.S. and Europe: Luxury fashion brand Prada will hope its latest collection is a hit with shoppers after experiencing slowing demand in the U.S. and Europe. The Italian-owned company – known for its handbags, fragrances and glasses – reported a 9% fall in sales to £2.7 billion in the year to January 31.

Banque de France warns over Marine Le Pen’s plans to take France out of EU: Marine Le Pen’s plans to take France out of the Eurozone would cost more than £25 billion a year in extra debt interest payments, according to the Banque de France.

Troubled lingerie chain set to be sold: Profits and sales plunge at Agent Provocateur: The private equity owners of Agent Provocateur are close to securing a buyer for the troubled lingerie chain. Advisers to 3i, which took control of the firm in 2007, are understood to have drawn up a shortlist of three suitors.

Bosses of Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan £335 million richer after Trump’s election win: Two of the world’s top bankers have made £335 million as shares surged in value following Donald Trump’s election.

Toshiba expected to confirm it is withdrawing from all new nuclear projects outside Japan: Japanese giant Toshiba is expected to confirm it is withdrawing from new nuclear projects outside Japan, dealing a big blow to plans for a new power station in the U.K.

Daily Express

The Co-op bank puts itself up for sale with interest rates blamed: The Co-op Bank has put itself up for sale as it struggles to rebuild its financial strength, four years after being rescued from the brink of collapse by a group of hedge funds.

New mortgage helps buyers meet Stamp Duty costs: Barclays said its homebuyer cashback mortgage is designed to help first-time buyers or home movers recover the cost of stamp duty on their new property purchases.

New look Cool Chile expands product line with Barclays backing: The £50,000 investment from Barclays is being used to roll new sauces including a chipotle mayonnaise and Ranchero, a Mexican tomato and coriander staple for brunch dishes, along with a complex smokey-flavoured pepper Chile Pasilla de Oaxaca, rarely seen outside its home region in the south of the country.

Brexit and Trump will hurt Eurozone economy, admits Brussels amid slow growth forecast: The Eurozone economy will be heavily hit by Brexit, as well as the uncertainty arising from elections in Germany and France this year, the European Commission (EC) has admitted.

S&P stock index hits $20 trillion in value amid Trump’s tax plans: America’s top share index the S&P 500 is now worth a record $20 trillion (£16 trillion) in so-called market capitalisation, as company stocks continue to gain from Donald Trump’s expected tax and economy plans.

The Scottish Herald

Scotland is not sending out the right message on business taxation: The Scottish Government and the Scottish Green Party have concluded a Budget deal this year, which comes at the expense of increasing the Scottish tax burden still further. It may be early days for the Scottish Parliament’s extended range of tax responsibilities but so far our politicians seem to be thinking a little two-dimensionally when it comes to their new powers.

P2P lenders to fund gin-filled decorations: Edinburgh’s Summerhall Distillery is looking to raise £350,000 via peer-to-peer platform LendingCrowd to ensure it can make enough gin-filled Christmas baubles to meet the expected 2017 demand.

Raise the basic tax rate to save our services: Impending cuts to public services could have been avoided if the Scottish Government applied a blanket one pence increase in the basic rate of tax rather than tinkering with the higher rate in its recent Budget, a tax expert has claimed.

Photography agency develops new image that reflects position as provider of digital services: Its photographers have captured the likes of Mike Tyson, Usain Bolt and Lionel Messi in their pomp, and covered national tragedies like the Dunblane shooting and the Lockerbie bombing.

Glasgow airport sees record traffic in January: A sharp increase in international traffic helped Glasgow Airport to its busiest ever start to a year, with 597,594 passengers travelling through the terminal in January, an 8.4% increase on 2016.

DM Hall opens energy division: Surveyor DM Hall is opening an energy department, which will be responsible for all non-domestic energy issues. The department, branded DM Hall Energy and headed by Mark O’Neill, will also provide a consultancy service to SMEs, landlords and property occupiers. It will be hosted in DM Hall’s Glasgow office and supported by Dunfermline.

Remote area broadband firm aims to double size: Internet services will reach more remote parts of Scotland after provider Internet Anywhere secured £150,000 in funding to expand its satellite connectivity services – which its founder believes will help double turnover this year.

Shortage of office space comes to fore in market: Supply of office space in Edinburgh is at a “critically low level” according to property consultant CBRE, which said the capital was “crying out for new stock”.

The Scotsman

Ineos motors on with plan to build heir to Defender 4×4: Energy giant Ineos has unveiled plans to build a new 4×4 off road car in an investment running into hundreds of millions of pounds.

Innis & Gunn in stout tie-up with Irish distiller: Scottish brewer Innis & Gunn has launched a limited edition stout in a tie-up with Irish distiller Teeling Whiskey.

Pickering’s eyes £350,000 deal to expand gin baubles: Edinburgh-based craft gin brand Pickering’s is looking to raise £350,000 in debt financing to expand its facilities and ramp up production of its Christmas spirit-filled glass baubles.

Scotch whisky goes again to the excise duty well: The Scotch Whisky Association asks the Chancellor to cut duties by 2% as it repeats plea to level the playing field with overseas tax jurisdictions, writes Martin Flanagan.

Private sector output speeds up at start of 2017: Scottish private sector output strengthened in January, with new business levels expanding at the fastest pace for 20 months, figures from the Bank of Scotland’s latest purchasing managers’ index (PMI) shows.

City A.M.

Steven Mnuchin confirmed as U.S. treasury secretary: Donald Trump’s pick for U.S. treasury secretary has been approved by the Senate Finance Committee in a vote that divided strictly along party lines.

Finnish foreign minister vows to fight for “a good deal” between the U.K. and Europe after Davis talks: Finland’s foreign minister has vowed to push for “a good deal” between the U.K. and the EU after talks with Brexit secretary David Davis.

Lloyds Banking Group eyes Berlin for new EU base post-Brexit: Lloyds Banking Group is closing in on Berlin as its new EU hub post-Brexit.

Greek bailout delay could result in re-rerun of 2015, says governor: Bank of Greece governor Yannis Stournaras has warned that the country must secure an immediate release of further bailout funds from its creditors or risk recession.

EasyJet and Founders Factory announce Flio and LuckyTrip as the first travel startups for their accelerator programme: EasyJet has announced the first startups chosen to be part of its Travel Tech accelerator programme with London-based startup accelerator and incubator Founders Factory.

Swedish oil firm Lundin Petroleum is spinning off its non-Norwegian assets in a new company: Sweden’s Lundin Petroleum has announced plans to spin off its assets from outside Norway into an independently listed oil and gas firm.

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