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Newspapers today: The Times, Independent, FT, Telegraph, Guardian, Mail, Express, Herald 060216

The Times

Investors take game to Sports Direct: Furious institutional investors in Sports Direct are considering calling for tighter listing rules to prevent dominant shareholders flouting boardroom standards.

Employ old hands to fix skills gap: Employers should raise the number of older working people by one million within five years to combat age bias and a widening skills gap, a government advisor has said.

‘£200 million boost’ for pharma and aerospace: A hard Brexit could boost the pharmaceutical and aerospace sectors by more than £200 million, according to a study that reveals a surprise silver lining to leaving the single market.

65,000 Britons working in U.S. face crackdown on visas: Tens of thousands of British citizens employed in the United States are at risk from a crackdown on skilled foreign workers under proposals being considered by President Trump, The Times has learnt.

Reefs, not removal, could be the future for rigs, says Shell: Royal Dutch Shell’s Chief financial officer has criticised rules requiring old oil and gas platforms to be removed from the North Sea, claiming that they will result in taxpayers “spending money unnecessarily”.

Migrant loss threatens a staffing crisis: Companies should start preparing for a workforce crisis because of a collapse in migration after Brexit, a consultancy has warned.

Another oil price slump looms, warns energy industry Boss: Oil prices could drop sharply this summer as America’s shale drillers increase output to take advantage of the recent market recovery, the Head of the International Energy Agency has warned.

Carlsberg has its eyes on a glass half-full: Carlsberg is set to report its third year in a row of falling profits amid tough trading across Europe, although the worst should be behind it — probably.

German app banks on British move: A German company behind a banking app targeted at millennials is considering moving to Britain, despite fears of a Brexit-fuelled exodus to continental Europe.

EDF ‘too poor to clean up its own mess’: The French state group building Britain’s new nuclear plant does not have enough cash to dismantle its domestic reactors, according to an official study. A French parliamentary committee said that EDF would need a public bailout to meet the cost of closing ageing power stations.

The Independent

‘If trade stops, war starts’ Alibaba Founder who visited Trump warns: The CEO of China’s biggest online retailer has warned that “if trade stops, war starts”.

CBI urges Government to promote growth among U.K. businesses: Britain’s largest business group is urging the Government to ramp up efforts to promote growth among businesses, at a time of economic uncertainty and rising inflation.

U.K. rail franchising system ‘not fit for purpose’, say MPs: Britain’s rail franchising system is failing passengers, MPs have warned. In a scathing report, the Commons Transport Select Committee said private operators are restricted in how much they can improve services and efficiency.

Labour’s John McDonnell promises cap on energy prices: A Labour government will legislate to limit future price hikes by the energy companies after one of the so-called Big Six announced it was putting up charges by almost 10%, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has said.

Financial Times

Premier Oil explores Falklands options after debt deal gets done: Premier Oil is preparing to seek finance for a $1.5 billion development off the Falkland Islands, as the U.K. company refreshes its strategy after its long-awaited debt restructuring deal last week.

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Philippine metals industry fights Duterte over shutdown order: The Philippines metals industry has vowed to fight a clampdown by President Rodrigo Duterte’s government that would shut more than half the country’s mines and slash nickel ore shipments from the world’s largest exporter.

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Oil trader Vitol targets Africa expansion: Vitol, the world’s biggest independent oil trader, is eyeing opportunities to expand its business in Africa as it nears a milestone in the development of a $7 billion offshore oil and gas project in Ghana.

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London gold traders to open vaults in transparency push: London’s centuries-old gold market is to usher in an era of transparency with plans to reveal how much bullion is held in vaults in and around the city, including those controlled by the Bank of England.

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Passive investing continues march into U.S. bond market: The U.S. bond market is succumbing to the advances of passive investing, with exchange traded funds and index-trackers now controlling more than a fifth of the fixed-income market — and rising fast.

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U.S. health insurers give notice on Obamacare marketplace: Three of the biggest U.S. health insurers have warned they could withdraw from the marketplace that enabled 20 million Americans to purchase their own cover, as lawmakers in Washington scramble to repeal and replace Barack Obama’s signature healthcare reform law.

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Dow and DuPont seek to address Brussels’ antitrust concerns: Dow Chemical and DuPont are on the verge of offering to sell research and development capability in response to Brussels’ antitrust concerns over the companies planned $140 billion merger. The case, which will decide on Tuesday whether to approve the deal, has become a test of European competition regulators’ approach to industrial innovation.

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Axel Springer plans pan-European Upday news service: Axel Springer is to expand its mobile news service Upday from four to 16 countries in Europe this year, as the German media group accelerates its shift into digital publishing.

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Rise in business rates favours online retailers over high street: New business rates that will apply from April will skew competition further in favour of online retailers at the cost of high street shops, according to new research.

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Luxembourg expects more companies to leave over tax scrutiny: Luxembourg is bracing itself for more international companies to follow the lead set by McDonald’s and move their European headquarters outside the Grand Duchy in an attempt to head off scrutiny of their tax affairs.

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Nextdoor comes knocking with deal for Streetlife social network: Nextdoor, the U.S. neighbourhood social network, is to acquire its British counterpart Streetlife, which has 1.5 million members across the U.K., according to sources close to the deal.

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Fredriksen vows to stay on to ‘see through’ shipping rescue: The world’s most influential shipowner, John Fredriksen, has vowed to spend at least another “three to five” years in business to supervise the restructuring of $8 billion of his oil-drilling company’s debts, just days after an unexpected return to dealmaking.

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Safestore: Outside the box: Last year’s Self-Storage Association survey showed 23% of respondents know Big Yellow, against just 3% for Safestore. But self storage is essentially a property business — location and price are what matter to customers, not the colour of the building or the name on the side of it. Big Yellow is better known exactly because its buildings are better positioned. That advantage is eroding as Safestore rejigs its portfolio.

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The Daily Telegraph

Sterling may become ‘Swiss franc on steroids’: Bank of America has advised clients to prepare for a major rebound in sterling as markets become inured to each breathless twist in the Brexit saga, and focus instead on the underlying resilience of the U.K. economy.

Infrastructure worries top priority for company Bosses: Pressure is growing on the Government to ramp up investment in infrastructure after a host of top Bosses warned their biggest worry was that Britain is falling behind other developed nations.

Barclays sparks job cuts fears with bank office overhaul: Barclays is revamping its back office operations in a wide-ranging restructuring that has spurred speculation the bank is preparing to cut jobs.

Booker woos shopkeepers over Tesco merger: Booker Bosses will launch a charm offensive this week in an attempt to convince Britain’s shopkeepers of the merits of its shock £3.7 billion Tesco merger, amid rising concerns that the deal will strangle competition in the convenience store market.

Vauxhall Chiefs face grilling over Zafira fires ahead of car-maker’s results: Vauxhall Executives will be put on the spot by MPs on Monday and told explain the company’s response to a fault in their cars which causes them to burst into flames.

Deutsche Bank takes out full-page newspaper adverts to apologise for legal woes: Deutsche Bank has taken the unusual step of apologising to the German public for the damage caused by its ongoing legal problems, which last week helped to push the bank to its second consecutive annual loss.

Bunnings axes zero-hour contracts for Homebase staff: Bunnings, the Australian DIY retail chain which bought Homebase for £340 million last year, has scrapped zero hour contracts for hundreds of its British shopworkers.

The Guardian

Rolls-Royce faces civil service inquiry over U.K. state funding: Civil servants are carrying out an internal inquiry to establish whether the engineering giant Rolls-Royce fraudulently obtained financial support worth hundreds of millions of pounds from the government.

New homes warranty firm pays millions to leading homebuilders: The organisation that provides warranties for most of the new homes in Britain is paying millions of pounds to the leading housebuilders every year, raising questions about its independence and credibility amid a wave of complaints about the quality of new-build properties.

PM to reaffirm green belt pledge despite plans to ramp up housebuilding: Theresa May will this week reaffirm a Conservative commitment to protecting the green belt, despite unveiling a government strategy that aims to ramp up the pace of housebuilding to ensure 1 million new homes are built by 2020.

Theresa May to offer more security for renters: A major shift in Tory housing policy in favour of people who rent will be announced by Ministers this week as Theresa May’s government admits that home ownership is now out of reach for millions of families.

Southern rail deal with union fragile as drivers plan to vote against: The deal reached by Southern and Aslef to bring an end to strikes on the troubled rail service may yet unravel, with a significant number of drivers believed to be planning to vote against the agreement.

British Airways cabin crew begin six days of strikes: Low-paid cabin crew at British Airways have begun six days of industrial action, as the airline takes an increasingly hard line on strikes by employees.

Daily Mail

Precious little Christmas cheer at Topshop for billionaire owner Sir Philip Green after sales reportedly plunged by almost 11% over festive period: There was precious little Christmas cheer at Topshop for billionaire owner Sir Philip Green after sales reportedly plunged by almost 11% over the festive period.

Sacking of acting U.S. attorney general Sally Yates could further delay RBS’s efforts to agree fine for its sales of toxic mortgage debt: The sacking of acting U.S. attorney general Sally Yates could further delay Royal Bank of Scotland’s efforts to agree a fine for its sales of toxic mortgage debt.

Battle for Britain’s poshest tonic fizzing up as Fentimans prepares to take on Fever-Tree with range of upmarket mixers: The battle for Britain’s poshest tonic is fizzing up as Fentimans prepares to take on Fever-Tree with a range of upmarket mixers.

Aldi poised to overtake Co-op this week to become Britain’s fifth largest grocer as sales double in four years: Aldi is poised to overtake the Co-op this week to become Britain’s fifth largest grocer. It is a big step for the German discount retailer, putting it next in size to the so-called ‘Big Four’ supermarkets.

Amazon searching for shops in London as it considers opening checkout-free grocery chain this year: Amazon is searching for shops in London as it considers opening a checkout-free grocery chain this year.

Daily Express

Vodafone jolted by rival Indian mobile firm: Vodafone reported a stark rise in competition in the Indian mobile market in its third quarter trading update. While a recovery in its European businesses and continued strength in Africa are positives, the group was forced to admit that full-year profits are likely to come in at the bottom end of expectations.

Dooming stock markets are a warning sign for those with long memories: Stock markets are trading near record highs and people are bullish, which is why those of us who remember the dotcom crash are getting nervous.

Small businesses see future in U.K. not Europe after Brexit: Bullish small businesses are banking on the U.K. for growth rather than Europe, according to lender Hitachi Capital.

Holiday home provider HomeAway prepare for staycation Britain post Brexit: Holiday rental firm HomeAway is preparing for a jump in U.K. business this year as Brits trade international trips for staycations following the pound’s collapse.

The Scottish Herald

Tech start-up wins Uruguay rugby deal: A Glasgow-based start-up behind technology which can capture and analyse rugby players’ performance statistics has landed its first deal with a major international union, as it bids to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for the next phase of its development.

Weak pound hits profit margins as costs surge: Nearly one-third of businesses in Scotland have seen their profit margins on domestic sales hit by rising costs amid sterling weakness in the wake of the Brexit vote, a survey reveals.

Harper Macleod joins city advisory scheme: Law firm Harper Macleod has been appointed to a new business support framework developed by Glasgow City Council.

Oven firm shatters its investment target on Indiegogo: A Scottish company behind what is believed to be the world’s first portable wood-fired oven has smashed its crowdfunding target with weeks to go until the campaign closes.

Glasgow plant hire firm takes successful turn into supplying equipment for traffic control: As survey findings suggest growth may be slowing in the U.K.’s construction sector, we hear from a supplier to the trade who says governments need to increase spending on big infrastructure projects to support the market.

Savills gets duo from JLL: Property consultant Savills is to offer a dedicated hotels team in Scotland for the first time after hiring Keith McBain and Steven Fyfe who join as a Director and associate respectively.

Thomas Cook to give trading update after difficult year for tourism: Thomas Cook will update the market on its first quarter trading figures next week as the travel sector looks to recover from a year that saw European terror attacks and political instability in Turkey dent bookings.

U.K. lags in overseas investment: Investment from overseas into the U.K. is lagging behind the global average, according to new figures published.

Scottish Ballet picks travel firm: Scottish Ballet has reappointed corporate travel specialists Colpitts World Travel to manage all its transport arrangements for its forthcoming American tours later this year.

The Scotsman

Major jobs boost as IT group teams up with energy firm: A Lanarkshire-based IT and technology firm has announced that it has struck a partnership set to create hundreds of jobs with an energy firm that uses lampposts to harness wind energy.

Slide in profits at top private companies: There was a drop in profits and staff numbers among the top Scottish private firms last year, but the beleaguered energy sector showed welcome evidence of recovery, according to data published.

Celtic Connections attracts 100,000 audience for 10th year in a row: Well over 100,000 people have flocked to shows at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections music festival – for the tenth year in a row.

Growth continues at law firm with addition to real estate arm: Law firm Gilson Gray said it has strengthened its real estate team in Glasgow by hiring partner Donna Kelly-Gilmour from Brodies. It described her as a “seasoned” commercial property practitioner, and Murray Stewart, Gilson Gray’s Head of real estate, said: “Her appointment bolsters our platform in the west of Scotland and will help drive our continued expansion in the real estate sector.” The firm also stressed that it has nearly tripled in scale since its launch in May 2014.

City A.M.

Ancient woodlands will be offered boosted planning protection under Sajid Javid’s housing plans: Ministers will bring in new protections for England’s woodlands as part of the housing white paper. The Woodland Trust had raised concerns that more than 700 ancient woods are threatened by development ranging from housing to quarries and infrastructure.

Industry groups call on Chancellor Philip Hammond to cut businesses some slack in the Spring Budget next month: Businesses large and small are calling on Chancellor Philip Hammond to ease the mounting burden on firms in next month’s Budget. Business rates, the apprenticeship levy, the national living wage and pensions auto-enrolment are some of the rising costs highlighted by two influential business groups.

Payday lender Wonga set to offload European unit BillPay for £60 million this week: Payday lender Wonga is set to announce the sale of a large chunk of its European operations later this week. The group will offload BillPay, one of its most valuable units, to Swedish e-commerce firm Klarna for around £60 million, Sky News first reported.

Dodd-Frank reform could force U.K. to loosen financial services regulations: The U.K. and Europe could come under pressure to loosen financial services regulations, analysts have said, after the President of the United States last week set in motion his plans to scale back rules across the pond.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is looking for new space in the City despite Brexit uncertainty: Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) has started its search for new office space despite the uncertainty of the City of London’s future following the Brexit vote.

Trumping Brexit: Business optimism soars as manufacturing confidence hits 20-month high: The shock Brexit vote and the outcome of the U.S. presidential elections have failed to dent business optimism in the U.K., according to a report by BDO.

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