|Microsoft Inc takes on Apple Inc with technology to bridge tablet-PC gap|
|Monday, 12 September 2011 08:54|
News round up: Microsoft, Apple, UK banks, Greek debt, British Airways, Yell, pension scheme, 50p tax rate and share turmoil.
The most sweeping changes to British banking for a generation will land on financiers’ desks this morning when a government-appointed taskforce delivers proposals for structural reforms that will be vigorously fought by the City. In a plan to defuse any future financial crisis that is set to be broadly adopted by the Government, Sir John Vickers’ Independent Commission on Banking will recommend a ringfence around the high-street arms of banks to protect customers’ money from “casino” operations in investment banking, writes the Times.
Germany has stepped up its rhetoric against Greece, warning that the debt-laden country could default on its debts in a move that highlights the growing divisions at the heart of Europe. Philipp Roesler, Germany’s economy minister, said an “orderly default” for Greece could no longer be ruled out and branded the country’s deficit-reduction measures “insufficient”, writes the Daily Telegraph.
Trade deals with Russia
David Cameron will today announce trade deals with Russia worth £200m including plans to co-operate over civil nuclear energy as part of attempts to recalibrate Britain's relationship with Moscow. The Prime Minister was due to arrive in the Russian capital late last night, accompanied by 24 British business leaders including the BP chief executive Bob Dudley and the CEO of Rolls Royce, Sir Simon Robertson, according to the Independent.
British Airways is ready to throw its hat into the ring in an auction for Lufthansa-owned BMI, the second biggest operator at Heathrow airport. Lufthansa has appointed investment banks led by Morgan Stanley to look at a sale or break-up of a lossmaking business it has failed to turn around since gaining control two years ago, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Yell, the highly geared directories company, is set to ask HSBC to form a committee to bring together its banking syndicate and renegotiate its covenants.Yell, whose net debt stands at £2.7bn ($4.3bn) against a market capitalisation of £102m, has a large and complicated debt structure with about 300 or so lenders that is likely to complicate the negotiations, the Financial Times says.
Barely half of workers paying into a pension scheme know how much they contribute, a report suggests, while 38 percent have no idea how much their employer contributes. The confusion means it is time to change workplace attitudes to retirement planning, according to Pete Glancy, the head of corporate pension propositions at Scottish Widows, which commissioned the research, the Independent writes.
50p tax rate
Lib Dem minister Chris Huhne has warned Tory cabinet colleagues not to reward their 'friends in the City' by cutting the 50p tax rate ahead. A report from the influential Institute of Fiscal Studies is expected to argue that the 50p tax rate may not even boost Treasury coffers and may even lower revenue, according to the Daily Mail.
Investors are braced for more turmoil in shares and currency markets this week amid growing fears over the eurozone debt crisis and faltering global economic growth. Economists expressed disappointment at the lack of concrete measures by finance chiefs from the G7 group of advanced economies who met in France last Friday, which along with mounting concerns over a Greek debt default could increase the pressure on the single currency and stock markets as demand increases for safe haven investments such as gold and the Swiss franc, the Daily Express writes.
The value of Scotch whisky exports surged by 22% in the first six months of the year, with the equivalent of 570m bottles of whisky sold overseas after sales soared in Asia and South America. Foreign shipments of blended and malt whisky were worth £1.8bn, compared with £1.47bn in the first half of 2010, despite the global economic downturn, the relative high cost of whisky and depressed overseas sales by other British exporters, the Guardian says.
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