|Lloyds Banking Group plc sell-off programme on track, but analysts expect it to slow down|
|Wednesday, 22 August 2012 08:40|
News round up: Lloyds Banking Group plc, Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc, Dell Inc, Economic recovery, Royal Dutch Shell plc, Spending cuts, Generali.
Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc
Royal Bank of Scotland is under investigation by US authorities for potential breaches of sanctions against Iran. The taxpayer-backed UK bank is understood to be being scrutinised by the US Federal Reserve and the Department of Justice, after it provided information to them and to the UK regulators.
Falling sales of traditional PCs and laptops have undermined the earnings of one of the world’s biggest computer makers. Dell, based in Texas, said that first-half earnings had slumped by 26% to $1.4m (£887m) compared with the same period a year ago. The company also warned of a "challenging" second half because customers were cutting back on computer purchases, partly in anticipation of the launch of Microsoft Windows 8 late this year.
Britain’s company directors are turning against the Government, accusing it of doing "too little, too slowly" to engineer an economic recovery. In their latest quarterly survey, members of the Institute of Directors, traditionally natural supporters of the Tory party, have delivered withering criticisms of the Government’s economic and industrial policies.
Royal Dutch Shell plc
Royal Dutch Shell plans to spend at least $1bn (£633m) a year exploiting China's potentially vast resources of shale gas, the firm's top China executive has said, in an aggressive strategy to expand in the world's biggest energy market. Shell in March secured China's first product sharing contract for shale gas, hoping that getting in early will allow it to be a big beneficiary from the sort of boom in shale that has transformed the US energy market.
Whitehall departments are braced for more spending cuts after plunging tax receipts left the Treasury facing the prospect of a new black hole in the public finances this autumn. Proceeds from corporation tax sank 20% in July compared with the same month last year, while spending on benefits was 6.2% higher. This forced the Government to borrow £600m in July, compared with a surplus of £2.8bn in the same month last year. The numbers shocked the City, which had been expecting a £2.5bn surplus.
Generali has become the latest European insurer to plan an exit from the US after Italy’s largest insurer by annual premiums put its US life reinsurance business up for sale, according to a person familiar with the matter. Citigroup is advising the company on a sale of its Generali USA Life Reinsurance unit, which could be worth as much as $1bn.
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