Severn Trent PLC has filed a Home Country News Release – Statement re Press Speculation To view the full release click here (link to PDF).
City veteran said the bank’s performance is ‘well on track’ ahead of government sell-off
Sir Win Bischoff said Lloyds Banking Group was “on track” for recovery as he announced he would step down as chairman before next year’s annual general meeting.
The search for a successor for the 72-year old City veteran will be led by a senior Lloyds director and is beginning just days before this year’s annual meeting, which takes place on Thursday.
Bischoff’s departure from a role he took on in September in 2009 has been the subject of speculation for many months although he now looks likely to leave before the sale of the government’s 39% stake.
“Lloyds Banking Group has, over the past four years, made significant progress in its goal to become a strong, efficient, UK-focused retail and commercial bank. Whilst clearly some challenges remain, the performance of the group is well on track. Indeed, in many areas, it is ahead of plan. This gives me every confidence in the future success of the group and it is therefore a good time to start the search for my successor,” Bischoff said.
Anthony Watson, the former fund manager and senior independent director, will lead the search for the new chairman, who will need to give investors enough confidence in the bank to buy shares during any stock market flotation.
In a surprise move in March, the government signalled its determination to privatise Lloyds by linking a bonus for its chief executive, António Horta-Osório, to selling off a stake in the bank at a price above 61p. This is considerably lower than the 73p that the City had previously assumed would be the price targeted by the government.
Bischoff was a key figure at the investment bank Schroders when it was sold to the US bank Citigroup in 2000. He ended up running the entire bank in the fall out of the 2007 credit crunch but left Citi in 2009 after the bank reported a $18.5bn (£12bn) loss.
He was named chairman of Lloyds after the HBOS rescue, which led to the departure of Sir Victor Blank, who had chaired Lloyds during the 2008 crisis. In 2001, Bischoff replaced the Lloyds chief executive, Eric Daniels, with Horta-Osório.
Speculation about Bischoff’s successor is already swirling around Paul Tucker, deputy governor of the Bank of England.
Shares of Monster Beverage fell Friday on speculation that hedge fund manager David Einhorn may short the controversial maker of energy drinks. But some traders think the sell-off is an overreaction.
Excerpt from: Is Monster Beverage Einhorn’s next target?
The Japanese yen dips to a 27-month low against the US dollar amid speculation that policymakers will take steps to weaken the currency.
Visit link: Yen at 27-month low versus dollar
Your article (Tainted Tucker at head of queue for Bank job, 8 October) speculates on the shortlist for the next governor of the Bank of England from which George Osborne will make his pick over the next month or so.
It is generally accepted that the financial services bill, now going through parliament, will make this governor the most powerful in the history of our country, with wide-ranging powers and responsibilities to determine the future of our financial system and economic policy-making.
Yet this appointment remains in the hands of one man, the chancellor of the exchequer.
At the behest of the chancellor, Conservative backbench backwoodsmen have blocked my bill requiring the consent of parliament to this appointment, which was sponsored by a cross-party group of senior MPs.
To have the authority to drive through the effective reform of our financial system, the new governor will need to show he or she has the confidence of all parties and beyond.
Leaving this critical appointment solely in the hands of the chancellor risks tainting the new governorship from the outset with allegations of political bias or cronyism.
John McDonnell MP
Lab, Hayes and Harlington
• If Sharon Bowles gets the job of governor of the Bank of England, I hope she won’t bow to the influence of financial lobbyists and perpetuate the “light touch” approach to financial regulation that allowed the financial crisis to happen (Lib Dem MEP is surprise applicant for Bank governor, 10 October).
Unfortunately, her track record does not point in this direction. According to her website, in the first seven months of 2012, she had 29 meetings with financial sector lobbyists. Meanwhile, she refused to have a single meeting with members of the 11 World Development Movement groups in her south-east England constituency who wanted to discuss regulation to prevent financial speculation driving up food prices.
In 2010 her party stated: “We cannot build an economy on financial gambling. Radical reform of the financial infrastructure is needed.” But Bowles has continued to defend unbridled speculation on the price of food and other
Cairn sells half its remaining stake in Indian business to fund new projects and possible acquisitions
Cairn Energy has had mixed fortunes in its drilling exploits in Greenland and it seems to be concentrating much of its efforts now on the North Sea.
To that end it has raised nearly $1bn towards the cost of funding future developments – and possible acquisitions – by selling part of its remaining stake in its Indian subsidiary. It has sold 152m shares in Cairn India in the market for $910m, representing 8% of the business and leaving it with a 10% shareholding. Last year Cairn sold a controlling stake in the Indian business to Vedanta Resources for $8.7bn.
Cairn closed 2.3p lower at 282.7p while Vedanta finished 9p lower at £10.47, down with the rest of the mining sector.
Investors remained nervous ahead of any request from Spain for a bailout, and amid continuing uncertainty about the fate of Greece. So riskier assets like miners were unwanted, with Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation down 8p at 322.6p and Rio Tinto losing 40p to £29.40.
Glencore fell 7.45p to 346.7p awaiting developments in its merger offer for Xstrata, down 19.8p at 980p. Meanwhile Glencore unveiled a $1.4bn agreement to raise its stake in Kazakh zinc producer Kazzinc to nearly 70%.
Overall better than expected housing, consumer confidence and manufacturing figures from the US gave the market a late lift. So by the close the FTSE 100 was up 20.87 points at 5859.71.
Weir was the biggest riser in the leading index, as investors latched on to suggestions the engineer might become a bid target for GE.
On Monday the US group created a new mining unit and said it was on the lookout for acquisitions. Weir, whose oil and gas division could already be seen as attractive to the likes of GE, also has a minerals business. Oriel Securities was one broker to suggest Weir could be on GE’s shopping list.
So after a 1.7% decline in its shares on Monday, Weir rose 70p to £18.11. At that level the company is valued at nearly £4bn.
A revival in its cruise business after its Costa Concordia vessel ran aground off the coast of Italy in January helped Carnival to a better than expected set of third quarter figures. With net income of $1.2bn for the three months and a 9% rise in booking in the last six weeks, the company said it expected full year revenues to be flat to slightly down on last year. This was marginally better than its previous guidance in June, and the news pushed its shares 76p higher to £23.42.
Diageo added 3p to £17.54 as the drinks company confirmed last week’s speculation that it was in talks about buying a stake in India’s United Spirits.
But Standard Chartered lost 23p to 1457.5p following reports a key 18% stake could be up for grabs.
Singapore investor Temasek is, according to the Financial Times, considering selling its shareholding which is worth around £6bn. Temasek reportedly wishes to cut its exposure to financial services given the economic uncertainty, and at the same time has given up the idea of merging the bank with another of its investments, Singapore’s DBK bank, given the current attitude to bid banking mergers.
Apparently there are no discussions currently underway, so any sale process could take a while. Even so, the thought of an 18% stake overhanging the market was enough to send Standard Chartered’s shares lower, although analysts said it could also ignite bid speculation.
Among the mid-caps, coal miner Bumi recovered 20.4p to 168p following Monday’s news of an investigation into alleged irregularities in Indonesia.
Inmarsat jumped 18.5p to 602p following a buy note from Jefferies. The broker’s analyst Giles Thorne said:
We see the recent re-rating as the market fully unwinding the discount it had put on the equity following the August 2011 profit warning. The stellar second quarter 2012 results should have emphatically put to bed any lingering concerns on legacy operational issues. With up to 260p of potential upside, we now look to the future and consider the single biggest catalyst for the shares: Global Xpress.
Global Xpress is a super-fast broadband network to be delivered by the (yet to be launched) Inmarsat-5 satellite system and will allow Inmarsat to offer two services, the Ka-band fast broadband and established maritime L-band system.
Elsewhere Bwin partydigital added 1.8p to 107.6p on takeover speculation. Malaysia’s Genting was one name in the frame, alongside an Australian company or a consortium bidder, with a price of 180p a share mentioned.
Cable & Wireless Communications – which last week revealed it was in talks about selling its Monaco & Islands operations for around $1bn – fell 0.79p to 37.11p after a negative broker note.
Liberum Capital moved its recommendation from hold to sell, saying that the shares had recovered after May’s dividend cut, partly buoyed by hopes of restructuring. A possible deal to sell its Monaco & Islands operations suggested there was substance to this hope, said analyst Lawrence Sugarman, but the valuation was starting to look stretched.
Finally logistics company Wincanton added 2p to 51.25p on talk its records management division could be up for sale, at a price representing a substantial chunk of the company’s current market capitalisation.
Shares in Sharp surge amid speculation Taiwan’s Hon Hai may double its stake in the struggling Japanese electronics group.
See original here: Sharp shares rise on fresh hopes
Analysts believe news of French shareholding could prompt bid speculation
It must be the day for takeover speculation.
Marketing services group Creston has climbed nearly 11% following news after the market closed on Friday that French advertising giant Havas had declared a 5.18% stake. Johnathan Barrett at Singer Capital Markets said:
Unless there is clarity to the contrary there is likely to be bid speculation. In general, larger agencies are significantly more highly rated than smaller peers and therefore acquisitions would be prima facie accretive. The marketing services sector is in good health, despite tough [macroeconomic environment], and larger groups are looking to invest cash flow in acquisitions. Creston [is] both cheap and likely to be subject to approaches unless its valuation rises to reflect the fundamentals of its attractive assets, client list and health unit.
News of the stakebuilding has sent Creston 7.63p higher to 78p.
Meanwhile Marks & Spencer is still 8.5p better at 349.6p after weekend reports it could be a target, while Royal Bank of Scotland has risen 2.5p to 218.5p on talk of a number of possible bidders for its US business Citizens, which could be worth £10bn.
Elsewhere Telecity has climbed 51p to 889.5p after the data centre operator unveiled a 26.6% rise in half year earnings to £62.6m. and bought its first operation in Finland. The Helsinki-based Tenue, bought for £3.7m, will give Telecity capacity at an important crossroads for growing traffic between Russia and western Europe. Jonathan Imiah at Canaccord Genuity kept his hold recommendation but raised his target price from 700p to 735p:
These are yet another strong set of results from Telecity, particularly in the context of a substantial weakening in the euro over the past few months. The entrance into the key Finnish market – a bridgehead for Scandinavia (adding to
the group’s existing asset in Stockholm), Russia and Eastern Europe – makes clear strategic and financial sense.
Heritage Oil, suspended in July at 123p when it announced an $850m deal to buy a major stake in Nigeria’s OML 30 and a $370m rights issue to help pay for the purchase, has narrowed its half year losses from $6.9m to $6.7m.
Regarding the July 31 Kyodo article: “Sugiura: End death penalty in name of democracy”: Former Justice Minister Seiken Sugiura’s comment that abolishing the death penalty in Japan would represent a step toward becoming a “mature democratic nation” is an unusual take for a Japanese on this difficult topic.
So, reading it was a welcome deviation from the usual dull and obtuse government excuses of how the death penalty “can’t be helped” or that it enjoys majority support in Japanese public opinion polls that are regularly paraded before us. Sugiura’s comments introduce an exciting avenue of speculation and debate.
See the article here: Death penalty pros and cons