Good morning! Here’s what you need to know on Thursday.
1. The completion of a $US3 billion deal to buy fields from Royal Dutch Shell has established Chrysaor as the biggest independent exploration and production company in the UK North Sea, the Times reports. Linda Cook, chairwoman of Chrysaor, said: “With improving operating costs, competitive fiscal terms and a world-class skills base, the North Sea is undergoing a period of rejuvenation. Through its acquisition of the Shell portfolio, Chrysaor is now firmly placed to take advantage of this change.”
2. The Bank of England has warned that 10,000 jobs could leave the City on “day one” after the UK leaves the EU, the Guardian reports. Sam Woods, a deputy governor of the Bank, also admitted that forecasts of 75,000 job losses over the long-term were “plausible” at an appearance before peers on the Lords EU financial affairs sub-committee on Wednesday.
3. One of Britain’s most famous retail names has lost a legal battle to recover £1.25 billion in interest on overpaid VAT after five Supreme Court justices unanimously dismissed the claim, the Times reports. The claim by Littlewoods, which is owned by the Barclay brothers, involved one of the largest sums to be disputed in a tax case in a British court.
4. The struggling doorstep lender Provident Financial has turned to an executive involved in salvaging value from the wreckage of the nationalised Northern Rock to aid its revival. Sky News reports that Provident, which experienced one of the London market’s biggest-ever one-day share price falls when it unveiled a massive profit warning in August, has appointed Rick Hunkin as its first group chief risk officer.
5. Thousands of BT employees will be told later this month of proposed cuts to their pension benefits as the telecoms giant wrestles with a near-£14bn deficit in its retirement schemes. Sky News reports that BT Group will say on Thursday alongside its half-year results announcement to the City that it is close to setting out a concrete plan to slash the soaring cost of its pension obligations.
6. Japan’s Nikkei share average extended its strong rally to top a new 21-year peak on Thursday morning, with the mining sector getting a boost while buyers continued to pile into companies such as Honda Motor and Sony on robust earnings prospects, Reuters reports. The Nikkei rose 0.5 per cent to 22,527.07 in early deals, the highest level since July 1996, trimming those gains to stand flat at 22,429.30 in midmorning trade.
7. HSBC has been accused of “possible criminal complicity” in a money laundering scandal involving South Africa’s wealthy Gupta family, the Guardian reports. Speaking in the House of Lords on Wednesday, two weeks after he first voiced concerns about UK links to the probe, Lord Hain said he had handed new evidence to the chancellor about the alleged involvement of a British bank in the “flagrant robbery” of South African taxpayers.
8. The UK has received a damning bill of health in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) latest gender gap report, the Independent reports, trailing dozens of other countries in areas like primary education, economic participation and healthcare, at a time when the Government is battling a slew of sexual abuse allegations. Out of the 144 countries examined by the WEF, the UK scraped into 15th spot behind G20 peers France and Germany.
9. BT has sparked Government anger by “dragging its feet” over the legal separation of its network arm Openreach, amid concern that critical deadlines could be missed the Telegraph reports. According to Westminster sources, the Government has been irritated by the company’s failure to provide a crucial piece of analysis of its massive pension scheme, which is undergoing a major overhaul.
10. Spending on British television programmes will plummet by £500m a year over the next decade as tech giants Amazon, Apple and Netflix seek to dominate the living room, the director-general of the BBC has warned. The Telegrapgh reports that in a speech tomorrow Tony Hall will cite new research predicting that more than a fifth of funding for original homegrown programming will disappear as the advertising market declines and the BBC makes cuts after the latest licence fee settlement.
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