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World - Britain`s Co-op Bank logs huge loss, scraps bonuses

Britain`s crisis-hit Co-operative Bank posted a vast annual loss on Friday and axed bonuses for former executives who had left prior to its near-collapse. Operating losses ballooned to £1.28 billion ($2.15 billion, 1.54 billion euros) in 2013, from £674.9 million in 2012, hit by rising bad debts and charges related to misconduct and legal issues, Co-op Bank said in a results statement. Co-op Bank expressed confidence that investors would inject another £400 million of capital, despite warning it would not make a profit in 2014 or 2015. Chief executive Niall Booker, who was appointed in June to help turn the lender around, apologised to customers and investors for its past failings that had placed the future of the business seriously at risk.

Friday, April 11, 2014  13:18


World - Britain`s anti-EU leader denies expenses allegations

Eurosceptic UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage said Tuesday he was considering legal action after a British newspaper reported that he faces an investigation over his EU expenses. Farage told the BBC that the `outrageous` allegations published by Rupert Murdoch`s The Times were politically motivated, ahead of European Parliament elections on May 22. The Times reported that a former UKIP official had made a complaint to the European Union`s anti-fraud office OLAF over allowances that Farage receives for his constituency office in Britain. The newspaper said Farage gets £15,500 ($25,900, 18,700 euros) a year to run the office in a converted grain store, citing transparency reports on the party`s website, but reported that it is provided rent-free by local supporters, while a former office manager said the premises only cost £3,000 a year to run.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014  19:27


World - Royal Bank of Scotland to pay government £1.5bn

Britain`s state-rescued Royal Bank of Scotland will pay the government £1.5 billion in a complex deal paving the way for the return of shareholder dividends. The bank has agreed to pay the Treasury the equivalent of $2.5 billion or 1.8 billion euros in a move also aimed at aiding its eventual return to the private sector, it said in a statement late on Wednesday. RBS, based in Edinburgh, remains 81-percent state-owned after it was rescued with £45.5 billion of taxpayers` cash during the global financial crisis. The collapse of RBS was a key event in problems which hit part of the British financial sector at the height of the global financial crisis, and helped stoke public anger at high pay, bonuses and other practices in the banking industry.

Thursday, April 10, 2014  10:27


World - Tesco announces annual net profit of £974m

London (AFP) - Supermarket group Tesco on Wednesday announced a massive jump in annual net profits, but its underlying performance showed a fall.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014  08:15


World - Burberry bags rising quarterly sales

British fashion group Burberry on Wednesday reported a rise in second-quarter sales, boosted by its online division, but cautioned that currency fluctuations would hit profits this year. Revenues at the luxury retailer rallied 19 percent to £1.3 billion ($2.2 billion, 1.6 billion euros) in the six months to the end of March, compared with the same part of the prior financial year, Burberry said in a trading update. `We are pleased with our second half performance ... underpinned by the planned increase in investment in offline and online retail, innovative customer service and marketing,` said chief executive Angela Ahrendts. Burberry had already warned in January that it would be hampered by the strong pound, which costs the group more to convert other currencies back into sterling.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014  17:09


World - Diageo doubles bid for India`s United Spirits, shares surge

Diageo launched on Tuesday a new $1.9-billion offer to take control of Indian whisky maker United Spirits as the British drinks giant chases expansion in emerging markets. The doubled offer worth 1.4 billion euros comes after Diageo was forced to settle for a lower stake in India`s top spirits maker than it envisaged when investors rejected its 2012 tender bid as being too low. The news sent United Spirits` stock surging on the Bombay Stock Exchange by nearly 12 percent to 2,859.00 rupees. Diageo, which already owns 28.78 percent of United Spirits Ltd (USL), said it would buy an extra stake of up to 26 percent, for £1.13 billion involving as many as 37.8 million shares.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014  11:34


World - Diageo bids to take control of India`s United Spirits

Diageo has launched an offer to take control of Indian whisky maker United Spirits Limited as the British drinks giant chases expansion in emerging markets, it said on Tuesday. Diageo, which already owns 28.78 percent of USL, is offering to buy an extra stake of up to 26 percent, for £1.13 billion ($1.9 billion, 1.4 billion euros), it said in a statement. The offer, pitched at 3,030 rupees per share, would lift its total holding in India`s top spirits maker to 54.78 percent. Diageo is the world`s biggest producer of alcoholic drinks, making well-known brands including Baileys liqueur, Captain Morgan rum and Guinness stout.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014  08:48


World - GP practices to stay open all week

GP surgeries across the country will start treating millions of patients outside of working hours including late nights and weekends, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday. More than 7.5 million patients will have access to 1,147 GP practices offering new consultation methods like email, phone and Skype after the government approved a £50 million GP Access Fund.

Monday, April 14, 2014  10:32


World - Chinese group acquires Britain`s House of Fraser

Chinese conglomerate Sanpower has agreed to buy a majority stake in British department store House of Fraser in a deal worth £480 million (578 million euros, $800 million), according to a joint statement. Sanpower, a Nanjing-based conglomerate listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, will acquire an 89 percent stake in the 165-year-old British brand through its Nanjing Cenbest subsidiary. Sanpower`s founder and chairman, Yuan Yafei, said the deal was the largest overseas acquisition in the retail sector by a Chinese business, and a `landmark transaction`. He expressed his intention to expand House of Fraser overseas, particularly in China.

Sunday, April 13, 2014  11:03


World - Watchdog may look into Tory conference hotel funding claims

The parliamentary expenses watchdog said on Saturday it may look into claims that taxpayer`s money indirectly a funded a hotel suite allegedly used for a gay sex party. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) said it was concerned by allegations that public money was used to pay for rooms where the party took place in Manchester during the Conservative Party conference in 2011, the Independent newspaper reported. The Independent said it understood that a gay dating app was used to advertise a party at a suite of rooms costing up to ¬£2,500 per night booked at Manchester‚ s Light ApartHotel by an organisation called the Policy Research Unit (PRU). `MPs are not allowed to claims costs which go to party political activities.

Saturday, April 12, 2014  10:02

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