|UBS AG Libor settlement could surpass the fine paid by Barclays plc in June|
|Monday, 03 December 2012 09:41|
News round up: UBS, Barclays, Tesco, Funding for Lending, Starbucks, Royal Bank of Scotland, John Lewis, Thames Water and Executive pay.
UBS AG (NYSE:UBS) is close to agreements with regulators to pay more than 290m pounds ($465m) in a Libor settlement, which is likely to surpass the 290m pounds Barclays Plc (LON:BARC) was fined in June for manipulating Libor benchmark interest rates.
Tesco will warn this week that sales in the UK have slipped into decline again, provoking new question marks about chief executive Philip Clarke's £1bn turnaround plan and the strength of the UK economy. In the first half of the year, Tesco reported its first fall in profits since 1994 as the decline in UK sales was coupled with pressure on the retailer's international businesses.
Funding for Lending
The Bank of England is poised to deliver the first verdict on its flagship scheme to boost lending in the economy tomorrow, amid growing fears of an early flop. Threadneedle Street launched the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS), which allows financial institutions to access cheap funds in return for maintaining or increasing lending, in August. Some 30 lenders, including all the UK's biggest banks and mutuals except HSBC, signed up.
Starbucks has become the first multinational to cave in to public anger and political pressure over what MPs called "outrageous" and “immoral” tax avoidance. After months of controversy over its tax affairs in Britain, the US coffee giant admitted it "needed to do more" by agreeing to review accounting practices that reduce its taxable profits. It is now looking to declare larger profits in Britain and thus pay more tax, The Telegraph reports.
Royal Bank of Scotland
It will take ten years to fully return Royal Bank of Scotland to the private sector, the state-owned lender has predicted, underlining the scale of the challenge facing its executives and successive governments. It intends to be ready to start paying dividends in late 2014, a key indicator of its return to health and a signal that it will be ready to re-enter the private sector.
Department store chain John Lewis enjoyed one of its best weeks yet as the recent cold snap combined with the start of the Christmas shopping season to help it outperform the struggling high street. The employee-owned business said sales in the week to Saturday were 9.3 per cent higher than the same week last year at £124.2 million. It was the third best week the retailer has seen, boosting hopes that renewed consumer confidence will give the UK high street a much needed shot in the arm this month, The Scotsman writes.
One in 25 water bills are not being paid in London, leading to an evaporation in profits at Thames Water. The soaring bad debt problem has arisen as households throughout the capital are braced for a big hike in bills. Britain’s largest water supplier has attracted criticism for its financial arrangements.
A failure by the Government to clamp down on executive pay is to blame for the growing wealth gap between fat-cat bosses and the general workforce, according to a report out today. The High Pay Centre think-tank said that despite promises from ministers, the remuneration culture has not changed.
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