News in Brief: Pensions, ECB, Shell-BG deal, health sector, 3D printing

News in Brief

Even high earners will 'need to work to 85'

Younger generations starting work now will have to work into their mid-80s to retire on an income worth two-thirds of their salary, according to a study.

The report found that younger workers will have to work for longer and pay more into their pensions to stand any chance of enjoying a decent standard of living in retirement, reported the Telegraph.

Those in highly-paid careers would also struggle, it said, as a combination of falling state benefits and lower employer contributions came together to threaten the "death of retirement".

Retiring on an income equivalent to two-thirds of their salary is close to impossible for workers earning £54,000, double the average wage.

The goal of retiring on two-thirds of their salary is more achievable with lower wage workers, however, according to the report, which was produced by insurer Royal London.

A higher earner with an index-linked pension that rises with inflation and which also pays a reduced income to a spouse if the pensioner dies first, would have to work until 85 to retire on two-thirds of their salary, making it an "effectively impossible" goal.

ECB's bond-buying under scrutiny 

Germany's constitutional court will examine whether the European Central Bank (ECB) overstepped its mandate through a scheme to potentially buy unlimited amounts of government debt, as the bank prepared to ramp up its bond purchase programme.

The Outright Monetary Transactions programme was unveiled in 2012, at the height of the eurozone sovereign debt crisis, as the ECB's weapon to warn off investors from speculating on government bonds, reported the Luxemburger Wort.

The programme was never implemented and has since been superceded by a far bigger bond purchasing programme known as QE, although that is aimed now at kickstarting inflation rather than warding off speculation.

The German top court's ruling would focus on the now likely defunct measure but could have a bearing over the ECB's ongoing £85bn (€1.1tn) bond buying programme until March 2017.

Shell sealed £36bn BG deal

Royal Dutch Shell has sealed the £36bn ($53bn) acquisition of British rival BG Group to form the world's top liquefied natural gas company, even as slumping oil prices cast a shadow on the upcoming years of transition.

The success or otherwise of the complex merger will define the legacy of Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden, seeking to transform Shell into a more specialized group focused on the rapidly growing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) market and deep water oil production.

van Beurden said in a statement: "We will now be able to shape a simpler, leaner, more competitive company, focusing on our core expertise in deep water and LNG." In 2014, Shell acquired Repsol's LNG business.

Van Beurden's vision won overwhelming support from shareholders, though a number of major investors had voiced concerns that the forecast slow recovery in oil prices would strain Shell's financials and risk its growth plans.

The deal, announced 10 months ago, creates a combined group which will leapfrog Chevron to become the world's second-largest public oil and gas company by market value behind Exxon Mobil Corp.

BG shareholders largely opted to receive shares rather than cash under the proposed mix and match deal, according to a statement. BG becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shell and will be headed by Dutchman Huibert Vigeveno, who has headed the integration planning team and will oversee its implementation.

Reckitt Benckiser shares soar

Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc reported a sharp rise in full-year adjusted profit as the maker of Durex condoms and Strepsils lozenges saw its focus on consumer health products continue to pay off.

Under chief executive Rakesh Kapoor, the consumer-goods company has been steadily shifting its focus toward higher-margin consumer health products, which contributed to 33% of net revenue in 2015, up from 25% three years prior.

The company last month bought a Brazilian condom and lubricants business, boosting its sexual health portfolio, reported The Wall Street Journal.

Reckitt reported net income for 2015 of £1.74bn ($2.52bn), down from £3.22bn a year earlier when the company benefited from the disposal of its pharmaceutical business.

Adjusted net income was up 11%, or 15% at constant currency, to £1.87bn ($2.71bn). The company said its results were helped by a lower tax rate. Revenue was flat at £8.87bn, or up 5% at constant currency.

3D printing to transform city skylines

Skyscrapers will be so tall they will dwarf the Shard and in 100 years’ time building will be dug 25 storeys deep underground, according to a report.

The predictions were made by scientists in a new study from Samsung that laid out life in the future, reported City A.M.

The reported found in a century’s time there will be underwater cities, super-tall skyscrapers and homes simply printed out on-demand thanks to 3D printing. The study stated there will also be colonies on the moon and eventually Mars and beyond, while personal drones will let us transport our home to any holiday spot.

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock said: “We are likely to see the emergence of towering megastructures as well as sub-aquatic cities and transportation via advanced flying drones, some of which could be strong enough to transport entire houses on holiday."