The Business: Monday 9 December 2013
Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday
Bob Diamond, the former boss of Barclays who resigned ignominiously last year, is set to return to the City with a £150m float, says the Sunday Times. The American, who left Barclays after it admitted rigging interest rates, is putting the finishing touches to a cash shell he has set up to buy a bank in Africa. Diamond, who set up the shell with the billionaire entrepreneur Ashish Thakkar, plans to list within a fortnight.
HSBC has consulted with investors over the prospect of a £20bn listing of its UK arm, says the Financial Times. The bank has asked investors whether they would back the move that would realise value from its high street business and address regulatory pressures. Although discussions are at an early stage, it is believed that the plan would involve the listing of a minority stake of up to 30% in the UK retail and commercial banking operation.
Labour’s plan to freeze energy bills could bankrupt investors, warns the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation. The organisation’s secretary-general, Angel Gurria, told the BBC’s Panorama: "If you freeze the price of energy, and the international price of energy rises, it means there's going to be a very big difference to pay. Who's going to be paying the difference? Are you going to ask the investors?” He added: "They'll probably go bankrupt.”
The British company behind Candy Crush has delayed its IPO amid fears that its flagship game has been “too successful”. King, which is preparing for a potential $5bn (£3bn) float on the Nasdaq stock exchange, had considered listing this month. It has decided to wait, so it can prove that it has other profitable projects in the pipeline and is not merely a one hit wonder. Candy Crush, in which users search of patterns in digital jewels, has been downloaded more than 500m times.
Former directors and investors in the collapsed fashion chain Peacocks may launch a complaint against Royal Bank of Scotland. RBS played a key role as the clothing chain went into administration in early 2012. Other lenders believed the chain could have survived. Peacocks is now ready to launch a complaint to the Serious Fraud Office, which is already examining claims that RBS deliberately drove small firms under for its own benefit.
“John Lewis reported reasonable but unspectacular sales figures, which maintains uncertainty as to just how good a Christmas this will be for retailers. Consequently, a number of retailers may feel under increasing pressure to engage in discounting and promotions over the coming days.” IHS Global Insight’s Howard Archer warns of a tough festive season for retailers.
Supermarket chain Morrisons has cancelled window cleaning at its stores as it struggles with declining sales. In an email seen by the Daily Telegraph, Maintenance Management Ltd, which handles Morrisons’ facilities, told contractors the chain faces a “tough end of year in respect of their budgetary position”. As well as financial factors, MML said window cleaning was cancelled because “the weather forecast for this winter shows an increase in snow and frost”.
FTSE-100: up +0.83 to 6551.99
Dow Jones: up +1.26 to 16020.20
Dax: up +0.96 to 9172.41
Cac-40: up +0.72 to 4129.37
Nikkei: up +2.29 to 15650.21
Hang Seng: up +0.27 to 23807.67
US dollar: buys €0.72990 and £0.61150
Sterling: buys $1.63550 and €1.19380
Oil: $111.58 up +0.5