The Business: Tuesday July 29 2014
Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday
Bank of England governor Mark Carney has reprimanded Lloyds Banking Group for “highly reprehensible” behaviour as it became the first lender to be fined for rigging rates. Carney unleashed his wrath at Lloyds after it was fined £218m for its move to reduce the impact of a financial crisis rescue scheme, which effectively cost the taxpayer millions of pounds. Some former Lloyds employees may find themselves in court over the matter.
Sterling is “overvalued”, says the International Monetary Fund, warning George Osborne that this fact may hamper efforts to rebalance the British economy. Although its annual assessment of the UK economy was generally positive, the IMF warned the chancellor that the pound was 5% to 10% overvalued. It warned this could hurt the export market and drain some momentum out of the UK’s economic recovery.
The Gherkin tower has been put up for sale and is expected to be sold to an overseas buyer, says The Guardian. Agents are hoping for offers for the 40-storey London landmark in the region of £600m to £650m. Savills and Deloitte Real Estate have been jointly instructed to sell the 505,000 sq ft (46,900 sq m) office building, which was opened in 2004. The building currently has about 20 tenants, including the insurer Swiss Re. It is also used as a wedding venue.
Bankers should be required to recite an oath in order to raise accountability and standards in banking, says a think tank. ResPublica says plummeting public trust in banking is an "ongoing concern" for the industry and the government. It is calling for an official oath for bankers to "fulfil their proper moral and economic purpose". It argues that such an oath would "finally place bankers on the road to absolution".
Pepe Jeans Group, the clothing retailer started as a market stall, is preparing for a private equity sale worth up to £550m. The group, which also owns British brand Hackett, is attracting interest from private equity firms including KKR, Permira, CVC and PAI. It was started by three brothers as a weekend stall on London’s Portobello Road Market in 1973. The jeans business now trades in 60 countries with 30 stores internationally with 2,000 employees.
“It will take an awful lot more than a Hippocratic-style oath for bankers to transform the self-serving culture in parts of the industry and restore public trust in it.” Patrick Hosking of The Times says a bankers’ oath is not going to turn the industry around.
FTSE-100: down -0.05 to 6788.07
Dow Jones: up +0.13 to 16982.59
Dax: down -0.48 to 9598.17
Cac-40: up +0.33 to 4344.77
Nikkei: up +0.57 to 15618.58
Hang Seng: up +0.35 to 24513.03
US dollar: buys €0.74440 and £0.58910
Sterling: buys $1.69750 and €1.26380
Oil: $107.53 down -0.8