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In the Papers - Goldman Sachs, EE, Ikea, RBS

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Newspaper Summary

The Times

Prudential opens door to £45 billion pensions sale: Prudential has begun a review of its £45 billion pension liabilities business in a move that could lead to the sale of the division and a potential restructuring of the entire company.

China’s anger at Dalai Lama visit triggers copper blockade: Rio Tinto has been caught up in a political row between China and Mongolia fuelled by the Dalai Lama. The commodities group owns a controlling stake in a copper and gold mine that is Mongolia’s biggest taxpayer. The Oyu Tolgoi mine exports all of its production south but after a visit to Mongolia by Tibet’s spiritual leader, who is not acknowledged by China, border access was restricted. Authorities insisted that copper consignments must use the same border crossing as exports of coal.

Upheaval in Italy keeps Europe addicted to QE: The European Central Bank is expected to extend its huge bond-buying programme this week after Italy’s referendum cast further uncertainty over the Eurozone.

Portugal promises sunshine for expats: Portugal has told British ex-pats that they should not fear reprisals after Brexit. Margarida Marques, Portuguese secretary of state for Europe, said that Lisbon did not want to jeopardise relations with Britain whatever the outcome of its negotiations with the European Union.

Goldman’s grand takeover: bankers fill the White House: With three Goldman Sachs bankers now destined for top jobs under Donald Trump, the Wall Street giant is getting back into the political game on both sides of the Atlantic.

EE given hostile reception after network campaign: EE has stirred up unrest among its rivals with the launch of its campaign on how to measure mobile coverage. BT’s mobile operator has seized the initiative by calling on rivals to follow suit — but competitors say that the company is just jumping on the regulator’s bandwagon.

Manufacturers hiring again as pound’s slide lifts demand: Britain’s manufacturers have ended the year on a high after enjoying a better than expected recovery. With further gains from a weak pound to come, investment and recruitment is on the rise as the industry looks to fulfil increasing demand, according to a poll of nearly 400 companies by EEF, the manufacturers organisation, and BDO.

U.K.’s slowdown likely to hit London hardest: London will experience the greatest slowdown in economic growth of any region in the U.K. over the next three years as the impact of the Brexit vote, higher inflation and an expected slowdown in the services sector hits the capital hardest.

Jobs growth ‘puts productivity at risk’: Supporting fast-growing businesses is at odds with improving productivity, academics warn. The government’s drive to tackle productivity may clash with other goals, including boosting employment and encouraging high-growth companies, according to the Enterprise Research Centre (ERC).

The Independent

Theresa May says human rights abuses shouldn’t affect Gulf trade policy: The controversial human rights record of Gulf states should not be a bar to increased post-Brexit trade with them, Theresa May has said ahead of a high-profile visit to the Middle East.

Agency staff near a million as charity launches investigation into ‘forgotten face’ of insecure work: The number of agency workers is set to reach one million, according to a new study, which revealed they earn hundreds of pounds less than those in staff jobs.

RBS Chiefs ‘knew investment bank’s head wasn’t up to the job’ in run-up to near collapse: Royal Bank of Scotland Chiefs knew the head of its investment bank during the run up to its near collapse wasn’t up to the job, court filings have alleged.

Ikea is giving every member of its staff £1,200: Ikea staff will receive a £1,200 gift from the company this Christmas. Around the world, workers will receive a share of a €108 million pot as part of the company loyalty scheme. The money will be added to worker’s pensions.

The Daily Telegraph

Formula One still seeking £41 million in fees for Indian Grand Prix: Formula One is locked in a dispute with authorities in India over £41.1 million ($51.4m) of unpaid Grand Prix fees dating back to 2012, according to company documents.

Accountants urge May to keep pledge to put workers on boards: One of the key business groups in British corporate governance has urged the Government to stick to its guns on putting workers on company boards, despite the signal last week that it would row back from this plan.

British cyber security firm ECSC targets £15 million Aim float: British cyber security business ECSC, which counts 10% of the FTSE 100 as its clients, has announced its intention to float on London’s junior market.

Redrow Chief complains wildlife regulations are beastly: The Boss of house builder Redrow has lashed out at wildlife red tape, which is causing delays to crucial projects.

TUI shrugs off travel woes as long-haul holidays boom: The lure of exotic destinations has rejuvenated bookings for Anglo-German travel giant TUI after holiday spots closer to home were wracked by the threat of terror in a difficult year for the travel sector.

The Guardian

Britain’s agency workers underpaid and exploited, thinktank says: Britain’s rapidly growing army of agency workers is as serious an issue as zero-hours contracts, with full-time agency staff earning hundreds of pounds a year less than employees doing the same jobs, according to a new report into the issue.

Thousands of U.K. restaurants could go bust, accountancy firm warns: Thousands of restaurant businesses in Britain could go bust because the fall in sterling since the Brexit vote has sharply raised the cost of imported food and wine, an accountancy firm has warned.

Greece must reform or leave Eurozone, says German minister: Greece must implement economic reforms if it is to keep its place in the Eurozone, Germany’s finance minister has insisted, ruling out debt relief for the country ahead of a crucial euro group meeting on Monday.

British arms companies buck global trend with increase in sales: Arms companies in the U.K. and elsewhere in western Europe bucked the downward trend in sales in much of the rest of the world by recording a 6.6% rise last year, according to data compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

U.K. manufacturing enjoying ‘delayed recovery’, but inflation pressures grow: Manufacturers are enjoying a “delayed recovery” with increased output and orders and optimism for jobs, according to a report published on Monday.

Information commissioner reopens file on construction industry blacklisting: Britain’s information commissioner has reopened the file on construction industry blacklisting amid fears that the malpractice is still taking place.

Venezuela to issue new bolivar banknotes after dramatic fall in value: Venezuela will introduce six new notes and three new coins from mid-December to help alleviate practical problems in doing business with the world’s most inflationary currency, according to the central bank.

Opec doesn’t hold all the cards, even after its oil price agreement: Two years of wrangling were needed before Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Opec oil cartel could agree a cut in production at its meeting in Vienna last week.

Daily Mail

Row over fees breaks out between fund responsible for saving BHS pensioners and one of store’s administrators: A row over fees has broken out between the fund responsible for saving BHS pensioners and one of the store’s administrators. The Pension Protection Fund has vetoed an invoice for £4.1 million submitted by Duff & Phelps, which was responsible for realising cash from the assets of BHS.

Entrepreneur Alastair Mills set to make millions when his telecoms group Six Degrees lists next year in £200 million flotation: Alastair Mills has come a long way from the days when he sold stolen bicycles bought at police auctions to fellow students. The 44-year-old entrepreneur is set to make millions when his telecoms group Six Degrees lists next year in a £200 million flotation.

Daily Express

Trump defence plans to bolster U.K. security firm: Donald Trump’s plans to ramp up military spending are expected to provide a boost for British maritime security firm MAST, its Chief Executive has said.

Businesses face surge in loan defaults: Loan default rates could rise dramatically among small businesses because lenders have “forgotten how to price risk”, according to Hitachi Capital Business Finance managing director Gavin Wraith-Carter.

Markets braced as Italians and Austrians go to the polls: European equity and bond markets, as well as the euro, are poised for volatile trading on Monday depending on the outcome of ‘s Italian referendum.

The Scottish Herald

Growth to slow sharply in Scotland: Growth in Scotland will slow to a near standstill next year as political uncertainties compound the challenges posed by the downturn in the North Sea according to leading economists who have slashed their forecast for the current year.

CGC sees turnover soar after English expansion: Citygate Construction is on track to add £4 million to its turnover this year after winning a number of contracts south of the Border.

Williams takes over at Pinsents in Aberdeen: Pinsent Masons has appointed employment partner Katie Williams as head of its ten-partner Aberdeen office, the first woman to hold the post.

Sports Direct and Ocado to update on trading amid sterling fall and price war: Scandal-hit retailer Sports Direct and online grocer Ocado are set to update the City on trading next week as the fall in sterling and the supermarket price war continue to dominate.

Scots households will feel the heat as oil prices rise: One recent development of note has been the - not over dramatic - increase in the oil price, as a result of the OPEC nations at last agreeing to reduce production quotas. For Scotland, this price increase could have two repercussions. First it just might provide some mild support for our beleaguered oil and gas sector. Second it will add a further ratchet to consumer inflation.

Pension deficits may be set to rise: Total private sector pension fund deficits have eased to around £450 billion from a record £500 billion in August amid the recovery in markets from the slump that followed the Brexit vote in June, JLT Employee Benefits has calculated. But experts at the firm found total deficits on schemes which make payments based on members’ final salaries were up around 50% on 30 November compared with the same date last year.

The Scotsman

New Scots property tax has been ‘operationally successful’: The introduction of a new property tax has been “operationally successful” but it is “too early to draw any definitive conclusions” on the change, MSPs on a key Holyrood committee said.

More Scottish council cuts will have ‘severe consequences’: The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) has said that any more cuts to local government funding will result in “severe consequences” for jobs across the country.

City A.M.

Atalaya Mining transforms the original Rio Tinto mine from tarnished site into a polished moneyspinner: Restoring the original Rio Tinto mine may have been a “pain in the ass”, according to Atalaya Mining’s Chief Executive Alberto Lavandeira, but it hasn’t put the plucky, Aim-listed firm off plans to expand elsewhere.

Ownership of over 40,000 London properties shrouded in secrecy: Thousands of London’s properties are held by overseas companies registered in so-called secrecy havens, obscuring the details of their true ownership, a report out has found.

Business growth remains steady as high street has a rosy month, Confederation of British Industry (CBI) data shows: British businesses enjoyed modest growth in the three months to November, and are expected to maintain the pace into 2017, according to a survey published.

Retail shareholders hold out for better deal in RBS lawsuit: A subset of shareholders suing RBS over how it handled a financial crisis fundraising are holding out for a better deal, despite other investors closing in on an out of court offer.

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