Sunday newspaper round-up: Spire, Mediclinic, Rolls-Royce, Brexit, SSE, GKN

Josh White WebFG News | 22 Oct, 2017 19:39 - Updated: 19:39 | | |

sundays

A South African healthcare provider is plotting a £1.3bn swoop on Spire Healthcare, Britain’s largest chain of private hospitals. Mediclinic International is working with advisers from Morgan Stanley on a possible offer, according to City sources. It already has a 29.9% stake in Spire - the maximum that can be held without making an offer for the other shares - having staged a raid on the stock two years ago. - The Sunday Times

An important report assessing the viability of new “mini” nuclear power plants for the UK to be published this week is expected to give the green light to develop designs proposed by a British consortium led by Rolls-Royce. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is set to issue a study which formally ends a competition between different types of low-carbon power generation to assess which should be supported. - Sunday Telegraph

UK business leaders have united to urge David Davis to quickly establish a Brexit transition deal that mirrors existing arrangements or risk losing British jobs and investment. In a letter to the Brexit secretary seen by the Guardian, five of the UK’s biggest business lobby groups said time was running out for the government to strike a transition deal before firms start to rein in spending plans as they finalise budgets for 2018 and prepare to implement contingency plans for Britain’s departure from the EU. - Observer

Energy suppliers are adopting scare tactics to force customers to rip out their reliable old meters and replace them with unnecessary ‘smart’ alternatives. Provider SSE is sending out ‘keep your home safe’ letters to some of its 7.7 million customers. The letters state that the customer’s electricity meter is ‘nearing the end of its lifespan and needs to be replaced’ with a new smart meter. - Mail on Sunday

GKN is examining a radical break-up plan that could create two FTSE 100 companies - splitting its aerospace and automotive businesses. The industrial titan, which makes wing tips for Airbus and powertrains for car giants including Mercedes and Jaguar Land Rover, is in the early stages of considering the plan. A split has long been mooted by analysts but the promotion of two senior executives has accelerated thinking. - The Sunday Times

The French energy giant behind Britain’s Hinkley Point C new nuclear project could be in line for a €10bn (£9bn) bonanza as measures to fix the broken carbon market take hold. EDF, which generates nuclear power in the UK and France, is expected to be first in line to reap the benefit of rising carbon market prices which could drive its share price up by over a third, according to analysis from Jefferies. - Sunday Telegraph

Regulators have launched a crackdown on child gambling by demanding online gambling sites remove “unacceptable” adverts featuring cartoon characters likely to appeal to children. The Gambling Commission and the Advertising Standards Authority are among the signatories to a letter sent to online gambling operators that orders them to remove games promoted with characters with names such as Fluffy Favourites and Pirate Princess. Some of the games are free to play, which experts say presents a risk of children developing a gambling habit. - Observer

Investment in the car industry is on course to crash by half this year with major manufacturers drastically cutting back amid Brexit uncertainty. Vauxhall has already put the brakes on decisions relating to UK investment and there are growing fears that Ford may be preparing to follow suit. - Mail on Sunday

BT is poised to overhaul its troubled international division in a move that could shut dozens of overseas outposts, including the scandal-hit Milan office. It is understood that an in-depth analysis of BT Global Services will be presented to the board by the end of the year. The review, conducted by McKinsey & Co, could see BT speed up its revamp of operations, sources said. - The Sunday Times

President Xi might have curbed the free haircuts, facials and lavish banquets that had become part of the trappings associated with China’s communist party congress. But the nation’s leader didn’t make any oratory cutbacks during last week’s quinquennial event. Xi, who has built his reputation on his efforts to rein in excess, kicked off the 19th congress last week with a sweeping speech that stretched for three hours and twenty-three minutes. - Sunday Telegraph

The government will partially reverse its austerity doctrine by borrowing to invest heavily in new homes and associated infrastructure to tackle the housing crisis, Sajid Javid has said. The communities secretary revealed there could be an announcement about the move in next month’s budget. - Observer

The look is somehow familiar but James Bond hasn’t popped down to Sainsbury’s for the weekly shop. Instead, it’s the latest menswear fashion range from the store which is offering a taste of Savile Row. The supermarket is going head to head with high street chains such as Ted Baker and Reiss, with a range of 20 items called Tu Formal that arrive in stores this weekend. - Mail on Sunday

The liquidators of a mobile phone company famed for its jewel-encrusted handsets costing up to £40,000, have launched an investigation into a transfer of the company’s intellectual property. Vertu collapsed in July with the loss of 178 UK jobs and owing 327 unsecured creditors nearly £43m. Employees had not been paid since May and five months of pension contributions were outstanding. - The Sunday Times

Debenhams has come under fresh criticism for its treatment of suppliers after it emerged the retailer had demanded steep discounts for paying small businesses within 90 days, double the industry average. In emails seen by The Sunday Telegraph, Debenhams demanded a series of deductions from a supplier, including a 16.7pc discount on settlement of payment within 90 days, a deduction for every bar-coded item that had to be scanned, and a further carrier charge related to delivery of goods. - Sunday Telegraph

Public sector workers’ pay has dipped below that of their private sector counterparts for the first time since the financial crash, Treasury figures obtained by the GMB union reveal. The disparity, after seven years of austerity and cuts to public spending, will pile pressure on the chancellor, Philip Hammond, to abandon the public sector pay cap in next month’s budget. The analysis of hourly earnings shows that last year public sector workers were paid 0.6% less than private sector colleagues in similar jobs. By comparison, they enjoyed a premium of 3.1% compared with the private sector in 2005, rising to 5.8% in 2010. - Observer

A former public schoolboy has been named as the alleged mastermind behind a multi-million pound property development fraud, according to High Court papers. Charles Cunningham, whose time at Eton overlapped with Prince William’s, has been identified in court papers as controlling a series of companies used to defraud Asian investors of millions of pounds by enticing them with UK developments that were never completed. - Mail on Sunday

More news

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In its first trading update as an AIM-listed company, fashion brand Quiz reported a 35% jump in interim revenue, driven by growth across all of its channels.

08:54 Thomas Cook tumbles as weak UK overshadows results

Thomas Cook said it was on track to meet expectations this year but problems in the UK, the tour operator’s biggest market, overshadowed its annual results.

08:42 London open: Stocks edge up ahead of Budget; Thomas Cook tanks

London stocks edged tentatively higher in early trade on Wednesday as investors sifted through corporate releases ahead of the Autumn Budget.

08:04 Sage completes cloud transformation and promises 2018 acceleration

Sage Group kept revenue growth and margins above their annual target and said the launch of its Business Cloud software suite would enable it to "accelerate momentum" in 2018.

08:04 SSP full-year profit up, announces £100m special dividend

SSP reported a rise in full-year profit on Wednesday as it announced a special dividend of around £100m, but said that like-for-like revenue growth next year is expected to drop slightly.

07:49 Countryside Properties operating profit, completions up amid strong demand

Housebuilder and regeneration partner Countryside Properties posted a rise in annual operating profit on Wednesday as revenue and completions grew amid strong demand.

07:47 United Utilities profit rises 10% in first half

United Utilities profit rose 10% in the first half as the water and waste management company increased revenue and cut costs.

07:44 Hammerson offloads stake in Strasbourg Place des Halles, United Utilities profit ahead in first half

London open

07:38 London pre-open: Stocks to nudge up ahead of Autumn Budget

London stocks were set to nudge up at the open on Wednesday as investors eyed the Autumn Budget.

07:29 Wednesday newspaper round-up: Uber hack, Hinckley Point, LSE

Uber concealed a massive global breach of the personal information of 57 million customers and drivers in October 2016, failing to notify the individuals and regulators, the company acknowledged on Tuesday. Uber also confirmed it had paid the hackers responsible $100,000 to delete the data and keep the breach quiet, which was first reported by Bloomberg. – Guardian