While it casts about for a replacement for recently defenestrated chief Chris Finlayson BG Group is set move along with plans to shrink its international holdings. That is now understood to include its entire 60% holding in exploration Block 3 offshore Tanzania, while holding on to similar stakes in Blocks 1 and 4. A string of discoveries in the seas off of the above east African nation's coasts and neighbouring Mozambique hold the potential to turn the area into the world's third largest gas exporting region. Ophir Energy last year pocketed £784m in cash when it sold a 20% stake in the trio. The reasoning behind the sale is that while the gas fields are giant they will prove expensive to develop given the dearth of necessary infrastructure in the region, The Sunday Times reports.
It may all be about diminished expectations, Bank of England policymaker Ben Broadbent explained at the Jackson Hole symposium of the world's central bankers. Following years of meagre gains in labour productivity and low pay awards workers may have grown accustomed to this new norm, he said. That comes after the monetary authority last week halved its forecast for earnings growth this year to 1.25%, leading many economists to push back their forecasts for the first increase in Bank Rate, according to The Sunday Times.
Domain Chanzy, a burgundy wine producer, is preparing plans to float in London, a first for a French vineyard. Majority-owned by Olma, the equity house specialised in luxury goods, the firm is working alongside broker WH Ireland. The flotation will go through before the end of the year it is hoped. The company is already listed on Alternativa, France's junior stock exchange, and has a market capitalisation of approximately €10m, The Sunday Times says.
Former US vice-president Al Gore has invested £8m in UK power supplier OVO Energy by means of a mezzanine deal. Stephen Fitzpatrick, who launched OVO in 2009, highlighted that he had spurned a previous deal with a private equity investor as he had been asked to give up too much control of the company in exchange. OVO has plans to float within the next 18 months and is looking to raise £25m-£30m from institutional investors later this year. The company's boss, which has nearly tripled its customer base since October 2013, came under fire recently for allegedly taking £2m out of the business to purchase a family home, The Sunday Telegraph writes.
Over the coming weeks a wave of companies will announce their intention to float, including Jimmy Choo, the RAC, British Car Auctions and challenger bank Aldermore. Over £7bn worth of initial public offerings may be announced in September alone. During the first half of the year 44 companies came onto the main market and another 49 listed on AIM, raising £15bn year-to-date. Nevertheless, in total far fewer flotations are expected during the second half and a number of companies are also weighing a sale as an alternative due to doubts about the strength of the stock market, The Sunday Telegraph says.
US hedge funds Glenview Capital Management and Luxor Capital may increase their control over troubled pub owner Punch Taverns if a complex debt restructuring deal is approved by the company's various financial stakeholders. The company needs to obtain approval from 75% of both its lenders and shareholders. The latest tally shows that it has already garnered the support of 56% of its senior bondholders, 73% of its junior lenders and 54% of the shareholders. A general meeting to approve the deal is due to be held on 17 September, The Sunday Telegraph reports.
BT is set to increase how much it charges its home phone and broadband customers, possibly putting off many non-sport fans from using its service according to an expert. From 1 December the cost of a BT landline - which is mandatory for phone and high-speed internet - will increase by £1 to £16.99. Meanwhile, the cost of its broadband service may rise by up to 6.49%, over four times' the pace of consumer price inflation in July. Nevertheless, and despite what some are dubbing a 'football tax' meant to subsidize the acquisition of expensive rights to broadcast various sports events, BT Sport is still incredibly competitive, the same expert said, according to The Guardian.
People will be closely watching this week's report on house prices from building society Nationwide for more clues on the likely extent of the recent slowdown in house prices in the UK. Last Monday property website Rightmove revealed that asking prices for new properties coming to the market in London were down by 5.9% from July. Even so, all of the available data still reflects deals agreed before the summer holidays started, so it will be some time before the extent of the slowdown can be fully gauged, The Mail on Sunday says.