The interim deal between Iran and six world powers hammered out in the small hours of November 24th to curb the former's nuclear programme is a long way from perfect, but it meets two key tests. The first is that it will extend Iran's so-called "critical capability"the time needed for it to produce one or several nuclear devices following a decision to weaponiseby many months compared with the trajectory it was on before the agreement. Secondly, it forms the basis for a more permanent solution to the decades-long problem of Iran's nuclear activities to be reached over the next six months, The Economist wrote on Sunday.
Royal Bank of Scotland has been referred to City regulators over allegations that it deliberately "forced vibrant businesses into financial trouble" so that it could charge them high fees and ultimately seize their assets. The claims are made by Lawrence Tomlinson, an adviser to business secretary Vince Cable, who is convinced RBS has driven some of its own customers under so that the bank could take over their properties at knock-down prices, the Financial Times says.
Ukrainians came out on Sunday in their largest numbers since the 2004 Orange Revolution to protest against last week's surprise government decision to postpone signing a historic integration deal with the EU this week. A crowd estimated at close to 100,000 people thronged central Kiev, scene of the pro-democracy uprising nine years ago, despite cold weather and fog, the Financial Times reports.
Babcock International is in advanced talks on a blockbuster £1.5bn takeover of the world's biggest helicopter operator. The FTSE 100 company, which runs the Devonport and Rosyth dockyards and provides hi-tech support to the forces, plans a swoop on Avincis. It specialises in search and rescue, medical evacuation and flights to and from oil rigs. It may herald the start of the long-awaited wave of takeovers predicted by the City on the back of rapidly rising stock markets, The Sunday Times writes.
Lloyds Banking Group is poised to sell a 12% stake in the wealth management firm St James's Place before Christmas in a move that would reap £390m. The taxpayer-backed bank is believed to be keen to reduce its remaining 22% holding in St James's Place to less than 10%. A lock-up agreement that blocks Lloyds from selling the shares
expires tomorrow, according to The Sunday Times.
The beleaguered natural resources giant ENRC is considering selling its African mining division, which is at the heart of a Serious Fraud Office investigation. One of the London Stock Exchange's most sordid chapters will close tomorrow when ENRC's shares will be delisted. It has been taken over by its trio of oligarch founders and the government of Kazakhstan for less than half the price at which it floated in 2007. The deal came after the SFO launched a probe in April amid long-running allegations of bribery and corruption, The Sunday Times explains.
Vince Cable will come under intense questioning this week as to whether he will dole out an additional £4.2m in payments to advisors accused of "catastrophically" undervaluing Royal Mail. The Business Secretary will appear before Westminster's business select committee as Royal Mail unveils its maiden set of results since joining the London Stock Exchange six weeks ago, Scotland on Sunday says.
Energy bills will drop by a minimum of £50 a year under Government plans to cut back green and social levies on household bills, according to industry sources. The Government is expected to announce a range of measures to shift some such charges away from utility bills and instead finance them through general taxation, along with other changes. The move, expected to be announced in the Chancellor George Osborne's Autumn Statement on December 5th, will come with a demand that energy firms cut bills still further and bear the cost themselves, The Mail on Sunday explains.
Almost a quarter of BSkyB's shareholders rebelled against the £7m pay package of Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch and other top executives at the pay-TV company's annual general meeting on Friday. Almost 23% voted against BSkyB's remuneration report - with a further 0.6% abstaining, which is often viewed as a protest vote - after several shareholder advisory services flagged concerns over the way top executives are paid, The Guardian reports.
Poundland has begun the process to float on the stock market in the early part of 2014 with a valuation of up to £800m. The discount retailer is this week expected to send out letters of engagement to the advisers leading the float: Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, Rothschild, and Shore Capital. It is understood that Warburg Pincus, the private equity owner of Poundland, is looking to raise between £200m and £300m from the float, which would value the retailer at between £700m and £800m. The finance raised would be used to fund significant expansion in the number of stores, The Sunday Telegraph says.