The UK economy is more than halfway to full recovery, the Governor of the Bank of England (BoE) told the Sunday Times. Mark Carney, in an interview marking the first anniversary of his forward guidance policy, told the paper economic expansion was proceeding and that momentum was more assured. "Wherever the finish line was in the depths of the crisis, we are much more than halfway towards that finish line," Carney said. He said that the BoE could raise interest rates when it was confident in the prospect of real wage growth instead of waiting for wage growth to happen.
Carillion is considering a final attempt to rescue its merger with rival construction company Balfour Beatty, according to the Sunday Times. Carillion has four days to make a firm offer for Balfour, after which it would have to wait six months to revive the deal. Carillion's board is considering offering Balfour investors a bigger share of the combined group than the proposed 56.5%. A source told the paper a small increase might win over Balfour. Two investors told the paper they wanted Balfour to get back into talks, which broke down at the end of July.
Tesco should cut its £1.2bn dividend if it cannot cover the payout with cashflow, one of the supermarket group's biggest investors told the Sunday Times. Tesco's dividend is one of the big attractions for shareholders but analysts have predicted it could be halved under Dave Lewis, who takes over as chief executive in six weeks. David Herro at Harris Associates, which owns 3% of Tesco, said: "In general, dividends should be covered by free cash. This is not the case with Tesco . . . It should be cut if it's paid for by borrowing."
Tesco's market value has fallen below £20bn for the first time in a decade and is £10bn lower than a year ago, the Mail on Sunday said. The fall in the share price has been driven partly by fears about Tesco's dividend. Operations Development Director George Dymond is the latest senior figure to leave the group. Dymond joined from Morrisons earlier this year but is now returning to Coles, the Australian retailer, where he worked before Morrisons.
Franklin Templeton has increased its bet on Carpetright's turnaround prospects by increasing its stake to nearly 20%, the Financial Times reported. In a regulatory filing, the US fund manager revealed that its stake in Carpetright had increased to 19.8% from 16% since June. The purchase makes Franklin Templeton Carpetright's biggest shareholder after the family of founder Lord Philip Harris. Carpetright has issued a series of profit warnings that have sent its shares
down by a fifth in the last year.
BT is willing to bid for the right to broadcast all Premier League soccer games when the next auction launches, probably by the end of this year, the Financial Times said. Gavin Patterson, BT's chief executive, said: "We can go for same as today or potentially go up to bidding for everything. There is a range of options we can look at." The comment is Patterson's firmest indication that BT is prepared to go up against BSkyB to secure more of the games that have underpinned BSkyB's business. By doing so, BT would push up costs for BSkyB.
BT has claimed that more pubs and clubs show sport from its channels than from BSkyB, the Sunday Telegraph reported. As the new soccer season kicks off, BT says its decision to undercut BSkyB has prompted more pubs to keep live sport instead of opting for less frantic dining and drinking.
Ophir Energy is considering replacing its chairman because of investor unhappiness about the oil and gas explorer's falling share price, the Sunday Times reported. Nicholas Smith has chaired the FTSE 250 company for five years ago but its shares have plunged by two thirds since their 2012 peak after floating in 2011. Ophir has announced a £60m buyback plan to appease shareholders.
UK house prices have fallen for the second month in a row, a survey by Rightmove will show on Monday. The Mail on Sunday said Rightmove's last monthly survey showed a 0.8% fall but that many analysts treated it as a blip, but the latest dip suggests that prices will fall in the next year.
Prudential's chief executive, Tidjane Thiam, has hired Jeff Randall, the former business journalist, as a senior adviser, the Sunday Telegraph said. Randall will join Prudential in September to act as a sounding board and help Thiam, who is from Ivory Coast, to become more ingrained in British business life. Randall has served as the business editor of the Sunday Times, the BBC and as BSkyB's lead business anchor. He will work a maximum of 40 days a year for Thiam alongside other jobs.
UK banks' charges for writing down bad loans have fallen to their lowest in recent history because of economic recovery and stricter borrowing standards, the Sunday Telegraph said. Quoting a Standard & Poor's report, the paper said Britain's seven biggest banks took charges worth 0.255% of lending in the first half of the year, down from 0.67% last year. The figure is the lowest in 25 years of data, the paper said.
The chief executive of Marston's has told the Mail on Sunday that the pub industry is in a strong position and that headlines about pub closures obscure the fact that new ones are thriving. Ralph Findlay said: 'The sector is in as good a position as it's been in for a number of years (...) There's more energy and excitement in the sector than I can ever remember." He said good pubs catering to women, families, diners and the middle-aged were doing well and that there was no point in protecting bad pubs.
Top managers at RAC will share a £300m payout if the breakdown recovery service floats on the stock market next month, the Sunday Telegraph said. RAC is preparing to announce a flotation valuing it at about £2bn, triggering a payout for between 60 and 70 top managers who own a total of 15% of the company. chief executive Chris Woodhouse will get the biggest payment of up to £50m after negotiating a buyout from Aviva by Carlyle, the private equity firm, three years ago.
The maker of Jamie Oliver's ready meals is preparing for a potential £1bn listing on the London stock market, the Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Times reported. Moy Park, Britain's biggest free-range chicken farmer and processor, supplies meat to McDonald's and Burger King. The Sunday Times said it had not yet appointed an investment bank to run the flotation but the Telegraph said Goldman Sachs was already hired. Moy's flotation would probably sell 30% of the company, valuing it at between £700m and £1bn, based on the valuations of similar companies, the Sunday Times reported.
Neil Woodford, one of the UK's most respected fund managers, has bought a 30% stake in privately owned internet estate agent Purplebricks for £7m, the Sunday Times said. Woodford said Purplebricks's low, fixed sales fee for could undercut the market, where most property searches already take place online.
Quindell will seek to restore faith in its business after a US investment firm launched an attack claiming the UK company's growth was built on sand, the Mail on Sunday said. The paper did not give details of Quindell's fightback but said investors would focus on cashflow because the insurance and telecoms outsourcer's revenues are often booked in advance. Quindell issues first-half results on August 22nd.