Serco is targeting Ian Tyler, the former boss of Balfour Beatty, to lead the troubled outsourcing company, the Sunday Times said. Tyler is one of the top candidates to replace Chris Hyman who quit on October 25th over threats to its contracts with the Government, which has accused Serco of overcharging it and falsifying records. Andy Parker, number two at Serco's rival Capita, is also a potential target.
Chancellor George Osborne will stop short of breaking up RBS into a "good" and "bad" bank, the Sunday Times said. A final report on the bank's future is likely instead to recommend a quicker rundown of £50bn of troubled loans, mostly at its Ulster Bank operation. RBS could also be ordered to speed up the sale of it Citizens US business and close its investment banking business. Settling the structure of RBS could set the scene for selling the first batch of its 81% stake in the bank in late 2014.
RBS is expected to swing to a profit from a loss a year earlier when it reports third-quarter results, the Sunday Telegraph reported. Citing analysts, the paper said RBS was set to announce pre-tax profit of £440m on November 1st but that Ross McEwan's first results as Chief Executive would be overshadowed by talk of a break-up. A source close to the bank said the Treasury would want to clear up whether it would be split into a "good" and "bad" bank soon.
Economists believe Britain's economy could expand by as much as 3% next year as the recovery picks up pace, the Sunday Times said. Updated forecasts show economists expect a stronger period of growth following the 0.8% quarterly rise announced on October 26th. Michael Saunders at Citi expects 3% growth in 2014 whereas official estimates point to less than 2.5% growth next year.
Up to 30 leading UK businesses have written to the Government warning that it's plan to split retail and investment banking could hurt their operations, the Sunday Telegraph said. Without naming the companies, the paper said they called for hedging products to be kept within the ring-fence so that they can be offered to retail banks' business customers. The writers of the letter include utilities such as energy and water firms. They said they could be forced to move their hedging activities to banks outside the UK.
BT is due to increase its interim dividend by more than 10% when Gavin Patterson, the new Chief Executive, announces his first set of results on October 31st, the Sunday Times reported. The decision will allay fears that BT's battle with BSkyB over sports broadcasting will hamper long-term returns for investors. Patterson and his board are forecast to raise the first-half dividend per share to 3.4p from 3.0p a year earlier.
BP is set to reveal that its total bill for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has increased to more than $43m, the Sunday Telegraph reported. The oil giant is also likely to say on October 29th that low refining margins caused profits to slump by up to 37%. The cost of the 2010 disaster was $42.4bn when BP last reported figures in July and analysts now expect costs of another $1bn.
Provident Financial will start competing with Wonga and other web-based payday lenders using a new online credit service, the Sunday Times said. Provident's Satsuma Loans arm will lend up to £300 a week to customers who pay back over 13 or 26 weeks at an annualized interest rate of 792%. The lender plans to push the new service with a big television advertising campaign.
A South African billionaire is considering UK retail acquisitions to capitalise on growth in consumer confidence the Mail on Sunday reported. Christo Wiese is eyeing up Philip Green's BHS department stores and at least one of the pound store chains. Wiese is Chairman and the largest shareholder of South Africa's Pepkor and Shoprite groups.
The private equity backer of Pizza Express is close to announcing a sale of the Gondola Holdings restaurant group, the Sunday Times reported. Cinven, which has owned the business since 2006, favours a sale or break-up of the group, which also owns the Zizzi and Ask chains, over a flotation, the paper said.