Tesco is planning a boardroom purge after a string of profit warnings and the revelation of a £250m hole in its accounts, the Sunday Times said. The retailer was planning to unveil up to three non-executive directors 10 days ago but the accounting problem put the announcement on hold. Patrick Kennedy, the outgoing boss of bookmaker Paddy Power, was approached though no agreement ensued. The whistleblower who spotted Tesco's profit overstatement alerted UK managing director Chris Bush on September 19th before going to Tesco's most senior lawyer.
Tesco boss Dave Lewis has ordered the sale of the group's entire fleet of aeroplanes to head off shareholder anger about the group's new £31.1m executive jet, the Sunday Express reported. The jet was ordered by Lewis's predecessor Phil Clarke and arrived days after the group admitted it had overstated expected first-half profits by £250m, the paper said.
Supermarkets make as much as a third of their profits by demanding charges from suppliers akin to those that led to accounting problems at Tesco, the Mail on Sunday reported. The charges include penalties for late or incomplete shipments, bonuses for sales targets and various payments such as for stocking new products. The Groceries Code Adjudicator watchdog warned Tesco last year about unfairly using its size to demand extra fees from suppliers.
BP arranged a $1.5bn loan for Russia's Rosneft three weeks before Europe and America imposed new sanctions on the company, the Sunday Times said. BP organized a banking syndicate to fund Rosneft in return for future oil production to be sold to BP. At the time, Rosneft Chairman Igor Sechin was on a US blacklist over Moscow's presence in Crimea and Ukraine.
Apache Corporation, the US oil company once hailed as the savior of the North Sea has put all its UK oil fields up for sale, the Sunday Times reported. The North Sea's third-largest producer behind BP and Royal Dutch Shell has hired Goldman Sachs to find a buyer, raising questions about Britain's offshore oil sector. Activist investor Jana Partners wants Apache to concentrate on America's booming shale gas industry.
Employment in banking has increased for the first time since the financial crisis, showing that lenders are finally starting to recover, the Sunday Telegraph said. Figures from the British Bankers' Association show a small rise in high street banking jobs though much of the increase was at smaller "challenger" banks such as Virgin Money. However, Lloyds Banking Group took on 2,000 new staff in the past year.
Britain's biggest banks will be told to increase their capital reserves under stricter rules imposed by the Bank of England (BoE). The Sunday Times said the BoE would impose a leverage ratio, which measures capital against total assets, of 4% to 5% given banks' exposure to the UK housing market.
The Treasury Select Committee has held high-level meetings with regulators and experts on cyber crime as part of an investigation into whether the financial system is threatened by cybersecurity breaches, the Sunday Telegraph said. Andrew Tyrie, the committee's chairman, told the paper JP Morgan's admission that millions of its customers were compromised in a cyber attack showed the scale of the risk facing banks. The committee could hold more public meetings in the next few months.
The Kaye restaurant dynasty is considering buying Prezzo to combine it with Ask and Zizzi, the Sunday Telegraph said. The family, whose members founded each chain, is believed to have talked to private equity firms about bidding for the chains. The company owns more than 58% of AIM-listed Prezzo, which said last week buyout houses TPG and Advent had made proposals valuing the business at more than £300m. The deal would be nil premium, the paper said.
The Eurozone faces a decade or more of economic stagnation and civil unrest that could destroy the single currency if France and other countries do not carry out reform, Hans-Werner Sinn told the Sunday Telegraph. Sinn, the president of Germany's Ifo institute for economic research said the euro would not fall apart but that policymakers would mistakenly try to support southern European countries instead of pressing them to become more efficient. He called for a "breathable euro" that allowed struggling countries to leave temporarily to sort out their problems.