Monday Newspaper round up

The Scotsman

Virgin Atlantic British Airways, Ryanair  and EasyJet,will bury the hatchet today and join forces to demand that the Chancellor uses next week’s Budget to puts the brakes on planned rises in air passenger duty. The four carriers warned that the Treasury wants to grow its revenues from the tax by 46% by 2016 so that it brings in some £3.8bn a year, a move branded as “madness” by the airlines’ bosses. An 8% rise in APD already planned for 1 April will mean a family of four from Scotland flying to see relations in England will pay a total of as much as £140 in tax each way, up from just £40 in 2005, the companies claimed. Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “These endless cumulative increases in APD are pricing families out of flying – both from and to the UK. That means fewer visitors to the UK, which destroys jobs in our tourism, aviation and hospitality industries – and chokes off opportunities for young people at a time of exceptional youth unemployment,”

The FT

Headlines  “Delay EU carbon levy, says air industry – Carriers and manufacturers point to possible trade wars “”No decisions expected from eurozone meeting” “Bank capital calls added to instability, says BIS” “Fears over effect on lending hit EU financial sector’s health” “Corporate issues have hit $386bn in the year to date”  “Finance ministers to revive firewall  debate”   
“Glencore circles US and Canadian traders” “Defence groups move to cybersecurity”

After helping to push through Greek debt restructuring that’s the largest in history, eurozone governments will revive a debate about boosting firewalls to shield Spain, Portugal and other vulnerable economies from the flames of the crisis. Finance ministers from the 17-member club are set to discuss the issue at a meeting in Brussels on Monday evening, according to European Union officials, although no decisions are expected.

Seven leading European aviation companies have joined forces to warn the European Union’s plans to charge for carbon pollution are jeopardising 2,000 jobs and billions of dollars of orders from China,

The Times

A Chinese specialist in smelting and trading rare earths will become one of the few companies to float on the Alternative Investment Market so far this year when it makes its debut this month. Rare Earths Global is expected to raise $50m (£31.9m) in a flotation that will value it at about $270m. The company, which has its operations in China, has three main subsidiaries. One owns a smelting and separation plant in Guangdong province. There is also a mining services business, which provides expertise and equipment to state-owned companies producing rare earths in China, and a company that trades the commodities.

Protesters took to the streets across Spain yesterday to protest against labour reforms, in the unions’ first trial of strength before a planned national stoppage on March 29. From Madrid to Málaga, marchers against the centre-right Government of Mariano Rajoy complained about austerity measures and constitutional changes that make it cheaper and easier for companies to hire and fire. The demonstrations are being seen as the start of a summer of discontent. Unions claimed that half a million people had taken part, police put the figure at about 30,000.

The Guardian 

Reports that Britain’s manufacturing industry may be about to receive a shot in the arm if British engineering group GKN succeeds in a planned swoop for Sweden’s largest aerospace company that could value it at up to £800m. Sources close to the talks say a deal is not imminent, GKN is now the clear frontrunner to buy Volvo’s aero engine business after bidders, including Germany’s MTU Aero Engines, dropped out. The buyout firms Carlyle Group and Nordic Capital are also understood to have pulled back. The acquisition of Volvo Aero, which makes entire engines as well as parts for aircraft including Saab’s Gripen fighter jet and had sales of £616m last year, would be a major expansion of GKN’s aerospace business. It is the second largest, by revenue, of GKN’s four divisions.

The Daily Telegraph

Headlines “China has biggest trade deficit for 20 years” “Call for bank mis-selling inquiry” “Greek bail-out to get sign-off” “Aggreko sees gold lining”  “IBM supercomputer Watson heads to the UK” 

A group of four leading investors in Trinity Mirror have expressed disquiet at the high levels of executive pay at the media company. They are particularly unhappy that Sly Bailey, (Great Name) the chief executive, was paid £1.47m last year, plus a pension contribution of £248,000, at a time when the company’s share price has drifted. Four leading shareholders, Schroders, Aviva Investors, Standard Life and Legal & General have met with Trinity’s chairman-elect David Grigson and expressed the view that Ms Bailey’s pay needs to be cut. Between them, the four own 42% of the shares. One unnamed shareholder reportedly said: “It is excessive by most standards, let alone a company with a market value of about £100m,”


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