The Daily Telegraph.
Gas continued to leak from a North Sea well owned by French energy company Total on Monday night, more than a day after a “well control” problem saw the Elgin platform evacuated. Total was unable to say what volume of gas was leaking at the field but said it was “taking all possible measures to try to identify the source and cause of the leak and to bring it under control”. The majority of the 238 crew on the platform, 149 miles east of Aberdeen, and the nearby Rowan Viking drilling rig were evacuated on Sunday after workers on a standby ship reportedly saw vapour clouds forming and gas bubbling on the surface of the water under the platform
The Government has discussed selling some of the taxpayer’s holding in Royal Bank of Scotland to an Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund as the authorities continue to look for ways to cut the state’s stake in the lender. UK Financial Investments, which manages the state’s 82% stake in RBS, held talks recently with Abu Dhabi wealth funds, though a source said the discussions were not at an advanced stage and no sale was expected in the near future. At current market prices the holding is worth £13.5bn, well below the £45.5bn cost of the direct taxpayer bailout of the bank in late 2008 and early 2009.
The Daily Mail.
The break-up of the Eurozone would trigger a new credit crunch and hammer the British economy, the Treasury watchdog said yesterday. Steve Nickell, a member of the Office for Budget Responsibility, told the Treasury Select Committee that the crisis in the single currency posed a major threat to the UK. He also said that he looks at the odds offered by William Hill to gauge the probability of disasters to help with his forecasts – an admission that bemused MPs. Nickell said the bookmaker was ‘a good indicator’ of what people think – adding the chance of a Greek exit from the euro was 40%. It came as German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that Greece faces ‘a long and arduous road’ to recovery and said allowing it to quit the single currency would be ‘a huge political mistake.
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Administrators at Game Group will close almost half the UK’s 609 stores today, leaving 2,104 people without jobs, in the biggest collapse since Woolworths in 2008. The decision will also spark a temporary ban on all gift vouchers at the store, which sells PlayStation, Xbox and PC video games. Game – the struggling computer games retailer – was put into administration on Monday morning after failing to reach a rescue deal over the weekend. It will now close half the UK portfolio of shops – focusing its efforts on saving the remaining 333 UK stores for a possible deal over the next few weeks. Those 333 stores will continue to employ 2,814 people, until a buyer is found.
Nat Rothschild will step down today as the co-chairman of Bumi, the Indonesian coalminer he set up two years ago. The move, to be announced alongside full-year results, is intended to resolve a dispute between the financier and the company’s biggest investors. Mr Rothschild, who owns almost 12% of Bumi, will remain on the board as a non-executive director. The Bakrie family and Samin Tan, the Indonesian businessman, who together control a 29% voting stake in Bumi, initially had wanted to remove Mr Rothschild from the board, along with several of his associates, in what some observers viewed as retaliation for his criticism of corporate governance at the company. They were talked into softening their demands by independent directors.
Spanish bank Santander is closing 56 branches in Britain to remove overlap in its network after it bolted together three separate businesses, which left it with two branches side by side in some places. Santander’s purchase of Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley during the 2008 financial crisis came four years after it bought Abbey National and left it with multiple branches in some towns. It is now closing sites on high streets where there is a clear overlap. The lender, which is preparing to spin off and float its British business next year, said the process should be completed by the end of this year and there will not be any job cuts.