Monday newspaper round-up:Royal Mail, RBS, US debt
Institutional investors are preparing to take the lion’s share of the biggest government flotation in 20 years as Royal Mail stocks go on sale at what critics say is a substantial discount to their real value. Analysts expect many small investors to miss out as senior Labour figures claimed the Government was “ripping off” the taxpayer by selling the stocks prematurely.
Vince Cable was accused of rushing through the flotation of the service, preventing both a proper review of the prospectus of the public offering and a debate on whether the business is being sold too cheaply, writes The Times.
George Osborne, the Chancellor, sought clearance in July from the European Union (EU)for the split-up of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which is 83% owned by the taxpayer, allowing the Government to avoid newly-introduced rules on state support for banks.
The early notification to Brussels, which came just before stricter new rules on executive pay and shareownership came into force, would make it easier to split RBS into a so-called “good bank” and “bad bank” should the Treasury decide to do so.
Mr Osborne has ordered a review into whether splitting the bank would boost lending, and the application to Brussels is understood not to prejudge this process, The Daily Telegraph writes.
US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has issued a categorical warning that the United States will default on its $16.7trn debt and throw the world into turmoil unless Congress agrees to raise the legal debt ceiling by October 17th.
“Congress is playing with fire. If the US government, for the first time in its history, chooses not to pay its bills on time, we will be in default,” said Mr Lew.
“Anyone who thinks that the United States government not paying its bills is anything less than default hasn’t thought about it very clearly,” he told NBC’s Meet the Press, The Daily Telegraph says.
The International Monetary Fund has told Turkey to tighten policy without delay to control a ballooning trade deficit, warning that the country is a prime candidate for capital flight as the US Federal Reserve starts to withdraw global liquidity.
“The authorities’ immediate priority should be to reduce imbalances,” said the Fund in an unusually blunt report, criticising the Islamist government of RecepTayyip Erdogan for sailing dangerously close to the wind, according to The Daily Telegraph.
Venture capital group Scottish Equity Partners (SEP) has backed a management buyout at Tryzens, a technology outfit that helps customers including Ann Summers, John Lewis and Tesco to sell their goods online. Tryzens’ managers are buying the business from Aim-quoted parent company Jaywings, The Scotsman reports.
Interest rates on the second phase of the Government’s Help To Buy mortgage scheme could be as high as 6%, according to bankers working on the project – well above the best deals already available in the mortgage market.
The high rate may dampen enthusiasm for the Chancellor’s flagship housing scheme, but is also likely to reduce fears that the scheme will fuel a housing bubble, The Daily Mail says.
Ministers are under renewed pressure to scrap their controversial green “carbon tax” after delays in European Union state aid left British heavy industry without promised protection from the costs of the levy.
Tata Steel and BASF have warned that the so-called carbon price floor — levied on fossil fuels used in power generation — is putting them at a competitive disadvantage.
The Government promised that energy-intensive industries would be offered a £100m compensation package to protect them from the unilateral tax, which was introduced last April, The Daily Telegraph explains.