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Thursday newspaper round-up: Premier Foods, Lloyds, EE…

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Threat to pensions of 60000 Premier Foods workers; Lloyds discussed extension to sale deadline before Co-op withdrew bid; 4G already a threat to unreliable wi-fi.

The Guardian reports Premier Foods, the firm behind Bisto, Hovis and Mr Kipling, is sitting on a pensions timebomb that risks wiping up to a quarter off the value of retirement savings of 60,000 past and present workers if the debt-laden food manufacturer were to slip into insolvency, according to a leading pensions expert. Nevertheless, the company has stressed that bankruptcy remains highly unlikely.

According to The Telegraph, Lloyds had asked European regulators about a possible extension to the deadline to dispose of its 632 branches, known as Project Verde, before the Co-op walked away from the deal to buy the network.

Network provider EE, which already has 400,000 customers, has said that 4G has started to threaten unreliable wi-fi services, reports The Guardian. The paper says that analysts expect EE to have 1.6m customers by the end of the year.

Leading European companies have accused JPMorgan Chase and other US banks of putting their own interests ahead of their clients in a spat over tough new bank capital rules for derivatives sold privately off exchanges, says the Financial Times.

Speaking on his first day as Italian Prime Minister, Enrico Letta sent a strong message to Brussels and Berlin that a change of direction was necessary, writes the Financial Times. “Europe’s policy of austerity is no longer sufficient,” he said.

The Independent says that sales growth of Thorntons chocolates to the big supermarkets overtook those in its own High Street stores for the first time during its third quarter, which included Valentine’s Day, Mothers’ Day and Easter. The company said yesterday that it now expects full-year profits to beat current City forecasts.

MPs have called for a new body to regulate workplace pensions, saying that “existing problems will be worsened by the fact that there are now three regulators overseeing the industry,” writes The Independent.

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