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Tuesday newspaper round-up: RBS, RWE, Iran

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RBS faces fresh break-up calls; RWE pulls out of the government's £4bn Atlantic Array project; President Obama faces a decisive test of his influence over Iran.

According to The Times, RBS is facing fresh break-up calls after an advisor to the Department for Business called yesterday for it and Lloyds to be split into six retail banks. Lawrence Tomlinson, advisor to Vince Cable, suggested that RBS had “pushed healthy small and medium-sized enterprises into administration to strip their assets and then buy them back cheaply to turn a profit”, the paper writes.

Britain’s green ambitions have been dealt a blow as a big six energy company has pulled the plug on one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms, with the political storm enveloping the industry threatening the multibillion-pound investments needed to meet emissions targets and head off a looming capacity crunch. Weeks after warning that the government was treating environmental subsidies as a “political football”, the German-owned RWE npower is pulling out of the £4bn Atlantic Array project in the Bristol Channel because the economics do not stack up, The Guardian says.

President Barack Obama will face a decisive test of his influence over Senate Democrats in December when he tries to fend off sanctions legislation that he believes could scupper nuclear negotiations with Iran. Senior members of both parties have called for new sanctions after rushing to criticise the historic interim agreement that was reached with Iran at the weekend, however some of the proposals might not clash with the next round of nuclear talks, the Financial Times reports.

Premier Oil is looking to raise cash from savers with a seven-year retail bond offering an annual return of 5%. The offer from the oil and gas explorer and producer requires a minimum investment of £2,000 and the official deadline is December 6th. But retail bond deals can close early if they prove popular enough to meet firms’ fundraising targets quickly. Another oil firm, EnQuest, launched a ‘top-up’ on an existing retail bond returning 5.5% last Wednesday, but this has already closed, The Daily Mail says.

Minutes from the Bank of Japan’s last meeting reveal tension over how to frame the communiqué and meet its 2% inflation target – arguably the chief goal of the central bank’s aggressive easing programme it initiated in April. The Oct 31st minutes also reveal pessimism and show that some members believe the 2015 inflation target might be too ambitious, the Financial Times says.

A telecoms company looking to build an extensive fibre-optic network covering Britain’s “second-tier” cities will float by the end of the year after resisting private equity funds to speed up its expansion. CityFibre is looking to raise about £25m through a quote on AIM  in the coming weeks that is likely to value the business at between £50m and £55m. The company already operates an extensive network covering 50 towns and cities and 30,000km of cable but is looking to up the ante as it competes with BT for business in areas underserved by the nation’s telecoms companies, writes The Times.

Chinese, Indian and Russian investors are tipped to be among bidders for Glasgow-based whisky distiller Whyte & Mackay after Diageo put the brand up for sale. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) today said that Diageo has offered to sell the “bulk” of the Whyte & Mackay business – including its grain distillery at Invergordon and its Fettercairn and Jura malt units – in order to satisfy competition concerns, The Scotsman says.

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