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Tuesday newspaper round-up: RBS, Glencore, JP Morgan

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RBS warned over turning down £1.5bn branch bid; Glencore Xstrata writes down $7.7bn in assets; JP Morgan to face further litigation.

Andy Higginson, the former finance director of Tesco, said the board of RBS would have to be “very brave” not to not to accept the bid for the so-called “Project Rainbow” branches. “This is not their [RBS’s] option. They have an obligation to get rid of this business. I think it would be a very brave board that went to the EU having turned down a deal on the table that values the business at book value,” said Mr Higginson. The sale has been forced on RBS, which is 81% owned by the state, by the European Commission as a result of its 2008 £45.5bn bail-out, The Daily Telegraph points out.

McCarthy & Stone is expected to confirm today that 24 existing investors, led by a core group including America’s Goldman Sachs, Strategic Value Partners and TPG, have injected £367 million of new equity into the group. They have also agreed to provide a five-year, £160m loan in a transaction that reduces the company´s debt by £350m, The Times writes.

France’s Socialist government has set out a gleaming vision of the future marked by full employment and cutting-edge factories thanks to “a third industrial revolution”. The vision, presented at a “France in 10 years’ time” seminar at the presidential palace, marked an end to the summer holidays before an official cabinet meeting on Wednesday and what is likely to prove a tough legislative agenda to follow. In a speech that ranged from social inclusion to global warming and industrial policy, President François Hollande said at the event that such a long-term vision was necessary because “a decade is time to bring about change”. Arguing that France was only just emerging from a “lost decade”, he added: “Europe needs a strong France and the world an influential France,” according to the FT.

Germany’s central bank yesterday said the country’s economy should stabilise in the second half of the year as the Eurozone emerges from recession. Official figures last week showed the Germany economy grew by 0.7% between April and June – its strongest performance for more than a year. It helped the 17-nation single currency bloc post growth of 0.3% as its 18-month recession finally came to an end, The Daily Mail reports.

Glencore Xstrata knocked $7.7bn off the value of its mining assets following the complex merger that created the diversified commodities trader and miner this year. The hits to the value of Xstrata’s mines show the gloom surrounding the mining industry as prices for many key commodities have fallen amid oversupply and slowing growth in demand, the FT says.

The UK’s gold exports have surged nearly tenfold this year as investor selling drives the bullion out of London vaults into the hands of Asian consumers. UK gold exports to Switzerland, the hub of the gold refining industry, leapt to 798 tonnes in the first six months of the year, up from just 83 tonnes in the first half of 2012, according to data from Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics office, the FT says.

JP Morgan faces further litigation after it emerged that the US Department of Justice is investigating whether the bank manipulated US energy markets. The Wall Street giant has already agreed to pay $410m to settle a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) probe into allegations that it manipulated energy markets in California and the Midwest. The bank did not admit nor deny wrongdoing as part of the settlement, which was agreed last month, The Daily Telegraph reports.


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