PRESS DIGEST- British Business - Dec 18

Reuters

Dec 18 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories on the business pages of British newspapers. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

The Telegraph

NETWORK RAIL TO ADD 30 BLN STG TO GOVERNMENT DEBT

Network Rail is to be reclassified as a public-sector company, adding 30 billion pounds ($48.72 billion) to public sector net debt. The change to the status of the state-owned company that manages Britain's railway network, will take place next September, the Office for National Statistics said. ()

CO-OP BONDHOLDERS BACK 1.5 BLN STG RECAP

The Co-op Bank's 1.5 billion pound emergency recapitalisation has passed its final investor hurdle as the lender received the support of bondholders for the deal. ()

SIR MARTIN SORRELL BUYS INTO DAVOS

Martin Sorrell's WPP Plc has bought a 30 percent stake in Richard Attias & Associates, the conference producer behind the annual meeting of political and business leaders in Davos in the Swiss Alps. ()

The Guardian

MARK CARNEY STANDS BY FORWARD GUIDANCE POLICY

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has robustly defended his forward guidance policy in parliament against critics who argue it is confusing and has done little to persuade markets that an interest rate rise can be delayed for three years while the economy mends. ()

GLAXOSMITHKLINE TO STOP PAYING DOCTORS TO PROMOTE DRUGS

Britain's biggest pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline , has said it will stop paying doctors tens of millions of pounds a year to promote its drugs. ()

LIBOR RATE-RIGGING SCANDAL TRADER PLEADS NOT GUILTY

A former UBS and Citigroup trader has pleaded not guilty in a London court to charges that he had sought to manipulate Libor benchmark interest rates with employees from around 10 leading banks and brokerages. ()

BOB DIAMOND COULD GAIN MILLIONS FROM NEW AFRICAN INVESTMENT VENTURE

Bob Diamond, ousted as boss of Barclays last year after the Libor-rigging scandal, potentially stands to reap millions of pounds from a new stock market venture set up to acquire financial services companies in Africa. ()

HEATHROW AND GATWICK SHORTLISTED FOR NEW RUNWAYS

A new battle looms over a Heathrow third runway - or a second at Gatwick airport - after the Airports Commission said that additional capacity was needed in the south-east of England. Extra runways at London's two biggest airports are on the shortlist the commission will study before issuing its final recommendation. ()

CAR INSURANCE TOO HIGH, SAYS COMPETITION COMMISSION

Car insurance premiums are too high, with the way no-fault claims are settled and contracts between insurers and price comparison sites among the issues driving up costs for consumers, the competition watchdog has said. ()

The Times

MANUFACTURING SECTOR HOLDS ITS MOMENTUM

Growth in factory orders and output has remained at its highest since the mid-1990s, confirming that the manufacturing recovery has kept its momentum. The Confederation of British Industry's survey of nearly 400 factory bosses found that nearly all industry sectors reported growth for a second consecutive month. ()

HOUSE OF FRASER CLOSE TO FALLING INTO FRENCH HANDS

House of Fraser, one of Britain's oldest retail chains, is in late-stage talks with a view to being bought by the family owned French department store Galeries Lafayette, it emerged last night. ()

The Independent

UK INFLATION FALLS TO A 4-YEAR LOW AT 2.1 PCT IN NOVEMBER

The lowest inflation for four years added to the UK's economic purple patch yesterday, following strong quarterly growth and declining unemployment in boosting the nation's recovery prospects next year. ()

MEGA DISCOUNTERS LURING CUSTOMERS AWAY FROM BIG FOUR SUPERMARKETS IN RECORD NUMBERS, SAYS KANTAR

Half the country shopped at an Aldi or Lidl in the last three months for the first time on record, with cash-conscious shoppers love-affair with discount supermarkets shows no signs of slowing down. ()

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