PRESS DIGEST-Sunday British business - Jan 5

Reuters

LONDON, Jan 5 (Reuters) - British newspapers reported the following business stories on Sunday:

The Sunday Telegraph

M&S TO REPORT THIRD POOR CHRISTMAS IN A ROW

Marks & Spencer has suffered its third disappointing Christmas in a row with a revamp of its clothing failing to stop sales declining, figures are expected to show this week.

Reuters preview:

GOVERNMENT TO SELL 12 BLN POUNDS OF STUDENT LOANS

The government is to sell 12 billion pounds ($19.7 billion)of student loans as it seeks to dispose of further public assets to reduce the deficit.

SCOTTISH POWER TO CUT ENERGY BILLS BY 3.3 PCT

Iberdrola's Scottish Power is preparing to cut household energy bills by 3.3 percent, becoming the fourth major supplier to pass on savings from the UK government's deal to cut green levies.

RSA SCANDAL "ISOLATED INCIDENT"

An independent investigation by PricewaterhouseCoopers into the 200 million pounds capital black hole at insurer RSA is expected to conclude it was an isolated incident with no further write-downs needed.

IPO SURGE BOOSTS BANK BONUSES

Bonuses at the London arms of major banks are set to rise after UK investment banking fees rose by 12.5 percent last year to $4.65 billion as companies enlisted advisers in a flurry of stock market floatations.

RENISHAW SEEKS NEW WAYS TO FILL PENSION GAP

Engineering firm Renishaw is in talks with the pensions regulator over alternative ways to fill the group's 41.7 million pounds pension deficit.

ROTHSCHILD BANKERS MADE PARTNERS

Rothschild, the 202-year-old investment bank, has set up a partnership for 48 of its most senior bankers as the final step of a drawn-out process to unite its French and British branches.

The Sunday Times

M&S HAS CHRISTMAS SALES DISASTER

Marks & Spencer will admit to dismal Christmas trading this week, after frantic price cuts failed to halt a slide in sales.

HEDGE FUND TRADERS BAG 100 MLN POUNDS

Members of the British division of Brevan Howard, the hedge fund founded by five former Credit Suisse traders, have shared more than 100 million pounds in salaries, bonuses and other payments.

CARNEY SET TO CHANGE UNEMPLOYMENT TARGET

Mark Carney is set to amend the Bank of England's forward guidance by changing the unemployment benchmark at which an interest rate rise will be considered. Sharply falling unemployment means the 7 percent unemployment threshold could be achieved soon and economists expect the Bank's monetary policy committee to shift it to 6.5 percent.

MINER AVOCET SEEKS MERGER PARTNER

Gold producer Avocet Mining has launched a last-ditch search for a merger partner to stave off a cash crunch.

The Mail on Sunday

HIGH STREET STORES PANICKED INTO PRE-CHRISTMAS PRICE CUTS

Shoppers forced many high street stores into panic sales in the last few days before Christmas as they refused to pay top prices, according to data from Barclaycard.

DOMINO'S PIZZA SEEKS TO REASURE INVESTORS

Domino's Pizza UK hopes to reassure nervous investors with strong sales figures this week following the sudden resignation of its Chief Executive Lance Batchelor.

Sunday Express

ALDI AND LIDL ENJOY RECORD CHRISTMAS SALES

Budget supermarkets Aldi and Lidl had their best Christmas trading on record, with both set to see double-digit sales growth over December.

CIRCLE SET FOR HOSPITAL EXPANSION

Private hospitals operator Circle is plotting to acquire up to 10 hospitals from its rivals as a result of a Competition Commission review into the sector.

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