What The Papers Said

A round-up of Sunday business stories

n Business leaders are expected to welcome Gordon Brown's budget as a blueprint for economic stability and enterprise.

The chief economist of the Confederation of British Industry, Kate Barker, said she was confident her members had been heard.

n Standard Life Investments, one of the largest shareholders in Telecom Italia, is mounting a campaign of major shareholders in the telecommunications group to block the proposed $58bn takeover by Olivetti.

Edinburgh-based Standard believes the deal would saddle Telecom Italia with debts, hampering its future growth.

n Jaguar, the luxury car maker, has come back from the brink of collapse to make a pounds 50m pre-tax profit last year.

The UK company, which is owned by Ford, is understood to have made a higher-than-expected operating profit of pounds 250m on turnover of pounds 1.6bn. The results follow a period of heavy losses in the early 1990s.

n First Choice, the package holiday company, is believed to have received takeover approaches from its British rival Airtours and Germany's Preussag, owner of Thomas Cook. First Choice is aiming for an offer of around 220p per share, valuing the company at pounds 800m.

n The US group, Mission Energy, is the front runner to buy two coal-fired power stations being auctioned by the UK generator PowerGen for up to pounds 1bn. The American group has edged ahead of British Energy, the privatised nuclear generator, in the race for the two plants in Ferrybridge, Yorkshire, and Fiddler's Ferry, Merseyside.

n Royal & SunAlliance, the insurance giant, is poised to sell its pounds 400m British commercial property portfolio as part of its plans to boost shareholder value and make more efficient use of its capital. The company is in advanced negotiations with Moorfield Estates, a small property group.

n The downfall of the Flaming Ferraris, the Credit Suisse First Boston team of traders that included Lord Archer's son James, was triggered by complaints from two rival banks. Salomon Smith Barney and HSBC alerted the authorities about CSFB's index arbitrage after noticing sharp price movements on the Stockholm bourse.

n Liffe, the London futures exchange, will report its first-ever loss next month, postponing its desired stock market flotation for two or three years. The losses have been caused by cuts in fees to help stem the loss of business to other exchanges and by redundancy costs.

n Camelot is considering bidding for the first federal lottery in Russia.

The UK lottery operator is investigating the possibility of forming a consortium to bid for the Russian draw, set to have an television audience of over 100m people.

n Reckitt & Colman, the household goods group, is to reshuffle its poorly performing North American operations in an attempt to reassure investors and stave off a hostile bid.

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