What The Papers Said: A round-up of Sunday business stories
Monday 15 February 1999
n Property developer Regalian is on a short list of two to redevelop the Chelsea Barracks, home of the Coldstream Guards. The Ministry of Defence will have to find an alternative home for the Guards and is considering buying the Battersea Power Station site.
n The Chancellor, Gordon Brown, is lining up allies in Europe to continue opposing plans for a eurobond tax, following last week's vote in the European Parliament in favour of a withholding tax.
n A series of measures to help small businesses is set to be a key element in this year's Budget, including ways to cut their tax. The Chancellor is looking at either making enhanced first-year capital allowances for investment in plant and equipment permanent or cutting their 20 per cent tax rate.
n Shares in BAe are likely to rise today following the news that Greece is committed to buying up to 80 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft, worth pounds 2.8bn.
n The Freemans catalogue business is forcing suppliers to increase the discounts they offer it from 8 per cent to up to 10.5 per cent, less than a month after its parent group Sears was taken over by Philip Green.
n BP Amoco is set to cull more high-level jobs as the newly merged oil giant aims for a 40 per cent reduction in its corporate staff.
n It will take two and a half to three years for high street banks and shops to introduce euro notes and coins if the UK decides to join the single currency, according to a report by the Treasury due out this month.
n Businesses in the UK pay higher taxes, when measured as a proportion of national income, than any other top industrial country, according to an unpublished study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
n The Government received offers from trade buyers for Railtrack at the time of its privatisation which could have raised pounds 1bn more than the 1996 flotation netted. Nomura, Morgan Stanley and Babcock & Brown were all possible buyers.
n National Power, the UK generator, is thinking about demerging its international business in order to boost its share price, after its plans to unlock shareholder value through a merger with the electricity and water group United Utilities fell through.
n Harvey Nichols, the upmarket retailer, is set to open a new store in Manchester's Arndale Centre.
n LineOne, the Internet service provider, is to cut 46 of its 110 staff, as it battles against the success of Dixon's Freeserve service.
n Two Vaux breweries, in Sunderland and Sheffield, are facing closure even if the planned management buyout, led by the chairman's brother Frank Nicholson, goes ahead.
n RJB Mining is considering buying mines overseas in order to reduce its dependency on the declining British coal industry.
n Whitbread is thinking about launching a pounds 1.2bn bid for its smaller rival Greenalls, which would strengthen its position as a leading pubs and hotels group. Such a move could prompt Scottish & Newcastle to mount a counterbid.
n National Power is planning to demerge its international arm, and could unveil a stock market float or partial sale of the business in 2000.
n Mobile phone group Orange has linked up with Fujitsu of Japan and Cisco and Ascend in the US to trial technology for the next generation of mobile phones. The companies will also launch a pilot scheme in Bath and Bristol.
n Diversified building materials group Polypipe is in talks with Avonside, the building services and distribution group, that could lead to bid valuing Avonside at pounds 20m.
n Chelsea Building Society has rejected a pounds 400m takeover approach from a consortium headed by the former Chancellor, Lord Lawson of Blaby.
n A report due out from the rail regulator next month will criticise Railtrack for failing to invest in modernisation and lacking targets for its investment programme. The Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott could force the track operator to cut the access fees it charges train companies.
n Users of Dixons' free Internet service Freeserve will soon be able to pick up emails over the phone. The phone calls will be at a premium rate and Dixons could collect up to 9p a minute.
n Sfx Entertainment, a US-based promoter whose clients include the basketball player Michael Jordan and the pop star Billy Joel, may make a counter offer for Wembley. Enic, the sports investment group founded by Joe Lewis, has already made an informal pounds 228m cash and shares bid, but Sfx is expected to table an all cash offer.
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