Toshiba confirmed plans to spin off its Chip Business

Toshiba Corp., facing a multibillion-dollar writedown in its nuclear power division, confirmed plans to spin off its chip unit, a step that will let the conglomerate sell off a stake in the business and raise much-needed cash. Bloomberg’s David Ingles reports on “Bloomberg Markets.”

Johnson & Johnson to pay $30 billion for Europe’s biggest biotech company Actelion

US healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson is to buy Actelion, Europe’s biggest biotech company – paying $30 billion (28 billion euros).

The purchase gives Johnson & Johnson access to the Swiss group’s highly profitable range of medicines for rare diseases.

The deal represents a 23 percent premium to Actelion’s closing price on Wednesday and is more than 80 percent above the November 23 closing price before takeover reports first emerged.

Royal Bank of Scotland sets aside 3.92 billion pounds to settle claims of U.S. loan mis-selling

Royal Bank of Scotland
morebyless/flickr.com

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) has taken a 3.1 billion pound ($3.92 billion) provision as it prepares to settle claims in the United States that it mis-sold toxic mortgage-backed securities in the run up to the 2008 financial crisis.

The provision means that state-backed RBS is unlikely to make a profit in 2016, the ninth straight year the bank has failed to make an annual profit.

RBS is preparing to start negotiations with the U.S. Department of Justice over a settlement of the mis-selling claims, the timing of which is still uncertain.

“This bank, and of course the British taxpayers, have paid a very heavy price for the decisions that were made at RBS before the crisis,” RBS Chief Executive Ross McEwan said on a conference call with reporters on Thursday.

“Today’s announcement is yet another painful example of that legacy,” he said.

This is the first time that RBS has set aside any money to directly cover a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice over the alleged decades-old mis-selling of mortgage-backed securities.

RBS is the latest European bank that needs to reach a settlement with U.S. authorities. Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) earlier this month agreed to pay $5.3 billion and Deutsche Bank agreed to pay (DBKGn.DE) $7.2 billion to settle their respective mis-selling cases.

These settlements stem from an initiative launched in 2012 by former U.S. President Barack Obama to hold Wall Street accountable for misconduct in the sale of the securities that helped to trigger the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Analysts said investors would welcome the first signs of clarity over the eventual size of RBS’s settlement even as the final total remains unclear.

“RBS shares are up a touch today, perhaps as investors decide that things might not be as bad as feared,” Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at trading firm ETX Capital in London, said.

RBS shares were up 1.7 percent by 0850 GMT.

Analysts have estimated the bank could have to pay the U.S. Department of Justice as much as 9 billion pounds in the next few months. Even the lowest estimate of 2 billion pounds would make it the largest fine in the bank’s history.

UBS said in a research report this week that RBS sold around 35 percent more volume of the toxic securities than Deutsche Bank, but also said there had so far been little correlation between the volume sold and the size of a final settlement.

RBS said the total misconduct bill for mis-selling these securities might exceed its provisions.

CEO McEwan has been trying to clean up RBS’s balance sheet and end an array of legal cases so the government can sell its more than 70 percent stake in the bank after a 45.5 billion pound bailout during the financial crisis.

McEwan said the bank was unable to clawback any banker bonuses in relation to the U.S. mortgage securities because they were sold before the financial crisis and there were no laws in place at the time that would allow RBS to recoup any of the money

The British government has said that the uncertainty about the scale of the U.S. penalty is one of the reasons why it halted plans to sell any further shares in the bank.

RBS said in its statement it continued to cooperate with the Department of Justice, although it remained uncertain when a settlement might be reached.

By Andrew MacAskill and Lawrence White

 

Santander warns of economic uncertainty following Brexit vote as UK profit falls

Santander Bank
Mike Mozart/flickr

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com- – Wed, 25 Jan, 2017) London, Uk – –

Santander has warned on “significant” economic uncertainty following the Brexit vote after the slump in the pound helped UK profits fall sharply.

The Spanish lender also said a tax hike had taken its toll as attributable profit fell 15% to €1.7bn (£1.4bn), while profits for the wider group rose 4% to €6.2bn (£5.3bn).

Santander has 14 million customers and more than 800 branches in the UK.

It said the UK profit fall was driven by the introduction of the 8% bank corporation tax surcharge as well as “the weakening of the pound against the euro following the outcome of the referendum”.

The pound has fallen by more than 10% against the single currency since the poll.

Santander also said there was “significant uncertainty about UK economic outlook following the EU referendum and global issues”.

The lender added that house price growth in the UK showed signs of slowing while inflation – which is being pushed higher thanks to the fall in the pound – would squeeze real terms income growth.

However, it said some of the risks were mitigated by Bank of England action and the wider strength of the banking sector.

Foreign-owned companies earning sterling revenues are adversely affected by the fall in the pound as it means they translate to lower sums in their home currencies.

Santander said that stripping out tax and currency effects, UK profits were higher, as customer numbers and lending grew.

By John-Paul Ford Rojas

Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc’s credit rating downgraded by Standard & Poor

Rolls Royce
Cedric Ramirez/flickr.com

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bloomberg.com – – Tue, 24 Jan, 2017) London, Uk – –

Standard & Poor’s downgraded Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc’s credit rating to three levels above junk after factoring in 670 million pounds ($836 million) in fines for bribery and corruption charges.

The aircraft engine-maker’s long-term investment rating has been downgraded to BBB+ from A-, S&P said in a statement Monday, cautioning that a new mandatory accounting system could weigh on reported revenue and profit. The ratings agency also said further investigations may follow the Jan. 16 fines.

The downgrade is the latest fallout after an agreement with U.S., U.K. and Brazilian regulators. Rolls was accused of paying bribes and using middlemen to secure contracts in countries including India, Indonesia and Nigeria. The company reported the incidents to the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office in 2012.

Rolls-Royce shares fell as much as 3.4 percent Tuesday and were trading down 2 percent at 678 pence as of 9:13 a.m. in London.

Rolls-Royce said last week it expected earnings to be ahead of expectations for 2016. The company is due to report annual results Feb. 14.

The engine-maker in November detailed the initial impact on its books from a switch to a new accounting system that prevents Rolls from booking revenue for contracts far in advance. The impact on the company’s earnings is under review and has not been factored into the latest forecast, S&P said.
By Benjamin Katz

Deepening Italian accounting scandal sees BT shares plummet – corporate

UK telecoms firm BT has cut its revenue, earnings and cash flow forecasts for the next two years.

The reason for that was it had discovered that improper accounting at its Italian business went far deeper than previously thought.

Its shares slumped and on Tuesday were on track for their worst ever one-day fall, cutting its value on the stock market by almost a fifth.

Theresa May to hold talks in Washington on Friday With Trump

Theresa May says she “won’t be afraid” to tell Donald Trump if he says or does anything she feels is “unacceptable”. The two will hold talks in the White House on Friday on issues such as trade and security, with the prime minister being the first foreign leader to meet the US President since he took office. She told the BBC that the special relationship between the two countries enabled her to raise difficult matters. She insisted she had a “strong track record” of defending women’s rights.

Stamp duty making the UK’s housing crisis worse, says property chief

 

Chinese Developers
Gareth Williams/flickr.com

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Mon, 23 Jan, 2017) London, Uk – –

Stamp duty is making the UK’s housing crisis worse by distorting the market and harming long-term development, the head of one of the world’s biggest property groups has warned.

Christian Ulbrich, global chief executive of Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), said homebuyers were “paying for nothing” in a system that penalised landlords and second homeowners while doing little to address a lack of housing supply.

Britain has the highest property taxes of any developed country, figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development show. Mr Ulbrich said the current system, where stamp duty jumps from 5pc to 10pc of a property’s value above £925,000, was “politically motivated”.

While the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, cut the rate of tax for the vast majority of house purchases with a big overhaul of the system in 2014, Mr Ulbrich said, the policy still made it “prohibitive” to build more houses.

“For long-term development, stamp duty is definitely harmful, because the stamp duty in itself doesn’t create any value. It’s an additional cost that makes development more unattractive and it has to be considered in the pricing,” he said.

Mr Ulbrich also hit out at the 3 percentage point surcharge that landlords and families pay when buying second homes, which he said had “a very strong dampening impact on the market”. He said he understood aims to reduce the influx of foreign money into the British property market, which Mr Ulbrich said would remain a haven for overseas investors, even after the Brexit vote.

However, he said, increasing supply would help to “create an environment where that demand finds a home”. “We need more building,” he said. “That is good for the economy”.

Mr Ulbrich cited the Crossrail scheme in London as an example where “focus on building the right infrastructure” helped to “enlarge the spectrum of commutable areas around London where people can still live and come to work every morning. “Stamp duty doesn’t help to build one single apartment, it just makes it more expensive.”

Mr Ulbrich also warned that JLL would be hit by a “double whammy” this year from rising business rates and the subdued commercial property market. Research shows that business rate bills in London are likely to soar by £9.4bn over the next five years. The JLL chief criticised the system as counter-cyclical, as he suggested that more frequent revaluations were necessary.

“The [commercial property] market is currently cooling down, at the same time, business rates are going up because they were reflective of values before the Brexit vote. But the impact is happening after the Brexit vote,” he said. “We were very much hit by the overall loss in sentiment in the property market in London, and then we got the increase in business rates, so it’s a real double whammy.”

By Szu Ping Chan

Executives and Entrepreneurs Best Efficient Travel Tips

It’s important to know How To Be an Efficient Traveller because anyone who travels frequently, can tell you that a few extra minutes of planning or a few key accessories, can either enhance your travelling experience or become your worse travelling nightmare.

Patrick has travelled to several parts of the world and in this episode, he shares The Best Travel Tips for Executives and Entrepreneurs that he personally uses and have led him to have pleasant travelling experiences.

Uber to Pay $20M allegations Settlement Over Duping Drivers

Uber Technologies is paying $20 million to settle allegations that it duped people into driving for its ride-hailing service with false promises about how much they would earn and how much they would have to pay to finance a car. The agreement announced Thursday with the Federal Trade Commission covers statements Uber made from late 2013 until 2015 while trying to recruit more drivers to expand its service and remain ahead of its main rival, Lyft. The FTC alleged that most Uber drivers were earning far less in 18 major U.S. cities than Uber published online.