Press digest sunday british business aug 18

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LONDON Aug 18British newspapers reported the following business stories on this site Sunday TelegraphHS2 RAIL LINK WILL COST DOUBLE CURRENT ESTIMATES The proposed high speed rail link between Birmingham and London, High Speed 2 (HS2), will cost at least 80 billion pounds - double the government estimate, according to a report by an independent group of economists. The study by the Institute of Economic Affairs says the project's cost has been dramatically underestimated and "defies economic logic." HEDGE FUND LINKED TO RBS COLLAPSE BACKS BID FOR BRANCHES Toscafund, which helped trigger Royal Bank of Scotland's purchase of ABN Amro, is backing W&G Investments, one of the key bidders for the Scottish bank's "Project Rainbow" unit. RBS is being forced to sell the 315-branch arm as a result of European state-aid rules following the British government's 45 billion pound bailout. GLENCORE TO TAKE $7 BLN HIT ON NICKEL AND COPPER Glencore Xstrata is set to write off $7 billion from copper and nickel assets acquired through its takeover of Xstrata on Tuesday when it posts its first financial results since the merger. BLACKSTONE IN TALKS WITH GOLDMAN FOR PENSION INSURANCE STAKE Private equity group Blackstone is in talks with Goldman Sachs to buy a stake in UK pensions insurance business, Rothesay Life, valued between 750 million and 950 million pounds.

Talks are understood to involve Blackstone's $3 billion Tactical Opportunities fund headed by senior managing director David Blitzer. LLOYD'S INSURANCE MARKET SET TO EXPAND IN CHINA Insurance market, Lloyd's of London, is set to double its presence in China through the opening of an underwriting office in Beijing, departing boss Richard Ward told the Sunday Telegraph. The move is part of Lloyd's plan to take advantage of a growing market in the Far East.

No timeframe was given for the opening of the Beijing office. Ward said the insurance market was also eyeing expansion to Brazil, Mexico and India. Sunday TimesBLACKBERRY BOSS SET FOR 36 MLN STG PAYOFF Thorsten Heins, Chief Executive at troubled smartphone-maker Blackberry which last week said it would put itself up for sale, is set to receive 36 million pounds if the company is sold and he is sacked by its new owners.

STRIKE EXPECTED AT JAGUAR LAND ROVER'S UK PLANTS Staff at logistics firm DHL, which employs 1,800 people at Jaguar Land Rover's three main plants in Britain, are expected to give notice of industrial action on Tuesday. DHL contacted Ralf Speth, chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover, on Friday to say no agreement with UNITE union had been reached, the Sunday Times reported without naming a source. HOUSE OF FRASER EYES IPO Department store chain House of Fraser is mulling a return to the stock market after almost a decade in private hands. A listing could value the store at 200-300 million pounds. Plans for a possible float are being led by executive chairman Don McCarthy, but are at an early stage and may come to nothing, according to unnamed sources. CAR DEALER H. R. OWEN'S FATE IN BALANCE AS BERJAYA TO UP OFFER Asian conglomerate is set to increase its bid for car dealer H. R. Owen to 32.5 million pounds. Berjaya already owns a 30 percent stake in H. R. Owen but had a previous offer at 130 pence per share rejected. The consortium is seeking the backing of Bentley which has a 27.1 percent stake in the dealer with a 150 pence per share offer.