February 2, 2015 / 12:36 AM / 3 years ago

PRESS DIGEST- British Business - Feb 2

Feb 2 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories on the business pages of British newspapers. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

The Times

MERKEL REFUSES CALLS TO RELIEVE GREEK DEBTS

German chancellor Angela Merkel has flatly rejected calls to write off any more Greek debts as she increased tensions with Athens in a race to find a solution to deadlock over the country's bailout programme. (thetim.es/1zt4W1V)

AMERICANS LINE UP 2 BLN STG BID FOR AUTO TRADER

Private equity firm Hellman & Friedman is preparing a 2 billion pounds takeover bid for Auto Trader, Britain's biggest used-car marketplace. (thetim.es/16gIxuS)

CRH PAVES THE WAY TO BUY LAFARGE TARMAC

Irish building materials company CRH Plc is to take control of Lafarge Tarmac as part of a 6.5 billion euros ($7.36 billion) deal for the cast-offs of the cement mega-merger between Lafarge and Holcim. (thetim.es/1yqPhgK)

SOUTHEAST TO FOOT BILL FOR CROSSRAIL 2

Businesses and property owners in Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Surrey and Hampshire could be forced into helping to fund London's proposed Crossrail 2 line, the cost of which is expected to escalate to 27 billion pounds. (thetim.es/1CnWGnv)

The Guardian

SWISS CENTRAL BANK NOW HAS 'UNOFFICIAL EURO TARGET'

The Swiss National Bank, which last month scrapped the cap it had imposed on the value of the franc, is unofficially targeting an exchange rate of 1.05 to 1.10 Swiss francs per euro, a Swiss newspaper reported on Sunday. (bit.ly/162fxGK)

BP TO FOLLOW SHELL IN CUTTING SPENDING

BP Plc will on Tuesday unveil plans to slash billions of pounds off its capital spending programme in a bid to counter the impact of plunging oil prices and a 40 percent fall in its fourth quarter profits. (bit.ly/1EYfszP)

GREEK MINISTER TO MEET GEORGE OSBORNE ABOUT PROPOSED DEBT DEAL

Greece's Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis will meet Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne on Monday on his whistle stop tour of Europe, as he attempts to win support for a renegotiated debt deal, amid fears that protracted talks will sap confidence and liquidity from the Greek economy. (bit.ly/16hD1Z8)

The Telegraph

BRITAIN NETS 30 BLN STG AS BORROWING COSTS FALL THAT COULD FUND PRE-ELECTION GIVEAWAYS

Plummeting borrowing costs will cut the UK debt interest bill by more than 30 billion pounds ($45.24 billion) by 2019, giving George Osborne more scope to fund pre-election giveaways or to relax a massive squeeze on the state. Osborne can afford to relax spending squeeze or fund pre-election giveaways, as borrowing costs fall, new calculations show. (bit.ly/1zs5wyu)

CROATIA WRITES OFF DEBTS FOR POOREST CITIZENS

Thousands of Croats will see their debts written-off on Monday as part of an attempt to boost the economy by helping households to regain access to basic facilities including bank accounts. The scheme, which has been dubbed "fresh start," will see the debts of around 60,000 citizens erased by banks, telecoms and utilities operators as part of a deal with the government. (bit.ly/1ypyY3T)

FREE BANK ACCOUNTS UNSUSTAINABLE, SAYS PwC

Free bank accounts are "unsustainable" despite being widely expected in the UK, according to a report that claims consumers must begin paying for services if they are to be treated fairly. Research from PwC found that although most people understand that they are paying for bank accounts through the back door, the majority would be likely to desert their bank if they began to be charged up front. Free-if-in-credit current accounts are near-ubiquitous in the UK, unlike many countries. However, senior industry figures have said it harms consumers, and the issue is under the competition regulator's spotlight. (bit.ly/1EYmox2)

Sky News

EX-BP BOSS HAYWARD LURES MONAGHAN TO GENEL

Oil company Genel Energy Plc led by Tony Hayward, the former boss of BP Plc, is poised to announce a shake-up of its executive team four years after it was founded. The company will issue a statement on Monday in which it will say that Julian Metherell is to step down as its chief financial officer. He will be replaced by Ben Monaghan, who is understood to have resigned from his role leading JPMorgan Chase & Co 's European energy business on Friday, and a source close to the bank said that he had done so in order to join Genel. (bit.ly/1Duc271)

The Independent

LGBT EMPLOYEES WHO FEEL UNABLE TO COME OUT AT WORK MORE LIKELY TO LEAVE THEIR JOBS - AND COST BUSINESS MILLIONS

Businesses are squandering millions replacing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees who quit after not feeling comfortable enough to "come out" at work. A report, LGBT2020, to be published tomorrow, suggests that the UK economy could save 678 million pounds a year if businesses better implemented "diversity and inclusion" policies to encourage LGBT employees to be themselves. (ind.pn/1692rHg)

$1 = 0.6631 pounds $1 = 0.8836 euros Compiled by Rama Venkat Raman in Bengaluru. Editing by Andre Grenon

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