PM warns on budget veto
British Prime Minister David Cameron threatened to veto the EU budget, telling the Sunday Telegraph newspaper he would not stand for “outrageous” attempts to hike it up. As his Conservative Party’s annual conference was about to get underway in Birmingham, Cameron said he would block the budget if it was not in Britain’s interest. He said he would stand up to “outrageous” attempts to increase the EU’s overall budget in upcoming negotiations to set total spending for 2014 to 2020. Cameron also floated a “bold thinking” plan for the 27-member bloc to have two separate budgets — one for the 17 nations using the euro currency and another for the other 10, Britain included.
US reports on documents
The US government said on Saturday it had received EU documents on funding for the Airbus A350 after requesting them from the WTO over a month ago in an ongoing transatlantic dispute over aircraft subsidies. It is the first time the funding of Europe’s answer to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, due to make its maiden flight next year, has been drawn directly into the world’s largest trade dispute, but it remains to be seen how the WTO will act on the data. Both sides are pressing for major trade sanctions after the WTO found that Airbus and US rival Boeing had benefited from billions of dollars of unfair subsidies in a pair of trade complaints now in their ninth year. Washington has called on Airbus to stop receiving loans from its host European nations — Britain, France, Germany and Spain — and argues that the WTO should take loans for the A350 into account when evaluating penalties for earlier support.
Regulators probe firms
Financial regulators are investigating three companies over their involvement in a scandal in which AIJ Investment Advisors Co allegedly defrauded pension funds, the Nikkei Shimbun reported yesterday. The Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission is probing Societe Generale SA, Stats Investment Management Co and United Investments Co, the Nikkei reported, without saying where it obtained its information. The Financial Services Agency may impose administrative punishment on the three companies, it said, without giving details. AIJ president Kazuhiko Asakawa was arrested in June on suspicion of defrauding pension funds of about ￥7 billion (US$89 million). The commission found the firm lost ￥109.2 billion from derivatives trades directed by Asakawa over nine years, in a scandal that has raised concerns about the safety of retirement assets in the world’s fastest-aging nation.
Qatari firm to raise stake
Qatar’s telecoms giant Qtel announced yesterday its majority stake in Kuwait’s Wataniya mobile firm will be raised to 92.1 percent in a deal worth US$1.85 billion, the company said in a statement. Qtel said it has received the acceptance of shareholders owning about 200 million shares representing 39.61 percent of Wataniya at a price of 2.6 dinars (US$9.25) at the close of a tender offer on Thursday. The Qatari firm had purchased about 52.5 percent of Wataniya about five years ago in a deal worth US$4 billion. The new purchase includes 23.5 percent of shares held by Kuwait Investment Authority or the oil-rich Gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund which is managing Kuwaiti overseas investments estimated at US$400 billion.