Wed, Jul 05, 2017 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

BANKING

Ex-Barclays execs deny fraud

Four former Barclays PLC executives, including a former CEO, told a London court that they would plead not guilty to charges that they conspired to commit fraud over a 2008 fundraising with Qatar. Former CEO John Varley, Roger Jenkins, Thomas Kalaris and Richard Boath on Monday informed the court of their intentions at their first hearing in London before a packed room of journalists and lawyers. The case was transferred to a higher court for the next hearing on July 17. The men are the most senior UK banking executives to face criminal charges since the financial crisis, which sent banks scrambling to raise funds to cover billions in losses. The Serious Fraud Office case relates to £322 million (US$417 million) in fees Barclays paid the Qatar Investment Authority and a US$3 billion loan facility it made available to the nation as part of side deals to the £12 billion fundraising from the Qataris and others.

ENERGY

US drills lift Hunting sales

Oilfield services company Hunting PLC yesterday said that its first-half revenue was boosted by onshore drilling in the US, particularly in shale oil regions such as the Permian basin in west Texas. The company, which provides drilling and infrastructure support to oil explorers, said it had recommissioned a previously mothballed facility and added personnel to its perforating systems unit to meet the increased demand. However, US offshore and international drilling markets remained weak due to low oil prices, Hunting said, adding that drilling budgets continued to be reduced by oil companies, hurting the prospects of oil services firms. US oil drillers cut two rigs last week, the first time since January, to 756, and the pace of additions slowed this quarter due to declines in crude prices despite an OPEC-led effort to cut production and end a multiyear supply glut.

RESTAURANTS

Subway expanding in UK

The Subway franchise of sandwich restaurants plans to open another 500 outlets in the UK and Ireland over the next three years, creating about 5,000 jobs, as it seeks to capitalize on a growing appetite for cheap food on the go. Subway, which sells a wide range of freshly made submarine sandwiches, as well as salads, yesterday said it was targeting 3,000 stores by 2020, up from 2,500 now. “The expansion plans are in response to consumer demand,” it said. Britain’s food-to-go market is forecast to be worth nearly £22 billion by 2021, up from £16.1 billion lat year, industry research group IGD said. Other major food-to-go specialists in the UK include Pret A Manger and Greggs.

BANKING

Paschi rescue on course

The European Commission might approve the state-backed rescue of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA as soon as yesterday, completing a six-month review of the restructuring of the world’s oldest bank, people familiar with the matter said. EU approval would pave the way for a precautionary recapitalization of the lender, making it the third Italian bank to obtain state aid this year. Last month, European authorities and Italian officials reached an agreement in principle on a rescue plan that might include a capital increase of about 8.3 billion euros (US$9.4 billion) and the sale of about 26 billion euros of bad loans through a securitization, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.

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