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Sunday newspaper round-up: Rolls-Royce, IWG, Bank of England

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Sunday 27 Sep 2020

Sunday newspaper round-up: Rolls-Royce, IWG, Bank of England

(Sharecast News) - Rolls-Royce is poised to tap investors for £2.5billion at a steep discount to the current share price to solve its funding crisis, The Mail on Sunday understands. City sources said it was considering pricing the cash call at £1 per share - 35 per cent below Friday's closing price of £1.54. - Mail on Sunday

The serviced offices giant formerly known as Regus has declared war on landlords by threatening to dump hundreds of lease commitments unless they agree to swingeing rent cuts. IWG, run by Mark Dixon, is set to put Jersey-based subsidiary Regus plc into insolvency in a matter of days, dissolving £790m of lease guarantees across 500 centres. Doing so would be hugely controversial. In 2018, the value of the subsidiary's guarantees quadrupled to £758m. IWG extracted a £635m dividend in January last year, all but wiping out its assets. - Sunday Times

The Bank of England has stoked expectations of an unprecedented move to negative interest rates as new pandemic restrictions cast a shadow over the recovery. In a Sunday Telegraph interview, Monetary Policy Committee member Silvana Tenreyro rejected criticisms over the policy, insisting the evidence from other countries was "encouraging" and that banks would cope with further pressure on their finances. Last week, the Bank launched formal talks with the Prudential Regulation Authority about the operational practicalities of the policy, hitting the pound. - Sunday Telegraph

The Qatari state handed the biggest shareholder in the owner of British Airways a £1.5bn bailout before the full effects of the coronavirus pandemic were felt. Qatar Airways, which owns a 25pc stake in IAG, will issue the government of the Gulf state new shares to cover losses for the year to March 2020. Chief executive Akbar Al Baker blamed "exceptional circumstances" for the airline's worsening annual performance. - Sunday Telegraph

Asda's future came one step closer to being decided yesterday as the board of owner Walmart convened to pick a preferred bidder. The board is choosing between private equity giants Apollo and TDR Capital: both have submitted bids to take a majority stake in Britain's third biggest supermarket, owned by Walmart for 21 years. Any deal is expected to value Asda at about £6.5bn. - Sunday Times

The Government is facing "certain" defeat on the Coronavirus Act provided that a Tory rebellion is supported by opposition MPs, a leading Conservative backbencher has said. Steve Baker has said that he is sure that there will be enough support to force through an amendment which would force Boris Johnson to put all future lockdown measures to a vote in the House of Commons. - Sunday Telegraph

One of the government's scientific advisers has said repeated "mini lockdowns" could be effective as a tool to bring Covid-19 cases under control. The suggestion from Professor John Edmunds, a member of the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), comes amid growing evidence the virus's prevalence is growing among older, more vulnerable people. - Guardian

Almost half of British companies have warned that their Brexit preparations have been hit by the pandemic, as business leaders demanded a last-minute compromise to reach a trade deal and avert chaos at the border. As a crucial week of talks begins, more than three-quarters of businesses (77%) said they wanted a deal to be agreed, according to a survey by the Confederation of British Industry. Only 4% of businesses said they preferred a no-deal outcome. Support for a deal rises to 86% among distribution companies and 83% of manufacturers. - Guardian

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