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Friday newspaper round-up: North Sea, Glaxo, Wonga

Government borrowing costs in the US and Europe surged as investors became more optimistic that the developed world has embarked on a period of sustained and rapid growth and anticipated that central banks will increase interest rates earlier than previously thought. Yields on sovereign debt, which move inversely to prices, broke above key levels in Europe and the US, even after Mario Draghi, the European Central Bank president, warned about the fragility of the Eurozone’s nascent economic recovery, the FT writes.

An extensive programme of repairs could be needed across North Sea oil and gas operations in light of emerging evidence of causes of last year’s Elgin gas leak, experts have warned. A corrosive drilling fluid may have been to blame for the leak at the Total-operated platform, which went on for a month and a half before being stopped and contributed to a slump in North Sea production last year, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Rolls-Royce will help Russia’s state-controlled nuclear energy group build its reactors in Britain as the Government casts its net ever wider to gets its stalled nuclear programme off the ground. Rosatom, which was formed out of the Soviet ministry responsible for the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, has hired the engineer to advise on getting its technology licensed by British regulators, The Times reports.

Speaking at the CBI Scotland annual dinner in Glasgow, the BT chairman said he remains unconvinced that independence would be a good economic move for the Scottish. ‘The CBI is not convinced of the economic case for independence and has asked some important questions of the Scottish Government,’ Sir Mike Rake said, The Daily Telegraph reports.

The Suntory group, best known for its range of Japanese whisky, is close to agreeing a purchase of the iconic Ribena and Lucozade brands from British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline, according to industry sources. An announcement is expected within days, though a Suntory spokesman stressed that ‘nothing has been decided’ at this stage. Analysts value the brands at around £1bn, though it is believed the final sum could exceed this, with some reports suggesting a price tag as high as £1.5bn, The Daily Telegraph says.

One million hard-pressed borrowers prepared to pay interest at up to 5,853% have propelled into the league of Britain’s biggest lenders after the controversial payday loan company lent as much money last year as Britain’s biggest building society advanced in personal loans, The Guardian reports.


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