City sources predict the FTSE 100 will open up 35 points from Friday's close of 5,260, tracking US stocks higher following the UK bank holiday weekend.
The merger of HSBC's Omani operations with Oman International Bank (OIB) has been approved, giving the global banking giant a majority interest. HSBC Bank Middle East first announced its intention to combine with OIB, Oman's fifth-largest bank, on April 18th in an attempt to expand its presence in a "key Gulf economy". It has now been officially approved by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry in Oman. HBSC owns 51% in the new entity, named HSBC Bank Oman, which begins operating on Wednesday.
Energy firm Premier Oil has had an encouraging drilling result on the Carnaby exploration well 28/09-5A in the Central North Sea Block 28/9. Initial analysis indicates that the well encountered 51 feet of net oil in the main Tay sandstone within an estimated 86 feet oil column. Pressure data and sampling indicates that the API (American Petroleum Institute) gravity of the oil is 24 degrees and is of similar quality to that established at the nearby Catcher discoveries.
Telecoms giant Vodafone has confirmed that it is talking with Australian peer Telstra about buying its New Zealand subsidiary, TelstraClear. The division was first created in 2001 through the combination of Telstra unit TelstraSaturn and BT's Clear Communications; it is now one of New Zealand's biggest full-services telecommunications groups and has around 300,000 customers. According to the Financial Times, the deal could be worth around A$300-400m, or £191-255m.
Healthcare company BTG was in the top spot after revealing it has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for its Varithena treatment. Varithena, which previously went under the name of Varisolve, is used to treat varicose veins, which can cause a range of unpleasant and painful symptoms. [26 Nov '13]
Royal Bank of Scotland came under fire from all sides on Monday. One report accused it of lending too little to small businesses, while yet another accused it of treating those businesses badly when it does lend to them. The reports pose difficult questions about RBS's future. Simply put, left out of the debate are the rights of the bank's owners. One of the reports says that return on equity in lending to small and medium-sized enterprises is between 3% to 7%. [26 Nov '13]
According to The Times, RBS is facing fresh break-up calls after an advisor to the Department for Business called yesterday for it and Lloyds to be split into six retail banks. Lawrence Tomlinson, advisor to Vince Cable, suggested that RBS had "pushed healthy small and medium-sized enterprises into administration to strip their assets and then buy them back cheaply to turn a profit", the paper writes. [26 Nov '13]
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