Sunday newspaper round-up: BT Group, HSBC, IAG | Financial News


(Sharecast News) – Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business Secretary, may be set to stop billionaire Patrick Drahi from taking over BT through new national security laws and from building up his stake in telecommunications group. Government may also block Drahi from taking a seat on the board. The current ban under takeover rules on any attempt by the investor to launch a bid is set to expire over the coming week. The Government has until the beginning of July to decide whether it wishes to act or not. – The Financial Mail on Sunday

HSBC would be able to generate as much as $26.5bn (£22bn) of extra returns for its shareholders should it opt to spin-off its Asian unit, research used by angry investor Ping An to put further pressure on the lender to break itself up. Analysts have cast doubt on the feasibility of Ping An’s proposal since it was first table in late April. According to the research, the three options are a full spin-off of the Asian business, a separate listing for a quarter of the unit or an IPO of a quarter of the Hong Kong retail business. – Sunday Times

British Airways owner IAG is facing opposition from advisors to pension funds and asset managers, Glass Lewis, Minerva Analytics and Institutional Shareholder Services, to its plans to boost chief executive officer Luis Gallego’s share awards. All three have labelled the package as “excessive” and have urged shareholders to vote against it. Gallego did take a “significant” salary cut in 2021 but with the new package he stands to make £4,682,500 if he hits all his targets for 2022. Gallego had also foregone his bonuses for 2020-21, alongside voluntary salary cuts for both those years. His salary, as a ratio of that of the average employee, is 20, one of the lowest in the FTSE 100. – Financial Mail on Sunday

IAG boss, Luis Gallego, responded to criticism of the industry for the chaos at airports over the Jubilee weekend. “They have said the problem was that we overbooked and didn’t forecast demand, but forecasting demand is one thing we as airlines know how to do […] The more difficult thing has been to forecast what the government is going to do,” he argued. Ahead of Easter, all restrictions on travel were suddenly dropped, but before that the list of countries from which travel to the UK was allowed had changed on 10 or 11 occasions in a few months. During the previous week, his predecessor at the post, Willie Walsh, had condemned what he termed were “idiot” politicians for saying airlines should have ramped up capacity sooner. – Sunday Times

The European Union is facing a backlash from lenders on Wall Street because of its plans to siphon jobs from the City after Brexit failed to produce that result. The bosses of US banks will express their concerns to the European Central Bank, which has pressured lenders to move jobs, in coming months. Following a review by the ECB, many institutions will need to augment their euro area operations or face penalties. The ECB has also warned that what it terms “empty shell” structures are a “very real concern”. – Sunday Telegraph


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