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Sunday newspaper round-up: NatWest, Rolls Royce, Coronavirus

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Sunday 09 Aug 2020

Sunday newspaper round-up: NatWest, Rolls Royce, Coronavirus

(Sharecast News) - NatWest is to push out several top bankers as part of a dramatic overhaul of its investment bank, as new boss Alison Rose attempts to cut ties with its past. The lender formerly known as Royal Bank of Scotland, 62%-owned by taxpayers, is expected to tell staff this week that at least three of its most senior investment bankers will stand down. - Sunday Times

Aerospace bosses are planning a £1bn fund to prop up and take stakes in struggling suppliers. Trade body ADS has drafted plans for a state-backed fund to help small companies crippled by the collapse in flying. Plane-maker Airbus is believed to have pledged to inject cash into the fund, with the Treasury urged to match the private sector. Manufacturers including Airbus and engine-maker Rolls-Royce have slashed production, leaving an army of small suppliers desperately short of work. - Sunday Times

A total of 1,062 people have tested positive for coronavirus today bringing Britain's case load to 310,825 in the biggest daily rise in six weeks. The country has not seen an increase this large since June 25 - when 1,118 cases were reported in a single day. The numbers add fuel to fears that the UK might be heading for a second wave of the deadly bug after lockdown measures were gradually relaxed. - Mail on Sunday

Boris Johnson has spoken of "a moral duty" to get all children back in class amid indications he would force pubs, restaurants and shops to close ahead of schools in the event of severe coronavirus flare-ups. The prime minister is understood to favour only closing schools as the last resort after scientific advisers warned more restrictions may be needed to reopen classrooms in England next month. - Guardian

Union boss Len McCluskey is gearing up for strike action against British Airways over thousands of job cuts. More than 6,000 BA employees have applied for voluntary redundancy so far, with thousands more braced for enforced job losses as BA battles what it has described as the worst crisis in its history. - Mail on Sunday

Arm, which designs chip architecture that powers every mobile phone, has been teed up for a float, offered to giants Apple and Samsung, and seen parts of its business spun off. Working with Goldman Sachs, SoftBank is also believed to have pitched Arm to Google and Qualcomm, and a possible consortium. The offers didn't progress. Now, a white knight has emerged. SoftBank is understood to be in talks with [Jensen] Huang's Nvidia to sell Arm in a deal that could be agreed within weeks and worth around $32bn - roughly the same as what the British company was sold for. - Sunday Telegraph

He says having his own plane is his one 'guilty pleasure' in life. But billionaire Bill Gates also likes to splash his cash on shares in private jet companies. Last week, the Microsoft founder ploughed more of his fortune into London-listed Signature Aviation, which offers refuelling and other services for private air travel. Gates first invested in the FTSE 250 company - which used to be called BBA Aviation - in 2009 after the company was hit by the global financial crisis. He later became the largest shareholder. - Mail on Sunday

BT is opening talks to pledge a stake in its network to its pension scheme, as it seeks to head off demands for higher cash payments to plug its multibillion-pound funding deficit. The former state telecoms operator has begun a triennial valuation with the trustees of Britain's biggest private sector pension scheme, which has about 90,000 active and deferred members, and supports about 200,000 pensioners and their families. - Sunday Telegraph

The AA's biggest shareholder has heavily criticised its board for "jeopardising negotiating leverage" in their response to "very opportunistic" private equity takeover approaches. [...] Drew Dickson, of Albert Bridge Capital, which owns a 12pc stake in the AA, said he was "surprised" at the AA's ­response to the approaches. He claimed the company "jeopardised negotiating leverage" by stressing its "dire circumstances". - Sunday Telegraph

Saudi Arabia's state-owned oil giant still plans to pay $75bn (£57bn) to its shareholders this year even as the impact of the coronavirus caused its profits for the last quarter to plummet by 73%. The global slowdown in oil demand during the pandemic pushed Saudi Aramco's net income for the second quarter down to $6.57bn, from $24.7bn in the same period last year and $16.6bn in the first quarter of 2020. - Guardian

WH Smith is demanding rent cuts from landlords as it struggles to contain costs. The retailer, which has 575 shops in town centres and 560 in travel hubs across the UK, has drafted in its property adviser, Gerald Eve, to thrash out deals with property owners. WH Smith announced it would cut up to 1,500 of its 14,000 jobs after sales crashed by 57% last month. - Sunday Times

The world's largest catering firm is to lay off casual staff after raising doubts over whether crowds will be able to fully return to sporting events such as Premier League football this year. Boris Johnson said in July that he expected large-scale events to resume as early as 1 October, with the sport minister, Nigel Huddleston, saying he would be surprised if the "pretty firm" date was moved. But Levy UK, which caters at Premier League football matches, cricket and horse racing as well as concerts and conferences, told part-time staff they might not be needed until next year. - Guardian

Britain's economy will be officially declared in recession this week for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis, as the coronavirus outbreak plunges the country into the deepest slump on record. Figures from the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday are expected to show that gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of economic prosperity, fell in the three months to June by 21%. - Guardian

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