RBS ‘bad bank’ decision looms; SSE director in utilities ‘transparency’ call; Islamic finance takes center stage in City.
Pressure is mounting on George Osborne to split Royal Bank of Scotland into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ banks. The Chancellor looks set to decide the future of the taxpayer-backed lender this week following a Government-commissioned review of the business. A decision could come on Friday when the bank publishes results for the third quarter of the year with analysts expecting profits of £440m. Former Tory Chancellor Lord Lawson, a member of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, yesterday urged Osborne to break up RBS, The Daily Mail says.
Lady Susan Rice, the senior independent director at electricity and gas supplier SSE, has called for energy companies to be more “transparent” about the charges that their customers face. Rice, who is also managing director of Lloyds Banking Group’s Scottish operations, said that greater transparency would help utility companies to regain the public’s trust. Tomorrow the House of Commons’ energy and climate change committee will question senior executives from the “Big Six” energy companies over the flurry of recent price rises, The Scotsman writes.
David Cameron will lead Britain’s attempt to become a global center of Islamic finance and open the taps for fresh investment. The Prime Minister will speak tomorrow at the first World Islamic Economic Forum, at ExCeL London, where managers and ministers are hoping to drum up billions in Anglo-Muslim trade. The prize for Britain is attracting some of the world’s $1.5trn (£928bn) of Islamic investment funds, potentially to fund large capital projects in energy and transport, according to The Times.
Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat energy secretary, has promised to “fight like a tiger” against Conservative attempts to cut green levies on gas and electricity bills. The senior coalition minister said he would not let the Tories touch subsidies for renewable energy or the fuel poor, describing it as a “red line”, and pledged to beat the target of getting 30% of Britain’s electricity from green sources by 2020. He spoke out after David Cameron said he wanted to roll back green charges on fuel bills that account for about £112 of the average £1,267 household bill for gas and electricity, The Guardian reports.
British oil giants BP and Royal Dutch Shell are set to report plunging third-quarter profits this week, with both expected to say that they have been hit by weak refining margins and production outages, according to City analysts. Aside from tougher market conditions, analysts believe BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill legal battles will weigh on its results expected on Tuesday. They predict increased US legal provisions will contribute to profits falling 37% to £4.9bn, The Daily Express writes.