Sunday newspaper round-up: Ukraine, HSBC, Quilter
Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, issued a warning at the weekend that the war with Russia might halve Ukraine's harvest. Even so, Zelensky sounded a confident note, arguing that alternative ways were being found for grains to be delivered. John Rich, the Australian chairman of MHP, Ukraine's biggest agricultural produce company, was much more cautious. Rich also contradicted remarks from Lloyd's of London's boss during the previous week that the insurance market would underwrite the dangerous sea transit of millions of tonnes of grain through mine-laden waters. - Sunday Telegraph
Local investors in Hong Kong are expected to press HSBC at a meeting this week to give its largest shareholder, Chinese insurer Ping An, a seat on its board. In April, the Chinese insurer, which holds 9% of HSBC's shares, surprised investors by calling for the Asia-focused lender to spin-off its unit for the region. Local politician, Christine Fong, is due to participate in the meeting in representation of approximately 500 investors. - Sunday Times
NatWest is in the preliminary stages of studying a bid for wealth management outfit Quilter, City sources said. Other potential suitors for the FTSE 250 group included private equity firms CVC, Bain Capital and BC Partners. With a market value of only £1.4bn, the firm is considered by some observers to be one of the many that lack sufficient size to compete with larger rivals. - Financial Mail on Sunday
The head of Parliament's Business Committee, Darren Jones, penned a letter to the Business Secretary this weekend to express his concern regarding the Chinese state's stake in Eutelsat, the satellite operator which may soon acquire UK taxpayer-backed Oneweb. Jones also asked that the Secretary scrutinise Eutelsat's broadcasts of Russian TV throughout the war in Ukraine. A former leader of the Tories, Iain Duncan Smith, thinks the government will have to stop the sale of OneWeb on national security grounds. Jones also asked that his committee be granted enhanced scrutiny of the potential transaction. - Financial Mail on Sunday
Hedge fund manager, Crispin Odey, whose funds own large stakes in Currys and AO World, is calling on the former to forego its "price lock" and to raise the prices for its wares, including washing machines and refrigerators. “Freezers, machine washings and electronic goods are going to have to be more expensive as they are currently being kept artificially low by the two of the predominant market players — Currys and AO World," Odey said. Curry boss, Alex Baldock, had promised to do just the opposite. - Sunday Telegraph
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