Capital Markets, Financial

BGC Partners eyes new platform to trade US Treasuries

BGC Partners plans to launch a new platform to trade US Treasuries early next year, in a bid to return to a market in the middle of evolution, according to people familiar with the plans.  The company, spun out of Howard Lutnick’s Cantor Fitzgerald in 2004, sold eSpeed, the second-largest interdealer platform for trading Treasuries, […]

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Sales in Rocket Internet’s portfolio companies rise 30%

Revenues at Rocket Internet rose strongly at its portfolio companies in the first nine months of the year as the German tech group said it was making strides on the “path towards profitability”. Sales at its main companies increased 30.6 per cent to €1.58bn while losses narrowed. Rocket said the adjusted margin for earnings before […]

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Renminbi strengthens further despite gains by dollar

The renminbi on track for a fourth day of firming against the dollar on Wednesday after China’s central bank once again pushed the currency’s trading band (marginally) stronger. The onshore exchange rate (CNY) for the reniminbi was 0.28 per cent stronger at Rmb6.8855 in afternoon trade, bringing it 0.53 per cent firmer since it last […]

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Nomura rounds up markets’ biggest misses in 2016

Forecasting markets a year in advance is never easy, but with “year-ahead investment themes” season well underway, Nomura has provided a handy reminder of quite how difficult it is, with an overview of markets’ biggest hits and misses (OK, mostly misses) from the start of 2016. The biggest miss among analysts, according to Nomura’s Sam […]

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Spanish construction rebuilds after market collapse

Property developer Olivier Crambade founded Therus Invest in Madrid in 2004 to build offices and retail space. For five years business went quite well, and Therus developed and sold more than €300m of properties. Then Spain’s economy imploded, taking property with it, and Mr Crambade spent six years tending to Dhamma Energy, a solar energy […]

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Categorized | Insurance

Possible Direct Line purchaser emerges

Posted on April 30, 2012

Edi Truell’s new bid vehicle has approached Royal Bank of Scotland about a possible multi-billion pound purchase of its Direct Line insurance arm.

Tungsten, co-founded by the founder of private equity group Duke Street Capital, has made an informal expression of interest in the business, which analysts estimate could sell for up to £4bn.

    The state-backed bank had received approaches from several other parties – mainly private equity groups – in recent months, people familiar with the matter said.

    However, RBS still plans to float Direct Line towards the end of this year, believing it can extract a better price by going down the initial public offering route than it could by selling the business to a private equity buyer.

    Analysts have questioned the ability of private equity buyers to raise the required funds and meet increasingly demanding capital requirements.

    RBS was ordered to dispose of its insurance arm as part of a far-reaching state aid agreement settled after the bank received £45bn of government support following its near collapse in 2008.

    Mr Truell set up Tungsten with his brother Danny, chief investment officer of The Wellcome Trust, one of the UK’s largest charities. Tungsten plans to list by the end of May.

    Michael Spencer, chief executive of the interdealer broker Icap, and Peter Kiernan, a former head of UK banking at Lazard, are among the individuals to agree to become board members.

    Lloyds Banking Group on Monday denied a report in the London Evening Standard that Tungsten made a takeover approach for Scottish Widows, its life assurance and pensions business.

    Meanwhile, people with knowledge of the process said Tungsten had not made a formal bid for Direct Line.

    Direct Line is Britain’s biggest personal motor insurer by number of policies. Its brands include Churchill and car breakdown service Green Flag.

    The home and motor insurer swung into profit in 2011, posting an annual operating profit of £454m after rising bodily injury claims pushed it to a £295m loss a year earlier.

    Ahead of the expected IPO the group has quit unprofitable businesses, reduced the number of sites from which it operates and cut its exposure to riskier areas.

    Direct Line raised £500m through a bond sale in April, the latest step in its plan to spin off from RBS.