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Monday newspaper round-up: Brexit, spending review, Sports Direct, Imperial Brands

Mon 11 February 2019 06:57 | A A A

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(Sharecast News) - Drug companies would delay applying for UK licences to sell expensive, groundbreaking medicines if Britain leaves the EU without a deal, ministers have suggested. The claim, made in a Whitehall impact assessment signed off by ministers in the department of health, represents the first time the government has admitted that access to new drugs could be delayed under no-deal. - The Times

Theresa May has agreed to hold fresh talks with Jeremy Corbyn's over his plans for a soft Brexit that would keep Britain tied to the Single Market after Brexit and locked in a customs union with the EU. In a letter to the Labour leader, the Prime Minister did not rule out Mr Corbyn's demand for a "permanent" customs union although she said it would present a "negotiating challenge". - Telegraph

Philip Hammond must find an extra £5bn in this year's Whitehall spending review to reverse planned cuts and meet his claim of ending austerity, a leading thinktank has revealed. The Institute for Fiscal Studies told the chancellor that funds pledged in last year's budget to boost NHS spending, defence and international aid failed to safeguard local councils and some of the worst-hit government departments from further shortfalls. - Guardian

Mike Ashley's Sports Direct has pulled out of a bid for collapsed café chain Patisserie Valerie after just two days, accusing its administrators of not providing enough access to its finances. Chris Wootton, the company's deputy finance chief, wrote to the KPMG partner handling the administration yesterday to say it was withdrawing a bid of more than £15m after failing to gain "access to a data room, any financial information or meetings with management". - Telegraph

Imperial Brands is expected to announce that Mark Williamson will step down as chairman of the tobacco group in the coming months on the back of the introduction of more stringent corporate governance rules. The Times understands that the cigarette maker has been engaged in succession planning over Mr Williamson's tenure, which exceeds new guidance of nine years, and could soon confirm his resignation.

Flybe's biggest shareholder raised concerns about the airline's sale several weeks before a consortium led by Virgin Atlantic swooped in with a one-penny-a-share rescue deal. London investment firm Hosking Partners expressed concern to investment bankers running the sale process that suitors were communicating with one another in mid-December. - Telegraph

The total amount of rent paid to landlords has fallen for the first time in more than a decade. Despite average rents rising by 0.4 per cent last year, fewer people renting homes meant the total rent bill declined by £1.9 billion to £59.1 billion, according to Hamptons International. - The Times

A wave of investment needed to revive Britain's shops and shopping centres is at risk because of a lack of transparency on retailers' trading activity and financial strength, landlords have warned. A culture of mistrust between retailers and landlords, as well as increased scrutiny on property valuations and outdated tenant risk ratings, is stoking a "perfect storm" for retail landlords. - The Times

The British car industry faces a "pivotal moment" during the next few years of potential Brexit upheaval as manufacturers decide where to invest for the next generation of vehicle production. Car manufacturers tend to invest in cycles of roughly seven years, meaning companies that started production of new models more than three years ago face imminent decisions on where to invest next. - Guardian

A nationwide system of contactless or mobile payment should be introduced for rail travel, according to the Labour party, which has accused the industry of lacking ambition for reform. Publication of an anticipated fares and ticketing review by the Rail Delivery Group, an industry body, has been delayed for more than four months. - Guardian

Legal & General Capital has agreed to take a 50 per cent stake in a £230 million data centre campus that will serve life science and technology businesses along the London to Cambridge innovation corridor. The FTSE 100 investor has agreed a partnership with Goldacre Noé Group, the technology investor backed by the multimillionaire Noé family, to expand the Kao Data campus in Harlow, Essex. - The Times

A group of institutional investors are close to filing a lawsuit against scandal-hit Danske Bank over losses related to allegations of money laundering involving the lender. Up to 70 investors with collective damage claims of €1bn plan to file a complaint against the Danish bank next month through law firm DRRT, which is currently involved in the €9bn shareholder litigation against Volkswagen over the emissions scandal. - Telegraph

Strains in the alliance between Renault and Nissan have been laid bare by the publication of a letter from the French carmaker's lawyers accusing its Japanese partner of breaking international law in its inquiry into Carlos Ghosn. The letter sent by Renault's lawyers on January 19 claims that staff at Nissan failed to comply with "standards and rules in force in France, the US and elsewhere" during the investigation into Mr Ghosn's alleged misconduct. - The Times

Profits at Office, the shoe shop chain, tumbled by almost 40pc last year after the firm was left out of pocket by the collapse of House of Fraser. The South African-owned retailer, which sells it own high heel designs and stocks brands including adidas and Dr Martens, posted a slide in pre-tax profits from £23.4m to £14.5m in the year to July 1. - Telegraph

The European Commission has told Greece it has until the end of the month to complete a rash of reforms or else risk losing €750 million in funds vital for the country's fiscal recovery. The warning has set the government in Athens scrambling to deliver on 16 commitments it has vowed to complete since it emerged from eight years of austerity in August. - The Times

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