Thousands of British jobs have been put in jeopardy by plans to merge the European operations of the American carmaker General Motors with its Italian rival Fiat in a deal that would create the world's second-largest autos group.
According to The Guardian, Fiat's chief executive, Sergio Marchionne, held meetings today with Germany's economy minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, and Frank-Walter Steinmeier, vice-chancellor and foreign minister, in an attempt to gain crucial financial support for a deal.
The German government, however, wants any merged business to be based in Germany, where GM's loss-making Opel brand is headquartered, plus assurances of limited job losses.
Unions fear that the 5,000 Vauxhall workers based in the UK will be sacrificed to retain continental workers so the deal gets a green light. Fiat's audacious swoop on the loss-making European arm of GM comes after the carmaker, home to Alfa Romeo and Ferrari, signed a deal to take a 20% stake in the bankrupted US carmaker Chrysler. Full story...
UBS, THE SWISS BANK which has written down $50bn (£33bn) of assets since the credit crisis erupted in 2007, warned today that the recent rally in global stock markets should not be taken as a sign that the worst of the recession is over, reports The Telegraph.
"The strong influence that government policy has on the market environment was clearly demonstrated in the first quarter as investors became less risk averse," UBS said today, as it reported a first-quarter loss of Sfr1.98bn (£1.17bn).
UBS added that "the real economy has continued to deteriorate, and this is expected to have negative implications for credit-related provisioning in coming quarters."
PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS launched a crackdown on tax loopholes used by multinational corporations as part of a plan to save up to $210bn over the next decade," The Guardian reports.
It is a move that could cause further significant redundancies in the UK. The drive against corporate tax avoidance is also intended to clamp down on tax incentives that favour investment outside the United States.
Fears were mounting last night that the move to boost employment in the US could be at the expense of the UK, where thousands of City jobs have been lost because American financial institutions have reduced their overseas workforces.
America's biggest companies paid taxes to the US Government at a rate of only 2.3 per cent on their foreign earnings. "Our tax system is rife with opportunities to evade and avoid taxes through offshore tax havens," a White House spokesman said.
In other news...
TWO OF THE hedge funds that bet British bank stocks would fall have made almost £200m between them on the back of Barclays' soaring share price, according to The Telegraph.
Odey Asset Management and Lansdowne Partners, which predicted and bet on the demise of the banking sector, invested in the bank close to the share price trough.
Barclays shares have risen around 450pc to 279p since their January low of 51p on growing confidence that its finances are sound.
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