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27 Jan 2021 | 07:28

Wednesday newspaper round-up: HSBC, Tim Martin, Arcadia

(Sharecast News) - Gordon Brown has called for emergency measures to support businesses in the budget after new research from the London School of Economics warned almost 1m UK companies were at risk of failure in the next three months. The former prime minister said the report's finding that one in seven businesses - employing 2.5 million people - might be forced to close by the spring should act as a "clarion call" to Rishi Sunak as he prepares his tax and spending measures for 3 March. - Guardian HSBC's chief executive has denied taking a political stance on China's crackdown in Hong Kong, claiming the bank was not in a position to question police requests when it agreed to freeze accounts of pro-democracy activists. Questioned by MPs on the foreign affairs committee on Tuesday, Noel Quinn ruled out exiting the Hong Kong market in light of Beijing's controversial new security laws, saying it "would only harm" local customers. - Guardian

Wetherspoons chairman Tim Martin has an extra £50m in his pocket after selling almost 4.4m shares in the pub chain on Tuesday. The share sale has reduced his stake in the FTSE 250 pub operator to just under 21.9pc, down from 25.2pc, worth about £330m. Mr Martin has agreed not to sell any more shares until results for the year to 25 July are released in September, the company said. - Telegraph

Sir Philip Green's retail empire collapsed under the weight of debts totalling £750m, new filings reveal. Reports prepared by Deloitte, appointed as Arcadia's administrator at the end of November, reveal the perilous state of the finances of some of the high street's best-known brands. - Telegraph

Libya's national oil company is to open a hub in London that will award consultancy and asset management contracts worth hundreds of millions of pounds over the next several years to British companies. The Mayfair office, scheduled to open in March or April depending on pandemic controls, will be the "final gateway for Libyan investment decisions" as the country embarks on an ambitious project to increase oil production to 2.1 million barrels a day, Mustafa Sanalla, chairman of the National Oil Corporation, said. - The Times

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