The City News: BT Group plc (BT.A), Shire PLC (SHP), Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (RBS) & More

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Editor’s Note: Related tickers: BT Group plc (LON:BT.A), Shire PLC (LON:SHP), Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (LON:RBS), ITV plc (LON:ITV), British American Tobacco plc (LON:BATS), ArcelorMittal (ADR) (NYSE:MT), British Sky Broadcasting Group plc (LON:BSY), Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LON:LLOY), HSBC Holdings plc (NYSE:HBC), Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE:PM), Altria Group, Inc. (NYSE:MO)

Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (ADR) (NYSE:RBS)

European Stocks Rise as ArcelorMittal, BT Jump on Profit Reports (BusinessWeek)
European stocks gained, extending the Stoxx Europe 600 Index’s highest level since June 2008, as companies including ArcelorMittal (ADR) (NYSE:MT) and BT Group plc (LON:BT.A) posted better-than-expected results and German exports increased in March. U.S. index futures and most Asian shares advanced. ArcelorMittal (ADR) (NYSE:MT), the world’s biggest steelmaker, climbed the most in nearly eight months. BT Group plc (LON:BT.A) jumped to its highest price since November 2007 as fourth-quarter profit beat analysts’ estimates. Assicurazioni Generali SpA, Italy’s largest insurer, rose 1.5 percent after posting quarterly profit that exceeded estimates. ABB Ltd. dropped after the world’s largest maker of power transformers said its chief executive officer resigned.

BT Group Plc Challenges British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc’s Stranglehold On Sport (Fool)
BT Group plc (LON:BT.A) reveals that the BT Sports channels will be free to broadband customers. BT Group plc (LON:BT.A) made a surprise announcement today that it will make its new sport channels available at no extra cost to customers of BT broadband, seen as a direct threat to British Sky Broadcasting Group plc (LON:BSY) expensive subscription services to its sports channels. Upon the release of the news, BT Group plc (LON:BT.A) chief executive Ian Livingstone commented: “UK Sports fans have had a rough deal for too long. Many have been priced out of the market but we will change this by giving away BT Group plc (LON:BT.A) Sport for free with our broadband.”

We still trust Libor: UK corporate treasurers (Reuters)
Financial decision makers at some of Britain’s biggest companies say they still trust the scandal-hit interbank lending rate Libor, despite calls from regulators to overhaul it. …Libor – the London interbank lending rate – is used to calculate the interest payable on trillions of dollars of corporate debt and underpins a global market in financial derivatives. “I think it works and I don’t want to get rid of it,” said Tom Greene, group treasurer for the British drugmaker Shire PLC (LON:SHP). “You just accept that it’s subject to a number of individual contributors, and that’s just part of what it is.”

Shire PLC : Shire Wins Patent Trial Against Watson Concerning LIALDA® (4-Traders)
Shire PLC (LON:SHP), announces that its subsidiary, Shire Development LLC, has prevailed in its litigation against Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc., Watson Laboratories, Inc.-Florida, Watson Pharma, Inc. and Watson Laboratories, Inc. (collectively “Watson”, now “Actavis”) in connection with their Abbreviated New Drug Application (“ANDA”) for a generic version of Shire PLC (LON:SHP)’s LIALDA(R) (mesalamine) delayed release tablets for the induction of remission in adults with active, mild to moderate ulcerative colitis and for the maintenance of remission of ulcerative colitis. …”Shire PLC (LON:SHP) is very pleased that the court has ruled in our favor. We rely on our patents to be able to continue to invest in therapies that bring value to our patients and their caregivers. This ruling supports the innovative therapies that we develop in order to improve the lives of ulcerative colitis patients,” stated Roger Adsett, head of Shire PLC (LON:SHP)’s GI Business Unit.

Lloyds sells $504 mln of bad property loans to Cerberus (Reuters)
Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LON:LLOY) has sold a portfolio of soured property loans to U.S. private equity firm Cerberus Global Investments for 325 million pounds ($504 million), as the state-backed bank continues to purge its balance sheet of bad debt. The price tag reflects a 38 percent discount to the face value of the loans, the bank said on Friday. British banks Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LON:LLOY) and Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (LON:RBS) have both shed portfolios of bad property loans in recent years as they clean up a mess generated during years of profligate real estate lending in the run-up to the financial crisis.

RBS moves executives to prepare for Citizens share sale (Reuters)
Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (LON:RBS) chief executive Stephen Hester has moved two of his key lieutenants into new roles as he prepares for a sale of shares in its U.S. arm Citizens Financial Group. Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (LON:RBS) said on Thursday Nathan Bostock, currently head of restructuring and risk and a former Abbey National finance chief, will be promoted to finance director in October, replacing Bruce Van Saun, who will take charge of Citizens. Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (LON:RBS) said in February it would sell 20-25 percent of Citizens in the next two years through an initial public offer in New York, after Britain’s financial regulator put pressure on the bank to strengthen its capital position.

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