News in brief

First published in Business News

Fraud, bribery and rate-rigging in the banking industry were laid bare today as Swiss bank UBS agreed a £940m settlement with regulators in another damning day for the sector.

Britain's financial regulator said attempts at UBS to manipulate Libor interbank lending rates were "extensive and widespread", while it found traders were openly bribing and colluding with external brokers.

Today's fine, which includes a record £160m penalty from the UK's Financial Services Authority (FSA), marks the biggest yet from the industry's Libor-rigging scandal and is far larger than the total of £290m paid by Barclays for Libor manipulation this summer.

It also comes just a week after HSBC agreed a £1.2 bn settlement with US prosecutors over allegations that it allowed rogue states and drug cartels to launder billions of pounds through its American arm.

MAINS REPLACED: Balfour Beatty has been awarded two eight-year contracts with National Grid to upgrade the UK's gas distribution network. Valued at £1.2 bn, they involve the design and installation of modern polyethylene gas distribution mains to replace ageing metal pipes in the North West and West Midlands.

BUS DELIVERY: Stagecoach has begun taking delivery of more than 30 new buses to go into service at its recently acquired Wigan bus operations. The £3.9m fleet of new vehicles were manufactured by Falkirk-based Alexander Dennis.

HIGHER MARGIN: Textile services company Berendsen, which trades as Sunlight in the UK, said it expects to report good year on year progress in 2012 after its higher margin facilities business delivered revenues growth in excess of the group average.

CHINA ROUTE: British Airways has announced the launch of a three times a week service to Chengdu in China from London Heathrow. The route, which starts on September 22, will be served by a four-cabin Boeing 777.

PACKAGING DRIVE: Grocery and retail packaging firm Bunzl said underlying revenues growth for the year is expected to be about 2.5 per cent against a particularly strong performance in North America last year. Bunzl specialises in "not for resale" items such as packaging and checkout displays for retailers.

IMPROVED DEMAND: Gatwick-based Air Partner, which provides air charter services for industry, governments and individuals, said it expected the private aviation market to continue growing in 2013, particularly amongst corporate users following evidence of significantly renewed levels of interest this year.

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