Morning business round-up: EU faces crunch Greece decision


What made the business news in Asia and Europe this morning? Here's our daily business round-up:

Eurozone finance ministers meet later to decide whether to release the next 33bn euros ($42bn; £27bn) of bailout cash needed by Greece to stay afloat.

On the agenda will be a two-year delay to Greece's austerity programme, how to meet the country's extra funding needs, and how to make its debts sustainable.

The International Monetary Fund, which will also be at the meeting, insists Greece's debtload must be alleviated.

But Germany and the European Central Bank oppose writing off Greece's debts.

The French government has downplayed the importance of rating agency Moody's decision to deprive the country of its top triple-A credit rating.

Moody's downgraded France's debt from Aaa to Aa1, and kept its negative outlook, meaning it could be cut again.

Moody's blamed stalled economic growth, the risk of a Greek euro exit and the risk that France has to contribute to bailing out other eurozone countries.

"Judge us on our results," French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said.

Media caption,
Biz Heads

A UK trader who lost £1.4bn of Swiss bank UBS's money has been found guilty of one count of fraud.

Kweku Adoboli, 32, of Whitechapel, east London, denied four charges of false accounting and two of fraud between October 2008 and September 2011.

The prosecution told Southwark Crown Court he was "a gamble or two away from destroying Switzerland's largest bank".

Mr Adoboli said he was encouraged to take risks by his bosses. The jury is deliberating on the other charges.

In company news, Glencore shareholders have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the proposed merger with mining group Xstrata.

The commodities giant said 99.42% of shareholders supported the deal between the two Anglo-Swiss companies.

Shareholders in Xstrata will vote on the tie-up later on Tuesday, with analysts expecting a second positive vote.

The merger would still need competition approval by the European Commission.

Airline Easyjet has made a record profit after a rise in passenger numbers who delayed their holidays until after the Olympics.

The firm said pre-tax profits rose 28% to £317m for the year to 30 September, despite an extra £182m in fuel costs.

Easyjet shares were 5.5% higher by midday in London.

The group said it made 7.5% more money per person per seat as it flew more passengers on more profitable routes, helped also by changes to its booking website.

The UK's largest branded food producer, Premier Foods, is cutting 900 jobs at its bread division and closing two bakeries.

The company said it would close two bakery sites in Greenford, west London and Birmingham some time next year.

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