Morning papers: Lloyds stake earmarked for retail investors

As much as half of the government’s £18bn stake in Lloyds Banking Group would be sold to retail investors in a provisional scenario being sketched out by officials as they step up efforts to exit the bank, reports the Financial Times.

The sell-off could start as early as September, with a 5-10 per cent stake in Lloyds being placed with institutional investors at a small discount to the share price.

Nationwide faces £1.8bn capital squeeze

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Nationwide Building Society needs to raise £1.8bn to meet regulatory requirements on its capital strength, a leading ratings agency has said, reports The Times.

The estimate comes from Moody’s, and it is shared by other analysts. The agency believes that the Nationwide is facing a potential squeeze on its finances.

Renewed fear of global recession as companies rein in spending plans

Growth in spending on machinery and investment by the world’s 2,000 biggest companies has begun to contract for the first time since the Lehman crisis, led by sharp falls in China and a near collapse in Latin America, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Standard & Poor’s warned that the global cycle for capital investment has already rolled over, with early signs pointing to deepening contraction of 5.4 per cent in 2014. “The capex recovery appears to be ending before it has really begun,” said the agency’s Gareth Williams.

Fraud office called in after G4S ‘overcharges’ for tagging

The Serious Fraud Office has been called in by the justice secretary to investigate the private security company G4S for overcharging tens of millions of pounds on electronic tagging contracts for offenders, reports the Guardian.

Chris Grayling told MPs the overcharging included billing for tracking the movements of people who had moved abroad, those who had returned to prison and had their tags removed, and even people who had died.

European telecoms firms raided in antitrust investigation

Brussels’ competition watchdog has raided the offices of three of Europe’s largest telecoms groups as part of an investigation into whether they are limiting customer access to services such as Skype and YouTube, reports the Independent.

The offices of Deutsche Telekom, France’s Orange and Spain’s Telefonica were searched after a complaint by an unnamed US-based competitor.