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Sunday newspaper round-up: Heathrow, GSK, Roll-Royce

Plans for a third runway at Heathrow may have been dealt a fatal blow after Ferrovial balked at further investment. The Spanish infrastructure investor, Heathrow’s top shareholder, signalled the move in protest over the Civial Aviation Authorities’s decision to block a 90% rise in landing charges from 2022, which the company said meant shateholders would have to make do with lower returns. – Sunday Telegraph

There is increasing speculation that GlaxoSmithKline’s Dame Emma Walmsley is plotting to swoop on Canadian autoimmune drug developer Aurinia Pharmaceuticals. A deal could mark a watershed in her efforts to win investors’ confidence in her strategy to build the company’s pipeline of drugs through the purchase of rivals. City sources said Aurinia popped onto GSK’s radar after its treatment against Lupus Nephritism Voclosporin, got the green from regulators in the States. Voclosporin, which sells under the bran name Lupkynis, might end up competing with GSK’s Benlysta. However, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Roche and Otsuka Pharmaceutical have all been tipped as potential suitors as well. – Financial Mail on Sunday

Qatar will launch a fund alongside aero-engines giant Rolls-Royce to inject billions of pounds investment into new green engineering projects. Its aim is to create five new ‘unicorn’ companies – start-ups with a value north of $1bn – by 2030 and as many as 20 by 2040. Also envisaged is a new science and engineering campus in the north of England and the creation in coming years of as many as 10,000 jobs in the UK. Still under negotiation, the plans could be unveiled over the coming week, coinciding with Cop26. Qatar is understood to have already started preliminary talks with venture capital and private equity outfits to co-invest. – Sunday Times

Asda’s owners are planning to cross the Channel and expand into the rest of Europe, a move that marks the Yorkshire-based supermarket group’s first foray abroad. The Issa Brothers are said to be looking into whether their “Asda On The Move” convenience store chain can be opened across their roughly 3,000-plus forecourts on the Continent. Those forecourts are operated by EG Group, which is owned jointly by the Issas and TDR Capital. The Issas are also thought to be studying the possibility of introducing food courts, bolstering clothing departments and making more health and beauty brands available. – The Sunday Times

BT is expected to announce that it will hit its target for £1bn in savings by March 2023 a year early alongside its third quarter update on Thursday, City sources say. The company, which is preparing to make thousands more redundant, is bolstering its defences against a potential bid from French billionaire Patrick Drahi. BT’s board was also said to be debating whether to unveil new targets immediately or if to wait until after Mr Drahi launched a takeover in December. – Sunday Telegraph

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