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  • *FirstGroup shares fall 15 pct; company says followed guidelines. LONDON, Oct 3- Britain scrapped a 6 billion pound deal on Wednesday to award one of the country's biggest railway franchises to FirstGroup Plc, blaming government officials for serious mistakes in the bidding process.

  • U.S. stock index futures trade slightly lower Wednesday, 3 Oct 2012 | 4:12 AM ET

    LONDON, Oct 3- U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly lower open on Wall Street on Wednesday, with futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones down 0.2 percent, while contracts on the Nasdaq 100 were down 0.1 percent at 0751 GMT.

  • BRUSSELS, Oct 3- EU antitrust regulators will decide by Nov. 8 whether to clear commodities trader Glencore's. $33 billion takeover of miner Xstrata, the European Commission said on its website on Wednesday.

  • Greek central bank cuts capital adequacy requirement Wednesday, 3 Oct 2012 | 4:11 AM ET

    ATHENS, Oct 3- Greece's central bank has decided to lower the capital adequacy requirement for the country's battered banks due to delays in their planned recapitalization as part of the country's foreign bailout, a Bank of Greece official said on Wednesday.

  • *Bristol to return rights to Plavix, Avapro to Sanofi. *Sanofi to make $200 mln terminal payment to Bristol in 2018. *Sanofi shares down 0.8 pct By James Regan.

  • 24-hour strike paralyzes Belgium train traffic Wednesday, 3 Oct 2012 | 4:08 AM ET

    BRUSSELS-- A 24- hour strike by Belgian rail workers on Wednesday paralyzed train traffic throughout Belgium and the international high-speed service to London and Paris.

  • Marex Spectron hires former UBS banker as CEO Wednesday, 3 Oct 2012 | 4:04 AM ET

    LONDON, Oct 3- Brokerage Marex Spectron has appointed former UBS investment banker John Wall as its new chief executive, the company said on Wednesday.

  • Statoil says signs rig contracts worth NOK 9.2 bln Wednesday, 3 Oct 2012 | 4:03 AM ET

    OSLO, Oct 3- Norwegian oil and gas firm Statoil. has signed contracts for three drill rigs to be used offshore Norway at a total value of 9.2 billion crowns, the company said on Wednesday. Statoil will use Bideford Dolphin rig owned by Fred Olsen- owned Dolphin Drilling, the Stena Don rig owned by Stena Drilling, and the Scarabeo 5 rig, owned by Saipem.

  • Spanish owners of Gecina file for bankruptcy - source Wednesday, 3 Oct 2012 | 4:01 AM ET

    MADRID, Oct 3- Two Spanish investment firms with a combined 31 percent stake in French property company Gecina. have filed for bankruptcy on 1.6 billion euros of debt, a source with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.

  • STOCKHOLM, Oct 3- Activity in Sweden's services sector fell in September, a purchasing managers' survey showed on Wednesday, underlining recent data showing a sharp slowdown in the economy. "This was the latest in a series of weak figures from Sweden," he said.

  • Tesco H1 profits fall despite rising sales in UK Wednesday, 3 Oct 2012 | 3:56 AM ET

    LONDON-- Tesco PLC, Britain's largest supermarket operator, has reported a 12 percent fall in half yearly pre-tax profit to 1.7 billion pounds, as a downturn in Asia and Europe offset stronger sales in Britain. Group sales were up 1.4 percent to 36 billion pounds in the half-year period, while sales in Britain rose 2.2 percent to 23.9 billion pounds.

  • Vestas sees high single digits medium term op margin Wednesday, 3 Oct 2012 | 3:53 AM ET

    COPENHAGEN, Oct 3- Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas expects to achieve a medium term operating margin in the high single digits, its chief financial officer said at the group's capital markets day on Wednesday.

  • *Brent crude slips under $111 a barrel* Euro trades under $1.29, little changed from U.S. levels. LONDON, Oct 3- European shares and oil fell on Wednesday after weak data from China and Australia deepened concerns about the global economy, while the euro held steady as traders waited for Spain's next move in solving its debt problems.

  • *Telefonica to list German unit by end-year. *Telefonica smallest player in Germany, room to grow. MADRID, Oct 3- Spain's Telefonica said on Wednesday it expected to list its German mobile phone business 02 in the fourth quarter and promised potential investors 500 million euros in cash dividends next year.

  • Oct 3- British soft drinks group Britvic and Irn-Bru maker AG Barr have been given more time to decide on the 1.3 billion pound merger. Britvic, which makes and sells PepsiCo brands in Britain and Ireland, could not immediately be reached for comment.

  • CORRECTED-Russia's Promsvyazbank sets IPO price range Wednesday, 3 Oct 2012 | 3:48 AM ET

    MOSCOW, Oct 3- Promsvyazbank, one of Russia's largest privately owned lenders, set an indicative price range on Wednesday for its initial public offering of stock at $10- $12 per Global Depository Receipt.

  • France to present bank ring-fencing law by end-2012 Wednesday, 3 Oct 2012 | 3:47 AM ET

    PARIS, Oct 3- France's Socialist government will present "merciless" legislation before the end of the year to ring-fence banks' risk-taking business from their retail arms, Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said in an interview published on Wednesday.

  • DUBLIN, Oct 3- Allied Irish Banks will increase its mortgage rates by 0.5 percentage points for the second time in two months in November in a bid to stem big losses, putting pressure on struggling home owners in the process.

  • Qatar Islamic Bank to sell $750 mln sukuk Wednesday Wednesday, 3 Oct 2012 | 3:40 AM ET

    DUBAI, Oct 3- Qatar Islamic Bank, the Gulf Arab state's largest sharia-compliant lender, is set to issue a $750 million five-year Islamic bond on Wednesday, a document from the lead arrangers said. Final price guidance for the sukuk tightened to 175-180 basis points over midswaps after substantial demand for the deal, with order books over $6 billion.

  • ASTANA, Oct 3- Kazakhstan's oil pipeline monopoly plans to raise more than $100 million through an initial public share offering as part of the central Asian country's "people's IPO" programme, the deputy head of its parent company said.