PRESS DIGEST- British Business – May 20

May 20 (Reuters) – The following are the top stories on the business pages of British newspapers. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

The Times

– The world’s biggest catering company, Compass Group , launched the largest equity-raising of the COVID-19 pandemic so far on Tuesday.

– Britain’s most valuable public company, Astrazeneca , is holding a stake worth more than $2 billion in Moderna after shares in the American biotechnology group soared amid hopes for its coronavirus vaccine.

The Guardian – UK Finance Minister Rishi Sunak has warned that Britain is facing a “severe recession, the likes of which we haven’t seen” and lasting economic damage from the COVID-19 pandemic.

– Hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial drug being taken by U.S. President Donald Trump as an unproven protection against the novel coronavirus, is being bought in bulk by the UK in case it does turn out to be an effective treatment for COVID-19.

The Telegraph

– The owner of Crew Clothing has been told it cannot pull out of its proposed 22.6 million pounds ($27.69 million) takeover deal for Moss Bros despite the COVID-19 pandemic forcing non-essential retailers to close stores.

– Britain’s embattled steel industry has been thrown a lifeline after the government quadrupled to 200 million pounds the amount they can draw under the coronavirus loans scheme.

Sky News

– Asda is trialling a “virtual queuing” system as it seeks to address shoppers’ safety concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

– Post-Brexit talks with the EU have turned sour after the UK escalated tensions by accusing Brussels of only offering a “low-quality” trade deal.

The Independent

– British consumers will face substantial price hikes for European goods like wine, cheese and cars at the end of the year under plans unveiled by the UK government, unless a trade agreement can be signed with the EU in time.

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