(Adds stock futures, company news items)
March 29 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is expected to open higher on Tuesday, after a long Easter holiday weekend, with futures up 0.41 percent ahead of the cash market open, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click
* The UK blue chip index closed down 1.5 percent at 6,106.48 on Thursday, as investors dumped holdings in retailer Next and as a decline in commodities’ prices put pressure on mining companies and oil majors.
* A.G. BARR: A.G. Barr, the maker of Irn-Bru and Rubicon fizzy drinks, said its brand strength, product reformulation, and innovation would help it minimise the financial impact of a sugar tax proposed by Britain’s Chancellor.
* POLYMETAL: Russia’s gold and silver producer Polymetal said on Tuesday its 2015 net earnings totalled $221 million, compared with a net loss of $210 million in 2014.
* PREMIER FOODS: Two major shareholders in Premier Foods urged the company on Thursday to hold talks with U.S. suitor McCormick, after the British company formed an alliance with Japanese instant noodle maker Nissin Foods.
* SHELL: Royal Dutch Shell Plc has said it is considering the sale of some of its North Sea assets, the Financial Times reported. (on.ft.com/1UVhNFg)
* BAE SYSTEMS: British defence company BAE Systems has won a contract worth nearly 300 million pounds ($425 million) to provide in-service support to the Royal Air Force’s fleet of fast jet training aircraft, the Ministry of Defence said on Monday.
* SHIRE: A U.S. district court on Monday ruled in favor of Shire Plc , preventing Allergan Plc from selling generic versions of Lialda, an ulcerative colitis drug, in the United States until 2020.
* ASTRAZENECA: French drugmaker Sanofi has poached one of AstraZeneca’s top scientists to be its new research head, in what is another high-profile departure at the British drugmaker.
* BRITISH BANKS: British banks will find out on Tuesday if the Bank of England wants them to start building up extra capital buffers to guard against looser lending standards and prepare for this year’s test of their crisis resilience.
* BREXIT: The campaign for Britain to leave the EU has been backed by 250 business leaders, including the former chief executive of HSBC, the Vote Leave group said on Saturday, hoping to counter the view that UK businesses back staying in the bloc.
* GOLD: Gold dipped slightly on Tuesday, but held above a one-month low due to a softer dollar and weak U.S. economic data that dented expectations of an immediate hike in U.S. interest rates.
* COPPER: London copper opened slightly firmer on Tuesday, buoyed by a weaker dollar and encouraging industrial profits in top metals user China.
* OIL: Oil prices fell on Tuesday as concerns mounted that a rally since January is fizzling out, while analysts forecast another rise to record levels for U.S. crude stockpiles.
* NORTH SEA GAS: ConocoPhillips is looking at plans to shut down one of the North Sea's biggest gas pipeline systems, a move that could threaten to knock out 10 percent of Britain's gas capacity, the Times reported. (thetim.es/1VQy4fF)
TODAY‘S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines (Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)