UPDATE 2-UK Stocks-Factors to watch on Aug. 25
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Aug 25 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 13 points, or 0.2 percent lower on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures down about 0.2 percent ahead of the cash market open.
* The UK blue chip index closed down 0.5 percent at 6,835.78 points on Wednesday, underperforming its European peers, as a sharp drop in metals prices put pressure on the mining sector and South Africa-exposed stocks fell as the rand slipped.
* PHOENIX GROUP: Phoenix Group Holdings, Britain's largest owner of life assurance funds closed to new customers, said Brexit and the sharp decline in long-term interest rates are factors that negatively impacted its Solvency II surplus.
* ESSENTRA: Filter products maker Essentra Plc said it had agreed to sell its clean wipes making unit to an affiliate of buyout specialist Madison Industries in a deal worth 220 million pounds ($291 million), exiting a non-core unit after a turbulent year.
* PLAYTECH: Gambling technology company Playtech Plc said on Thursday it would return 150 million euros ($169 million) to shareholders through a special dividend after reporting an 18 percent jump in first-half revenue, helped by strong performance in its gaming division.
* WPP: The majority owner of Germany's GfK is looking at strategic options for the market research firm, including a merger or sale, German weekly magazine WirtschaftsWoche reported on Thursday, citing no sources.
* BHP BILLITON: Samarco Mineração SA, the Brazilian iron ore joint venture that halted operations after a dam burst last year, plans to seek bondholder consent to change terms on $2.2 billion of securities or pursue an exchange offer, two people with knowledge of the situation said on Wednesday. Continuación...