(Adds company news, details)
LONDON, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 23 to 25 points higher, or up as much as 0.4 percent, on Monday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed 0.8 percent higher at 6,550.27 points in the previous session.
* ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND - Asked about Coutts International after Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo’s said in November it was looking at the wealth management arm of RBS, Intesa’s chief executive Carlo Messina told daily La Repubblica on Monday he was not interested in buying only the international division of the company.
* BHP BILLITON - The miner may be forced to slash its planned $4 billion spending this year on U.S. shale wells and book writedowns on its shale assets as it battles plunging prices for its biggest earners iron ore, oil and copper.
* BALFOUR BEATTY - Troubled British infrastructure group Balfour Beatty has been awarded up to 1.5 billion pounds ($2.27 billion) of new work in the public sector to provide support services ranging from road repairs, coast defence work to light rail schemes.
* Australia’s Pilbara Ports Authority said it had started evacuation of ships at the Port Hedland and Dampier iron ore ports due to cyclone threat, but forecast a short closure due to the low intensity of the storm. Iron ore shipped via Port Hedland totaled nearly 40 million tonnes in December, most of which was mined by BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals Group.
* LLOYDS BANKING GROUP - The chairman of Lloyds Banking Group wants to develop hubs or “mini Lloyd‘s” in emerging markets around the world to provide new opportunities to expand the business and reduce the risk of being stuck at the crossroads with the other players in the London market, The Telegraph reported.
* The Treasury has resumed selling taxpayers’ stake in Lloyds Banking Group as George Osborne eyes a 3 billion pounds windfall ahead of May’s general election, Sky News said.
* Britain’s financial sector reported the biggest upsurge in business in nearly 20 years in the final three months of last year, the Confederation of British Industry said on Monday.
* Hutchison Whampoa, owner of Britain’s fourth-largest mobile operator Three, is in talks with Telefonica about buying its O2 network, the Sunday Times reported, citing unnamed city sources.
* Oil prices fell in early Asian trade on Monday, with markets expecting gloomy Chinese economic data to be published this week.
* London copper climbed on Monday as prices recovered from last week’s 5-1/2 year lows, but caution over China’s economy and this week’s European Central Bank meeting were expected to cap any upward momentum.
* China’s economic growth rate is likely to cool further this year, restrained by sluggish lending, a housing slump and weak global demand, a Reuters poll showed.
TODAY‘S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit topnews.session.rservices.com * BridgeStation: view story .134 For more information on Top News visit topnews.reuters.com (Reporting by Atul Prakash; editing by Blaise Robinson)