(Adds futures, company news items)
June 21 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening 20 points lower on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures down 0.4 percent ahead of the cash market open.
* BERKELEY: London-focussed housebuilder Berkeley posted a better-than-expected 53 percent rise in profit on Wednesday, but warned that tax rises on top-end properties had muted new construction and Brexit could harm the sector in the months ahead.
* CENTRICA: Britain’s largest energy supplier, Centrica, has agreed to sell its two biggest gas-fired power plants to a subsidiary of Czech energy company EPH for 318 million pounds ($401 million), the company said on Wednesday.
* PROVIDENT FINANCIAL: British subprime lender Provident Financial Plc said on Tuesday it expected operational disruption from the reorganisation of its home credit division to weigh on profit for the rest of the financial year as reduced agent effectiveness bit into revenue.
* LSE: MSCI’s decision to include domestic Chinese shares in its global Emerging Markets Index will have no bearing on FTSE Russell’s own timeline for potential “A” share inclusion, the company’s chief executive told Reuters.
* COAL & ALLIED: Rio Tinto, selected Yancoal on Tuesday to buy its Coal & Allied division in Australia for $2.45 billion, surprising commodities trading giant Glencore, which had put in a higher bid.
* BARCLAYS: Barclays and four former top executives were charged with fraud on Tuesday over undisclosed payments to Qatari investors as part of a 12 billion pound ($15 billion) emergency fundraising during the financial crisis in 2008.
* AVIVA: Aviva, Britain’s biggest life insurer, is selling about 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion) worth of bonds and shares it holds in tobacco companies, joining a global campaign to divest from the industry.
* GEMFIELDS: Pallinghurst Resources Ltd said on Tuesday it lowered the minimum number of acceptances from shareholders of Gemfields Plc on its takeover offer, after China’s Fosun International raised its offer for the gemstone company.
* IP GROUP: IP Group said on Tuesday it made an offer of about 466 million pounds ($587 million) for rival intellectual property business company Touchstone Innovations Plc, about a month after its earlier bid was rejected.
* BELGIUM: Belgian counter-terrorism police are investigating the motives of a suspected suicide bomber shot dead by troops guarding a Brussels railway station after he set off explosives that failed to injure anyone.
* BREXIT: Lawmakers in British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative party believe they can stop Britain leaving the European Union without a deal if such a situation should arise, news media reported on Tuesday.
* BREXIT: British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Tuesday that her government was committed to leaving the European Union and would listen to others’ views while delivering a Brexit that commanded “maximum public support”.
* GOLD: Gold inched up on Wednesday after hitting its lowest in five weeks in the previous session, buoyed as equities fell and the U.S. dollar eased from one-month highs following a tumble in crude oil prices.
* OIL: Oil prices dipped on Wednesday, trading around multi-month lows as investors discounted evidence of strong compliance by OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers with a deal to cut global output.
* The UK blue chip index, the worst-performing major benchmark in Europe this year, closed down 0.7 percent on Tuesday, hit by its heavy weighting in commodities stocks.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets
TODAY‘S UK PAPERS
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> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit topnews.session.rservices.com * For Top News : topnews.reuters.com (Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain and Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru)