LONDON, May 18 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening up by around 12 points, or 0.2 percent higher, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed down 0.2 percent at 6,960.49 points on Friday.
* BHP BILLITON : BHP Billiton’s spin-off South32 debuted near the bottom of expectations on Monday as investors awarded only a small premium to the new listing amid concerns about broad weakness in the resources sector.
* RIO TINTO : Global miner Rio Tinto plans to sell some of its aluminium assets in a potential $1 billion deal, the Financial Times reported, reviving a sale plan for its Pacific Aluminium unit two years after it was cancelled.
* ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND : A U.S. judge on Friday ordered Nomura Holdings Inc and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc to pay a collective $806 million for making false statements in selling mortgage-backed securities to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
* BWIN.PARTY : British online gaming company 888 Holdings is to make a takeover approach for rival Bwin.Party, the Sunday Times reported, raising the prospect of a takeover battle between 888 and confirmed suitor GVC Holdings.
* BIFFA: Biffa has appointed Rothschild to prepare for an IPO, Sky News reported.
* OIL PRICE: Oil prices rose on Monday on supply concerns in the Middle East following fighting in Iraq and Yemen, but Iranian comments that OPEC was unlikely to cut output as well as signs of strengthening U.S. production capped gains.
* BRITAIN/EU REFERENDUM: Andy Burnham, frontrunner to become leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, threw his weight behind the idea of a referendum on the country’s EU membership, and said he would demand it took place in 2016 if he becomes party leader.
* Separately, the Financial Times reported that Whitehall faces up to 100,000 fresh job cuts over next five years.
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