State-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco has raised a record $25.6bn (£19.4bn) in its initial public offering in Riyadh. The share sale was the biggest to date, surpassing that of China’s Alibaba which raised $25bn in 2014 in New York.

Aramco relied on domestic and regional investors to sell a 1.5% stake after lukewarm interest from abroad. The IPO will value it at $1.7tn when trading begins – short of its $2tn target, but making it the most valuable listed company in the world.

The World Trade Organization is facing a crisis in its system for resolving disputes between its members.

It has an appeal “court” that is the final arbiter on such disputes and which is about to become unable to function.

WTO rules say three judges have to hear each case. On 10 December the number goes below that level. Only one will be left. The terms of the other two come to an end, and no replacements have been chosen.

Sweden’s telecoms giant Ericsson has agreed to pay more than $1bn (£760m) to resolve allegations of bribery, the US Department of Justice has announced.
It said the company had “admitted to a years-long campaign of corruption in five countries to solidify its grip on telecommunications business”.

It added that Ericsson had entered into a deferred prosecution agreement in connection with criminal charges filed in a New York court.

Ericsson has so far made no comment.

Britain’s longest-running rail franchise came to an end on Saturday after more than 22 years.

Virgin Trains, which began serving the West Coast Main Line in 1997, is being replaced by Avanti West Coast.

Almost 500 million journeys have been made with Virgin Trains, which is co-owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Stagecoach.

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