Business news in brief: Donald Trump| Harrods| Student loans

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Donald Trump is set to launch his first golf venture in Asia after teaming up with Middle Eastern real estate developer Damac Properties.

The controversial tycoon, who opened the Menie course in Aberdeenshire last year, said the Trump International Golf Club in Dubai will be ready for play next year. The 71-par course will feature a 30,000 sq ft clubhouse and a luxury spa.

Trump, a vocal opponent of proposed wind farm developments near his Balmedie golf resort, said: “Dubai is an incredible city that truly understands the meaning of luxury.”

Pensions tax relief remains a mystery

Most people do not know about the tax benefits offered by pensions, although a new study shows overall awareness has risen sharply in the past year.

Life and pensions firm Standard Life said just 39 per cent of people knew that the taxman adds £1 to every £4 a basic-rate taxpayer invests in a pension, although that was up from 29 per cent a year ago.

The survey of more than 2,000 people, carried out by YouGov, showed awareness was highest among those aged 45 to 54, but 70 per cent of woman did not know about the tax efficiency of pension savings.

Harrods owner eyes House of Fraser

Retail group House of Fraser, owner of venerable Edinburgh store Jenners, is understood to have attracted the interest of the Qatari royal family, who bought Harrods for £1.5 billion three years ago.

Reports yesterday said Qatar Holding has held talks with some of the chain’s shareholders, but securing a deal could be difficult because of its wide investor base.

The list of shareholders in House of Fraser – which owned Harrods between 1959 and 1985 – includes Bank of Scotland, Icelandic bank Landsbanki and entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter.

Student loan book may be sold off

The Westminster government is considering whether to sell its £40 billion student loan book as part of a series of privatisations that includes selling off the Royal Mail Group, according to a Sunday newspaper report.

The government is testing the market with the sale of £900 million of loans, announced by Business Secretary Vince Cable in March. The report said the government was now looking at wholesale privatisation.

It said the sale may not raise a significant sum, but would slash public debt by removing the loans from the government’s balance sheet.

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