Swissport Belgium SA/NV, a loss-making unit of Swissport International AG which provides ground services at Brussels airport, will file for bankruptcy after attempts to turn around the business failed, Swissport said on Monday, Reuters reported. Its Belgian cleaning business will also file for bankruptcy, but the group’s separate cargo business in Brussels and Liege is unaffected, Swissport added in a statement. Swissport, owned by China’s HNA Group, is the world’s largest provider of airport ground services and air cargo handling with operations at 300 airports in 47 countries.
The UK arm of the Belgian-owned bakery chain Le Pain Quotidien is at risk of falling into administration within days, putting 500 jobs under threat unless a buyer is found this week, the Financial Times reported. The restructuring experts Alvarez & Marsal are running an emergency sale of the 26-site café business with the deadline for bids on Wednesday, according to people with knowledge of the process. If no buyer is found during the sale process, known as Project Sunburst according to one person, administrators will be appointed.
The Belgian economy could contract by 8% this year due to measures to contain the coronavirus before a sharp rebound in 2021, the country’s central bank and national planning agency said on Wednesday, Reuters reported. That rebound could be as much as 8.6%, although the bank and agency said their figures should be seen as a broad macroeconomic “scenario” rather than a firm granular forecast and that they were based on a number of conditions, with risks.
Brussels and Rome have clashed over Italy’s economic policies, reigniting an argument over EU budget rules in a process that could lead to financial sanctions against Giuseppe Conte’s anti-establishment government, the Financial Times reported. The European Commission said on Wednesday that Italy had failed to meet agreed targets for reining in spending and cutting public debt, the second highest in the eurozone at 132 per cent of gross domestic product in 2018.
Brussels has sent a letter warning Italy’s populist government over its rising debt levels, setting up a fresh clash between the EU and Rome less than week after European elections, the Financial Times reported. The European Commission on Wednesday wrote to Italy’s finance ministry asking for an explanation on the country’s deteriorating debt situation.
Matteo Salvini has called for a “fiscal shock” of tax cuts in Italy as he exerts his political influence after a resounding victory in the European elections, but Brussels is preparing to hit back over Rome’s budget plans, the Financial Times reported. Italy’s deputy prime minister and leader of the anti-immigration League party said that Italy “must lower taxes”. “We need a Trump cure, an Orban cure, a positive fiscal shock to restart the country,” Mr Salvini said in a radio interview on Tuesday.
Belgian financial services giant KBC Group has recouped nearly a third of the €1.4 billion it injected into its Irish unit during the financial crisis to rescue the business as it grappled with mounting bad loan losses, The Irish Times reported. KBC Bank Ireland, which returned to profit in 2015, paid €183 million back by way of a dividend to its Brussels-based parent last year, a spokeswoman for the unit said. That is in addition to an initial €227 million handed over in 2017 – bringing the total to €410 million, or 29.3 per cent of its total rescue bill following the crash.
Banks risk derailing a rescue deal for Europe’s largest zinc producer Nyrstar, threatening thousands of jobs in the process if the company is forced into liquidation, the Financial Times reported. Lenders to the Belgian-registered company are currently unwilling to take a loss on metal-for-loan deals as part of a restructuring deal that has been agreed by Nyrstar bondholders and Trafigura, its largest shareholder, according to people familiar with the matter.
Nyrstar, Europe’s biggest zinc producer, has defered bond coupon payments as it tries to strike a restructuring deal with creditors and avoid bankruptcy, the Financial Times reported. The Belgian-based company had been due to pay €31.6m of interest on €850m of debt today but has deciced to exercise 30-day grace period so that it can continue talks with bondholders and Trafigura, its biggest shareholder.