Europe

Next Plc has bought UK retailer Joules Group Plc out of insolvency for £34 million ($41.5 million), winning a bidding war against rival store owners, Bloomberg News reported. The clothing and housewares retailer has teamed up with Joules founder Tom Joule to snap up the chain, which fell into administration on Nov. 16. The maker of colorful coats and Wellington boots had failed to secure bridge financing or raise equity, after warning that it would struggle to repay a £5 million loan due at the end of November.
Read more
Rangers FC could still be sued for £9.5million by the administrators of the Elite Sports Group despite the sports goods distributor going insolvent, the Scottish Daily Express reported. The Ibrox club is facing a civil court action over claims Rangers breached a contract related to the provision of kits for the Glasgow team. Elite is the exclusive brand partner to Danish sportswear firm Hummel and it instructed lawyers to go to the Court of Session in Edinburgh. Elite won a bid to force Rangers to disclose sales data to them last month.
Read more
Italy is set to toughen regulation of digital assets and expand taxation on crypto trading from 2023, following similar moves by countries such as Portugal, Bloomberg News reported. A provision in the country’s proposed 2023 budget plans to extend a 26% levy on capital gains to digital assets for profits larger than 2,000 euros ($2,062.3). Digital coins and tokens so far have been treated as foreign currency by Italy’s tax authorities, which implied a lower taxation.
Read more
The surge in private equity activity in Europe in recent years has loaded hundreds of companies up with debt, eroded their credit ratings, and left many of them vulnerable to bankruptcy as an economic recession approaches, Bloomberg News reported. There were 762 private equity buyouts last year in Western Europe for a total of $336 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, the highest since 2007.
Read more
Ongoing Russian attacks on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure have increased the cost to keep Ukraine's economy going next year, adding up to $1 billion a month to previous estimates of $3-$4 billion, the head of the International Monetary Fund told the Reuters. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said she was confident that the European Union, United States and other international partners would continue to provide needed support for Ukraine.
Read more
German retail sales fell more-than-expected in October, data showed on Thursday, as inflation had consumers holding back on non-essential purchases at the start of the fourth quarter, Reuters reported. Retail sales were down 2.8% on the month in October. Compared with October 2021, retail sales were down 5.0%. Germany's HDE retail association is forecasting the strongest slump in Christmas sales since 2007, with retail sales in the crucial November-December period seen dropping by 4% year-on-year on a price-adjusted basis.
Read more
German energy company Uniper said Wednesday it’s suing Gazprom for damages over natural gas that hasn’t been delivered since June, when the Russian supplier started reducing amounts to Germany, the Associated Press reported. Gas importer Uniper said that it has initiated proceedings against Gazprom Export at an international arbitration tribunal in Stockholm. It said the cost to replace gas that Russia failed to supply so far totals at least 11.6 billion euros ($12 billion) and that cost will continue to increase until the end of 2024.
Read more
The annual rate of inflation in the eurozone fell in November for the first time since mid-2021 as energy prices dropped, the Wall Street Journal reported. However, the slowdown isn’t likely to stop the European Central Bank from increasing interest rates further, economists warned. Consumer-price inflation across the 19 countries that share the euro has increased since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the Kremlin’s decision to weaponize the country’s vast stores of energy to undermine European support for Kyiv.
Read more
Bitcoin is being artificially propped up and should not be legitimised by regulators or financial companies as it heads for "irrelevance", the European Central Bank said on Wednesday, Reuters reported. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been variously presented as an alternative form of money and a shield from the inflationary policies pursued by major central banks such as the ECB in recent years.
Read more
As French President Emmanuel Macron makes the rounds in Washington starting Wednesday for the first state visit of the Biden administration, high on his agenda are his plans for a nuclear energy “renaissance.” His entourage includes the major players from France’s nuclear energy industry, who will be looking to the French leader to help boost the development and export of their technology, including smaller and more versatile reactors, the Washington Post reported. But there could hardly be a more awkward time to promote French nuclear know-how.
Read more