Europe

Moby SpA, the ferry company that connects Italy’s mainland with its islands, filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy proceedings in the U.S. as it seeks to complete a troubled restructuring process at home, Bloomberg News reported. Moby, owned by the Onorato family, has been under pressure from increasing regulation, tougher competition and weak freight traffic volumes in the last years, and was further hit by the pandemic travel restrictions. In June 2020, the company petitioned a court in Milan for a court-supervised restructuring procedure, but its revenue grew above expectations this summer.
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In a warehouse tucked under two railway arches in southeast London is a treasure trove of Greek delicacies, including barrel-aged feta, fresh oregano, Cretan olive oil and cases of nearly a hundred different wines destined for the city’s top restaurants and discerning home cooks. But as Britain phases in Brexit-required customs rules with the European Union, the tempting variety at Maltby & Greek is under threat, the New York Times reported.
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Britain’s biggest energy companies can’t agree on what the U.K. needs to do to soften the blow of soaring bills for customers, making it harder for the government to tackle a cost-of-living crisis, Bloomberg News reported. Octopus Energy Ltd., Britain’s fifth-largest gas and power supplier, is leading the push for a fund to help companies cope with the increase in wholesale costs. While the move is backed by some, several firms including Centrica Plc prefer instead actions including a tax cut, according to people familiar with the talks between the companies and the government.
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The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) is calling for a tax amnesty for hospitality firms to help them survive beyond the expected lifting of restrictions next month, the Irish Independent reported. It comes after insolvency experts predicted that more than 1,000 firms could close their doors from next year, once government supports end and pandemic debts are called in. Retailers and business organisations say small, domestic, independent firms will be worst hit.
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Euro zone companies survived the two years of the COVID-19 pandemic better than expected with fewer insolvencies than feared, euro zone finance ministers are likely to conclude on Monday according to a senior euro zone official, Reuters reported. The official, who asked not to be named, said the better outcome was testament to the effectiveness of the 2.3 trillion euros ($2.64 trillion) of national liquidity support measures taken to keep companies from collapsing under repeated government-imposed pandemic lockdowns and the resilience of the economy.
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Ukrainian sovereign dollar bonds tumbled into distress territory and Russian bonds suffered sharp falls on Monday as fears of another Russian military foray into Ukraine showed no sign of easing, Reuters reported. The premium investors demand to hold Ukraine bonds over safe-haven U.S. Treasuries as measured by the JPMorgan EMBI Global Diversified index surged past 1,000 basis points for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in March 2020.
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East Yorkshire contractor PDR Construction, which Construction News revealed on Tuesday had ceased work on its sites across the country, has appointed administrators. The £83m-turnover main contractor had made all its staff redundant ahead of the administration, a statement from Leonard Curtis Business Rescue & Recovery has revealed. The statement blamed the impact of the pandemic on contracts, as well as a “significant” recent failed adjudication, which the administrator has not given details of.
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According to Statistics Netherlands, 1,536 companies were declared bankrupt in 2021, the NL Times reported. That number was only slightly lower in 1990 at 1,527. The stats office has been keeping track of this data since 1981. The number of bankruptcies fell in almost all sectors of industry. Most bankruptcies happened in trade, but that is also the sector with the most companies. The number of bankruptcies in the catering industry more than halved last year compared to a year earlier.
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A unit of offshore driller Seadrill Ltd yesterday filed a fast-tracked reorganization plan in Houston bankruptcy court, where it expects to seek approval of the proposal today, Reuters reported. The case comes just a few months after its parent entity emerged from its own bankruptcy proceeding. That reorganization plan is scheduled to go into effect early this year. Seadrill New Finance Ltd’s chapter 11 case is intended to be the “final component” of the entire Seadrill Group’s restructuring efforts, according to a declaration from financial controller Tyson de Souza.
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Germany is telling its banks to rebuild capital buffers that they were allowed to deplete at the onset of the pandemic, joining other European countries in tightening regulations again as lenders take more risk, Bloomberg News reported. The country’s banks have to set aside 22 billion euros ($25 billion) of capital buffers by February next year, the country’s financial authorities said on Wednesday. The vast majority have enough capital on hand to meet the regulatory demands without raising fresh funds, BaFin President Mark Branson told reporters.
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