Europe

Nyrstar, the debt-laden metals and mining group, has announced management changes, appointing an executive chairman and an interim chief financial officer. The Belgian-listed company, which is working on a deal to restructure its debts, said Martyn Konig had agreed to take up the role of executive chairman, while Roman Matej had been appointed CFO, replacing Michel Abaza who has left the group, the Financial Times reported.

Read more

Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra lashed out at the European Commission’s truce with Italy over Rome’s spending plans, in comments highlighting continuing discomfort within the euro area about Rome’s budget, Bloomberg News reported. “It’s a missed opportunity to do the right thing for the long run,” Hoekstra said in an interview from Brussels on Monday. He made the comments after a meeting with his counterparts from the currency bloc in which he asked the commission to explain “in writing” how numbers add up in the compromise which was reached last month.

Read more

If you’re looking for one of the worst ideas in contemporary banking, look no further than Germany. The mooted merger between Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG would make a mockery of any notion that EU governments are serious about ending the “too big to fail” problem, a Bloomberg View reported. It would also turn back the clock on a guiding principle of European regulation over the past decade: The promotion of a “banking union,” where risks are shared widely across the continent on the basis of jointly decided rules.

Read more

The 2007 takeover of the Dutch parts of Yukos Oil by Russian state oil company Rosneft’s former subsidiary Promneftstroy was illegal, the Dutch Supreme Court ruled on Friday, upholding an earlier lower appeals court ruling. Yukos Oil went bankrupt in 2006 after its former chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky, fell out with Russian leader Vladimir Putin and the Russian government began demanding billions in back taxes, Reuters reported. Most of Yukos’ assets were absorbed by the Kremlin’s flagship oil producer Rosneft, and its former owners have for years been trying to recover their possessions.

Read more

Brazil’s recent change of government has further delayed the long-awaited finalization of LyondellBasell Industries NV’s plan to buy Brazilian petrochemical company Braskem SA, three sources with knowledge of the matter said this week, Reuters reported. Netherlands-based LyondellBasell first said it had entered into exclusive talks to acquire control of Braskem from Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht SA in June. However, the deal’s price depends on a long-term naphtha supply contract with state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA, which also owns shares in Braskem.

Read more

A Scottish shopping centre owned by a global asset manager is up for auction with a starting price of £1, in the latest sign of the downturn in the retail property market, the Financial Times reported. The Postings centre in Kirkcaldy, owned by a pension fund run by Columbia Threadneedle Investments, is being auctioned through Allsop with a reserve price of £1 — implying a gross initial yield of 15.6m per cent, according to the auctioneer’s website. The sale comes as a crisis on the high street begins to eat into retail property values.

Read more

Some of the UK’s biggest listed landlords face rent cuts as Debenhams seeks to ease the burden of a store portfolio that includes leases stretching as far as 2083, the Financial Times reported. British Land and Intu have the largest exposure to the struggling retailer, according to data from Colliers International, although people close to both companies insisted their stores were among Debenhams’ most successful. Other groups with significant exposure include Landsec, Capital & Regional and Hammerson, the data shows.

Read more

Shareholders in the company that owns Patisserie Valerie are increasingly concerned that the café chain could be sold cheaply or even put into administration after it warned that its accounting problems ran deeper than initially thought, the Financial Times reported. Patisserie Holdings is in urgent talks with its lenders HSBC and Barclays to extend a financing agreement beyond its scheduled expiry on Friday and has retained KPMG to “review all options available” to recover and preserve value.

Read more

Germany is examining whether it can fix its two largest lenders -- Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG -- by combining them into a national champion that’s once again able to challenge foreign rivals, Bloomberg News reported. History suggests it’s a recipe for more trouble. Spain encouraged the merger of seven failed savings banks into Bankia SA in 2010, only to bail out the combined entity two years later when it collapsed. The U.K. pressed Lloyds Banking Group Plc to swallow failing HBOS Plc in 2008 and a month later had to rescue Lloyds. The U.S.

Read more

An Garda Síochána are investigating a series of loans raised on peer-to-peer lending websites last year after a Co Kerry company closed its doors without repaying its six-figure debts, The Irish Times reported. The company, Premier Irish Golf Tours, raised several hundred thousand euro on crowdfunding websites last summer. The websites connect individual lenders with businesses that want to raise money. Correspondence sent to the lenders on one of the sites, Linked Finance, shows that the Garda are investigating the company after a complaint by the website.

Read more