Europe

Credit Suisse Group lost three billion Swiss francs ($2.48 billion) in two months and said it plans to fire 5,300 employees, stark signals that investment banks will be retreating from complex bets and are piling into safer businesses as the fourth quarter is proving brutal, The Wall Street Journal reported. Credit Suisse's decision to cut 11% of its work force will save about two billion francs in annual costs and further increases the ranks of the unemployed in the financial sector. Two-thirds of the job cuts, or about 3,500 jobs, will be made at Credit Suisse's investment bank.
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The Italian financial police say they have arrested fashion designer Gai Mattiolo on a charge of fraudulent bankruptcy, the Associated Press reported. Officer Stefano Catorci says Mattiolo was placed under house arrest in Rome early Friday for allegedly siphoning funds from his fashion house before declaring bankruptcy. Catorci says another suspect was also arrested on the same charges. He did not give further details because the investigation was continuing. The Rome-based fashion house Gai Mattiolo declined comment. Mattiolo was seen as a rising star of Italian fashion in the 1990s.
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Reed Smith LLP on Wednesday became the latest firm to announce significant layoffs, saying that it plans to ax 115 support staff in its U.S. offices and up to 11 associates in the U.K, Bankruptcy Law360 reported. In a firmwide memo, Reed Smith said the layoffs were the result of the continuing slowdown of the economy and reduced demand for the firm's services. The layoffs represent less than 4 percent of Reed Smith's total work force. The 115 layoffs were spread across the firm's 15 U.S.
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Portuguese authorities seized control of Banco Privado Português SA, providing emergency funding for the troubled unlisted bank, The Wall Street Journal reported today. The seizure Tuesday was coordinated among Portugal's finance ministry, the Bank of Portugal and six of the country's largest banks, the central bank said. BPP is the second Portuguese bank to face liquidity problems as a result of the global financial crisis. Last month, Portugal nationalized unlisted Banco Português de Negócios SA after the bank recorded huge losses.
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German biodiesel producer Campa GmbH has declared insolvency for a second time this year and a commercial court in Wurzburg appointed a new administrator, a court official said on Tuesday. Campa first declared insolvency in May but resumed production in early June after being bought by a consortium of about 2,000 farmers in the southern state of Bavaria, Reuters reported. It operates a 150,000 tonne annual capacity plant producing biodiesel from rapeseed oil. Campa's oil mill was purchased by U.S. agribusiness group Archer Daniels Midland in August.
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U.K. fund manager New Star Asset Management Group's shares plummeted 43% Monday after the company disclosed that it is holding talks with its bank lenders, The Wall Street Journal reported today. The discussions likely revolve around trying to organize a debt-for-equity swap to help stabilize the highly leveraged firm, a person familiar with the matter said. The company sought to have trading of its shares temporarily suspended Monday as it delivered the potentially gloomy news, but U.K. regulators denied the request.
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The administrator for failed lender London Scottish Bank (LSB) on Tuesday said many potential buyers had expressed interest both in the company as a whole and in its profitable debt collection unit, the International Herald Tribune reported today. Accountants Ernst and Young was appointed as administrator for LSB on Sunday after the Financial Services Authority intervened to prevent the bank from accepting deposits because of a shortfall in its regulatory capital.
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Kaupthing Bank hf, Iceland's largest bank, has sought bankruptcy protection from its U.S. creditors, Reuters reported. The Reykjavik-based lender filed a Chapter 15 bankruptcy petition on Sunday with the U.S. bankruptcy court for the Southern District of New York. The filing came after Iceland's Financial Supervisory Authority seized Kaupthing, Glitnir Banki hf and Landsbanki Islands hf, the nation's three largest banks, as the global credit crisis deepened. Glitnir filed on Nov 26 for Chapter 15 protection.
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The municipal court in Prague on Friday declared bankruptcy proceedings on glass maker Sklo Bohemia on the application of creditors, the Prague Daily Monitor reported today. Creditors agreed on Friday that bankruptcy is the only possible solution for the debt-ridden company, the company's receiver Helena Horova told the Czech News Agency. Creditors decided on Friday that the company's assets would not be sold as a whole but in parts. Horova said no investor interested in buying the whole glassworks or renewing glass production has appeared.
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Dublin's premier pub-running company won bankruptcy protection Friday in a surprising sign that Ireland's credit crunch is pushing even the most liquid of businesses to the breaking point, the Associated Press reported. The High Court granted bankruptcy protection to the Thomas Read Group, which runs a dozen of the capital's most popular pubs and eight more at Dublin Airport. The company also runs an award-winning restaurant on the River Liffey, the Winding Stair Bookshop & Cafe, and a top Dublin nightclub, Ri Ra.
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