Europe

Jörg Jahnke Dachbau, a Berlin roofing company, is facing a new year’s slump with few parallels in its history, the Financial Times reported. “It’s an absolute disaster,” said its managing director, Joachim Meder. “I’ve lost €4.5m in orders. It’s as if someone’s just turned out the lights.” The culprit is the Berlin city government’s plan to freeze rents for five years — a move critics describe as one of the most far-reaching interventions in the capital’s housing market since German reunification.

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Airline shares surged in Europe after Ryanair Holdings Plc said it expects to post a bigger-than-expected full-year profit following a spike in lucrative last-minute bookings over the Christmas and New Year holiday, Bloomberg News reported. Europe’s biggest discount airline now anticipates earnings for the 12 months through March of between 950 million euros ($1.06 billion) and 1.05 billion euros, and most likely in the middle of that range, according to a statement on Friday. It had previously forecast 800 million euros to 900 million euros.

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The audit watchdog has delayed a decision on whether to bring enforcement action against KPMG over its work on collapsed outsourcing giant Carillion, citing an exceptionally large and complicated investigation, the Financial Times reported. The Financial Reporting Council said it would miss a self-imposed deadline to complete its probe into audit work carried out by KPMG, which was initially due this month. It will instead make a decision on whether to bring disciplinary proceedings against KPMG, which could include a hefty fine, this summer.

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A sharp drop in German exports in November has added to the impression that Europe’s largest economy had a shaky end to last year, when it is widely expected to have suffered its worst performance for six years, the Financial Times reported. Data published on Thursday gave a mixed picture for the German economy. There was a much larger monthly fall in exports than expected of 2.3 per cent in November, while industrial production rebounded slightly faster than economists had forecast.

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Russia’s VTB Capital has sued Mozambique to recover its share of defaulted debts at the heart of the impoverished African nation’s $2bn “tuna bond” scandal, the Financial Times reported. State-owned VTB is demanding repayment of a $535m loan, according to a lawsuit that it filed against the Mozambican government in London. In 2013 and 2014 Mozambique borrowed $1.4bn from VTB and Credit Suisse tied to maritime security projects, alongside a $850m bond it sold to investors for the financing of a tuna-fishing fleet.

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The two-year recession in Germany’s industrial heartlands is deepening, according to new data showing that orders in the country’s core manufacturing sector fell by more than expected in November — defying expectations of a rebound, the Financial Times reported. New German manufacturing orders fell by 1.3 per cent in November compared with the previous month, according to provisional figures published by the Federal Statistics Office on Wednesday. Economists polled by Reuters had expected an increase of 0.2 per cent.

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Eurozone governments are on course to raise less cash from bond investors in 2020 than any year since the financial crisis, even as the European Central Bank hoovers up fresh supply and borrowing costs hover near record lows, the Financial Times reported. Analysts at JPMorgan estimate that net supply of euro-area sovereign bonds this year will come to €188bn, the lowest since 2008. That figure, based on issuance plans published by national debt agencies, is derived from €762bn of bond sales over the year, while €574bn of existing bonds mature.

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A rescue deal for British Steel has edged closer after bidder Jingye received support from regional authorities in China to push through the takeover of the ailing UK steelmaker, the Financial Times reported. The 5,000 workers at the stricken company have been facing an uncertain future after it collapsed into liquidation in May when its owner, the buyout group Greybull Capital, failed to obtain an emergency loan from the UK government. An attempt to sell the group to Ataer Holding, an investment arm of Turkey’s military pension fund, fell through after 10 weeks of exclusive talks.

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T5 Oil & Gas, an Africa-focused explorer founded by a group of Tullow Oil veterans, has warned there is a “material uncertainty” over its ability to stay in business for the next year if it fails to raise money to complete a key deal in Gabon after aborting a $45 million (€40.2 million) initial public offering (IPO) in 2018, The Irish Times reported. In spite of this, the UK-based company, led by Irishman Pat Plunkett, said in its 2018 report there was a “reasonable expectation” of carrying out an IPO or finding alternative funding in the first half of this year.

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After almost a decade, the world’s lender of last resort is ready to leave Greece for good, Bloomberg News reported. For a while there, Europe’s most indebted nation had everyone worried this Mediterranean holiday destination was going to bring on the collapse of the euro. Its ups and downs had the market gyrating. Then came the biggest bailout in global financial history. The International Monetary Fund led the effort to save Greece from itself. At the beginning of the 10-year crisis in Greece, the Washington-based institution had asked for a restructuring of country’s debt.

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