Europe

In a fresh twist to the saga of Matador Prime’s Bulgaria-licensed brokerage arm, the Bulgarian Financial Supervision Commission (FSC) has triggered insolvency proceedings against the company based on a decision set by the Sofia City Court, Finance Magnates reported. In the case at hand, insolvency proceedings were opened on March 19, 2019 against Matador Prime, which procured a MiFID license in Bulgaria back in 2015 to passport its services across the European Union.

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Creditors of Debenhams, the UK department store group that went into a “pre-pack” administration last month, have approved proposals that will allow the group to close 22 stores and reduce rents on more than 100 more, the Financial Times reported. At a meeting held in central London, votes on the two company voluntary arrangements were passed by 95 per cent and 97 per cent majorities. The CVAs are the final part of a refinancing process that has seen the group’s equity wiped out and its creditors swap £100m of debt for new equity.

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The Government forecasts that it will receive a further €100 million next year from the remains of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), as the company’s liquidators start to pay interest due to unsecured creditors since early 2013, The Irish Times reported. The figure is contained in a written answer given this week by Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe to Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty on foot of a parliamentary question. IBRC was set up in 2011 to take over the assets of failed lenders Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society (INBS).

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Metro Bank has drawn up plans to sell more than £1 billion (€1.15 billion) worth of loans at the centre of a misreporting scandal that caused its share price to plunge and forced it into a rights issue, The Irish Times reported. The move would be a significant reversal of strategy for the former darling of Britain’s challenger banks, which won admiration from investors for its rapid growth but changed its approach after the discovery of an embarrassing accounting error.

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Thomas Cook’s bonds suffered heavy losses while the cost to insure against a potential default leapt higher on Thursday, amid mounting concern over the travel company’s ability to service its debt, the Financial Times reported. Investor angst deepened after at least one of the travel group’s lenders sold a loan it made to the company at a highly-distressed price. A revolving credit line was sold this week at around 59 pence on the pound, according to debt investors.

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Philip Green’s Arcadia Group is offering to pay for an adviser to its landlords as the retailer battles for their backing on its plan to avoid collapse through a complex restructuring of its store estate, the Financial Times reported. The fashion company, which owns chains from Topshop and Topman to Dorothy Perkins and Wallis, wants to cut its sprawling store portfolio and pay lower rents. It is proposing to fund investment bank PJT Partners to negotiate on behalf of the property owners, said three people briefed on the talks.

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Manufacturing activity in the eurozone continued to contract in April, albeit at a slower pace than in the previous month, according to a closely watched survey of industry executives, the Financial Times reported. The eurozone IHS Markit manufacturing index was revised to 47.9 on Thursday, up from a flash estimate of 47.8, which indicates that the majority of manufacturers reported a contraction in activity. However, this marked an improvement from the six-year low in March.

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The Netherlands and other fiscally hawkish EU members are calling for further reductions in the planned size and scope of a eurozone budget, a French political priority that has already been squeezed in negotiations in Brussels, the Financial Times reported. French president Emmanuel Macron is leading calls for the single currency to have its own budget to try to shore up its crisis resilience. EU leaders agreed in December to work on the idea in a more limited form than suggested by Mr Macron, who wanted a fund worth several percentage points of eurozone gross domestic product.

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By many measures Greece has turned a corner: Its stock benchmark has jumped 26 percent in 2019, set for its best first half in two decades, and trumping European shares’ 8.1 percent gain, Bloomberg News reported. Last year, the country recorded the strongest economic growth since 2007. Greece’s 10-year bonds yield 3.3 percent, a fraction of the 37 percent the country had to pay at the height of the financial crisis. For all that, many Greeks are still struggling to claw out from under mountains of debt after a decade during which the economy cratered, contracting by more than a quarter.

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A businessman and his mother have been restricted for five years from acting as directors of any company, unless it meets certain requirements, after the High Court found they failed to keep proper books and records for their liquidated hairdressing supplies and beauty treatments business, The Irish Times reported. Warren Logan was executive director of Hairspray Wholesalers Ltd, Fashion City, Ballymount, Dublin, while his mother Dolores MacKenzie was a non-executive director. The company was voluntarily wound up on May 1st, 2013 and a liquidator, Jim Luby, was appointed.

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