Europe

Bankruptcy proceedings designed to save struggling companies have resulted in failure in more than half the cases where they have been used, according to research by estate agency Colliers International, the Financial Times reported. Between 2016 and 2019, 13 of 23 company voluntary arrangements, which are used by UK businesses to reduce their debts, saw the group going into administration, while other companies that did not agree a CVA ended up seeking investors to buy the business. Failed CVAs include those agreed by Toys R US and Jamie’s Italian.

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The new governor of the Bank of England and the chancellor need to take early action to ensure the central bank has weapons it can deploy when the next recession hits, warn economists, the Financial Times reported. A survey conducted by the Financial Times last month illustrates economists’ waning faith in the power of monetary policymakers to fight a downturn. A majority of the more than 85 respondents thought the UK economy would fare no better this year than it did in 2019, when growth slowed to its lowest level in a decade.

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Mundipharma International Ltd., a global pharmaceutical company owned by the billionaire Sackler family, is working with Deutsche Bank AG as it weighs a sale of the business amid interest from potential buyers, people familiar with the matter said, Bloomberg News reported. A sale of the Cambridge, U.K.-based business could fetch from $3 billion to $5 billion, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. The company has attracted initial interest from other pharmaceutical companies as well private equity firms, the people said.

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U.K. regional airline Flybe Group Plc has only days to secure a rescue package that could include help from the government, according to a person with knowledge of the talks, Bloomberg News reported. Flybe owner Connect Airways, comprising Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd., Stobart Group and Cyrus Capital, is looking for state assistance to avoid putting the airline into liquidation, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing a private matter. That could involve measures such as suspending U.K. air passenger duty owed by the carrier, the person said. U.K.

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U.K. regional airline Flybe Group Plc is in crunch talks with the British government for emergency financing, less than a year after a group fronted by Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. stepped in to rescue the unprofitable carrier, Sky News reported. EY is on standby to handle any potential liquidation, according to the report, which cited unidentified aviation industry sources, Bloomberg News reported. More than 2,000 jobs are at risk, Sky said. Flybe issued a short statement, saying it remains in business.

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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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