Europe

The U.K. Insolvency Service has announced that temporary measures introduced last year to help viable businesses avoid being forced into unnecessary insolvency during the COVID-19 pandemic will be phased out from October 1, Business-Sale.com reported. The end of the previous legislation will occur alongside the introduction of new measures to help businesses recover. The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act, which came into force in June 2020, introduced several temporary measures designed to help businesses through the COVID-19 crisis.
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The European Union’s competition watchdog on Friday cleared an injection of Italian government funds into new national flag carrier ITA, and said the company would not be held accountable for illegal state aid given to its predecessor Alitalia, the Associated Press reported. Just a month before ITA takes to the skies, the European Commission — which polices anti-trust and competition issues in the 27-nation EU — said capital totaling 1.35 billion euros ($1.6 billion) that Italy intends to grant the new venture is in line with market conditions and cannot be considered as illegal state aid.
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German prosecutors raided the finance and justice ministries on Thursday as part of an investigation into the government’s anti-money laundering agency, putting a spotlight on Germany's failings in tackling financial crime, Reuters reported. The probe into the Financial Intelligence Unit, an agency of the finance ministry under Social Democrat chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz, is looking at whether it was told to ignore warnings of suspect payments to Africa.
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The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into German insurer Allianz is looking at possible misconduct by fund managers and misrepresentation of risk to investors, three people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. The probe, disclosed by the company on Aug. 1, is focused on Allianz funds that used complex options strategies to generate returns but racked up massive losses when the spread of COVID-19 triggered wild stock market swings in February and March 2020.
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European Union finance ministers said on Friday that changes to EU budget rules, now under review, should support investment in the post-pandemic economy and allow for a more realistic path in cutting some countries' huge public debts, Reuters reported. Finance ministers from the 27-nation bloc are starting discussions during a two-day summit in the Slovenian town of Brdo on how to amend the rules to better fit changed economic realities once they are reinstated from 2023. "We will need a debt reduction path that is realistic for all member states.
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EasyJet Plc rejected an unsolicited takeover approach and said it plans to raise more than $2 billion, giving the U.K. airline a buffer to see it through a return to leisure travel, Bloomberg News reported. The shares fell as much as 14%. The preliminary offer was conditional, all-stock and had a low premium, EasyJet said Thursday in a statement. It was rejected unanimously by the board and has been withdrawn. Instead, the discount airline will sell 1.2 billion pounds ($1.65 billion) of stock through a rights offering and raise an added $400 million in debt.
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European power companies could be burdened with debt and face credit rating downgrades if they fail to take action to reach climate neutrality by the middle of the century, a new study says, Bloomberg News reported. The European Union plans to reach net zero emissions by 2050 as part of efforts to curb global temperature rises and mitigate climate change. As power generation is the largest single source of carbon dioxide emissions, curbing pollution from the sector is crucially important to achieving the bloc’s climate targets.
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Irish inflation hit a 10-year high in August, driven by a rise in the cost of transport, housing, restaurants and hotels, the Irish Times reported. Central Statistics Office (CSO) data shows consumer prices rose 2.8 per cent in the 12 months to the end of August, the sharpest level of price growth seen since November 2011. The latest figures come amid a series of warnings about rising costs for businesses in several sectors. The acceleration in prices is connected to the resumption of economic activity after lockdown, supply chain blockages, higher oil prices and Brexit.
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UniCredit and Italy’s Treasury are set to extend discussions over the sale of state-owned bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena beyond an exclusivity deadline on Wednesday, Reuters reported. Italy’s second-largest bank agreed at the end of July to start exclusive talks to evaluate buying “selected parts” of Monte dei Paschi (MPS), which is 64% owned by the Treasury following a 2017 bailout. The two parties agreed to guidelines for an accord at the time stating a deal must leave UniCredit’s capital reserves unaffected and boost its earnings per share by at least 10%.
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German industrial production increased in July after three consecutive months of declines that have reflected supply chain problems, official data showed on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported. Overall production increased by 1% compared with the previous month, the Economy Ministry said. In June, it had dropped 1%. There were bigger increases in the production of cars and car parts, which was up 1.9%, and machinery, which rose 6.9%.
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