Europe

Tycoon Sanjeev Gupta’s Liberty Steel UK plans to restart steelmaking next week and continues to seek new funding after its main financial backer Greensill Capital went into insolvency, it said on Monday, Reuters reported. Gupta’s conglomerate GFG Alliance said earlier this month it was in talks with administrators of Greensill over a standstill agreement. On Monday GFG said those negotiations were ongoing and also said that Liberty Steel was still seeking support from the UK government.
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British ministers have rejected a request from mining magnate Sanjeev Gupta for a 170 million pound ($234.36 million) emergency loan to prevent his group, GFG Alliance, from collapsing, the Financial Times reported on Sunday. GFG, a holding company for Gupta’s assets, was the biggest recipient of financing from Greensill, a British financing company, which filed for insolvency earlier in March. The British government wrote back to Gupta formally rejecting the request last week due to multiple concerns.
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Airbus SE said its core banks have stepped in to provide vital financing to suppliers following the collapse of Greensill Capital, Bloomberg News reported. Lenders including Societe Generale SA are ensuring that prompt payments continue after the insolvency of the London-based firm, which Airbus says had acted as a broker for short term supply-chain financing. “This platform is now up and running and no suppliers have been disrupted,” Justin Dubon, a spokesman for the planemaker, said on Thursday.

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High Street photographic equipment chain Jessops has filed a notice to appoint administrators, BBC.com reported. The camera retailer, which employs 120 staff and has 17 stores, is owned by Dragons' Den star Peter Jones. Jessops said it had hired advisors FRP to help it restructure the business, severely impacted by the pandemic. The notice of intent provides the business with protection for 10 days from existing or pending creditor claims. The retailer said it planned to continue to trade when lockdown restrictions lift in April.
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Germany’s Finance Ministry gave explicit backing in 2019 to financial regulator BaFin’s controversial approach to fraud accusations at Wirecard AG, raising questions about its role in one of the biggest corporate scandals in recent history, Bloomberg News reported. In a March 2019 phone call, Deputy Finance Minister Joerg Kukies gave the head of BaFin, Felix Hufeld, broad support for his efforts to investigate the allegations, according to briefing documents for a parliamentary hearing on Wirecard seen by Bloomberg.

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The European Central Bank cut interest rates to below zero years ago to reignite the continent’s frail economy in the midst of a sovereign-debt crisis. The negative rates helped everyone get cheap financing, from governments to small companies. It gave an incentive to households to borrow and spend. And it broke the basic rule of credit, allowing banks to owe money to borrowers, the Wall Street Journal reported. After the ECB cut interest rates to below zero in 2014, economies in the eurozone improved and expectations were that rates would rise in a few years.
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On the first day of a two-day hearing at the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), a Mastercard lawyer said that common law did not assume that interest would accrue on a compound basis on such claims, Reuters reported. “The law is not the same as economic theory,” he said. “In most cases, simple interest is going to be perfectly adequate as a means of compensation.” Former financial ombudsman Walter Merricks, who is leading the claim, alleges that Mastercard overcharged almost 60 million people in Britain - including about 14 million people now deceased - over nearly 16 years.
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London Stock Exchange Group Plc is tapping the U.S. high-grade bond market for $4.5 billion to help refinance debt it took on related to its acquisition of Refinitiv Holdings Ltd., Bloomberg News reported. The company is selling bonds in five parts. The longest portion of the offering, a 20-year security, may yield about 100 basis points over Treasuries. The exchange will use the funds to refinance debt incurred in connection with its $27 billion purchase of Refinitiv that was completed earlier this year.
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Cineworld will ask shareholders to approve an increase in its debt ceiling next month after the pandemic-stricken cinema group plunged to a $3 billion loss last year, Reuters reported. The Regal Cinemas owner, forced by coronavirus lockdowns to shut most of its almost 800 theatres in October and temporarily lay off about 45,000 staff, sunk to its first pretax loss as a listed company last year, after a $212.3 million profit in 2019. Its shares tumbled 9% to 94 pence in early Thursday trading, the worst performance on the UK mid-cap index. The group, which is set to reopen its U.S.
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Ulster Bank has been fined a record €37.8 million by the Central Bank for its role in the State’s tracker mortgage scandal, which saw the lender devise “deliberate” strategies to shift borrowers off cheap mortgages during the financial crisis and only rectify matters for those that complained, the Irish Times reported. Borrowers lost 43 properties as a result of overcharging as they were denied their entitlement to a low-cost mortgage linked to the European Central Bank’s main rate, the Central Bank said in a statement on Thursday. Family homes accounted for 29 of these cases.
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