Europe

The new owners of Paperchase chose not to refer their acquisition to a scheme that reviews the sale of failed companies’ assets to connected parties, the London Times reported. Permira Debt Managers, the credit arm of the eponymous private equity firm and a secured creditor to Paperchase, the stationer that collapsed last month, acquired the key assets of the business via a pre-pack administration.

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Asked how much more the Portuguese government expects to spend on TAP this year, Joao Leao told Sunday’s Jornal de Negocios: “That is still being analysed,” Reuters reported. “The situation of TAP is very demanding ... that amount may have to be reconsidered because at the moment the pandemic is having a much stronger impact than expected,” Leao said. In December, a government plan to rescue TAP proposed 2,000 job cuts by 2022 and pay cuts of up to 25%, while the airline would need around 2 billion euros in extra funds with state guarantees to cover its financing needs until 2024.

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Offshore drilling rig contractor Seadrill has filed for bankruptcy protection at a U.S. court, it said on Wednesday, the second time in four years the company has entered into a chapter 11 restructuring, Reuters reported. The Oslo-listed group controlled by Norwegian-born billionaire John Fredriksen returned to court along with several subsidiaries after failing to win consent from bank lenders to postpone payments on $5.7 billion of debts. Its total debts and liabilities stood at $7.3 billion at the end of the third quarter of 2020.

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Nearly 40,000 UK construction firms face insolvency by the end of April, according to Red Flag Alert data, Construction Global reported. It warns their collapse would mean £2.2bn in unpaid invoices are at risk of disappearing from construction supply chains. The latest ONS data focusing on the business impacts of COVID-19 shows 13.6% of construction companies have low or no confidence that their businesses will survive the next three months - a predicament affecting 39,491 firms.

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The European Parliament on Thursday approved measures to suspend competitive access to airport slots throughout the summer as the coronavirus travel slump drags on, Reuters reported. Under normal rules, airlines must use 80% of their take-off and landing rights at busy airports or cede slots to competitors. The so-called “use it or lose it” rule was waived last March when the COVID-19 crisis grounded most flights.

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Birmingham Airport is to get an £18.5m emergency loan from the city council to help avoid the threat of insolvency, BBC.com reported. Since the pandemic, the airport has seen passenger numbers fall by 91%. The loan was approved by the cabinet group on Tuesday when councillors were told the site was enduring the most "severe downturn" in its history. However, some councillors questioned whether more funding might be needed in future due to on-going uncertainty about air travel.

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Angela Merkel will give a welcome speech at Deutsche Bank’s annual New Year reception on Thursday, marking a rare appearance by the German chancellor at an event by a bank that for years has been battling losses and scandals, Reuters reported. Merkel will be speaking just a week after the lender reported its first annual profit since 2014, an important milestone in CEO Christian Sewing’s efforts to revive Deutsche’s fortunes. But investors and analysts said that despite Merkel’s symbolic vote of confidence, the bank’s prospects remain uncertain.
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The European economy will recover more slowly this year as the coronavirus keeps a tight grip on the region, with the outlook resting largely on a vaccination campaign that has so far stumbled, Bloomberg News reported. The European Commission cut its forecast for euro-area growth this year to 3.8% from 4.2%, and said its predictions “crucially” hinge on virus containment measures starting to be eased toward the end of the second quarter. They should be largely phased out by the end of the year.
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Amsterdam has displaced London as Europe’s biggest share trading centre after Britain left the European Union’s single market, and picked up a chunk of UK derivatives business along the way, according to data published on Thursday, Reuters reported. Stock exchanges in the Dutch capital traded 9.2 billion euros ($11.15 billion) a day in January, compared to London’s 8.6 billion, according to the Cboe exchange, which operates in both cities.
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The Spanish government is mulling additional economic measures to ease the situation facing thousands of companies badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in the hotel, restaurant, and catering (HORECA) sectors, EURACTIV.com reported. Economy and Digital Transformation Minister Nadia Calviño has stressed that the government is considering the implementation of additional measures to mitigate the heavy impact of the pandemic and to “reinforce the solvency of firms.” Tourism is one of Spain’s key economic drivers.

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