Europe

The State’s corporate watchdog has moved to ease concerns of directors of businesses seeking to trade through financial problems caused by the coronavirus economic shock, but where the company ultimately goes under, The Irish Times reported. When liquidators are appointed to insolvent companies, they must issue a report to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) and initiate court proceedings seeking to have directors restricted, unless they are granted a waiver by the watchdog from doing so.

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The European Union’s eastern wing outshone the west in containing Covid-19. The economic hit, however, is proving harder to dodge, Bloomberg News reported. Early social-distancing measures and speedy lockdowns helped minimize loss of life as fatalities in the likes of Spain and the U.K. soared. Boasting the bloc’s fewest deaths per capita was Slovakia, which closed its schools, shops and borders earlier than all member-states bar Italy. Slovakia, however, is at the wrong end of the economic rankings.

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Germany stood by its 9 billion-euro ($10 billion) bailout plan for Deutsche Lufthansa AG, daring the airline’s disgruntled top shareholder to shoot it down at a pivotal vote this week, Bloomberg News reported. With Lufthansa fighting for survival after the coronavirus outbreak punctured a decades-long global travel boom, billionaire Heinz-Hermann Thiele is threatening to block the rescue plan -- which would dilute his 15.5% holding and influence -- at a shareholder meeting scheduled for Thursday.

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German payments firm Wirecard AG was tipped into a full-blown crisis after disclosing it was unable to locate 1.9 billion euros ($2.1 billion) missing from its balance sheet, Bloomberg News reported. The company now faces a potential cash crunch and warned lenders could call in loans of as much as 2 billion euros after multiple delays to publication of an audited financial report. The company’s creditors are likely to organize and appoint advisers to try and negotiate a solution that gets as much as their money back as possible. Here’s how that may unfold.

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Two months after its dire predictions of the steepest recession in almost a century, the International Monetary Fund will release new global economic forecasts this week that will probably look even worse, Bloomberg News reported. Officials at the Washington-based Fund have warned that a revised outlook due on Wednesday may feature a more pessimistic view than in April. Back then, they said the “Great Lockdown” caused by the coronavirus would force a global contraction of 3% this year.

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Deutsche Lufthansa AG faces one of the most momentous weeks in a near 70-year history, with a clash between its biggest investor and the German government threatening to scupper a 9 billion-euro ($10 billion) bailout and push Europe’s biggest airline toward collapse, Bloomberg News reported. With Lufthansa fighting for survival after the coronavirus outbreak punctured a decades-long global travel boom, billionaire Heinz-Hermann Thiele is threatening to block the rescue plan, which would dilute his holding and influence, at a virtual shareholder meeting Thursday.

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Seeking to explain the appeal of Dutch retailer Hema’s brand to consumers outside the Netherlands, CEO Tjeerd Jegen compares it to a mix of Marks and Spencer Group Plc and John Lewis, “on steroids”. But just as the British stores have faced their own financial difficulties of late, so Hema has had its own problems, starting with an oversized debt pile, Bloomberg News reported. And this week’s restructuring plan -- which will cut its liabilities from 750 million euros ($842 million) to 300 million -- still raises questions over its future ownership.

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France is warning flag carrier Air France-KLM against making forced job cuts, with Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire saying such a move would constitute a “red line” the carrier shouldn’t cross after receiving a state bailout, Bloomberg News reported. “We spent money to save Air France,” he said Thursday in a radio interview.

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Germany and Deutsche Lufthansa AG are considering cutting back the country’s 9 billion-euro ($10.1 billion) aid package as the airline group closes in on additional commitments from Switzerland, Austria and Belgium, people familiar with the discussion said, Bloomberg News reported. The government is ready to lower the burden for Germany’s taxpayers and is weighing whether to reduce an earmarked 3 billion euros of loans to Lufthansa from the state-run Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau fund, the people said, asking not to be named discussing a confidential matter.

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Austrian short-haul budget carrier Level Europe plans to file for insolvency, it said on Thursday, becoming the latest airline casualty of the coronavirus crisis despite the financial might of parent IAG, Reuters reported. The small airline, previously known as ANISEC, began operating in 2018. It has six Airbus short-haul jets and is part of IAG-owned Vueling Group. British Airways owner IAG also operates a long-haul airline called Level, which is separate from Level Europe, an IAG spokeswoman said.

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