Europe

A package of measures to help businesses contend with soaring energy prices will likely include low-cost loans and grants targeted at the sectors most affected, Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Wednesday, Reuters reported. Varadkar said last week that the bulk of Ireland's budget surplus, expected to reach up to 5 billion euros ($4.99 billion) or around 2% of national income, should be spent on one-off measures to help consumers and businesses with rising prices.
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SAS AB Chief Executive Officer Anko van der Werff said he’s confident the Scandinavian airline will emerge successfully from a chapter 11 restructuring after winning clearance for a $700 million financing package and seeing a rebound in its own performance, Bloomberg News reported. Approval for the Apollo Global Management funding from a US bankruptcy judge is “the biggest and most important news” for SAS and will be “vital” as it seeks to move forward with a new strategic plan, Der Werff said Thursday in an interview in Gothenburg, Sweden.
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The European Union's executive plans to raise more than 140 billion euros ($140 billion) to shield consumers from soaring energy prices by skimming off revenues from low-cost electricity generators and making fossil fuel firms share windfall profits, Reuters reported. The European Commission published the proposals on Wednesday as the 27-member European Union grapples with an energy crisis fuelled by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
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The German government has sold off its 20% stake in Lufthansa acquired during the coronavirus pandemic, it said on Tuesday, Reuters reported. The state's economic stabilisation fund (WSF), which saved Lufthansa from bankruptcy during the pandemic with a bailout package totalling 9 billion euros ($8.97 billion), had progressively reduced its stake in recent years with the aim of offloading it completely by October of 2023. It has now sold its last remaining shares to international investors in a block placement for 455 million euros, the fund said in a statement on Tuesday night.
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Consumer prices in Britain rose 9.9 percent in August from a year earlier, a slight easing of the inflation rate and the first decline in nearly a year, signaling that inflation may have reached its peak, or be very near it, the New York Times reported. While this sign of a turnaround in the trajectory of inflation is likely to bring some relief to lawmakers and policymakers, it will provide only limited comfort to consumers.
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The French government is lowering the country's 2023 economic growth outlook, but sees no need to revise its budget deficit target as a result, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Tuesday, Reuters reported. Growth in the euro zone's second-biggest economy is now expected to slow from an estimated 2.5% this year to 1% next year, down from 1.4% previously, Le Maire told journalists as he outlined the main forecasts underpinning the 2023 budget bill due later this month.
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Ukraine expects a budget deficit of $38 billion next year that will be covered mainly by financing from the IMF, the United States and the European Union, Interfax news agency quoted Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal as saying on Wednesday, Reuters reported. War bonds and taxes will also help to cover the deficit, he said, adding that he hoped a new funding programme with the International Monetary Fund would be agreed for next year. Shmyhal said he expected the United States to provide $18 billion and the EU and IMF to contribute $12 billion each towards helping to cover the deficit.
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Claimant groups planning multi-million pound lawsuits over a collapsed fund run by former star stock picker Neil Woodford said on Tuesday any redress of around 306 million pounds ($359 million) ordered by Britain's regulator would be too paltry, Reuters reported. Law firm Leigh Day, which represents around 13,000 clients in a lawsuit against Link Fund Solutions (LFS), the administrator of the flagship LF Woodford Equity Income Fund, said the figure was "nowhere near enough" to compensate thousands who had suffered financial losses.
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Fossil fuel firms may have to share their excess profits to help European households and industries cope with red-hot energy bills, a draft European Union plan showed on Monday as the cost of the West's "energy war" with Russia took a growing toll, Reuters reported. Energy prices and inflation have surged as Moscow slashed gas supplies in response to Western sanctions imposed over its actions in Ukraine, prompting France to tell consumers they would have to share some of the pain while Britain is among countries facing the threat of recession.
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Germany is set to use a fund created to help companies cope with the economic hit from the pandemic to provide loan guarantees for struggling energy firms, Reuters reported. State development bank KfW would oversee the mechanism and the volume of loan guarantees available would be around 67 billion euros ($67.9 billion). Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government is set to approve the plan -- which is designed to help energy companies forced to pay higher prices due to Russian supply cuts -- at a regular cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
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