Europe

Italy wants to shield Monte dei Paschi from bad loan losses as it prepares the bailed-out bank for a sale, but faces resistance from European Union competition authorities, two sources close to the matter said, Reuters reported. Italy’s Treasury has a year-end deadline to present an outline of its strategy for getting out of the world’s oldest bank, which was at the forefront of Italy’s banking crisis until a 2017 state bailout was cleared by Brussels.

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Norwegian Air Shuttle has sealed a long-awaited joint venture with one of China’s biggest banks in a deal designed to bolster a balance sheet strained by the low-cost carrier’s breathless pace of expansion, the Financial Times reported. The joint venture, 70 per cent owned by a subsidiary of state-controlled China Construction Bank, will be responsible for financing 27 Airbus A320neo aircraft that Norwegian expects to be delivered in 2020-23.

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Royal Bank of Scotland slumped to a loss in the third quarter after a poor performance from its investment bank compounded a £900m hit from the payment protection insurance scandal, the Financial Times reported. NatWest Markets, the once high-flying investment bank that has been drastically scaled back since the financial crisis, recorded an operating loss of £193m in the quarter after its rates trading business was bruised by a historic rally in government debt.

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FundingSecure, which offered loans against classic cars and Picasso paintings, has become the second British peer-to-peer lender to collapse in six months, the Financial Times reported. The decision to call in administrators at CG Recovery on Wednesday following rising defaults and legal issues leaves about 3,500 investors exposed to potential losses if the debts cannot be recovered. CG said FundingSecure’s outstanding loan book was worth about £80m and that it was too early to predict how much money they would be able to return to creditors and investors.

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KPMG has been paid about £2.3m for its work on winding down Patisserie Valerie, despite being replaced as administrator to the failed bakery chain due to a conflict of interest, the Financial Times reported. The Big Four accounting firm, whose insolvency partners earned £875 an hour for the work according to its latest disclosure to creditors, will cease to be administrator as it cannot pursue legal claims against Patisserie Valerie’s auditor, which is expected to be the next stage in attempting to recoup money for creditors.

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A Czech court ruled that Citibank’s claim to debt worth over 10 billion crowns ($434.10 million) owed by Czech miner OKD was eligible, CTK news agency reported on Wednesday, Reuters reported. CTK reported OKD’s former insolvency administrator and representative of the state, which now owns OKD’s mining operations, both said they would appeal the ruling. OKD filed for insolvency in 2016 while a unit of miner New World Resources, which went into liquidation that year. OKD’s insolvency administrator rejected Citibank’s claim, leaving it out of proceedings.

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Casino Gets a Short Leash

Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA  announced late Tuesday that it was working on a 3.5 billion-euro ($3.9 billion) refinancing, a Bloomberg View reported. That should be positive for the owner of France’s famous Monoprix and Franprix chains. But as usual with the sprawling retail group, there is probably more here than meets the eye. At first glance the move looks like sensible balance sheet management. The company has about 500 million euros of bonds maturing in March 2020, and more over the next few years. But the refinancing comes at a price.

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Exclusive talks between the U.K.’s Insolvency Service and Turkey’s Ataer Holdings about a sale for British Steel have ended without a deal, Bloomberg News reported. The official receiver for the company, who is managing the sale, will hold discussions with other parties and the potential buyers are expected to visit British Steel sites in the coming days, the insolvency service said on Wednesday. Talks with Ataer, which co-owns steelmakers in Turkey, are continuing as well.

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The head of Russia’s state bank VTB Andrei Kostin and Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi discussed plans to restructure Maputo’s debt, with the aim to conclude a deal by the year-end. Mozambique needs to restructure a $535 million state-backed loan to Mozambique Asset Management (MAM) arranged by VTB, Reuters reported. The meeting between Kostin and Nyusi was held on Tuesday, a VTB spokeswoman told Reuters. VTB said in a statement on Wednesday that Kostin told Nyusi that the Russian bank would like to agree on the debt restructure plan by the end of this year.

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