Europe

A report recently by La Vanguardia says that La Liga giants Barcelona are in debt to the tune of €420m (£375), which must be paid by the end of this year or they could face insolvency, with the report describing the club as having let things spiral out of control, according to EuroWeeklyNews.com. Apparently, there is a straight €480m (£428m) long term debt, repayable over one year, and then another debt of €420m (£375m) in the short term, making a total debt of almost €900m (£803m) at the club.

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Bonds issued by French supermarket group Carrefour SA took a pounding on Wednesday as a takeover approach from Canada’s Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. sparked concerns that a deal would swell the combined company’s debt burden, Bloomberg News reported. A 1 billion euro ($1.2 billion) note maturing in 2027 was indicated 1.1 cents lower at 115.4 cents, marking the biggest one-day price drop since issuance last March, based on data compiled by Bloomberg. It’s the worst-performing bond in the euro high-grade market Wednesday, followed by other bonds issued by the French grocer.

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EU antitrust regulators have cleared the London Stock Exchange’s $27 billion acquisition of data company Refinitiv, subject to a number of conditions including the sale of its Borsa Italiana operations, Reuters reported. The European Commission, which oversees competition policy in the 27-nation European Union, said on Wednesday that the purchase had been approved after its investigation found a number of concerns.

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The local court of Aschaffenburg today approved the application of Adler Modemärkte AG and opened preliminary insolvency proceedings in self-administration pursuant to Section 270b (1), (2) of the German Insolvency Code, new version, according to a press release. Within the scope of the preliminary self-administration, the business operations of Adler Modemärkte AG shall be continued in their entirety and the company shall be restructured by means of an insolvency plan. The management board of the company will continue to have the power of administration and disposition.

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Zombies Could Stunt the Bank Recovery

A decade ago, Europe’s recovery from the global financial crisis was held back by the lingering bad-debt problems of its banks. History risks repeating itself, the Wall Street Journal reported. The region’s generous lockdown-support programs and patchwork of insolvency laws could create so-called zombie firms—inefficient companies kept alive by cheap debt. Last month, the European Central Bank said this remains a risk. Meanwhile, bank shares have been buoyed by optimism that Covid-19 vaccines will revive the economy and shareholder payouts will resume.
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Business failures in Ireland barely rose last year despite the economic challenges posed by the Covid crisis, new figures show, the Irish Times reported. Measures deployed by government during the pandemic had helped to sustain companies during the year, said accountants Deloitte, which compiled the figures. The number of corporate insolvencies rose by just 1 per cent to 575. This compares to 568 insolvencies in 2019.

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Monte dei Paschi di Siena said that it would grant access to confidential data to potential merger partners selected by its advisers, as Italy presses ahead with plans to cut its stake in the state-owned bank, Reuters reported. Confirming comments to Reuters from sources earlier on Monday, Monte dei Paschi (MPS) said its board had hired Credit Suisse to help Mediobanca in the task of studying strategic options and sounding out market interest for the Tuscan bank.
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Proposals have been outlined by the U.K. government to increase the financial eligibility criteria for debt relief orders (DROs), helping more people deal with financial difficulties to get a fresh start, according to a press release. Research shows that the demand for debt advice could increase by up to 60% by the end of 2021 and around 3 million more people than before the pandemic will need support with problem debt by the end of 2021. The government is publicly consulting on changing the eligibility criteria to enter a DRO to:

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Almost half of Swiss companies in the restaurant and hospitality sector are at risk of bankruptcy by the end of March without state aid to face the consequences of the restrictions imposed by the fight against COVID-19, warned Sunday the representative federation of the sector, the Inspired Traveler reported. The Swiss government is likely to extend this week the closure of bars, restaurants and entertainment venues across the country until the end of February, with hopes of rolling back the still high number of COVID-19 cases and of deceased.

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The government of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is struggling to avoid collapse after a small coalition member threatened to withdraw vital parliamentary support, the Wall Street Journal reported. The Italia Viva party, led by former Italian Premier Matteo Renzi, has long been skeptical of Mr. Conte’s leadership and is raising pressure on a range of issues, including how to reconstruct Italy’s battered economy after the pandemic. If Mr. Renzi pulls out of the coalition, forcing Mr.

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