Europe

The High Court in Ireland has granted a restriction order against the directors of an insolvent company, Winning Ways Ltd, Pinsent Masons reported. The order was requested by the liquidator of the business at the request of the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE). The judgment confirms that the onus is on directors to prove that they acted honestly and responsibly when raising a defence against a restriction order under section 819 of the Companies Act 2014.

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Some hedge funds that bet against a series of Greek and Italian companies are nursing losses after the European Union’s breakthrough plan for a 750 billion euro (£673 billion) recovery fund sent stock markets surging across southern Europe, Reuters reported. The funds, which include Citadel, Marshall Wace and AKO Capital, still hold short positions on companies such as Italy’s Banco BPM and Greece’s Piraeus Bank ahead of a June 18-19 EU summit to debate the recovery fund, aimed at helping European economies recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Four-time German champions Kaiserslautern announced Monday they have filed for insolvency, but the third division club is expected to survive under new rules adopted by the German FA this season due to the coronavirus pandemic, News24.com reported. Kaiserslautern last won the Bundesliga title in 1997-98, but they were relegated from the top-flight in 2011-12 and dropped to the third tier last season after finishing bottom of the second division.

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Travelex has pulled the sale of its business after its banks and bondholders rejected offers from a shortlist of potential buyers, leaving the currency exchange heading for a debt-for-equity restructuring as it scrambles to secure its future, the Financial Times reported. In a statement to investors on Monday, Travelex said that it had received a number of non-binding offers but these “were unacceptable” to lenders that provided its revolving credit facility and bondholders.

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German lead producer Weser-Metall GmbH has received interest from a “large number” of potential buyers and plans to start negotiations over a sale next month, the administrator for the insolvent firm said on Monday, Reuters reported. The Nordenham-based group, which is owned by French metals producer Recylex, is one of Europe’s main lead producers with output of about 105,000 tonnes annually. It filed for insolvency in May. It is currently working under self-administration, which means Recylex no longer has control of the company.

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Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe’s banks are facing one of their worst years since the global financial crisis a study on Friday showed, with many expecting to cut back lending and see a jump in loan defaults, Reuters reported. The survey carried out by the European Union’s lending arm, the European Investment Bank during March, showed nearly 65% of banks polled expected non-performing loans (NPLs) to increase in the coming months, and for “visibly” fewer new loans to be approved.

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The UK economy has shrunk by a quarter as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with output falling at the fastest monthly rate on record in April following a steep decline in March, the Financial Times reported. Output in the UK plunged 20.4 per cent in April, compared with the previous month, according to data from the Office for National Statistics. This is by far the largest contraction since monthly records began in 1997 and follows a 5.8 per cent contraction in March, the previous record fall. By the end of April the economy was about 25 per cent smaller than in February.

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Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s Austrian Airlines division will shrink to 80% of the size it was before the coronavirus crisis, Chief Executive Officer Alexis von Hoensbroech said in an interview with the newspaper Der Standard, Bloomberg News reported. “From today’s perspective that would mean that we have 1,100 employees too many,” he said. “We are planning two years of short-hours work, so there can be no layoffs for that long,” but a large part of the planned reduction by 2022 will be through staff turnover, he added.

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The UK pensions industry has warned that emergency measures aimed at helping struggling businesses during the coronavirus pandemic could leave millions of pensioners worse off, the Financial Times reported. In recent weeks the Pensions Regulator, the Pension Protection Fund and trade bodies representing retirement schemes have raised concerns with the government that the Corporate and Governance Insolvency Bill could have serious unintended consequences for retirement plans and their members.

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