Europe

A fiery dispute between the board of Amigo Loans and its majority shareholder caused shares in the company to tumble to a record low on Thursday, as mutual recriminations threatened to derail its recently announced sale process, the Financial Times reported. James Benamor, who founded the high-cost lender in 2005, published a lengthy statement on Wednesday evening attacking regulators and accusing the rest of the Amigo board of multiple failings.

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Capita’s shares collapsed on Thursday as investors became frustrated over the slow progress of the UK outsourcer’s restructuring plans, the Financial Times reported. Shares of the government contractor plunged 38 per cent to 77p after the company’s results showed the group is struggling to rebuild after a £700m rescue rights issue two years ago. The group announced a £62.6m pre-tax loss in 2019 compared with a profit of £272.6m in 2018. Net debt rose to £791m last year from £466m in 2018, more than the City had been expecting. Revenue slid to £3.6bn from £3.9bn.

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Spain’s Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that a 27% interest rate applied by online bank WiZink to one of its credit cards was unjustified, a decision that could force other Spanish lenders to cut some of their rates, Reuters reported. Shares in Caixabank, Bankinter and Sabadell fell more than 3% after the much-awaited ruling on the view that it effectively sets guidelines for the sector, even though it was specifically about a WiZink card.

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Kristalina Georgieva, the managing director of the IMF, unveiled a $50bn package of emergency financing for countries stricken by the coronavirus, saying the multilateral lender wanted to ensure “that people are not going to die just because of lack of money,” the Financial Times reported. The IMF’s move came as it warned that the rapidly expanding outbreak would force it to cut its global economic growth forecast to below the 2.9 per cent rate recorded last year, although it was unclear by how much.

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British Steel’s factory in France has received four takeover offers, according to the country’s finance minister, a development that will complicate efforts by a Chinese investor to buy out the whole of the troubled company, the Financial Times reported. The bidders include industry giant ArcelorMittal, German steel producer Saarstahl and the UK-based industrial group Liberty House, according to two people familiar with the matter.

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The clock is ticking for the debt-laden owner of some of Britain’s biggest malls. Intu Properties Plc has just four months to raise enough capital to fend off creditors after it was forced to cancel a planned share sale, Bloomberg News reported. Furthermore, if mall values keep falling at their current rate, the firm will quickly need to find about 300 million pounds ($385 million) to satisfy lenders. And that’s before Intu even begins addressing its more than 3 billion pounds of loans coming due over the next five years -- a debt burden about 30 times the firm’s current market value.

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UK airline Flybe has collapsed after months of talks with the government failed to secure a crucial £100m loan and the deadly coronavirus slashed demand, pushing Europe’s largest regional carrier into bankruptcy in the early hours of Thursday morning, the Financial Times reported. Flybe confirmed it had entered administration after holding last-ditch talks with the UK government on Wednesday afternoon, a move that puts more than 2,000 jobs at risk and raises uncertainty over scores of regional air routes within the UK. “All flights operated by Flybe have been cancelled with immediate

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Cork radio presenter Neil Prendeville and David Hall’s ambulance company, Lifeline, are included in the latest list of tax defaulters. Mr Prendeville, who is also a newspaper contributor, paid a total of €541,636 after a revenue investigation following an underdeclaration of income tax, The Irish Times reported. He was ordered to pay €327,663 in tax with the remainder in interest and penalties. Mr Prendeville’s solicitor John Boylan, of BDM solicitors, said an error was made by a firm of accountants which previously handled the broadcaster's affairs.

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British Steel’s Chinese rescuer is to wrap up a takeover of the failed manufacturer next week, saving more than 3,000 jobs with a deal that secures the future of a key UK industrial asset, the Financial Times reported. Jingye Group said it had agreed to complete its purchase of the country’s second-largest steelmaker from the official receiver, who has kept the insolvent business running with taxpayer funding, on March 9.

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Panorama, one of two major Berlin-based fashion fairs, has filed for insolvency following its relocation in January, FashionUnited reported. Panorama Fashion Fair Berlin GmbH, represented by its managing director Jörg Wichmann, filed for insolvency proceedings at Berlin’s Charlottenburg District Court on 28 February, according to filings in the German insolvency database. Lawyer Niklas Luetcke has been appointed as provisional insolvency administrator. In January, the fair relocated to Flughafen Tempelhof for the first as it hoped for a fresh start.

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