Europe

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Wednesday he would make proposals to restructure the debts of companies struggling with loans taken on during the coronavirus crisis, Reuters reported. Many French companies are emerging from the pandemic with severely strained balance sheets after they borrowed massively under a state-guaranteed loan programme designed to help them through the crisis. While the programme helped depress bankruptcies last year to record low levels, economists expect a surge in filings as various state support schemes are wound down.
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Switzerland’s top financial regulator said the collapse of Archegos Capital Management LP will have consequences for how banks deal with risk as one of the country’s biggest lenders counts its losses from exposure to the investment firm, Bloomberg News reported. “This will be meticulously examined and there will be lessons, maybe for regulators, maybe for the banks who were involved, maybe for supervisors,” Mark Branson, the head of Swiss regulator Finma, said Wednesday in Berlin.
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BNP Paribas SA is seeking to sell its stake in a loan to GFG Alliance’s Dunkirk unit, a sale that could loosen Sanjeev Gupta’s grip over a key asset as other lenders consider seizing control of the aluminum smelter, Bloomberg News reported. The bank is offloading its $20 million portion of the loan raised by Gupta in 2018. Although a small amount, the sale could pave the way to actions by other lenders, led by Trafigura Group, to threaten Gupta’s control over the smelter.
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A Polish dispute over the European Union’s 750 billion euro ($892 billion) pandemic stimulus escalated after the government unexpectedly canceled plans to discuss its ratification amid a split in the ruling coalition, Bloomberg News reported. Deputy Speaker Ryszard Terlecki said on Tuesday that parliament may have to gather for an extra sitting later in April to meet the deadline to ratify the program. With Poland in line to gain 58 billion euros from the stimulus deal, the divisions in the coalition are turning into a major challenge for Poland’s de facto leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski.
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Credit Suisse has made further progress in winding down funds connected with Greensill Capital and is able to distribute another $1.7 billion to investors, the bank said on Tuesday, Reuters reported. This takes the total distribution so far to $4.8 billion, the bank said, following an earlier payout of $3.1 billion. The bank said it has so far collected $2 billion from receivables redeemed when the four supply chain finance funds (SCFFs) were suspended on March 1.
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The German shipyard Nobiskrug has filed for insolvency, according to reports by German news broadcasters, Super Yacht Times reported. During the filings and insolvency proceedings, which commenced on 12 April, Nobiskrug cited “critical developments” on yacht construction having had negative consequences on investment and potential profitability, as the main reasons.
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Britain’s government has opened an independent investigation into failed finance company Greensill Capital after lobbying by former Prime Minister David Cameron raised questions over its access to ministers, Reuters reported. Australian banker Lex Greensill was brought in as an adviser to the government while Cameron was British prime minister from 2010 to 2016. After leaving office, Cameron in turn became an adviser to Greensill’s now-insolvent company.
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Europe faces a predicament. Even as it struggles to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s setting itself up for another crisis — this one financial, according to a Bloomberg commentary. To ensure the viability of the common currency at the heart of the European project, the EU’s leaders will have to cooperate in ways they’ve so far resisted. Adopting the single currency has yielded great benefits, from frictionless trade to improved global competitiveness.
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Norwegian Air has won approval from creditors in Norway to restructure its debt and an Oslo court has approved the plan, the airline said on Monday, clearing the way for it to raise new capital and emerge from bankruptcy next month, Reuters reported. Financed largely by debt, Norwegian Air grew rapidly, serving routes across Europe and flying to North and South America, Southeast Asia and the Middle East before the COVID-19 pandemic plunged the airline into crisis.
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Sweden’s economy is poised for a sharper rebound than the government previously expected as its manufacturers make a strong comeback, Bloomberg News reported. Gross domestic product will grow 3.2% this year, compared with the 3% predicted in December, Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson told reporters in Stockholm on Monday. Next year, the expansion is seen at 3.8%, up from the previous forecast of 3.7%.
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