Europe

German biodiesel producer Campa GmbH has declared insolvency for a second time this year and a commercial court in Wurzburg appointed a new administrator, a court official said on Tuesday. Campa first declared insolvency in May but resumed production in early June after being bought by a consortium of about 2,000 farmers in the southern state of Bavaria, Reuters reported. It operates a 150,000 tonne annual capacity plant producing biodiesel from rapeseed oil. Campa's oil mill was purchased by U.S. agribusiness group Archer Daniels Midland in August.
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U.K. fund manager New Star Asset Management Group's shares plummeted 43% Monday after the company disclosed that it is holding talks with its bank lenders, The Wall Street Journal reported today. The discussions likely revolve around trying to organize a debt-for-equity swap to help stabilize the highly leveraged firm, a person familiar with the matter said. The company sought to have trading of its shares temporarily suspended Monday as it delivered the potentially gloomy news, but U.K. regulators denied the request.
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The administrator for failed lender London Scottish Bank (LSB) on Tuesday said many potential buyers had expressed interest both in the company as a whole and in its profitable debt collection unit, the International Herald Tribune reported today. Accountants Ernst and Young was appointed as administrator for LSB on Sunday after the Financial Services Authority intervened to prevent the bank from accepting deposits because of a shortfall in its regulatory capital.
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Kaupthing Bank hf, Iceland's largest bank, has sought bankruptcy protection from its U.S. creditors, Reuters reported. The Reykjavik-based lender filed a Chapter 15 bankruptcy petition on Sunday with the U.S. bankruptcy court for the Southern District of New York. The filing came after Iceland's Financial Supervisory Authority seized Kaupthing, Glitnir Banki hf and Landsbanki Islands hf, the nation's three largest banks, as the global credit crisis deepened. Glitnir filed on Nov 26 for Chapter 15 protection.
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The municipal court in Prague on Friday declared bankruptcy proceedings on glass maker Sklo Bohemia on the application of creditors, the Prague Daily Monitor reported today. Creditors agreed on Friday that bankruptcy is the only possible solution for the debt-ridden company, the company's receiver Helena Horova told the Czech News Agency. Creditors decided on Friday that the company's assets would not be sold as a whole but in parts. Horova said no investor interested in buying the whole glassworks or renewing glass production has appeared.
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Dublin's premier pub-running company won bankruptcy protection Friday in a surprising sign that Ireland's credit crunch is pushing even the most liquid of businesses to the breaking point, the Associated Press reported. The High Court granted bankruptcy protection to the Thomas Read Group, which runs a dozen of the capital's most popular pubs and eight more at Dublin Airport. The company also runs an award-winning restaurant on the River Liffey, the Winding Stair Bookshop & Cafe, and a top Dublin nightclub, Ri Ra.
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The troubled German regional bank BayernLB said on Monday that it would shed more than a quarter of its workforce by 2013, with Asian operations slated to bear the brunt of a rigourous downsizing, Agence France-Presse reported today. A statement said BayernLB would eliminate 5,600 posts of a total 19,200 in a bid to save 670 million euros ($850 million) over the next five years. BayernLB “will be smaller and engaged in fewer activities, but it will emerge stronger, closer to its customers and less susceptible to incalculable risk," chairman Michael Kemmer was quoted as saying.
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Swiss Life Holding AG Wednesday said it would cut 200 jobs in Switzerland, citing ongoing restructuring efforts across the group, making it one of the first Swiss insurers to reduce staff in the current credit crisis, Dow Jones Newswires reported. The measures should help the life insurer reduce costs by around 90 million Swiss francs ($75.6 million) up to 2012, with half of the savings due in 2009. Restructuring costs amount to around CHF40 million, 80% of which will be charged to the 2008 financial year.
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Insolvency law will be reformed to address a serious concern over the safety of money held with London investment banks which has sprung up in the wake of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Financial Times reported yesterday. The government will take a special power in the banking bill that is going through parliament to bolster the protection for client money and assets held in investment companies. A review of the insolvency regime for investment banks will be conducted by next summer, ahead of a full formal consultation on the draft legislation.
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The cost of protecting corporate bonds from default fell around the world after Citigroup Inc. got $306 billion of troubled mortgages and toxic assets guaranteed by the U.S. government, Bloomberg reported today. Credit-default swaps on the Markit iTraxx Crossover index of 50 companies with mostly high-risk, high-yield credit ratings dropped 21 basis points to 892, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. prices at 11:03 a.m. in London. Contracts on Citigroup fell 9 basis points to 482, CMA Datavision prices show.
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