Europe

The British government still could make financing available for the restructuring of General Motors Co.'s European operations despite its decision not to sell the business to Austrian-Canadian auto parts maker Magna International Inc., Dow Jones reported. Provision of funding remained a possibility, according to a spokeswoman for Business Secretary Peter Mandelson. GM's European operations comprise the Opel and Vauxhall brands. Vauxhall operates two plants in the U.K. at Luton and Ellesmere Port, which employ about 4,700 workers.
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Bank of Ireland today reported a pre-tax loss of €979m for the six months ending September 30, 2009, compared to a profit of €647m in the same period in 2008, Finfacts reported. The bank made an operating profit of €787m before bad debt charges. It said impairment charges over that period were €1.8bn, reflecting "significant deterioration" in asset quality in its property and construction portfolio.
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The Bank of Spain said on Tuesday that it has approved the takeover of the only Spanish bank to be bailed out during the financial crisis, Caja Castilla La Mancha (CCM), Reuters reported. A savings bank from the region of Asturias, Cajastur, will take control of CCM if the general assemblies of both regional banks approve the terms of the deal, the Bank of Spain said in a statement.
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General Motors Co.'s board of directors will get one more chance to alter the auto maker's course in relation to its Opel and Vauxhall operations in Europe when it meets for its fourth formal meeting on the matter Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported. The auto maker's board, formed in July after GM exited bankruptcy court, will be asked by the company's management team to approve the contents of a letter drafted in mid-October to address the European Union's concerns related to the sale of 55% of Opel to automotive supplier Magna International Inc.
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The International Monetary Fund has warned that it could cut financial assistance to Ukraine, one of the world’s most recession hit economies, after the country veered “off track” by adopting populist wage and pension increases, the Financial Times reported. The warning came after Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine’s president, on Friday signed the increases into law, ignoring warnings from the IMF and Yulia Tymoshenko, his prime minister and bitter rival.
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At this time last year Jim Flynn and Nathan Berkley seemed to have it made. Their publishing house, Derwent Howard Media, looked to be thriving, with a string of successful specialist magazines led by flagship titles Official PlayStation Magazine, Ultimate Nintendo and Australian 360, The Australian reported. Just a year later it has all fallen apart. As of last week the company is in administration and faces being wound up. Berkley has moved to Spain and seemingly cut off all contact and a lot of people are concerned for their jobs, potentially out of pocket, and very confused.
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Norway on Wednesday became the first European country to raise interest rates after the financial crisis, lifting its key borrowing rate by 0.25 percentage point to 1.5% in response to signs of economic recovery, The Wall Street Journal reported. The central bank also raised its interest-rate path projections in a new monetary policy report published alongside the rate decision, which signaled rates will rise to 2.75% by the end of 2010.
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Italy's tax police said Tuesday it raided 76 branches and offices of Swiss banks based in Italy and close to the border of San Marino, Dow Jones reported. In a joint e-mailed statement, the Italian tax police and Italy's tax agency said that the inspections were carried out in order to see if banks and their agents had provided prompt communications on their clients' accounts. The Italian tax police said that hundreds of police and tax officers made inspections Tuesday.
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Shares in state-controlled European banks have slumped since Monday's forced restructuring of ING Groep -- particularly the U.K.'s Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland, The Wall Street Journal reported. Reading off ING, investors may be right to fear the worst for RBS. Lloyds is likely to be different. The EU is under pressure to be softer to avoid embarrassing the U.K. government, which waived competition rules to engineer Lloyds's acquisition of HBOS. The U.K.
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India’s central bank took the first step toward withdrawing its record monetary stimulus as inflation pressures build, ordering lenders to keep more cash in government bonds, Bloomberg reported. Stocks fell the most in two months after the statement spurred speculation the Reserve Bank of India will boost borrowing costs by year-end, eroding corporate profits. Today’s shift also signals intensifying global concern about consumer and asset-price increases, with Norway tomorrow forecast to follow Australia in raising rates this month.
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