Europe

Bankers are calling for a new London panel to help smooth the restructuring of hundreds of billions of pounds of debt and prevent further ugly fights before courts between lenders, Reuters reported. The group, modelled on the Takeover Panel, would help prevent complex debt workouts being decided before courts, as the number of defaults soars. The restructuring panel would be most useful in cases where a minority of lenders are unreasonably holding out on the other lenders, said Andrew Speirs, managing director at London advisory firm Hawkpoint.
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Dutch brokerage Van der Moolen Holding NV won creditor protection from a Dutch court on Monday, saying it had a "very weak" liquidity position and was considering asset sales and significant writedowns, Reuters reported. The move came less than a month after the company's chief executive resigned, leaving it without a management board. On July 17, Van der Moolen said its top priority would be raising capital amid further losses. The 117-year-old firm was once one of the most recognizable names on Wall Street as a top market maker on the New York Stock Exchange.
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Bankers are calling for a new London panel to help smooth the restructuring of hundreds of billions of pounds of debt and prevent further ugly fights before courts between lenders, Reuters reported. The group, modelled on the Takeover Panel, would help prevent complex debt workouts being decided before courts, as the number of defaults soars. The restructuring panel would be most useful in cases where a minority of lenders are unreasonably holding out on the other lenders, said Andrew Speirs, managing director at London advisory firm Hawkpoint.
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Fiat SpA plans to build Chrysler Group LLC vehicles in Italy at the plants it will acquire through its purchase of niche manufacturer Carrozzeria Bertone, according to the Italian government, The Wall Street Journal reported. Fiat, which acquired a 20% stake in Chrysler in June, beat out two other bidders for Bertone's assets, the government said. Bertone helped build such models as the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint and the Lamborghini Countach before it ran into financial difficulties.
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Plans are being drawn up in Germany to allow banks threatened with bankruptcy to be put into receivership administered by the state, according to the draft of a bill obtained by the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, The New York Times DealBook blog reported. The measures would discourage banks from engaging in the riskiest activities on the assumption that public money would bail them out in times of crisis, the newspaper cited the draft as saying.
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The number of businesses and individuals filing for bankruptcy in Spain reached a record 3,285 in the first half of this year, or triple the figure in the same period in 2008, The Economic Times reported. Firms and the self-employed accounted for all but 515 of the filings, the National Statistics Institute (INE) said Wednesday. By industry, 32.1 per cent of the firms declaring bankruptcy in the second quarter were mainly involved in construction or real estate sales, while 24.9 per cent were in industry and energy, and 17.3 per cent operated in the retail sector.
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European house prices fell more quickly in the first three months of this year than even in the fourth quarter of 2008 when global recession struck, a trend that looks set to dim the region’s hopes for economic recovery, the Financial Times reported. The FT’s European House Price Index showed the rate of annual price declines in the 16-member eurozone edging towards the even sharper decreases for the wider European region, driven by substantial house-price drops in the UK.
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The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, says Belgian-French financial services group Dexia's restructuring plan could distort competition and does not guarantee recovery for the group, Reuters reported. The Commission said certain measures the group had proposed could distort competition, and questioned whether Dexia would be able to obtain sufficient long-term funding.
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Zinc companies in Peru, the world’s third-largest producer, will look to sell more concentrates overseas after the government said smelter Doe Run Peru may file for bankruptcy, according to a creditor, Bloomberg reported. A bankruptcy may take months to complete, said Carlos Galvez, chief financial officer of precious metals producer Cia. de Minas Buenaventura SA, a Doe Run Peru creditor. Doe Run, a unit of Renco Group Inc., may file for bankruptcy to restructure about $156 million of debt, Energy & Mines Minister Pedro Sanchez Gamarra said yesterday.
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Nationalised lender Northern Rock today announced a 24 per cent jump in half-year losses and warned rising unemployment could pile further pressure on its mortgage book, The Northern Echo reported. The Newcastle-based company posted a pre-tax loss of £724.2 million for the six months to June 30, compared to £585.4 million for the same period last year as the amount of loans turned sour tripled. Northern Rock - which was taken into public ownership in February 2008 - said impairment charges on bad loans rose to £602.2 million and expected that figure to be similar in the second half.
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