Europe

Fears that Greece faces imminent bankruptcy are unfounded but the country must take "harsh" measures to shore up its economy, Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker said on Sunday, Agence France-Presse reported. Greece's widening public deficit and a huge official debt has unsettled European market watchers, particularly regarding the standing of Greek government debt bonds. The concern intensified after the recent debt crisis in Dubai.
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Aidan Birkett, the man charged with sorting out Dubai World's $26 billion debt pile, could face an uphill struggle to restructure the company that's at the heart of the emirate's financial crisis, Dow Jones reported. Birkett, 56, managing director of Deloitte's corporate finance department, was parachuted in last month as chief restructuring officer of Dubai World. He has little time to work his magic, with creditors already baying for blood as the maturity of a $3.52 billion sukuk, or Islamic bond, issued by Dubai World's real-estate unit Nakheel approaches on Dec. 14.
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Rusal, the largest aluminum producer in the world, which is struggling under $16.7 billion in debt, has agreed with about 70 banks to restructure its loans and begin repayments when earnings improve, the company said Thursday, The New York Times/em> reported. The deal, apparently on lenient terms for Rusal and its owner, the Russian oligarch Oleg V. Deripaska, also clears the way for Rusal to take the next step back from the brink of bankruptcy: selling 10 percent of the company in an initial public offering this month.
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Germany needs new insolvency requirements to win time and guard itself against any failure of systemically relevant banks, Deutsche Bundesbank President Axel Weber said Thursday, Nasdaq.com reported on a Dow Jones story. One of the things currently discussed would be more stringent capital requirements for systemically relevant banks, Weber said, with a view to pending international agreements. Commenting on money market developments, he said he doesn't share the view that the market place for banks' liquidity provisions will return to business as usual after the global financial crisis.
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European Union finance ministers on Wednesday reached a compromise on a new supervisory framework for the bloc's financial markets, The Wall Street Journal reported. Under the plan agreed by the ministers, the EU will create two new supervisory groups for financial markets: a "macro-prudential" body to study big-picture risks to stability and three "micro-prudential" groups to look at specific issues in the banking, securities, and insurance and pension sectors.
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He was a symbol of French fashion, the creator of clothes illuminated by the colours of his native Provence and by his extraordinary artistic talents. But yesterday, the house of Christian Lacroix was reduced to little more than a small trading office as it crumbled under the weight of debts and losses, The Australian reported. After six months in administration amid a desperate search for a saviour, Lacroix was forced to abandon haute couture as the Paris Commercial Court approved a restructuring plan.
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Ciena Corp was cleared to acquire a unit of bankrupt Nortel Networks Inc. for $769 million after fighting off a legal challenge by Nokia Siemens Networks, Reuters reported. Network equipment maker Ciena trumped an offer by Nokia Siemens and its financial partner, One Equity Partners, with an auction-winning bid of $530 million in cash and $239 million in convertible securities for Nortel's optical networking and carrier Ethernet business.
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Greece does not face any bankruptcy risks, though the situation in the economy is worrying, Eurozone Finance Ministers said on Tuesday. They also noted that the Dubai debt crisis is unlikely to have a major impact on Eurozone banking system, RTT News reported. In a meeting held on Tuesday in Brussels, Eurozone finance ministers asked the Greek government to cut fiscal spending from its 2010 national budget to reduce the budget deficit. For 2009, Greece set a budget deficit target of 12.7% of GDP after October 4 elections. That was much higher than the 3.7% of GDP estimated earlier.
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Officials with General Motors Co.'s Saab unit said the brand has received serious expressions of interest from potential buyers since Tuesday's collapse of a deal to sell the Swedish car maker to Koenigsegg Group AB. Saab Automobile AB officials are now racing to build a case for GM's board of directors and its chief executive to keep Saab alive, a spokesman said. "We've had intense dialogue with potential buyers," Eric Geers, a Saab spokesman, said Friday.
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Renault SA and other shareholders of troubled Russian car manufacturer Avtovaz said Friday that they have agreed on an overhaul of the company that includes debt restructuring and a new product plan, MarketWatch reported. The memorandum of understanding between the shareholders was signed in Paris on Friday at a ceremony attended by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, whose presence underscored the political importance of Avtovaz. The shareholders of Avtovaz are the state-controlled corporation Russian Technologies, the Russian bank Troika Dialog and France's Renault.
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