France

France’s Credit Agricole offered to buy third-tier Italian lender Creval for 737 million euros ($875 million) on Monday, as a wave of consolidation sweeps Italy’s banking sector, Reuters reported. France’s No.2 bank had been considering expanding in Italy, its second biggest market, and both Creval and larger rival Banco BPM had been tipped as possible targets. Credit Agricole Italia will pay 10.5 euros per Creval share, a 21.4% premium on Friday’s closing price. Shares in Creval jumped 23.7% slightly surpassing the offer’s price. Credit Agricole closed up 3.9%. Banco BPM declined 3.7%.

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French food company Danone will cut up 2,000 jobs, or 2 per cent of its global workforce, as part of a reorganisation aimed at giving more power to country managers and squeezing out efficiencies to cope with the pandemic, The Irish Times reported. The company employs about 350 people in the Republic. It said it does not yet know whether any Irish jobs will be affected. The maker of Evian bottled water and Activia yoghurts said the changes would save €1 billion by 2023, and promised that its recurring operating margin would return to pre-Covid levels of above 15 per cent by 2022.

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Lockdowns in France and Italy are weighing down public mobility more than in other European countries, according to high- frequency data compiled by Reuters that suggest the two economies will take a correspondingly bigger hit, Reuters reported. Data ranging from use of Apple maps apps to Google’s user location history are proving vital tools for governments, central bankers and investors trying to gauge the economic impact of restrictions, weeks in advance of conventional indicators like consumer spending or industrial output.

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Mall owner Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield will seek new ways to manage its heavy debt after shareholders rejected a 3.5 billion euro ($4.15 billion) rights issue under pressure from activist investors, Reuters reported. In a rare rights issue rejection for a company on France’s blue-chip index, the shareholder vote fell narrowly short of the two-thirds majority required to pass the resolution, with 62% in favour of the capital increase.

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Air France-KLM unveiled a 1.05 billion-euro ($1.24 billion) quarterly operating loss and warned of worse to come as a resurgent coronavirus brings new travel curbs, Reuters reported. Shares in the Franco-Dutch airline group fell after it reported a 67% drop in third-quarter revenue to 2.52 billion euros on Friday, as France returned to full lockdown for at least a month. New COVID-19 outbreaks pose a threat to network airlines already weakened by the crisis and long-haul travel collapse.

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An anomaly in credit insurance on Europcar Mobility Group could prove lucrative for some traders as the French rental-car firm seeks to restructure 1.3 billion euros ($1.5 billion) of debt, Bloomberg News reported. The cost of buying Europcar’s bonds and credit-default swaps in a combined trade has risen to 110% of the notes’ face value, indicating that traders expect they’ll get more than par if the insurance pays out, according to Jochen Felsenheimer, who trades both markets as managing director at XAIA Investment GmbH. He doesn’t have a position in Europcar.

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New restrictions imposed across Europe to curb the spread of Covid-19 forced Europcar Mobility Group to withdraw its earnings guidance for the remainder of this year, with the firm anticipating a return to pre-virus trading only by 2023, Bloomberg News reported. The French car rental group pulled its prediction for the 2020 financial year “due to the uncertainties derived from the second wave” of the virus, it said in a statement on Monday as it presented its third quarter results.

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France plans to raise 20 billion euros ($23 billion) in quasi-equity loans for small firms hit by the coronavirus crisis by offering investors a state guarantee against the first 2 billion euros in losses, officials said, Reuters reported. Fearing failures among firms which were already saddled with record levels of debt before the crisis, the French government wants the programme up and running by early next year as it battles the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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KLM, the Dutch arm of airline group Air France-KLM, will likely have to cut more jobs than the thousands of layoffs already announced due to the coronavirus pandemic, its chief executive Pieter Elbers said in a message to his staff, Reuters reported. Elbers warned that COVID-19 will limit flights more extensively than the 20-25% drop it had anticipated for next year. “We now expect even lower production, which ultimately means we need fewer people”, Elbers said in his message, seen by Reuters.

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A French official has said it might be difficult for Lebanon’s banks to prevent savers losing some of their deposits, according to the minutes of a meeting in which France outlined steps to help the crippled banking industry, Reuters reported. The comments were made during Sept. 10 talks in Paris between senior French officials and a delegation from the Association of Banks in Lebanon (ABL). Reuters reviewed a copy of the minutes, marked confidential.

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