EU finance ministers agreed small steps towards creating a eurozone budget after marathon talks failed to settle a longstanding Franco-Dutch dispute over how it should be funded, the Financial Times reported. After almost 12 hours of sometimes fraught negotiations in Luxembourg that ran into the early hours of Friday, ministers were only able to agree the broad purpose of the budget, while putting to one side questions over its financing and eventual size.
Shares in Britain’s Kier fell more than 35% on Friday to a record low after the Times newspaper reported the construction and services group was rushing to sell its housebuilding business at a discount to cut mounting debt, Reuters reported. The report was the latest setback for the group, which has contracts for major projects including London’s Crossrail link, following a profit warning last week. The shares fell as much as 36.3% to 129 pence by 1415 GMT, the lowest since it listed in 1996, erasing all of the 24% gains made since Kier’s profit warning on June 3.
A leading contender to head the European Central Bank has warned of “bleak” indications about the health of the global economy and said a breakdown in co-operation was paralysing officials’ ability to fight the next crisis, the Financial Times reported. Benoît Cœuré, a member of the executive board of the ECB, said in an interview that markets were sending a “quite alarming” message that was at odds with benign economic data. “The constellation of prices in the bond market paints a picture of the global economy which is very bleak,” Mr Cœuré told the Financial Times.
Thousands of customers of two failed pension providers can now claim for losses after the Financial Services Compensation Scheme declared the firms in default, the Financial Times reported. GPC Sipp and Lifetime Sipp are the latest in a string of private pension operators to collapse, prompting a wave of compensation claims at the FSCS. The FSCS, which provides a safety net for customers of failed investment businesses, said it was accepting claims against GPC Sipp, which was placed into administration on Tuesday.
Banca Popolare di Bari SCpA, an ailing Italian lender, is in advanced negotiations with an international credit fund over insuring its loans against default, seeking an easier way to reduce risk on its balance sheet, Bloomberg News reported. The potential transaction, known as a synthetic securitization, involves buying insurance from Christofferson Robb & Co, thereby transferring the risk of the loans going sour to the fund in return for a fee, according to people familiar with the talks.
Turkey’s credit score slid deeper into junk as Moody’s Investors Service cut its assessment, citing an increasing risk of a balance of payments crisis and a government default, Bloomberg News reported. Turkey’s long-term issuer rating was lowered to B1 from Ba3 by Moody’s, the rating company said in a statement on Friday. The outlook on the rating is negative. Turkey is now four notches below investment grade, on par with Jordan, Greece, and Uzbekistan. “The balance of risk is firmly tilted to the downside,” Moody’s said.
A Danish high court has increased the prison sentence for a former manager of OW Bunker’s Singapore arm to five years, after prosecutors appealed against the original 18-month sentence for actions that contributed to the marine fuel supplier’s collapse, Reuters reported. OW Bunker filed for bankruptcy in 2014 just eight months after listing in Copenhagen, partly due to losses on an estimated $120-$130 million credit line given by its Singapore-based arm to small local company, Tankoil Marine Services.
Five potential investors showed up for the rescue of Italian fashion house Roberto Cavalli, the company said on Friday without naming the suitors, Reuters reported. The Tuscan company received three binding offers for taking over the whole group, one binding proposal for just some assets, as well as a non-binding expression of interest. In the next few days the board will look at the bids along with company’s main shareholder Clessidra, with the aim of choosing the best offer to ensure the industrial continuity of the luxury group, a source close to the matter said.
Bond traders in China are rethinking counterparty risks as shock waves from a government takeover of a bank ripple through the country’s financial markets, Bloomberg News reported. It’s now getting harder for corporate bonds to be accepted as collateral for repo financing as lenders increasingly demand top quality bonds such as Chinese sovereign bills and policy bank notes as pledges. Traders are having second thoughts on taking even AAA rated short-term bank debt as security in the wake of last month’s seizure of Baoshang Bank Co.
Just as India’s banks emerge from under a pile of bad loans to large energy, steel and other industrial companies, they are facing a new reckoning from the accelerating crisis in the country’s shadow banking sector, Bloomberg News reported. A year after a series of defaults by Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd. forced the government to intervene and exposed weaknesses in the sector, the problems of India’s non-bank financial companies are entering a new phase. Other weaker lenders such as Dewan Housing Finance Corp. and Anil Ambani’s Reliance Capital Ltd.