Headlines

Troubled outsourcing group Interserve would have to pay £66 million immediately to lenders if its largest shareholder Coltrane blocks the debt restructuring deal and removes some board members, Sky News reported on Thursday. The company will also have to repay “tens of millions of pounds” if its Chief Financial Officer Mark Whiteling is removed from the board, the report said.

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Another acquisitive Chinese company is wobbling. Less than five years old, China Minsheng Investment Group Corp. has spent more than $4 billion on investments and amassed $34 billion of debt, but recently almost failed to make a bond repayment, Bloomberg News reported. CMIG joins the likes of HNA Group Co. and Anbang Insurance Group Co. in struggling to repay debt after embarking on a spending spree.

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Last year marked the deepest deterioration in Asian liquidity conditions since 2008. While it’s nowhere close to over, the worst of the squeeze may have passed, a Bloomberg View reported. The gears of the region’s asset markets could turn more smoothly in the second half of the year. The signals are faint, so they’re easy to miss. In India, shadow banks’ liquidity crunch is still dangerously close to becoming an insolvency crisis for property developers. In China, economists’ forecasts of large-scale monetary stimulus are yet to materialize.

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Credit Suisse Group AG’s three-year turnaround ended with more of a whimper than a bang after trading losses eroded gains in wealth management and investment banking. The Global Markets business posted a larger-than-expected loss of 193 million francs ($191 million) in the fourth quarter, offsetting wealth management and investment banking results that beat estimates, Bloomberg News reported. In a tough quarter for money managers, the Zurich-based bank bucked a trend of large outflows at rivals, adding about half a billion francs of net new money.

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa reached out to labor unions that oppose his plans to break up the state power utility, reassuring them that the move is aimed at rescuing the embattled company rather than preparing it for privatization and mass firings, Bloomberg News reported. Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. has amassed 419 billion rand ($29.6 billion) of debt following years of mismanagement, isn’t producing enough power to meet demand or cover its costs and has had to institute rolling blackouts for the past five days.

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Trichome Financial Corp., a company led by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. alumnus Michael Ruscetta, is readying a C$100 million ($75 million) war chest to dive into the business of debt financing for cannabis companies, Bloomberg News reported. Toronto-based Trichome is planning to raise between C$25 million ($18.8 million) and C$35 million of new equity, adding to C$15 million already raised by partners, managers and some investors, Ruscetta said in an interview at Bloomberg’s offices in Toronto.

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Lenders to Jet Airways India Ltd. proposed a bailout of the beleaguered carrier, potentially paving the way for a revival of the airline that was on the verge of collapse, Bloomberg News reported. Mumbai-based Jet Airways, which needs 85 billion rupees ($1.2 billion) to help it get back on its feet, will be revamped, with banks becoming the biggest shareholders of the company, according to a filing Thursday. The restructuring would involve a mix of debt-to-equity swap, new capital infusion and asset sales, the company said, without elaborating.

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Italy’s Salini Impregilo has offered to invest 225 million euros ($254 million) to rescue troubled rival construction group Astaldi, the company said on Thursday. Subscribing to a reserved capital increase, the proceeds of which will help Astaldi repay debt, Salini will gain a 65 percent stake, it said in a statement, Reuters reported. Salini said the offer was conditional on Astaldi reaching an accord with its creditors as well as other long-term investors contributing to the cash call and banks agreeing to grant Astaldi credit to stabilise the group’s finances and operations.

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Collapsed UK cafe operator Patisserie Holdings sold its two main businesses for 13 million pounds ($16.7 million) on Thursday, administrators said, in a deal that rescues dozens of cafes and some 2,000 jobs, Reuters reported. Patisserie said in a statement it had sold bakery chain Patisserie Valerie to Irish private equity fund Causeway Capital and its Philpotts brand to food retailer A.F. Blakemore for 10 million pounds cash and a further 3 million in future payments. KPMG said 21 Philpotts stores had been sold.

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Puma Energy, the retail and storage arm of commodities trader Trafigura, plans to restructure and sell assets to cut its debt and improve profits, a source familiar with the matter said, Reuters reported. Puma has hired consulting firm McKinsey under new chief executive Emma Fitzgerald who took over last month from Pierre Eladari, who had overseen rapid expansion, the source said. Although its full-year 2018 results have not been finalised, Puma expects a small net loss or profit, the source added.

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