Headlines

Brazilian telecommunications firm Oi SA is in talks with Spain’s Telefonica SA and Italy’s Telecom Italia SpA to sell its mobile network to avoid insolvency, five people with knowledge of the matter said, Reuters reported. Oi has been struggling to turn around its business since filing for bankruptcy protection in June 2016 to restructure approximately 65 billion reais of debt.

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The world’s leading economies need to ease trade tensions and act decisively to prevent a descent into a low-growth trap from which it would be difficult to escape, the OECD warned on Thursday, the Financial Times reported. Labelling the economic outlook as “increasingly fragile and uncertain”, the Paris-based international organisation forecast that Britain would fall into recession if it left the EU without a deal and eurozone growth would slow to close to zero.

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For the umpteenth time, Deutsche Bank AG is ensnared in an alleged regulatory blunder. Except this time, the stakes are greater than its own integrity: Confidence in its regulator, the European Central Bank, is on the line too, a Bloomberg View reported. The ECB is considering whether to probe Germany’s biggest bank for trading in its riskiest debt without the regulator’s approval, according to the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung. In an effort to maintain liquidity in the bonds, the firm’s securities unit continued to make a market in the notes well after they were sold to investors.

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A group of Turkish banks hired Morgan Stanley as financial adviser to sell their 55% stake in the country’s largest phone company, Turk Telekomunikasyon AS, Bloomberg News reported. The carrier’s shares rose more than 4%. The three banks -- Turkiye Is Bankasi AS, Akbank TAS and Turkiye Garanti Bankasi AS -- took control of Turk Telekom in December, setting it up for a likely sale after previous owner Otas defaulted on a multi-billion-dollar loan.

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Thomas Cook’s attempt to secure a £900m rescue deal have been hampered by demands from its lending banks to secure an additional £200m funding, the Financial Times reported. The 178-year-old tour operator, which has been negotiating with its debtholders and largest shareholder Fosun on a rescue deal, had to delay a crucial hearing on the deal this week as banks including RBS and Lloyd’s pushed for an extra credit facility to be put in place to see the holiday provider through the winter season.

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A rally in Lebanon’s Eurobonds will prove short-lived if the country’s government can’t get serious about reforms that are needed to claim Saudi Arabian aid, Bloomberg News reported. The highly-indebted nation’s dollar yields sunk 104 basis points on Wednesday, the most since 2002, after Saudi Arabia said it was mulling financial support for its Middle Eastern neighbor. Investors also took heart from Prime Minister Saad Hariri traveling to Paris to meet French President Emmanuel Macron in a bid to unlock $11 billion of aid promised by international donors last year.

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Kier plunged to a £245m loss as the government contractor pushed ahead with an expensive restructuring as questions lingered over its financial health, the Financial Times reported. The group, which is working on Facebook’s King’s Cross headquarters and the HS2 railway, said it had “experienced a difficult year” after it launched a £250m rights issue in December 2018 to strengthen its balance sheet. It announced the departure of chairman Philip Cox, who oversaw the appointment of the group’s new management team and is leaving after just over two years.

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British department store group Debenhams said on Thursday that its company voluntary arrangement (CVA) will go ahead as planned after a court rejected challenges to the rescue plan, Reuters reported. Once the country’s biggest department store chain, Debenhams has been hit by a sharp slowdown in sales, high rents and ballooning debt, plus a power struggle with former shareholder Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct. Debenhams’ lenders took control of the retailer in April in an effort to keep stores open.

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Air France-KLM and easyJet withdrew competing offers for Aigle Azur on Thursday after missing an overnight court deadline to improve their bids to acquire part of the collapsed budget airline’s operations and staff, Reuters reported. An Air France spokeswoman confirmed it had decided against submitting an expected joint offer with long-haul niche carrier Air Caraibes because “our conditions for doing so weren’t met”. EasyJet said it had also pulled out but remains committed to France and its operations at Paris Orly airport.

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Brazilian sugar and ethanol maker Grupo Moreno, which operates three plants in the heart of Brazil’s sugarcane belt, has filed for bankruptcy protection, the law firm advising the company told Reuters on Thursday. The move underscores problems caused by poor margins in the sugar business in recent years and a depressed domestic ethanol market between 2011 and 2015, when the Brazilian government kept gasoline prices artificially low to fight inflation, turning ethanol margins negative, Reuters reported.

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