Headlines

More businesses and individuals across Britain were declared insolvent last month than earlier in 2021 though levels remained mostly below those of a year ago as government support muted the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reported. Britain’s economy shrank by almost 10% last year and millions of people have been unable to work due to lockdown restrictions, but state loan guarantees and wage subsidies have kept most companies and households financially afloat for now. Government figures on Thursday showed 992 companies in England and Wales were declared insolvent in March.
Read more
South Korea’s SsangYong Motor has been put under court receivership, the Seoul Bankruptcy Court said on Thursday, in an attempt to rehabilitate the car maker after majority owner Mahindra and Mahindra failed to secure a buyer, Reuters reported. SsangYong applied to the court in December for receivership after it defaulted on a loan repayment. The South Korean automaker is expected to submit a rehabilitation plan to the court by June.
Read more
Bank of Korea Governor Lee Ju-yeol said the economy will still expand faster than previously expected, even as rising coronavirus infections and a slow pace of vaccinations at home raise concerns over the outlook, Bloomberg News reported. Growth will probably reach the mid-3% mark this year, above a 3% central bank forecast in February, Lee said at a press briefing after the board held its key interest rate at 0.5%.
Read more
Canada is facing industry calls to extend financial aid to smaller airlines, after offering a C$5.9 billion ($4.71 billion)life-line to Air Canada, as new COVID-19 variants loom ahead of the vital summer travel season, Reuters reported. The timing of Monday's deal, which saw the Canadian government take a 6% equity stake in Air Canada, was partly designed to secure "access to air travel when it returns," as the country's vaccine rollout ramps up this summer, a source familiar with the discussions said.
Read more
Qantas Airways Ltd. said that it expected domestic travel would top pre-pandemic levels next financial year as it raised its forecast for the current quarter on the back of strong demand in a country nearly free of COVID-19, Reuters reported. A return to 90% of pre-pandemic domestic capacity in the fourth quarter ending June 30 will allow it to report positive cashflow and begin repairing a balance sheet burdened by extra debt that helped get it through the pandemic, Chief Executive Alan Joyce said on Thursday.
Read more
The sticky issue of affordable housing moved up Germany’s political agenda after the country’s top court overturned Berlin’s controversial rent freeze, Bloomberg News reported. The decision on Thursday by the Federal Constitutional Court to topple the aggressive clampdown on rents exposes thousands of voters to higher living expenses and highlights the housing squeeze in German cities. “The ruling is bitter, hitting tenants in 1.5 million Berlin flats hard,” said Lukas Siebenkotten, president of Germany’s tenant association.
Read more
With the number of tourists visiting Himachal gradually decreasing and hotels reporting cancellations of bookings, the hoteliers and others associated with the tourism industry say they are very close to bankruptcy, the Times of India reported. A day after Himachal government had announced that tourists from seven highly-affected states and union territories will need to bring negative RT-PCR report to visit Himachal from April 16, the tourism stakeholders held a meeting in Manali on Monday.
Read more
The head of the U.K. watchdog scrutinizing politicians and top civil servants taking up private sector jobs called for urgent reform, warning there are no “boundaries at all” to prevent conflicts of interest, Bloomberg News reported. Eric Pickles, chairman of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, was responding in a parliamentary hearing Tuesday to the revelation that Bill Crothers -- then the government’s chief commercial officer -- was allowed to work for the now insolvent Greensill Capital while still in post in 2015.
Read more
The Biden administration on Thursday announced tough new sanctions on Russia and formally blamed the country’s premier intelligence agency for the sophisticated hacking operation that breached American government agencies and the nation’s largest companies, the New York Times reported. In the broadest effort yet by President Biden to give more teeth to financial sanctions — which in recent years have failed to deter Russian activity — the actions are aimed at choking off lending to the Russian government. In an executive order, Mr.
Read more
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is considering changing the ministries responsible for some of its biggest state-owned companies, including power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., to better align them with their functions, Bloomberg News reported. Eskom, arms manufacturer Denel SOC Ltd., South African Airways Ltd. and other entities are currently the responsibility of the Department of Public Enterprises, headed by Pravin Gordhan. Eskom may be transfered to the minerals and energy ministry, under Gwede Mantashe, the people said.
Read more