Headlines

Argentine soy crushing giant Vicentin is struggling to repay over $350 million in debt and some plants are likely to halt production while it seeks relief amid an economic slowdown in the country, a source close to the firm said on Thursday, Reuters reported. The grains crusher, Argentina’s top exporter of processed soy last year according to government data, said it had been hurt by increasing financing costs and rising country risk, and was looking at how to meet its obligations.

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As investors brace for the biggest dollar default by a Chinese government-owned borrower in decades, a new breed of state asset managers tasked with cleaning up the mess is gaining equal attention, Bloomberg News reported. Trading firm Tewoo Group Corp., a onetime Fortune Global 500 company that seemed like a good bet for a full official bailout thanks to its state ownership, is struggling to make payments on its $2.05 billion of offshore debt.

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Saudi Arabia’s biggest construction company overhauled its top management, delaying plans to appoint an adviser for a proposed $15 billion debt restructuring, people familiar with the matter said, Bloomberg News reported. Saudi Binladin Group’s previous chairman and managing director left within months of being appointed, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter hasn’t been made public. The company also named four new directors to its board this week, they said.

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Bondholders are gearing up for a nasty fight as Argentina’s largest province stares down a debt payment it may not be able to make, Bloomberg News reported. The Province of Buenos Aires will owe investors $571 million in January, and is unlikely to be able to come up with the cash amid a sharp devaluation in the currency and severe economic recession. The region has few dollar-generating industries, and tax revenue has dropped 14% in inflation-adjusted terms this year. Refinancing isn’t a realistic option amid plans by the federal government to restructure its debt.

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In a major development, the RBI-appointed Administrator for the beleaguered Dewan Housing Finance Ltd (DFHL) on Thursday asked all its fixed deposit and non-convertible debenture holders to file their claims before December 17, The Economic Times reported. The move comes ahead of the Supreme Court hears a group of investors who have moved it on the matter, and barely three days after the National Company Law Tribunal's Mumbai bench admitted the RBI's application for initiating insolvency proceedings against the cash-strapped firm, and permitted it to go ahead in the matter.

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The two-year recession in German industry is showing few signs of ending after orders in the country’s manufacturing sector fell more than expected in October with a further shrinkage expected in November, the Financial Times reported. Provisional figures published on Thursday showed that new manufacturing orders fell by 0.4 per cent in October, compared with the previous month, according to the Federal Statistics Office. Economists polled by Reuters had expected an increase of 0.3 per cent.

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Turkey’s banking regulator eased measures on how banks classify credit to once-troubled companies, helping lenders to potentially avoid adding more non-performing loans to their books, according to people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg News reported. The Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency, or BDDK, will now leave it to lenders to decide which company loans need to be reclassified as non-performing, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the changes haven’t been publicly announced.

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Brussels has warned that member states are sharply divided after Eurozone finance ministers failed to agree on plans to accelerate the introduction of a bloc-wide banking union, casting doubt over completion of the project, the Financial Times reported. The planned “road map” for banking union was devised during the sovereign debt crisis to boost financial stability by centralising supervision and crisis management of banks.

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Canada’s biggest banks are facing a storm of challenges, with a slowdown in consumer spending and a dearth of public listings pushing some big lenders to make hefty job cuts as their profitability falters, the Financial Times reported. The decision by Bank of Montreal (BMO), Canada’s fourth-largest bank, to slash its global workforce by 5 per cent highlights the growing problems facing the country’s financial services sector.

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South Africa’s government will cede control of the national airline to a restructuring specialist in a last-ditch attempt to save the cash-strapped business from collapse, Reuters reported. As part of a rescue plan started on Thursday, the government will hand the running of South African Airways (SAA) to business rescue practitioner Les Matuson to make the sort of painful cuts that would be difficult for politicians to push through.

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