Lebanon’s central bank on Wednesday dramatically lowered interest rates on dollar and Lebanese pound deposits and loans — the latest measure to shore up the country’s banking system amid a burgeoning economic crisis, the International New York Times reported on an Associated Press story. Banque de Liban also announced that for the next six months it would pay 50% of the interest it owes banks on dollar deposits and deposit certificates in Lebanese pounds— a move that would also ease the demand on the dollar.
Hopes of striking a grand bargain over the eurozone’s banking union project are in tatters. Coalition woes in Italy and Germany, arguably the two most significant countries in the eurozone’s integration battle, have put the brakes on an elusive compromise that EU finance ministers had hoped to seal this afternoon, the Financial Times reported. It was only last month that Brussels was awash with tentative optimism over Germany dropping longstanding red lines over the vexed issue of European Banking Deposit Insurance (EDIS).
Courier app Fetchr, once one of the Middle East’s largest startups, raised as much as $10 million in emergency funding to help avoid collapse, Bloomberg News reported. The Dubai-based company, which offers delivery and logistics services to e-commerce firms, is also in the process of securing as much as $25 million in additional funding to turn the company around, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is considering easing lending rules for shadow banks, according to people familiar with the matter, a move that would give the cash-starved financiers access to funds, Bloomberg News reported. Modi’s cabinet is likely to discuss allowing state banks to provide so-called credit enhancement against securities rated BBB+ to non bank financiers, the people said, asking not to be identified before a public announcement. That’s the fifth level below what’s permitted under the current plan.
The commercial court in Paris has given Kosc Telecom six months to find a buyer. In a statement, the wholesale operator said that it will continue to trade as normal while undergoing insolvency proceedings, Telecompaper reported. It also revealed that so far around ten companies, including financial firms, have expressed an interest in the business. At the end of October, the commercial court had given Kosc more time to repay debt owed to Altice France. Since then, the operator has been actively negotiating a way forward with shareholders and potential buyers to avoid liquidation.
Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd., the beleaguered infrastructure financier, reported an annual loss after writing off some investments and advances that it doesn’t expect to recover, Bloomberg News reported. The troubled shadow bank announced a loss of 225.4 billion rupees ($3.15 billion) for the financial year ended March, compared with a profit of 3.32 billion rupees in the previous 12 months, according to an exchange filing. Its total income during the year more than halved to 8.24 billion rupees.
The euro area made some progress toward completing its banking union and reforming its bailout fund, though political turmoil in two of its largest economies torpedoed hopes for a full agreement, Bloomberg News reported. In talks that went late into the night on Wednesday, finance ministers gathered in Brussels couldn’t overcome longstanding differences, missing a goal to finalize a package of measures to strengthen the single currency by year-end. Instead they made marginal progress, leaving key technical issues open, while only agreeing to keep talking on others.
Clintons, the high street greeting card chain, was sold out of administration on Wednesday to the Weiss family, its current owners, in a deal that will save 2,500 jobs and 334 stores, the Financial Times reported. The long-troubled retailer, formerly Clinton Cards, had faced increasing cash flow pressures. In September the company brought in KPMG to review options for restructuring. Wednesday’s transaction will allow the group to escape many of its debt obligations.
South Africa’s government will place the national airline under a local form of bankruptcy protection as a last-ditch measure to try and prevent its total collapse, Bloomberg News reported. President Cyril Ramaphosa made the decision in order to address the dire financial situation at South African Airways, Cassius Lubisi, the secretary to the cabinet, said in a letter to ministers and deputy ministers that was circulated unofficially. Two ministers, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision hasn’t been made public, confirmed its authenticity.
Creditors for Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht SA decided on Wednesday to postpone a vote on the company’s bankruptcy restructuring proposal to Dec. 10, until after it submits a revised restructuring plan, Reuters reported. Reuters reported earlier this week that Odebrecht and its larger creditors, local lenders, are close to reaching an agreement on a revised plan. Odebrecht lawyer Eduardo Munhoz said he expects to deliver the revised plan before Dec. 10.