Headlines

The future of Ssangyong Motor grew gloomier as management said it is considering filing for bankruptcy and liquidating the company after failing to hammer out an agreement with its labor union, which has been on strike at the automaker’s plant in Pyeongtaek for more than two months, the JoongAng Daily reported. It was a final warning from management after negotiations over layoffs and related issues broke down. The automaker still has a shot at survival if production resumes in August, management said. It would take about two or three weeks to get the plant back in operation.
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The U.K.'s Serious Fraud Office is investigating sales of structured products such as credit-default swaps and collateralized debt obligations, amid concern some bankers may have knowingly sold complex assets based on flawed valuations before the global financial crisis struck two years ago, The Wall Street Journal reported. Credit-default swaps are insurance-like contracts designed to protect investors against losses on bonds or loans, though in recent years they have been used more often to speculate on the health of companies or countries.
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As potential bidders size up its offerings for the next auction, Nortel Networks Corp. appears like a heap of rubble being picked over by rivals at the end of a long bankruptcy liquidation process, the Financial Post reported. There is increasing skepticism over whether this really is the end for the 127-year-old Canadian icon, or if a viable business -- such as a lessor of patents -- could emerge from the carcass of the former technology giant.
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Foreign-exchange traders are losing faith that Mexican President Felipe Calderon will push through the tax increases needed to rein in the budget deficit and stem a rout that has made the peso the worst-performing major currency in the past year, Bloomberg reported. Morgan Stanley strategists say Latin America’s second-largest economy is headed for “unsustainable” deficits as oil output declines while RBC Capital Markets advises investors to sell the currency.
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The second richest man in Icelandic history has filed for bankruptcy, his spokesman said Friday, The Associated Press reported. Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson, the brewer-turned-billionaire and former owner of the West Ham soccer club, applied for bankruptcy protection at Reykjavik district court, 96 billion Icelandic kronur ($759 million) in debt, Asgeir Fridgeirsson said. It is the largest bankruptcy filing in Icelandic history.
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Cuba suspended plans on Friday for a Communist Party congress and lowered its 2009 economic growth projection nearly a full percentage point as its economy struggled through what President Raúl Castro called a “very serious” crisis, The New York Times reported on an Associated Press story. The gathering was expected to chart Cuba’s political future after Mr. Castro and his brother Fidel are gone. Instead, the nation’s leaders will try to pull their country back from the economic brink.
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The possible collapse of Liam Carroll’s €2.3 billion property empire will not derail the establishment of the National Asset Management Agency (Nama), according to the Department of Finance, the Irish Times reported. However, banking sources said the opposite. They warn that any significant insolvency will jeopardise the valuation model on which Nama is based.
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The U.K. government should limit the size of banks operating in the U.K. and introduce a "tax on size" to stop banks taking advantage of becoming too big to fail, according to the latest report from a U.K. parliamentary committee into the causes and consequences of the financial crisis, The Wall Street Journal reported. The government should ensure U.K. banks don't become too big to save, an outcome which has been made more likely by the recent consolidation in the banking sector, the report said.
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Cancer diagnostic developer Polartechnics Ltd has been placed into voluntary administration, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. Polartechnics said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange on Friday that it did not have enough money to keep operating. "Due to events outside of the board's control, a critical new investor commitment did not complete and resulted in the board, at short notice, having to assess its immediate funding capability," the company said in a statement.
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Ford Motor Co. has slowed the bidding process for its Volvo unit in an effort to get a better price for the Swedish car brand, according to a person close to the U.S. company, The Wall Street Journal reported. The knowledgeable person said Ford has decided to wait for General Motors Co. to wrap up the sale of its Opel unit in Germany, and is hoping to invite a loser in that two-way bidding race to bid for Volvo. The person added there currently are three bidders for Volvo: a group led by China's Geely Holding Group Co., Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co.
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