Headlines

Caught between a populace resistant to more austerity measures and investors demanding budget cuts and more flexible labor markets, the Spanish government is finding it increasingly difficult to keep a grip on power, The New York Times reported. Last week, the government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero narrowly won approval for an extra 15 billion euros, or $18.4 billion, in spending cuts — in an effort to bring the budget deficit down to 6 percent of the national economic output by 2011, from 11 percent last year. With labor unions and business leaders at loggerheads, Mr.
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Dubai International Capital, an investment arm of conglomerate Dubai Holding, has asked lenders for a three-month extension on some of its debts, underscoring the financial challenges still facing the city-state, Dow Jones Daily Bankruptcy Review reported. The news comes six months after Dubai's much larger conglomerate Dubai World shocked markets by announcing a standstill on its own debt pile. Last week, Dubai World said it has agreed in principle with its main creditors to restructure $23.5 billion of debt and said it would seek a final deal with all its creditors by the end of June.
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A restructuring deal at General Motors' loss-making European carmaker Opel was signed into effect on Monday, aimed at saving 265 million euros ($325 million) in annual wage costs through 2014, labour leader Klaus Franz said. After drafting a master agreement on May 21, European union and workforce representatives from countries hosting Opel's major manufacturing plants also signed the deal with Opel Chief Executive Nick Reilly, Reuters reported.
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Switzerland suffered the highest rise in bankruptcy proceedings in ten years in 2009, according to the Federal Statistics Office, swissinfo.ch reported. The number of proceedings opened against businesses or individuals rose to around 11,600, up eight per cent on 2008 - a “marked increase”, the office said on Monday. In addition, 2.5 million formal notices to pay were issued, just over two per cent more than in the previous year. All regions saw a rise in bankruptcies, but Italian-speaking Ticino, financial centre Zurich and central Switzerland suffered the largest increases.
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Argentina extended the deadline for a debt swap aimed at helping the nation recover its credit standing to June 22 at the request of Italian banks, Economy Minister Amado Boudou said. The official said Italian banks had asked for the extension at a time when global financial markets are in turmoil over debt issues in Europe, Agence France-Presse reported. So far, officials said around 45 percent of holders of more than 50,000 dollars in debt have accepted the swap, and the government hopes to get 60-percent participation.
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Seven companies have joined the race to acquire Ssangyong Motor Co. by submitting separate letters of intent to deal adviser Macquarie Securities Korea, cash-strapped Ssangyong Motor said Friday, Dow Jones Daily Bankruptcy Review reported. Ssangyong Motor didn't name the seven companies, citing a confidentiality agreement. Local media earlier Friday reported that two Indian companies - Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. and Ruia Group - as well as three Korean companies: Renault Samsung Motors Corp., Young An Hat Co. and Seoul Invest are interested in bidding for Ssangyong Motor.
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In the latest indication that European banks are in ill health, the European Central Bank warned late Monday that euro-zone banks face €195 billion ($239.26 billion) in write-downs this year and the next due to an economic outlook that remained "clouded by uncertainty,” The Wall Street Journal reported. The ECB news, part of its semiannual financial-stability report, comes on the heels of a campaign by governments and central banks to ease sovereign-debt problems in southern Europe. The efforts have failed to calm worries that a banking crisis may be forming on the Continent.
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A German court on Monday postponed its ruling on the insolvency plan of German department store chain Karstadt to next week as the search for a new investor is taking longer than expected, Reuters reported. The district court in Essen had initially planned to rule on Monday whether Karstadt's insolvency plan was viable, but postponed its decision to June 10 after a committee of Karstadt's creditors said it needed more time to assess bids. The committee originally wanted to pick an investor on Friday, but then moved the date to June 9.
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Former Bundesliga club Arminia Bielefeld stand on the brink of financial ruin after the East Westphalian city rejected a rescue plan, ESPN reported. Bielefeld, who were relegated to the second division last year and failed to make an immediate return to the top flight, had sought a financial injection of almost €5 million from the city, but they failed to win a majority vote in favour of the plan on Thursday. That leaves the club, who earlier this week appointed former Germany international Christian Ziege as their new coach, on the verge of being declared bankrupt.
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Australian shopping mall giant Westfield Group on Thursday ruled out a bid for General Growth Properties Inc., instead preferring to cherry pick individual assets its U.S. rival may put on the market, Dow Jones Daily Bankruptcy Review reported. With the retail sector looking up in its main markets and a robust balance sheet boasting almost $6.59 billion liquidity, Westfield - the world's biggest owner of shopping centers by value - decided against entering a bidding war for General Growth, which is under U.S. bankruptcy protection.
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