Headlines

Creditors of French building materials manufacturer Terreal are urgently seeking dialogue with its private equity owner, LBO France, after Terreal defaulted on a 915 million euro loan, Reuters reported today. Terreal failed a leverage covenant test last Friday on the loan, which specified that its leverage ratio must be eight times and the company instead reported leverage of 8.4 times, banking sources said. Terreal's all-senior loan, which was arranged by ING, is now quoted in the secondary market at a steep discount of 22-32 percent of face value, which indicates distress.
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Thailand’s Manager Media Group, which owns a range of publications including Manager Daily, will today transfer its entire operation to a new company named ASTV Manager and revamp all of its brands, following the collapse of its rehabilitation plan, The Nation reported today. The move comes after the company decided not to appear in Civil Court on Tuesday, when the court considered the request to extend the rehabilitation period.
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Australia's second largest childcare group, CFK Childcare, went into receivership on Wednesday, a day after its board placed the company in voluntary administration due to a failed asset sell-off to ABC Learning Centres Ltd., The Age reported today. CFK's board appointed BDO Kendalls as voluntary administrators on Tuesday and revealed the company was losing more than $400,000 a month.
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Iceland got a $4.6 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund and four Nordic countries to help resurrect the island's economy after the failure of its biggest banks and the collapse of its currency, Bloomberg reported today. The Washington-based IMF approved a $2.1 billion loan late yesterday. Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark will provide a further $2.5 billion, the Finnish Finance Ministry said in a statement today. Approval of the loan dragged out after Iceland was unable to reach agreement with U.K.
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Ecuador's flirtation with a $10.3 billion foreign debt default may force bondholders into restructuring, potentially saving the government billions of dollars at a time when access to capital is increasingly tight, the Associated Press reported today. Ecuador is going to "present a credible threat of default and force bondholders to renegotiate the terms of existing debts, winning savings and considerable benefits for the state," Patrick Esteruelas, an analyst at the Eurasia Group in New York, said Wednesday.
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The Italian government agreed Wednesday to sell Alitalia SpA's assets to CAI, a consortium of Italian investors, for 1.052 billion euros, Easybourse reported today. In a statement Wednesday evening, Italian Industry Minister Claudio Scajola said he authorized the sale of Alitalia's assets to Compagnia Aerea Italiana, or CAI, after the consortium raised its offer from an initial 1 billion euros. The price is in line with estimates by the government's advisor. CAI originally offered 250 million euros in cash and offered to assume 625 million euros in debt.
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The Australian investment firm Babcock & Brown put about half of its asset base up for sale Wednesday, announced sweeping job cuts and sought to renegotiate its bank debts to safeguard its future, the International Herald Tribune reported today. The group, trapped between tumbling asset values and a need to repay debt of about 3 billion Australian dollars, or $2 billion, over the next three years, said it would be difficult to meet existing debt facilities in the near term, given the meltdown in markets.
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UK insolvency practitioners expressed anger at the government’s decision to abandon plans for a simplified scheme for debtors to come to an arrangement with their creditors, the Times Online reported. They have labelled the U-turn a missed opportunity and fear it will harm both debtors and creditors.
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Germany’s billionaire Merckle family, stung by losses on Volkswagen AG shares, needs as much as 1.1 billion euros ($1.4 billion) in financing to avert insolvency of its investment company, four people familiar with the situation said, Bloomberg reported. The family’s investment company VEM Vermoegensverwaltung GmbH may be forced to file for insolvency if a so-called standstill agreement that would freeze banks’ claims isn’t extended before today’s deadline, said the people, who declined to be identified because the talks are private.
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The South Korean government and creditor banks are moving to put small- and medium-sized shipbuilders under the microscope for drastic restructuring, the Korea Times reported yesterday. The preemptive restructuring is to minimize chain reaction bankruptcies of once-booming small- and medium-sized shipbuilders suffering from cash flow problems in the wake of the global financial market turmoil. About half of some 300 small shipbuilders here are expected to go bankrupt through the first half of next year, unless bailout steps are taken, analysts said.
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