Headlines

Ireland's High Court has approved a further payment of €3.29 million out of the State’s Insurance Compensation Fund (ICF) concerning personal-injury claims against collapsed Maltese-registered motor insurer Setanta, the Irish Times reported. The €3.29 million sum includes a sum of €1.97 million for third-party legal costs. The remainder comprises some €1.06 million in awards, orders to pay and agreement settlements; some €224,000 in minor court awards; and some €35,581 in property damage.

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South Korea’s Eastar Jet filed for court receivership this week, a Seoul court said on Friday, as the pandemic-hit budget airline fights for its survival, considering options such as a merger and acquisition among strategies to stay in business, Reuters reported. The airline laid off about 700 of roughly 1,600 employees last April due to the coronavirus fallout and has struggled to find a strategic investor since July, when No.1 budget carrier Jeju Air Co Ltd scrapped a plan to acquire it.

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Bucharest mayor Nicusor Dan officially announced that the Bucharest City Hall (PMB) wants to buy the primary producer of thermal energy for the district heating system in the capital city, Electrocentrale Bucuresti (Elcen), Romania-Insider.com reported. The energy producer, currently under insolvency, is controlled by the Ministry of Energy. State-owned gas producer Romgaz previously expressed a similar intention as it owes significant claims against Elcen. However, both potential bidders for Elcen might need more time to submit a formal offer.

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A recent survey from the Federation of Small Businesses predicts just under 5% of its members will close in 2021. With the government reporting some 5.9 million small businesses in the UK, this means we could be looking at some 250,000 insolvencies over the coming period, HRNews.co.uk reported. Some 1400 firms responded to the FSB’s survey, which also recorded 58% of businesses predicting an overall reduction in profitability, and nearly 25% of businesses having reduced the number of employees since the start of last year. 14% say they’ll be cutting numbers again within three months.

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The Treasury has extended by a week the consultation period on proposed insolvency changes for payment institutions (PIs) and electronic money institutions (EMIs), which include establishing a new special administration regime (SAR), AccountancyDaily.co reported. The move is in response to findings from last year’s Payments Landscape Review, which noted a number of failing in the existing insolvency process for consumers using PIs and EMIs, such as card, mobile and electronic wallets.

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A German court in Braunschweig, Germany, said on Friday it had halted criminal proceedings against former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn for alleged market manipulation as part of the carmaker’s emissions scandal, Reuters reported. The court said that it had decided to discontinue the proceedings as the expected sentence in another case, in which Winterkorn faces charges for his role in allowing diesel cars with excessive pollution levels to hit the road, was higher.
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France on Thursday took a tough line against any takeover of retailer Carrefour by a foreign company, dealing a major blow to a near $20 billion bid approach by Canada’s Alimentation Couche-Tard, Reuters reported. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told Reuters that the government wanted to preserve the country’s food security and sovereignty. “Having Carrefour being bought by a foreign company would be a major difficulty for all of us,” Le Maire said in an interview at the Reuters Next conference.

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A failed attempt to settle debt insurance on a struggling French car-rental company is the latest blow to the $9 trillion market in credit derivatives, but this time the focus is on speculators, Bloomberg News reported. Protection buyers who didn’t hold any of Europcar Mobility Group’s underlying debt were left with nothing, due to a shortage of bonds to settle contracts at the auction on Wednesday. Flaws in the instruments’ capacity to protect against losses have undermined confidence in the credit derivatives market in recent years.

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Britain’s OneWeb said on Friday that SoftBank Group Corp and Hughes Network Systems LLC had invested in the satellite communications company, bringing its total funding to $1.4 billion, Reuters reported. Founded by entrepreneur Greg Wyler in 2014, OneWeb aims to provide high-speed broadband internet services globally using low earth orbit satellites, taking on a similar offering by Elon Musk’s SpaceX. The funding would allow OneWeb to cover the costs for its network of 648 satellites, expected to be ready by the end of 2022.

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Creditors seeking to regain Bitcoin lost on the Japanese exchange Mt. Gox in 2014 have a chance to get their digital assets back before legal claims are settled, Bloomberg News reported. CoinLab Inc. said an agreement with Nobuaki Kobayashi, the trustee to the Mt. Gox bankruptcy, and MGIFLP, a unit of Fortress Investment Group LLC, will allow creditors to consider an offer of as much as 90% of the remaining Bitcoin tied up in the bankruptcy.
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