Headlines

Zambia is already restructuring, renegotiating or refinancing its extensive Chinese project finance debt, and Chinese companies are playing hardball, according to new research, CNBC reported. Southern Africa's third-largest economy is under pressure from an impending breakdown of its power supply and its inability to pay for electricity imports, and is staring down the barrel of further defaults on construction project financing and bond payments.

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German cadmium telluride solar panel producer Calyxo TS Solar GmbH filed for insolvency in December for the second time in less than two years in the district court in Aachen, Germany, pv magazine reported. The court has appointed Christoph Niering from the law firm Niering Stock Tömp to serve as the provisional insolvency administrator. Talks on the possible arrival of new strategic partners are still ongoing, so management has been forced to open new proceedings. Niering said on Friday that it is still possible to maintain operations and process existing orders.

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India’s Economy Faces Severe Challenges

India’s economy is experiencing a sharp slowdown — to the consternation of many observers. For several years, analysts and organisations such as the IMF and World Bank have touted India as the fastest-growing major economy, with the world’s brightest medium-term outlook, the Financial Times reported in a commentary. But in December the Reserve Bank of India, the central bank, cut its forecast for 2019 growth in gross domestic product to 5 per cent. That headline figure actually understates the slowdown.

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Shares in Lekoil crashed by more than 70 per cent on Tuesday as investors responded to news that the Nigeria-focused oil producer had paid $600,000 in fees for a $184m loan that did not exist, the Financial Times reported. The Aim-listed company, which Mark Simmonds, the UK’s Africa minister under David Cameron, recently joined as a non-executive director, will now have to find alternative financing from shareholders to fund the development of its key asset, the Ogo field in Nigeria.

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BNP Paribas SA and Citigroup Inc. are among global banks with the most exposure to about $14 billion of accepted claims related to the collapse of two Saudi business empires more than a decade ago, Bloomberg News reported. The French bank is owed about $750 million by Maan al-Sanea’s Saad Group and Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Brothers Co. -- two family holding companies that defaulted on roughly $16 billion in 2009 -- after a Saudi court accepted its claims, according to documents seen by Bloomberg. The U.S. bank is owed about $270 million by Saad Group, the documents show.

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Bank Audi SAL received several expressions of interest to buy its Egyptian unit, according to an official from the bank, Bloomberg News reported. Lebanon’s biggest lender by assets held informal talks with institutions that are seeking to expand their operations in Egypt or enter in the north African country, the official said, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t public. Bank Audi hasn’t made a decision, the official said. Arabiya television was first to report that the bank plans to sell the unit as part of a restructuring.

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Ecuador is preparing to sell $400 million in bonds backed by the Inter-American Development Bank to fund the country’s housing program, according to a person with direct knowledge of the transaction, Bloomberg News reported. The so-called “social bond” will be offered to investors this week, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The IADB would pay bondholders $300 million in the event of a default, the person added.

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State-owned power producer Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. will be the “death knell” for South Africa’s mining industry unless the government enables mines to produce their own electricity, according to Exxaro Resources Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Mxolisi Mgojo, Bloomberg News reported. “The current state of Eskom is going to be the one thing that is going to be the death knell of this industry,” Mgojo said at a conference organized by Business Unity South Africa, the country’s largest business lobby group, on Tuesday. “Without fixing Eskom we don’t have a mining industry.

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Buenos Aires province has started talks with some creditors as officials seek their blessing on a plan to delay a $250 million payment due this month, Bloomberg News reported. Discussions have taken place with more than 10 groups or individual funds that own the overseas notes due in 2021, according to a provincial official who asked not to be identified. The idea is that pushing back the payment will avoid a hard default and allow the province, the federal government and creditors more time to come up with a comprehensive restructuring plan.

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Regional airline Flybe was rescued on Tuesday after the British government promised to review taxation of the industry and shareholders pledged more money to prevent its collapse, Reuters reported. The agreement comes a day after the emergence of reports suggesting it needed to raise new funds to survive through its quieter winter months. After crunch talks with shareholders, Britain’s finance ministry said that it would review both air passenger duty (APD) and Britain’s regional connectivity as part of the plan.

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