Headlines

Argentina will release its first quarter GDP and unemployment figures today, amid the negative economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty produced by debt restructuring negotiations, Foreign Brief reported. The COVID-19 crisis has ravaged Argentina’s already ailing economy. After a 1.1% year-on-year contraction in the fourth quarter of 2019 and declining economic activity during the first two months of 2020, the pandemic has deepened the country’s recession and exacerbated its troubled fiscal position.

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The State’s corporate watchdog has moved to ease concerns of directors of businesses seeking to trade through financial problems caused by the coronavirus economic shock, but where the company ultimately goes under, The Irish Times reported. When liquidators are appointed to insolvent companies, they must issue a report to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) and initiate court proceedings seeking to have directors restricted, unless they are granted a waiver by the watchdog from doing so.

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Footwear retailer Aldo Group Inc. could receive a capital injection from Quebec’s government as it works through a court restructuring triggered by the pandemic, Bloomberg News reported. “We are, through Investissement Quebec, at the table with them to look at what’s the best structure going forward,” Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon said in an interview with Bloomberg News. “We’re going to be helping,” he said, adding it’s too early to give an amount or a structure for the investment. “It could be equity.” Investissement Quebec is the government’s investment and lending arm.

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Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd bondholders are working on a revival plan for the airline involving a debt-to-equity swap if they are not satisfied with a sale offer, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, Reuters reported. Binding bids from finalists Bain Capital and Cyrus Capital Partners were due on Monday for Australia’s second-biggest airline, which entered voluntary administration in April and owes nearly A$7 billion to creditors.

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The European Union’s eastern wing outshone the west in containing Covid-19. The economic hit, however, is proving harder to dodge, Bloomberg News reported. Early social-distancing measures and speedy lockdowns helped minimize loss of life as fatalities in the likes of Spain and the U.K. soared. Boasting the bloc’s fewest deaths per capita was Slovakia, which closed its schools, shops and borders earlier than all member-states bar Italy. Slovakia, however, is at the wrong end of the economic rankings.

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Bank of China Ltd. is discussing ending a credit facility to Germany’s Wirecard AG, a move that would complicate the beleaguered company’s fight for survival after it was engulfed by a multi-billion-dollar accounting scandal, Bloomberg News reported. China’s fourth-largest lender may write off most of the 80 million euros ($90 million) it’s owed and not extend the credit line, said people familiar with the matter, asking not to be identified as the discussions are private.

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Germany stood by its 9 billion-euro ($10 billion) bailout plan for Deutsche Lufthansa AG, daring the airline’s disgruntled top shareholder to shoot it down at a pivotal vote this week, Bloomberg News reported. With Lufthansa fighting for survival after the coronavirus outbreak punctured a decades-long global travel boom, billionaire Heinz-Hermann Thiele is threatening to block the rescue plan -- which would dilute his 15.5% holding and influence -- at a shareholder meeting scheduled for Thursday.

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South Africa plans to oppose an application by regional airline Airlink to put South African Airways (SAA) into provisional liquidation and prevent a meeting of SAA’s creditors to discuss a restructuring plan, the government said on Monday, Reuters reported. Airlink was a franchisee of state-owned SAA for over two decades, an arrangement that allowed SAA to sell tickets and fly passengers on Airlink flights. SAA still owes some fees to Airlink, making the latter an unsecured creditor.

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A group of creditors of South African retailer Edcon has made a court application to halt meetings scheduled for Monday to consider a proposed restructuring plan for the company which is under bankruptcy protection, Reuters reported. Edcon, which owns department store chain Edgars and budget retailer Jet, entered a form of bankruptcy protection in April after its sales were hit after the coronavirus crisis lockdown. Edcon, which opened its first Edgars store in Johannesburg in 1929, had already been struggling due to falling local demand and slow economic growth in South Africa.

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A rally in the debt of Indian banks is running up against concern they’ll need to take on greater risks as world’s worst bad debt pile is set to weaken further, Bloomberg News reported. While average premiums on rupee-denominated Additional Tier 1 bonds of the five biggest Indian banks have fallen to about 200 basis points from the end of April, they are still up some 117 basis points this year. And some investors say the rally has little room to continue amid concerns India companies are getting downgraded like never before.

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