Headlines

German payments firm Wirecard AG was tipped into a full-blown crisis after disclosing it was unable to locate 1.9 billion euros ($2.1 billion) missing from its balance sheet, Bloomberg News reported. The company now faces a potential cash crunch and warned lenders could call in loans of as much as 2 billion euros after multiple delays to publication of an audited financial report. The company’s creditors are likely to organize and appoint advisers to try and negotiate a solution that gets as much as their money back as possible. Here’s how that may unfold.

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Two months after its dire predictions of the steepest recession in almost a century, the International Monetary Fund will release new global economic forecasts this week that will probably look even worse, Bloomberg News reported. Officials at the Washington-based Fund have warned that a revised outlook due on Wednesday may feature a more pessimistic view than in April. Back then, they said the “Great Lockdown” caused by the coronavirus would force a global contraction of 3% this year.

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Volvo owner Geely is set to take over an automaker battered by a prolonged sales decline exacerbated by the impact of the novel coronavirus, said three people with knowledge of the matter, in an indication of how the pandemic is stoking consolidation, Reuters reported. Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd plans to become the top shareholder of Chongqing Lifan Holdings Ltd and inject fresh capital into China’s one-time leading motorcycle maker, said two of the people, who declined to be identified as the matter was private.

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Argentina extended a deadline for bondholders to accept a debt restructuring proposal for a fifth time as creditors blamed the government for “walking away” from talks, Bloomberg News reported. Bondholders now have until 5 p.m. New York time on July 24 to accept Argentina’s debt proposal, according to a government statement. It said officials plan to use the extension to keep talking with investors.

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Thailand’s central bank on Friday introduced additional debt relief measures, including interest rate cuts by 2-4 percentage points for credit cards and personal loans, to help debtors during the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reported. The maximum interest rate for credit cards will fall to 16% per year from 18%, while the rates for personal loans will be reduced to 24-25% from 28%, effective from Aug. 1, the central bank said in a statement. The new rates for revolving loans and instalment loans will be 25% and for auto title loans will be 24%.

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Deutsche Lufthansa AG faces one of the most momentous weeks in a near 70-year history, with a clash between its biggest investor and the German government threatening to scupper a 9 billion-euro ($10 billion) bailout and push Europe’s biggest airline toward collapse, 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 holding and influence, at a virtual shareholder meeting Thursday.

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Seeking to explain the appeal of Dutch retailer Hema’s brand to consumers outside the Netherlands, CEO Tjeerd Jegen compares it to a mix of Marks and Spencer Group Plc and John Lewis, “on steroids”. But just as the British stores have faced their own financial difficulties of late, so Hema has had its own problems, starting with an oversized debt pile, Bloomberg News reported. And this week’s restructuring plan -- which will cut its liabilities from 750 million euros ($842 million) to 300 million -- still raises questions over its future ownership.

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Two South African unions on Friday rejected job cuts proposed to rescue South African Airways, which has cost the government more than a billion dollars to stave off bankruptcy and will cost it about half that again to reform, Reuters reported. State-owned SAA went into a form of bankruptcy protection in December, and since then state-appointed administrators have been trying to see what they can salvage. Unions had been in discussions with them and had previously accepted that some job cuts would be necessary.

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Aeromexico is analyzing its options for an orderly restructuring of its short- and medium-term financial commitments, the Mexican airline said on Friday, adding that it had not decided whether to seek Chapter 11 protections in the United States, Reuters reported. Aeromexico shares fell more than 5% in early trading after a newspaper column said the Mexican airline was considering filing for bankruptcy.

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Bankruptcy filings in Hong Kong rose to a 17-year high, records showed on Friday, as the coronavirus pandemic dealt a heavy blow to the businesses following months of social unrest, Reuters reported. There were 2,079 petitions presented last month, Official Receiver’s Office said, the highest since May 2003. The figure came as the city’s unemployment rate rose to 5.9% in the March to May period, the highest in more than 15 years. The number of compulsory winding-up filings stood at 68 in May, the highest since July 2009.

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