Headlines

Debt-burdened telecom carrier Altice Europe is gearing up to sell a stake in its high-speed fiber network business in Portugal, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters, with an auction process expected to kick off within a fortnight, Reuters reported. Altice, which took control of Portugal Telecom in 2015, is looking to replicate its recent sale of a 49.99 percent stake in French fiber optic business SFR FTTH to three investment funds for 1.8 billion euros. The group, whose founder is billionaire Patrick Drahi, has hired Lazard to sound out potential bidders including U.S.

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Barclays is being sued by seven local English councils over controversial bank loans sold before the financial crisis, the Financial Times reported. The bank entered into lender-option, borrower-option (Lobo) loan agreements with the seven local authorities between 2006 and 2008 which had interest rates linked to Libor, an interest-rate benchmark. Barclays is among a number of banks that have been fined over Libor since the 2008 banking crisis.

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It’s a messy end to the week for Italian assets. The country’s bonds and stocks are being heavily sold, besieged by further signs of a slowing economy and deepening concern about the heavily indebted eurozone fiscal position, the Financial Times reported. Bleak data showed business conditions worsened at a faster pace than forecast in January, with new order data falling more sharply, adding to a decline in production. The numbers came a day after confirmation of the return to recession for Italy’s economy at the end of 2018.

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Last year corporate deaths rose to levels not seen in five years. On almost every level, personal and company insolvencies are rising, and fast, according to the Insolvency Service, the Financial Times reported in a commentary. It is bleak news in a bleak midwinter. Maybe that is not a surprise. HMV and House of Fraser were just two of the high street names that collapsed last year. Then there was Conviviality and more recently Patisserie Valerie, the Luke Johnson-led cake chain. And of course, Carillion, the outsourcer that went spectacularly bust a year ago.

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Wadhawan Global Capital, parent of an Indian mortgage lender hit by allegations of financial irregularities, sold its stake in another unit to funds managed by Blackstone LP, Bloomberg News reported. Wadhawan Global sold its 70 percent holding in Aadhar Housing Finance Ltd., it said in a statement on Saturday. Its unit Dewan Housing Finance Corp. also sold its 9.2 percent Aadhar stake as part of the same transaction. Terms weren’t disclosed.

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Debenhams Eyes CVA Rescue Plan

Debenhams is pushing to restructure its property portfolio ahead of a quarterly rent date in March, as it struggles with a sharp deterioration in its finances, the Financial Times reported. The 200-year-old department store chain is in refinancing negotiations with its lenders, but is also drawing up documents for a company voluntary arrangement — an insolvency deal that includes restructuring leases — which could take place in the next few weeks, said three people familiar with the plans.

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India’s Reliance Communications Ltd (RCom) on Friday said it will seek fast track resolution through National Company Law Tribunal, the court that deals with bankruptcy cases, to resolve its debt position, Reuters reported. The company said lenders had not received any proceeds from its asset monetization plans, and that its overall debt resolution process had not made any progress. Over twelve months, talks with forty lenders to reach a consensus has been impossible and has driven them to the bankruptcy court, the debt-laden telecom company said.

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A half-built Turkish residential development of hundreds of mini-castles won a reprieve from bankruptcy on Friday when creditors voted to allow a construction company to complete work on the project, Reuters reported. The Burj al Babas project, set among hills about 200 km (120 miles) east of Istanbul, was conceived as a luxury housing development with row upon row of identical cream-coloured homes, shaped like chateaus with grey turrets and all built around a shopping mall and hotel.

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British airline Flybe, which is being bought by a consortium of Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and Cyrus Capital, said on Sunday it had been approached by Stobart’s ex CEO Andrew Tinkler about a possible alternative financing proposal, Reuters reported. However, the airline said the consortium’s offer remained the best option. Tinkler’s approach to Flybe, which was made on Friday, was first reported on Sunday by City AM and the Financial Times.

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