Headlines

Weak UK banking and wealth management performances dragged on Investec’s first-half profit, piling pressure on the Anglo-South African financial services firm’s shares, Reuters reported. Investec said on Thursday the spin-off of its asset management division next year was on track, a plan that will leave it with just banking and wealth management operations. Shares in Investec are down by almost 10% following a profit warning in September, and were around 2.5% lower in both London and Johannesburg by 0823 GMT.

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A subsidiary of China’s largest construction group has suspended work on one of the nation’s tallest skyscrapers after the developer became the latest in a string of companies to default on a payment, the Financial Times reported. The default highlights the growing challenges faced by China’s construction groups as the slowing economy trims credit supply, putting the once runaway mega-tower building boom under stress.

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India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is putting the flagging economy back on center stage after announcing the biggest privatization drive in more than a decade and making renewed attempts to ring fence the crisis-ridden shadow banking sector, Bloomberg News reported. The country is in the midst of a deepening slowdown amid waning consumption -- the bedrock of the $2.7 trillion economy.

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Thyssenkrupp’s new boss scrapped the German industrial group’s dividend, warned of deeper losses and asked investors for yet more patience over its turnaround, sending shares in the conglomerate down as much as 14.5% on Thursday, Reuters reported. The moves immediately turned up the pressure on Martina Merz, who served as chairwoman before taking over as CEO, to quickly sell the company’s elevators business - a prize asset it has put on the block to try to mend its finances.

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Blackstone Group Inc.’s Indian subprime mortgage lender plans to exit its small builder financing business at a time when pain from the nation’s credit crunch abounds, with another victim claimed this week, Bloomberg News reported. “We are in process of phasing out this small builder loan portfolio to keep the company 100% retail focused as per mandate from new owners,” said Deo Shankar Tripathi, 66, chief executive officer of Aadhar Housing Finance Ltd., in an interview.

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Germany has long stood accused of being the main obstacle on the road to complete Europe’s monetary union. Yet, after a constructive proposal from Finance Minister Olaf Scholz over the creation of some form of joint deposit insurance, it is hard to treat Berlin as the grudger-in-chief of the euro region, a Bloomberg View reported. In fact, Italy could soon become a bigger hurdle on the way to a stronger and safer single currency. Italy has traditionally been a strong supporter of the European project.

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Seadrill Chairman John Fredriksen, the oil rig firm’s top shareholder, is stepping down with immediate effect, the company said on Thursday, as it holds discussions with lenders about restructuring its massive debts, Reuters reported. The 75-year-old billionaire investor, who said his support for the company remained unchanged, will be replaced by Glen Ole Roedland, who has worked in shipping, oil, gas and other industries, Seadrill said. The company, which is listed in Oslo and New York, only emerged from U.S.

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PizzaExpress Ltd.’s Chinese owner is set to become one of its biggest individual creditors, giving it a stronger hand in any battle to overhaul the struggling U.K. restaurant chain, Bloomberg News reported. Hony Capital, the private equity group that bought PizzaExpress in 2014, has secured a controlling majority of its unsecured bonds, according to a document seen by Bloomberg.

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India’s bankruptcy-resolution process has just begun to find its feet with recent precedent-setting court rulings, but bankers, lawyers and insolvency experts say the system is about to face a huge test, Reuters reported. The non-bank financing giant Dewan Housing Finance Corp Ltd (DHFL) will go into insolvency proceedings, the central bank said on Wednesday, making it the first financial institution to test the new laws.

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