Netherlands

The Dutch government is throwing its weight behind challenging London’s position as Europe’s legal hub for the lucrative business of restructuring the debt of struggling companies, Bloomberg News reported. With Britain due to leave the European Union by the end of January, the Netherlands is bidding to chip away at the legal business that runs through English courts with a proposed reform of insolvency laws set to be approved by parliament early next year. This outlines a new bankruptcy code taking elements of U.S.

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United Group, the private-equity backed cable company, has struck a €1.2bn deal to acquire Bulgaria’s former state owned telecoms operator Vivacom, the Financial Times reported. The sale is one of the largest deals struck by United, owned by BC Partners, to consolidate the Balkan media and communications industry. It agreed to buy Tele2 Croatia for €220m in May and has so far rolled up about 100 Balkan businesses. It comes in spite of a long-running ownership dispute around Vivacom, which is still rumbling through the courts.

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TVT Media, a London-headquartered provider of media localization and end-to-end content services, filed for insolvency on October 21, 2019, according to regulatory filings, Slator reported. TVT’s operations in the UK generated revenues of nearly GBP 10m (USD 12.6m) in 2017 (the most recent year for which numbers are available), but the company’s global size is likely a multiple of the figure given that it operates large subsidiaries in the US, the Netherlands, Poland, Australia, Singapore, and Japan.

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Airbus cut its full-year delivery target and said cash flow will be lower than expected as it struggles to capitalise on the grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max, The Irish Times reported. The European manufacturer now expects to hand over about 860 aircraft this year, down from a previous range of 880 to 890 aircraft, as production challenges slow output of A320neo-series models. Free cash flow is likely to be about €3 billion, rather than €4 billion, it said in a statement on Wednesday.

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KPMG has been paid about £2.3m for its work on winding down Patisserie Valerie, despite being replaced as administrator to the failed bakery chain due to a conflict of interest, the Financial Times reported. The Big Four accounting firm, whose insolvency partners earned £875 an hour for the work according to its latest disclosure to creditors, will cease to be administrator as it cannot pursue legal claims against Patisserie Valerie’s auditor, which is expected to be the next stage in attempting to recoup money for creditors.

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United Group, a private equity-owned cable company, is in exclusive talks to buy Vivacom, Bulgaria’s largest telecoms group, according to people familiar with the situation, the Financial Times reported. The company, owned by BC Partners, is nearing a deal for Vivacom, which went up for sale in July, the people said. Buyout firm KKR also owns a minority stake in United Group. Vivacom was expected to be valued at about €1.2bn based on recent deals in the region for telecom assets, people involved in the sale said.

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Commodities trader Trafigura has joined a group of lenders to provide a $1 billion loan backed by future oil sales to Chinese independent refiner, Shandong Qingyuan, in a deal which underscores the opening up of China to trading houses, Reuters reported. Chinese banks have scaled down lending due to an economic slowdown, creating an opportunity for trading houses to step in, just as they had after the 2008-2009 financial crisis when risk appetite fell as bank regulation increased.

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The Dutch government plans tax cuts and extra investment next year, setting aside some of its usual fiscal prudence in a response to the threat of a regional economic slowdown, the Financial Times reported. Wopke Hoekstra, the Netherlands’ finance minister, announced €3bn of tax cuts for households and outlined plans for an investment fund as part of annual budget proposals. However, cuts in corporate tax rates will be halted. Mr Hoekstra said the plans were designed to protect the country’s “robust” economic growth.

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Iceberg Research, the short seller that targeted commodities trader Noble Group Ltd., has another trading house in its sights: Trafigura Group Ltd. Trafigura is overstating the value of debt securities related to its 49.5% stake in Porto Sudeste, an iron ore export terminal in Brazil, Iceberg, headed by Arnaud Vagner, said Wednesday in a report on its website, Bloomberg News reported. Iceberg estimates those securities may be worth only a 10th of the $490 million carrying value that Trafigura attributes to them.

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