North America

Bank of Nova Scotia and Bank of Montreal (BMO) beat analysts’ estimates for fourth-quarter profit as they set aside less funds than expected to cover potential loan losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Reuters reported. Canadian banks have braced for higher loan losses this year and 2021 as the pandemic ravages the global economy and leads to lower household income, with a plunge in oil prices also likely to result in higher defaults in the energy sector. Both banks reporting on Tuesday, however, put aside far less than analysts had expected in the quarter to Oct.

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A Bahamian broker/dealer’s liquidator has voiced concern that its majority shareholder and then-senior management removed over $8m in the two-and-a-half years prior to its insolvency, The Tribune reported. Ed Rahming, the Intelisys (Bahamas) founder and managing director, in his second report to the Supreme Court hinted he was exploring the possibility of initiating legal action against Pacifico Global’s majority shareholder, Arturo Klein, to at least recover some of the $4.263m paid out to him. “The liquidator has noted...

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Canada’s Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group said on Tuesday it had emerged from bankruptcy, after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the famed circus operator to cancel shows and lay off artists earlier this year, Reuters reported. The once high-flying Cirque, which grew from a troupe of street performers in the 1980s to a company with global reach, has slashed about 95% of its workforce and suspended shows due to the pandemic. It had filed for bankruptcy protection in June and reached a new purchase agreement with secured lenders shortly after.

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The massive policy response from the Bank of Canada and the federal government successfully prevented the country’s financial system from buckling, though vigilance is still needed, according to a top central banker, Bloomberg News reported. Signs of overwhelming financial strain are few, and the risk of a wave of consumer defaults seems low, Deputy Governor Toni Gravelle said in remarks via video conference to the Autorite des marches financiers.

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Mexican carrier Grupo Aeromexico will continue to reactivate travel destinations throughout next year, an executive told Reuters on Monday, adding that there is still much uncertainty stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reported. The country’s largest carrier filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a U.S. court earlier this year and has since tried to shore up its finances.

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The number of insolvency filings in Canada jumped in September to the highest since the pandemic began, in what may be the first sign of long-anticipated strains in household finances from the crisis, Bloomberg News reported. The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada reported 7,658 consumer insolvency filings, up 18.5% from August. That’s the biggest monthly increase since 2017, and the most since March when widespread lockdowns were imposed to control the spread of Covid-19.

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Mexican airline Aeromexico has requested permission from U.S. bankruptcy court to dismiss 1,830 employees in a cost-saving measure to weather the economic shocks of the coronavirus crisis, according to court filings filed on Wednesday, Reuters reported. The proposed layoffs, of 855 unionized workers and another 975 who do not belong to a union, would save the company $44 million on a recurring annual basis, Aeromexico said.

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Wealthy nations grouped together in the Paris Club of creditors have waived Cuba’s annual payment for restructured debt but plan to impose a penalty on the Communist–run island, according to five Western diplomats with knowledge of the situation, Reuters reported. This year marks the first time Cuba has missed the entire payment due by Oct. 31 since the restructuring agreement was signed in 2015, though it fell short of full payment last year as well. The accord, signed in tandem with the U.S.

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Global miner Rio Tinto is seeking court approval to sell its partner’s share of diamonds from a mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories, a filing this week showed, hoping to recover around C$120 million plus legal fees and other costs, Reuters reported. Rio owns 60% of Diavik Diamond Mines Inc (DDMI) and says it is owed C$119.5 million plus about C$2.4 million in fees by junior partner Dominion Diamond ULC. Dominion holds a 40% stake in the northern mine, located about 300 kilometers (186 miles) north of the territorial capital of Yellowknife.

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Canadian fashion retailer Le Chateau Inc said on Friday it had sought creditor protection and was preparing to liquidate its assets and wind down operations after taking a hit from the COVID-19 impact, Reuters reported. The 60-year-old chain, which sells occasion- and party-wear, saw its sales slump 72% in the second quarter ended July 25, as Canadians avoided venturing out due to fears of contracting the coronavirus. Apparel retailers across the globe have been facing mounting debt and bankruptcies as the virus outbreak wreaked havoc on the economy.

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