North America

German biodiesel producer Campa GmbH has declared insolvency for a second time this year and a commercial court in Wurzburg appointed a new administrator, a court official said on Tuesday. Campa first declared insolvency in May but resumed production in early June after being bought by a consortium of about 2,000 farmers in the southern state of Bavaria, Reuters reported. It operates a 150,000 tonne annual capacity plant producing biodiesel from rapeseed oil. Campa's oil mill was purchased by U.S. agribusiness group Archer Daniels Midland in August.
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Centro Properties Group, the owner of 794 shopping malls in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, is continuing talks with lenders to extend more than $4.5 billion of borrowings by Dec. 15 after failing to raise new capital, Bloomberg reported. The real estate investment trust may have to go into receivership unless creditors including Commonwealth Bank of Australia Ltd. and National Australia Bank Ltd. agree to roll over loans, Melbourne-based Centro said today in a statement.
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A C$32 billion ($26 billion) plan to swap frozen commercial paper in Canada for longer-term notes won’t be done by the end of November, missing a deadline set by an investors’ committee overseeing the restructuring, Bloomberg reported yesterday. The group is required to post agreements related to the swap on the Internet no later than seven days before the closing, according to a June court order. No documents have been posted on the Web site of Ernst & Young Inc., the accounting firm appointed to monitor the process.
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The cost of protecting corporate bonds from default fell around the world after Citigroup Inc. got $306 billion of troubled mortgages and toxic assets guaranteed by the U.S. government, Bloomberg reported today. Credit-default swaps on the Markit iTraxx Crossover index of 50 companies with mostly high-risk, high-yield credit ratings dropped 21 basis points to 892, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. prices at 11:03 a.m. in London. Contracts on Citigroup fell 9 basis points to 482, CMA Datavision prices show.
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Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi and German Chancellor Angela are taking a wait-and-see posture on aid to the auto industries that power both economies, while closely watching moves in the United States, the leaders said following a summit in the northern port of Trieste on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported. Automakers have been calling for aid to help them weather the slide in demand with the global financial crisis--while the United States considers a bailout for Detroit's General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC.
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Pepsi Bottling Group Inc., the world's second-largest soft-drink distributor, lowered its 2008 earnings forecast and said it will eliminate 4.6 percent of its workforce in North America, Europe and Mexico, Bloomberg reported. Pepsi Bottling, which is 33 percent-owned by PepsiCo Inc., will cut 3,150 jobs, mostly in Mexico. Earnings per share will be $2.20 to $2.26 this year, down from the $2.32 to $2.38 Pepsi Bottling forecast in June, the Somers, New York-based company said today in a statement. The shares fell in New York trading.
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Eighty-five companies worldwide defaulted on their debt in the year through November 11, impacting a total of $284 billion, up sharply from the two previous years, Standard & Poor's said Monday. By comparison, there were only 22 defaults for all of 2007 and 30 in 2006, Reuters reported. Seventy of the 85 companies are based in the United States, five in Europe, four in Asia, three in Canada, two in Mexico and one in Russia, according to Diane Vazza, head of S&P's fixed income group.
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Brazil's important ethanol sector took a hit Friday after a major producer revealed that it filed court papers seeking protection from creditors while it restructures $100 million in debt, the Associated Press reported. Companhia Albertina sought the protection similar to Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization used in the United States but will continue operating, said Gabriel Andrade, an investment banker with Sao Paulo's Arsenal Investments who is advising the company. It appeared to be the first sign of trouble for an ethanol producer since the credit crisis hit the planet hard.
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Japan, the world's second-largest economy, has fallen into recession, the government said Monday. The country's gross domestic product contracted at an annual rate of 0.4 percent from July to September, marking the second consecutive quarter of negative growth, the Washington Post reported today. Japan's economy minister warned that the situation could worsen: Collapsing sales of Japanese goods in the United States and Europe amid the global downturn threaten to make the country's export-dependent economy even weaker in coming months.
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