North America

Landsbanki Islands hf sought bankruptcy protection from its U.S. creditors on Tuesday, the last of Iceland's three largest banks to do so in the last two weeks, Reuters reported. The Reykjavik-based lender filed a Chapter 15 bankruptcy petition with the U.S. bankruptcy court for the Southern District of New York. It said it had more than $1 billion of both assets and liabilities. Iceland's banks had taken on billions of dollars of debt in recent years to fund aggressive overseas expansion.
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The Canadian subsidiaries of the reeling Detroit Three automakers want a total of at least $6 billion in loans and credit lines from the federal and Ontario governments to stay alive, but won't go into much detail on how they would spend the money, the Toronto Star reported Saturday. General Motors of Canada Ltd., the country's biggest automaker, is seeking $800 million by year's end and $1.6 billion later, while Chrysler Canada Inc. is asking for $1.6 billion, according to sources familiar with the submissions.
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Bankruptcies in Canada numbered 9,468 in October, up 7.2 percent from September and 21.1 percent from October 2007, with the pain concentrated among individuals, the Canadian Press reported today. The office of the federal Superintendent of Bankruptcy reported yesterday that 8,972 consumers filed for bankruptcy in October, up 7.5 percent from October and 22.8 percent from a year earlier. Business bankruptcies totalled 496 for the month, up 1.4 percent from the previous month but down 3.3 percent from the year-ago corporate toll.
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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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