North America

Fosun International Ltd. is poised to lose its 20% stake in Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, the latest in a series of failed overseas deals for the Shanghai-based insurance, health care and tourism conglomerate, Bloomberg News reported. A consortium of Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil creditors is set to take control of the struggling circus operator, people familiar with the matter said. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in June as the Covid-19 pandemic slammed its distinctive global chain of musical, acrobatic shows.

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Offshore oil servicers are going bust at the fastest pace in three years as explorers spurn high-cost drilling to deal with a worldwide slump in commodity prices, Bloomberg News reported. The debacle, triggered by the pandemic-driven drop in oil prices, has already claimed some of the biggest companies that supply rigs, transportation and other support services to deep-water drillers. Noble Corp. and Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. have filed for Chapter 11 since the start of the pandemic-driven oil downturn, while Valaris Plc filed for bankruptcy Wednesday. Firms including Transocean Ltd.

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The collapse of a Mexican lender is spurring concern about risks for the banking system just as the country sinks into its deepest recession in almost a century under the watch of a financial regulator that’s been hobbled by austerity, Bloomberg News reported. Banco Famsa will need a bailout of almost $1 billion to make depositors whole. Its failure is fueling worries among former officials that the watchdog known as the CNBV could miss warning signs at other lenders after a wave of resignations followed President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s drive to cut costs.

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Quebec’s pension fund said it spent $75 million in February to double its stake in Cirque du Soleil Entertainment, an investment it was forced to write off in June when the company filed for bankruptcy protection, Bloomberg News reported. Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec’s decision to buy an additional 10% of the live performance company from founder Guy Laliberte came after months of discussions with shareholders, Caisse Chief Executive Officer Charles Emond said Monday. The fund spent $71 million for its initial 10% stake in 2015, he told a panel of lawmakers in Quebec City.

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Credit rating agency S&P Global Ratings said on Wednesday it has downgraded Belize’s foreign currency ratings to SD from CC/C after the Central American country announced details of a debt restructuring plan this week, Reuters reported. Belize in July proposed to creditors that it would capitalize some scheduled payments on its $526 million Eurobond maturing in 2034 because it could not afford to meet them as it battled with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Panama’s Copa Airlines on Wednesday reported that it earned almost no income between April and June, with revenue falling 98% as coronavirus-related measures virtually shuttered the Panama City airport that serves as its home base, Reuters reported. Panama’s tough anti-coronavirus measures, including a travel ban that will go at least through August, has also become a radical test of Copa’s resilience. In normal times, Copa is considered Latin America’s most financially successful airline, known for steady profits, low debt and a strong cash position.

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Even as provinces move forward with phased reopening plans, 14% of Canadian small businesses are at risk of permanently closing, according to a new report, Bloomberg News reported. About one in seven small- and medium-sized companies surveyed at the end of June by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said they are at least somewhat considering bankruptcy or winding down operations as a result of Covid-19. That would represent about 158,000 businesses in addition to the ones that have already closed, CFIB said.

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Mexican airline Aeromexico, which is in a Chapter 11 restructuring process, said on Tuesday it posted a $1.2 billion net loss for the second quarter and laid off about 2,000 workers as the coronavirus pandemic roils the airline industry, Reuters reported. “The commercial aviation industry faces unprecedented challenges stemming from a significant reduction in passenger demand worldwide,” the firm said in a statement.

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A record number of Canada’s largest businesses are seeking protection from creditors, a testament to the strains companies are under because of the coronavirus pandemic, Bloomberg News reported. In the three months through June, 27 firms were granted protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, a federal law that gives insolvent corporations that have debt of more than C$5 million ($3.7 million) an opportunity to restructure and avoid liquidation.

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Latin America is at the centre of the coronavirus pandemic, suffering some of the worst infection rates and highest death tolls in the world, the Financial Times reported. Now economists warn that the region faces more bad news: its sickly economies risk falling into a new debt crisis even worse than the last big bust of the 1980s. The continent was struggling with multiple “pre-existing conditions” before the virus took hold: anaemic growth, weak health systems, low tax revenues, high levels of borrowing and an over-reliance on commodity exports.

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