North America

Insolvencies among Canadian corporations climbed 4.6 percent in the third quarter, the sharpest increase in at least six years, a sign higher borrowing costs may be taking a toll on businesses. Some 826 companies filed for insolvency in the three months through September, compared with 790 in the same period a year earlier, the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcies reported Friday, Bloomberg News reported. Quebec, Alberta and Manitoba saw the biggest increases. By sector, retail trade, transportation, construction and manufacturing were among the hardest hit.

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Offshore oil rig operator Vantage Drilling International agreed to disgorge $5 million in a settlement with U.S. regulators related to a corruption probe in Brazil involving Petrobras, The Wall Street Journal reported. Vantage Drilling, based in the Cayman Islands, settled with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over accounting-control deficiencies at its predecessor company that violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

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Has Increased It is slightly over the last six months, in part due to unease over the global economic outlook, the Bank of Canada said on Wednesday. A semiannual central bank survey of risk management professionals showed that 44 percent felt the chances of a high-impact event with potential to severely impair the financial system had grown slightly, while 50 percent saw no change, Reuters reported. The survey added that 95 percent of respondents were at least fairly confident that the financial system would be resilient in the face of such a shock.

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Bombardier Investors Spurn CEO Optimism

Bombardier Inc. bonds are joining the company’s stock plunge on fresh concern over cash-flow prospects at the manufacturer of planes and trains, Bloomberg News reported. The market swoon underscored investor anxiety about Bombardier’s prospects despite Chief Executive Officer Alain Bellemare’s upbeat 2020 outlook at an investor conference Tuesday -- his first public comments since the company lost a quarter of its market value after reporting earnings last week. Canada’s largest aerospace company surprised investors Nov.

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Bombardier Inc. tumbled the most in more than three years as disappointing cash-flow forecasts sowed doubts about Chief Executive Officer Alain Bellemare’s turnaround of the debt-laden maker of trains and aircraft, Bloomberg News reported. The company will only be able to attain its target of breaking even on a cash-flow basis this year by including the proceeds from a $635 million land sale in Toronto. Next year’s outlook for breaking even, plus or minus $250 million, frustrates expectations for a significant improvement, said Nick Heymann, an analyst at William Blair in New York.

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Insurer FBD Holdings’ original backer subscribed for €20 million worth of loan notes used in clearing a €70 million debt to Canada’s Fairfax Financial Holdings, The Irish Times reported. Farmer Business Developments plc, FBD’s founder and one of its biggest shareholders, confirmed that it subscribed for €20 million of the €50 million loan notes used in the insurer’s recent restructuring. This allowed FBD to buy out Fairfax’s loan, which the Canadian group could otherwise have converted to shares.

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Mexico City’s airport bonds finally showed signs of stabilizing Wednesday after President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador caught investors by surprise with his decision to scrap the controversial project, Bloomberg News reported. Still, at just 80 cents on the dollar now, the bonds have had a rough October. Prices on the 30-year debt are down 3 cents this week and 9 cents this month, a slump that pushed the yield up over 7 percent.

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Racing Point, a consortium led by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, paid 90 million pounds ($117 million) to take over Formula One racing team Force India in August, an administrators report shows. The report also revealed the parlous finances of the Vijay Mallya-owned team at the time they were taken into administration last July, Reuters reported. The Silverstone-based team had only 240,000 pounds in its account on July 27 while outstanding gross wages due to be paid at the end of that month totalled 2.2 million pounds.
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Toshiba has entered talks with Canadian asset manager Brookfield over the potential sale of its UK nuclear unit NuGen, which was slated to build the Moorside nuclear plant in Cumbria. The talks, which are at an early stage according to two people directly familiar with the matter, come after Toshiba’s negotiations with Korea’s state-owned Korean Electric Power Corp have dragged on, with an exclusivity period ending in July, the Financial Times reported.
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Two of the most storied names in German department stores are combining in a deal orchestrated by an Austrian real estate billionaire, highlighting the pressures facing traditional retailers amid the rise of Amazon.com Inc. Karstadt, controlled by Rene Benko’s Signa Holding GmbH, agreed to take over Galeria Kaufhof, owned by Saks Fifth Avenue parent Hudson’s Bay Co., creating a retail company with 5.4 billion euros ($6.3 billion) in revenue, Bloomberg News reported. Benko has long wanted to merge the brands, having had an overture rejected as recently as February.
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