North America

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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Aimia Inc. soared Tuesday after a group led by Air Canada agreed to buy its Aeroplan business for C$450 million ($345 million) in cash, ending a takeover battle for one of Canada’s most popular loyalty programs, Bloomberg News reported. Air Canada and its banking partners sweetened their bid for Aeroplan, winning over Aimia’s board and an activist shareholder that was seeking a higher price. Air Canada initially made a C$250 million unsolicited offer, and later boosted that to C$325 million.
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Burry’s Shipyard has filed for protection under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. The Clarenville business filed a notice of intention (NOI) to make a proposal under subsection 50.4(1) of the BIA on July 10, The Telegram reported. Deloitte Restructuring Inc. were appointed as the licensed insolvency trustee. According to a statement on Deloitte's website to the creditors of the shipyard, the effect of the NOI filing is an automatic stay of proceedings against all creditors from commencing any actions against Burry’s.
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Canada’s top securities regulator ordered the founder and four former executives of bankrupt Chinese timber company Sino-Forest to pay 76.3 million Canadian dollars (US $58 million) in penalties and forfeited compensation for their role in what regulators say is one of the largest frauds in Canadian history, The Wall Street Journal reported. The Ontario Securities Commission ordered Allen Chan, the company’s founder and former CEO, to repay C$60.3 million of salary and bonuses earned before the company filed for bankruptcy in 2012.
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Stephen Poloz can’t hold off raising interest rates any longer. Economists are predicting the Bank of Canada governor will resume tightening policy this Wednesday in what would be the first increase in borrowing costs since January, Bloomberg News reported. More hikes are set to follow as businesses warn of wage pressures and inflation remains above the central bank’s target. Poloz, however, is still unlikely to be in a hurry. There remains a long list of reasons for prudence, starting with the real possibility Canada gets into a trade war with its biggest trading partner.
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Barbados' creditors are gearing up for debt restructuring talks as the government advances discussions with the IMF over a potential financing package, LatinFinance reported. Newly-elected Prime Minister Mia Mottley and her administration, along with financial advisors White Oak, are expected to continue meetings with domestic creditors and their advisors over the next few weeks, a source familiar with the proceedings has said.
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Consolidation among smaller offshore oil rig companies would help to boost a recovery in the drilling market, the CEO of offshore rig firm Seadrill said on Tuesday, a day after it emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, Reuters reported. Seadrill started trading new shares on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday and plans to list new shares on the Oslo Stock Exchange by end of July or beginning of August. Shares of Seadrill, controlled by Norwegian-born billionaire John Fredriksen, opened at $25 a share, but slid to $18 a share by 1508 GMT.
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Offshore drilling rig contractor Seadrill said on Monday it had successfully completed its reorganisation, emerging from a U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy process launched last September, Reuters reported. The company, once the world’s largest offshore driller by the market capitalisation, was forced to seek protection from creditors when it was unable to repay its debts amassed during boom years to buy new rigs. When oil prices fell in 2014, oil companies cancelled or postponed exploration plans to save cash which reduced demand for offshore drilling rigs.
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Coupons on 525 million pounds ($701.40 million) of debt underpinned by retirement home operator Four Seasons will not be paid, the issuers of the notes said on Wednesday. The owners of Four Seasons recently agreed a deal with investment firm H/2 Capital Partners to restructure the group, transferring ownership to a new owner controlled by its creditors, Reuters reported. The boards of Elli Finance (UK) Plc and Elli Investments, the issuers of the notes, said their respective boards “have concluded that they will not be in a position to pay the coupons due under the Notes on 15 June 2018”.
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