Oceania

Bain Capital Credit, Oaktree Capital Group and White Oak Global Advisors are in talks to refinance some of Sanjeev Gupta’s borrowing from Greensill Capital at some of his Australian businesses, the Australian Financial Review reported. The funds have been carrying out due diligence to provide at least $430 million to GFG Alliance’s Australian Mining and Primary Steel units, including the Whyalla steel mill in the south of the country. One of the funds could conclude a deal with GFG as soon as early May, said the people, who asked not to be named because the talks are private.
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Australia has canceled agreements between China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the Victoria state government, in a move that could further worsen ties between the two nations, Bloomberg News reported. The Australian federal government scrapped both the memorandum of understanding and framework agreement signed between Victoria and China’s National Development and Reform Commission, Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in an emailed statement Wednesday. Two other deals between Victoria and the governments of Iran and Syria have also been scrapped.
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Qantas Airways Ltd. said that it expected domestic travel would top pre-pandemic levels next financial year as it raised its forecast for the current quarter on the back of strong demand in a country nearly free of COVID-19, Reuters reported. A return to 90% of pre-pandemic domestic capacity in the fourth quarter ending June 30 will allow it to report positive cashflow and begin repairing a balance sheet burdened by extra debt that helped get it through the pandemic, Chief Executive Alan Joyce said on Thursday.
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Australia’s economic recovery is intensifying as a National Australia Bank Ltd. report showed business conditions -- measuring hiring, sales and profits -- climbed to a record high even as the government was withdrawing its JobKeeper wage subsidy, Bloomberg News reported. An index of conditions jumped to 25 points in March from 17 a month earlier, NAB said in a statement Tuesday. The employment index climbed to 16 points from 9, pointing to ongoing strength in hiring, despite the survey being conducted from March 19-31 that includes the end of JobKeeper.
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A German lawyer handling the insolvency of Greensill Capital’s bank unit won a request to freeze the collapsed lender’s Australian assets, as part of an effort to cooperate with counterparts to recover as much as possible for the supply-chain finance firm’s creditors. Michael Frege had submitted an application to the Federal Court of Australia on March 31 asking for the court to hand over insolvency proceedings on the business to the German unit, where the entity has its “main interest,” according to court documents.
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Citibank N.A. has lodged an application with Australia’s Supreme Court of New South Wales to wind up two businesses run by Indian-British steel magnate Sanjeev Gupta as part of insolvency measures, Reuters reported. The London branch of Citibank lodged an application on Tuesday to wind up OneSteel Manufacturing, which includes the Whyalla steel plant in South Australia, and Tahmoor Coal, which includes a coal mine in New South Wales, according to the court. A directions hearing is listed for May 6.
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New Zealand will allow quarantine-free visits by Australians from April 19, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Tuesday, creating a "travel bubble" for the neighbouring nations which have closed borders to the rest of the world to eradicate COVID-19, Nikkei Asia reported. Though most Australian states have allowed quarantine-free visits from New Zealanders for months, New Zealand has continued mandatory quarantine from its neighbour, citing concern about small COVID-19 outbreaks there.
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The lawyer handling the insolvency of Greensill Capital’s bank in Germany has asked his counterparts in the U.K. and Australia to cooperate on sifting through what’s left of the supply chain finance firm, Bloomberg News reported. The administrators should work together on securing and managing the firm’s assets, according to a spokesman for Michael Frege, the lawyer handling the insolvency of Greensill Bank AG. Frege filed a lawsuit in London to safeguard the legal position of the bank, the spokesman said Wednesday. The case was filed earlier this week, according to court records.

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JobKeeper Program in Australia Ends

The coming weeks in Australia could bring on the biggest economic shock since the pandemic itself, with the end of the $90 billion JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme, ABC.net.au reported. Business owners, bureaucrats and insolvency experts are cautiously awaiting the fallout. Insolvency laws were essentially placed on hold during the pandemic, due to the rolling uncertainty and how difficult it was to predict future business. As a result, the number of companies winding up halved in 2020, despite Australia being in its first recession in three decades.
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New Zealand’s biggest bond rally in a year set the tone for moves across other debt markets Wednesday following declines in U.S. Treasury yields, Bloomberg News reported. Kiwi yields posted their biggest drop since the coronavirus wreaked havoc in March last year as traders curbed wagers for interest-rate hikes in the wake of government measures to cool housing prices. Bonds in Australia and emerging Asian economies also advanced while German bund futures signaled a firmer start.
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