Spain

Caixabank has agreed to buy Bankia for 4.3 billion euros ($5.1 billion) in an all-share deal that creates Spain’s biggest domestic lender and signals a pick up in mergers among Europe’s banks as they battle the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, Reuters reported. The merger will create the largest domestic bank by assets with a combined market value of more than 16 billion euros ($19 billion), in a deal underpinned by annual cost savings of 770 million euros, the companies said on Friday.

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Spain’s economy will struggle to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic to such an extent that it will still be as much as 6 per cent smaller at the end of 2022 than it was before the crisis hit, according to the Bank of Spain, the Financial Times reported. In a grim set of economic projections released on Wednesday, the central bank highlighted the destructive impact of both the initial coronavirus outbreak and of the resurgence in infection rates following the end of the country’s lockdown in June.

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While the new board of IL&FS and the directors appointed by it on the subsidiaries of Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Limited (IL&FS) have immunity from prosecution in India for the actions of the group in the past, they may not have the same protection in cases filed against the group firms outside the country, The Indian Express reported.

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Troubled Spanish renewables firm Abengoa has begun preliminary insolvency proceedings for part of its business in an ongoing restructuring process, the company said in a regulatory filing on Tuesday, Reuters reported. Abengoa said the measure would give it more time to finalise negotiations with creditors and protect the interests of its shareholders. The proceedings relate to Abengoa SA, an entity that was already earmarked to be dissolved as part of the restructuring.

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When Santander entered the UK in 2004 with the acquisition of former building society Abbey National, the move completed the group’s transformation from a family-run regional mortgage lender into a multinational giant, the Financial Times reported. At the time Europe’s largest cross-border banking deal, the acquisition marked the culmination of a string of acquisitions under its swashbuckling “presidente” Emilio Botín, whose family have controlled Banco Santander since the early 20th century.

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Santander slumped to an €11.1bn loss in the second quarter after the coronavirus pandemic forced the eurozone’s largest retail bank to take large writedowns on the value of several of its businesses, led by its UK arm, the Financial Times reported. This marked the first loss in the Spanish lender’s 163-year history and came after it wrote off €6.1bn of goodwill left over from the purchases that created Santander UK in the 2000s.

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More than a million Spanish workers lost their jobs in the second quarter of this year, as the impact of coronavirus-related lockdowns weighed on the country’s economy, the Financial Times reported. The drop in employed workers was the biggest on record, exceeding the number of people who fell out of work at the height of the financial crisis, according to data released on Tuesday by the country’s National Statistics Institute.

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Troubled Spanish renewables firm Abengoa said on Tuesday it was in advanced talks to secure a 250 million euro ($285 million) state-backed liquidity line and restructure part of its debt, but did not expect a final decision until July 27, Reuters reported. The announcement means the Seville-based engineering group will miss Tuesday’s self-imposed deadline to reach an agreement with lenders that would allow it to stay afloat.

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The Spanish government has agreed to extend the country’s emergency paid leave schemes for an additional three months to the end of September — a costly measure that business and unions say is essential to prevent the widespread collapse of companies and job destruction, the Financial Times reported. The temporary schemes, known as ERTEs, had been due to expire on June 30 and currently cover more than 2m people who hope to return to their jobs as the crisis eases but who are far from sure of doing so.

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Spain scrapped the threat of forced liquidation for companies that run up major losses this year as part of a series of changes announced by the government to stave off insolvencies amid the economic turmoil caused by the coronavirus, Bloomberg News reported. Alongside the adjustment to bankruptcy laws, investors who put money into businesses in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak will also benefit from higher levels of protection in the event the companies fold.

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