Group to repay bonds
India’s top court ordered Sahara group, the owner of New York’s Plaza Hotel, to repay 174 billion rupees (US$3 billion) of bonds after finding the company guilty of flouting debt-sale rules. The US Supreme Court on Friday asked Sahara Commodity Services Corp and Sahara Housing Investment Corp to return money raised selling optionally fully convertible debentures. India’s market regulator last year said the debt issue did not comply with public sale rules. The verdict may hamper the expansion plans of the closely held group of companies, said Jagannadham Thunuguntla, chief strategist at SMC Global Securities Ltd Sahara led by Subroto Roy.
Investment bank set up
France is to launch a public investment bank within days to help cash-strapped companies obtain financing, French President Francois Hollande said on Friday, bringing forward the date as his government speeds up efforts to fight a downturn. The bank, originally due to be launched in January of next year, is designed to support small- and medium-sized firms which are struggling to obtain financing from private lenders amid tight credit conditions. France is also fast-tracking the launch of a scheme to create 150,000 state-sponsored jobs, in a move to tackle rising unemployment. The new body brings together several existing public lenders under the state bank Caisse des Depots, aiming to offer thousands of credit-hungry companies business advice as well as a single window for loans.
Airlines sign agreement
American Airlines parent AMR Corp and US Airways Group Inc have signed a non-disclosure agreement as they evaluate a potential merger that would create an airline that rivals leader United Continental Holdings Inc in scope. The two carriers said on Friday they agreed to share confidential information, work with bankrupt AMR’s creditors committee, and not talk to third parties about any terms of their possible combination. American has also signed non-disclosure agreements with other parties, according to a memo the company sent to managers on Friday. Many analysts consider US Airways to be the leading contender for AMR, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November.
GDP increases modestly
Brazil’s GDP grew a modest 0.4 percent in the second quarter of this year compared with the previous one, with market analysts forecasting that the growth rate for the year would not exceed two percent. The world’s sixth largest economy expanded 0.5 percent from a year ago, the country’s statistical agency IBGE said on Friday. Brazil’s economy expanded 0.6 percent in the first half of the year and 1.2 percent over 12 months, boosted by household and government consumption, it added. “This result reflects the negative influence of the world economy and shows that the government’s stimulus measures have not yet fully had their anticipated impact,” said Finance Minister Guido Mantega, who nonetheless pointed to early signs of an uptick in the third quarter.