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Oct 11, 2014

New Belgian government takes office with cost-cutting agenda

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Belgium’s new center-right government took office on Saturday, promising to raise the retirement age and slash costs by about 8 billion euros ($10 billion) to balance the national budget by 2018 and cut the country’s debt.

Charles Michel, 38, the youngest Belgian prime minister since 1841, and his team of 13 ministers and four state secretaries swore an oath in front of King Philippe before proceeding to parliament for their first cabinet meeting.

Oct 9, 2014

EU raids ethanol companies over price-fixing concerns

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission has raided ethanol companies in two EU countries as part of investigations into alleged price-fixing.

The Commission, which acts as the competition watchdog in the 28-member bloc, said on Thursday it had concerns that companies may have colluded in submitting price information used to set industry benchmarks for trading in Europe and globally.

Oct 3, 2014

ECB credit easing policies will be sizeable: Praet

BRUSSELS, Oct 3 (Reuters) – The European Central Bank’s programs of loans and debt purchases to ease the flow of credit will be sizeable, although giving a precise figure is difficult, European Central Bank Executive Board member Peter Praet said on Friday.

The ECB on Thursday laid out plans to buy packages of debt known as asset-backed securities as well as covered bonds, which are secured on solid assets, such as property.

Oct 3, 2014

ECB credit easing policies will be sizeable – ECB’s Praet

BRUSSELS, Oct 3 (Reuters) -The European Central Bank’s
programmes of loans and debt purchases to ease the flow of
credit will be sizeable, although giving a precise figure is
difficult, European Central Bank Executive Board member Peter
Praet said on Friday.

The ECB on Thursday laid out plans to buy packages of debt
known as asset-backed securities as well as covered bonds, which
are secured on solid assets, such as property.

Sep 25, 2014

Telenet sparks merger talk after ruling out shareholder payout

BRUSSELS, Sept 25 (Reuters) – Belgian cable and telecoms
group Telenet has ruled out further payouts to
shareholders this year, sparking speculation it may be preparing
to acquire one of its Belgian rivals and sending its shares
sharply lower.

The market had been expecting a dividend of 4.50 euros,
according to the SmartEstimate of Thomson Reuters StarMine,
which weights analyst estimates according to their previous
accuracy.

Sep 23, 2014

Belgian artist asks court to rule on whether former king is her father

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A Belgian artist who says she is the daughter of Belgium’s former king asked a court on Tuesday to establish the identity of her biological father, a ruling that could put her fifteenth in line to the throne.

Delphine Boel, 46, has fought for more than a decade to gain the royal family’s acceptance and end what she says is prejudice against her because of the question over her paternity.

Sep 17, 2014

Luxembourg opens art freeport to lure super-rich

LUXEMBOURG, Sept 17 (Reuters) – Private banking hub
Luxembourg sought to lure more wealthy investors on Wednesday by
opening a high-security centre designed to look like a jewel
box, where collectors can store and trade valuables without
paying customs or sales tax.

Studded with stones and surrounded by walls and barbed wire,
the Luxembourg Freeport has four bullion chambers guarded with
50cm-thick metal doors, and four other chilled rooms designed to
hold 700,000 bottles of fine wine, said staff.

Sep 15, 2014

Heineken’s snub to SAB revives beer deal speculation

LONDON/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – SABMiller’s (SAB.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) rejected bid for smaller brewer Heineken (HEIN.AS: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) has revived talk about deals that could reshape the global beer industry in coming months.

Dutch company Heineken said at the weekend that it had been approached by SABMiller about a takeover, but that it had rebuffed the approach because its controlling shareholder intended to keep it independent.

Sep 15, 2014

Four generations on, Heineken family won’t loosen grip

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Four generations and 150 years on from the founding father of Heineken (HEIN.AS: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the Dutch brewing family shows no signs of wanting to relinquish control.

Begun in 1864 by Gerard Adriaan Heineken with the purchase of a brewery in Amsterdam, the company now has more than 165 plants in over 70 countries and is the world’s third-largest beer maker – yet his great-granddaughter Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken is still wedded to the firm.

Sep 11, 2014

Zinc smelter Nyrstar launches rights issue at heavy discount

BRUSSELS, Sept 11 (Reuters) – Belgium’s Nyrstar
launched a rights issue on Thursday, offering new shares at a
half-price discount, part of a 600 million euro ($774 million)
capital raising to fund investment and reduce its heavy debt
load.

The world’s largest zinc smelter, which also mines zinc,
said in a statement that it would seek to raise 251.6 million
euros through the issue of new shares at 1.48 euros, doubling
its number of shares in the process.

    • About Phil

      "I am responsible for Reuters news out of Belgium and Luxembourg, which has led to many long nights outside parliament in Brussels awaiting news of fraught coalition talks and state bailouts of Belgian banks. I have previously worked in London, Amsterdam, where my work included consumer electronics group Philips and the Lockerbie trial, and Berlin, where I covered the Hamburg trials of suspected September 11 conspirators."
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