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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.

Sep 4, 2014

EU’s Juncker reaches target for woman commissioners

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Two nominations on Thursday for seats on the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, should allow its president, Jean-Claude Juncker, to appoint as many women as in the outgoing team, meeting a demand from legislators.

Juncker’s office confirmed that Belgium and Romania had put forward Marianne Thyssen and Corina Cretu respectively for their countries’ places on the 28-strong Commission, bringing the total of women nominated to nine, the same number as in the present team headed by outgoing president, Jose Manuel Barroso.

Sep 4, 2014

Belgium’s EU Commission nominee puts Juncker close to meeting female target

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Belgium named conservative politician Marianne Thyssen as its candidate to sit on the EU’s executive on Thursday, putting Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on course to satisfy legislators’ demand that women be well represented on his team.

Belgium was the last of the EU’s 28 EU members to put forward its choice for commissioner, a result of continuing uncertainty on a new coalition government.

Aug 7, 2014

KBC profit falls less than expected even after Hungary hit

BRUSSELS, Aug 7 (Reuters) – Belgian financial group KBC’s
profit fell by less than expected in the second quarter
even after taking a provision related to a new law on retail
loans in Hungary, which KBC hopes to challenge.

KBC, which still owes 2 billion euros ($2.68 billion) of the
7 billion euros state aid received in the financial crisis, said
on Thursday its results were overshadowed by a 231 million euro
provision for Hungary.

Aug 6, 2014

Ageas plans share buy-back after beating profit forecasts

BRUSSELS, Aug 6 (Reuters) – Belgian insurance company Ageas
beat second-quarter profit expectations due to a sharp
rise in income from its life business and announced a new 250
million euro ($334.1 million) share buy-back.

Ageas, the successor to bailed out and broken up
Belgian-Dutch group Fortis, said on Wednesday that higher
capital gains and increased investment inflows, especially in
China and Luxembourg, had boosted earnings of its life insurance
business.

Aug 5, 2014

Ageas urged to halt dividends until Fortis legal claims settled

BRUSSELS, Aug 5 (Reuters) – A lawyer for shareholders
seeking compensation over the 2008 bailout and break-up of
Dutch-Belgian lender Fortis urged the succeeding company, Ageas
, on Tuesday to suspend dividend payments until legal
claims are settled.

FortisEffect, which represents former investors, won a legal
battle last week when a Dutch court ruled that Fortis had misled
shareholders after a first rescue in September 2008 and should
pay them compensation.

Aug 1, 2014

ArcelorMittal cuts outlook as ore prices hit mining

BRUSSELS, Aug 1 (Reuters) – ArcelorMittal, the
world’s largest steelmaker, cut its forecast for earnings this
year after lower than anticipated iron ore prices ate into the
profit of its mining business.

The company, which makes about 6 percent of world steel and
is a broad gauge for the health of global manufacturing, said it
now expected core profit to be above $7 billion, having
previously given a figure of about $8 billion for the full year.

    • 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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