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Nov 21, 2014

Ablynx says blood disorder drug estimates conservative

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Belgian biotech company Ablynx believes its sales estimate for its drug for the rare blood disease TTP is conservative, after tests showed it had potential to treat more than just acute cases.

Ablynx recently raised its estimate for peak annual sales for the TTP candidate drug caplacizumab to 300-400 million euros ($373-497 million), from up to 250 million euros previously.

Nov 21, 2014

UK concedes defeat in bid to block EU bank bonus limit

BRUSSELS/LONDON (Reuters) – Britain suffered an embarrassing defeat in its attempt to block the European Union’s new limits on bank bonuses on Thursday, withdrawing its legal challenge after an adviser to the bloc’s top court made clear it was unlikely to succeed.

The EU law aims to curb the kind of risk-taking that led to the 2007 to 2009 financial crisis by limiting bonuses awarded from next year to a sum no more than a banker’s fixed pay, or twice that level with shareholder approval.

Nov 20, 2014

EU should keep limit on bank bonus, adviser says in blow to UK

BRUSSELS/LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s relations with the European Union took another knock on Thursday when its legal challenge to a limit on bankers’ bonuses was rejected by an adviser to the bloc’s top court.

The EU law aims to curb the kind of risk-taking that led to the financial crisis by limiting bonuses awarded from 2015 to a sum no more than a banker’s fixed pay, or twice that level with shareholder approval.

Nov 17, 2014

HSBC charged in Belgium over money laundering, tax fraud

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A Belgian judge has charged the Swiss private banking arm of HSBC Holdings Plc with tax fraud and money laundering, accusing the British-based bank of offering diamond dealers and other wealthy clients ways of hiding cash and evading tax.

Prosecutors said on Monday the charges related to business carried out by a Swiss unit of HSBC for wealth management clients, many of them from the large diamond trade in the northern Belgian city of Antwerp.

Nov 7, 2014

ArcelorMittal says buoyant steel offsetting weak mining

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – ArcelorMittal SA, the world’s largest steelmaker, reported a higher than expected profit in the third quarter and said improvements in its U.S. and European steel businesses are more than offsetting weak mining operations.

The company, which makes about 6 percent of the world’s steel and is one of the world’s largest iron ore producers, cut its estimate for global steel consumption because of a slowdown in China and heavy declines in Brazil and former Soviet states.

Oct 31, 2014

AB InBev profit capped by weak U.S., Brazil recession

BRUSSELS, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Anheuser-Busch InBev,
the world’s largest beer maker, increased earnings by less than
expected in the third quarter as U.S. consumers drank less,
Brazil fell into recession and Mexican cost savings dropped
sharply.

The maker of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona has coped
with past sales falls by raising prices and selling more premium
beers, but the strategy had limited impact in the United States
and Brazil in the three months to Sept. 30, depressing earnings
in its two largest markets. Overall volumes dropped 2.7 percent.

Oct 30, 2014

Ukraine, Russia, EU agree to natural gas supply deal

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Ukraine, Russia and the European Union signed a deal on Thursday that will see Moscow resume vital supplies of gas to its ex-Soviet neighbor over the winter in return for payments funded in part by Kiev’s Western creditors.

After several failed rounds of talks in recent weeks as conflict rumbles on despite a ceasefire with pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, the accord also eases concerns that a new “gas war” could disrupt winter supplies if energy to EU states, notably through pipelines shut down across Ukraine since June.

Oct 30, 2014

Trafigura could lift Nyrstar stake to tighten grip on zinc

LONDON/BRUSSELS, Oct 30 (Reuters) – Commodity trading giant
Trafigura could raise its stake in Belgium’s Nyrstar,
strengthening its grip on the world’s largest zinc producer as
tighter supplies and mine closures are forecast to boost prices
for the metal.

Industry sources say Trafigura, the world’s second-largest
metals trader, could as much as double its stake of just over 10
percent — a $120 million holding amassed this year which
already makes it the company’s top investor.

Oct 26, 2014

No new action needed at 2 Belgian banks failing ECB test

BRUSSELS, Oct 26 (Reuters) – Belgium’s central bank said on
Sunday that neither of the country’s two banks that failed the
Europe-wide health check would need to take extra measures
to boost their capital.

The European Central Bank found that Franco-Belgian lender
Dexia had a capital shortfall of 339.4 million euros
($430 million) at the end of 2013 and that AXA Bank Europe
was 200.2 million euros short.

Oct 24, 2014

World War One bombs a part of life in Belgium even 100 years on

YPRES Belgium (Reuters) – Pondfarm in western Belgium is used to digging up an unusual crop.

“It’s a fairly poor harvest,” said Stijn Butaye, 26, as he looked at a haul of 28 World War One shells unearthed with potatoes and beet in the last two weeks and awaiting collection by Belgium’s bomb disposal squad.

    • 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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