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Jan 9, 2013

ArcelorMittal to issue $3.5 bln stock, notes to cut debt

BRUSSELS, Jan 9 (Reuters) – ArcelorMittal, the
world’s largest steelmaker, will issue $3.5 billion of shares
and convertible notes to sharply reduce a heavy debt level that
has led to a cut in its credit rating to junk status.

The company said on Wednesday the issue, the exact make-up
of which has yet to be determined, would help to reduce its net
debt to about $17 billion by the end of June, from an expected
$22 billion at the end of 2012.

Dec 21, 2012

Dexia investors OK state bailout to avoid liquidation

BRUSSELS, Dec 21 (Reuters) – Dexia shareholders
accepted on Friday the near-total nationalisation of their group
and voted against a liquidation that could have caused a
Lehman-style shockwave across Europe.

France and Belgium are set to own almost 96 percent of
Dexia, with the free float slipping to 1.9 percent from 30.4
percent, after the two nations agreed to keep the lender afloat
with 5.5 billion euros ($7.3 billion) of fresh funds.

Dec 21, 2012

Depardieu joins long list of French tax exiles

PARIS/BRUSSELS, Dec 21 (Reuters) – A tax exile row between
millionaire “Asterix” star Gerard Depardieu and the Socialist
government of President Francois Hollande hides a much older
problem with French taxes.

To be sure, Hollande’s headline-grabbing 75 percent income
tax band may well be prompting well-off French to consider lives
as exiles in Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland or Britain.

Dec 20, 2012

Insight: Cider, the golden apple of brewers’ eyes

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Almost a thousand years since the Norman conquest made cider popular in Britain, brewers are launching cider invasions of their own, with the United States the main battlefield.

Cider, or hard cider as Americans call it, promises growth in developed markets at a time when consumers are drinking less beer but are willing to pay more for premium products, such as independent “craft beer”, flavored lagers or indeed cider.

Dec 20, 2012

Cider, the golden apple of brewers’ eyes

BRUSSELS, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Almost a thousand years since
the Norman conquest made cider popular in Britain, brewers are
launching cider invasions of their own, with the United States
the main battlefield.

Cider, or hard cider as Americans call it, promises growth
in developed markets at a time when consumers are drinking less
beer but are willing to pay more for premium products, such as
independent “craft beer”, flavoured lagers or indeed cider.

Dec 10, 2012

KBC to raise $1.6 bln in share sale as repays state aid

BRUSSELS, Dec 10 (Reuters) – Belgian banking and insurance
group KBC is selling 1.25 billion euros ($1.6 billion)
of new shares to shore up its capital position as it pays back
state aid to Belgium.

KBC, which received 7 billion euros from Belgium and the
region of Flanders during the 2008-2009 financial crisis, said
on Monday it would pay the 3 billion euros outstanding to
Belgium along with a 450 million euro premium on Dec. 17.

Nov 30, 2012

Ex-Fortis chiefs charged with market manipulation

BRUSSELS, Nov 30 (Reuters) – Two former chief executives of
Fortis have been charged in Belgium with misleading financial
markets before the group’s collapse.

The Belgian-Dutch bank and insurance group was rescued and
carved up in 2008 at the height of the financial crisis.

Nov 22, 2012

EU, Canada attempt final push towards free trade deal

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union and Canada will attempt a final push on Thursday towards a free trade agreement that could swell trade between the two by more than 20 percent.

EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast meet in Brussels to resolve the knotty issues that officials have so far failed to unravel since negotiations began in May 2009. Their talks could extend into Friday.

Nov 20, 2012

Belgium sets new savings for 2013 budget deficit cut

BRUSSELS, Nov 20 (Reuters) – Belgium’s government agreed
extra savings on Tuesday to rein in its budget deficit in 2013
and take measures including a cap on wage hikes to reverse its
loss of competitiveness.

After five weeks of talks, including a final 16 hour push,
Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo’s six-party coalition announced 3.4
billion euros ($4.4 billion) of tax hikes and savings to cut the
deficit to 2.15 percent of GDP from 2.8 percent this year.

Nov 15, 2012

Top euro policymakers at odds over Greek debt fix

HELSINKI/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union’s top economic official sought to rule out any write-off of Greece’s debt to governments on Thursday after a European central banker said for the first time that a “haircut” on part of it was probable.

A row between euro zone governments and the International Monetary Fund over how to make Greece’s giant debt mountain manageable is holding up the release of 31 billion euros ($39.5 billion) in emergency loans needed to keep Athens afloat.

    • 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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