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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.

Jul 31, 2014

World Cup drinking in Brazil gives beer company AB InBev big boost

BRUSSELS, July 31 (Reuters) – The maker of Budweiser, Stella
Artois and Corona beers experienced a sharp surge in sales in
Brazil during the World Cup with the month-long contest leading
to consumption of an extra 140 million litres or 2 million
barrels.

Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer,
said on Thursday this helped it to earn more than expected in
the second quarter, along with strength in China and Mexico and
an exceptional gain.

Jul 20, 2014

Is Germany still the champion?

BRUSSELS, July 20 (Reuters) – A week on from its World Cup
soccer victory, Germany may return to centre stage, though this
time not with fan celebrations but concerns over the health of
Europe’s economic motor.

Investors saw dark clouds building on Friday after a
Malaysian airlines jet was shot down at the Ukraine-Russia
border and Israel launched a ground offensive in Gaza. That
depressed shares and other risk assets, but the events are yet
to disturb economic forecasts.

Jul 15, 2014

Bid launched to stop EU/U.S. free trade deal

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A broad coalition of European environmental, consumer rights and anti-globalization groups launched a bid on Tuesday to stop the European Union from negotiating a free trade deal with the United States.

The alliance of around 150 groups, ranging from Greenpeace Luxembourg to Germany’s left-wing Die Linke party, say the proposed EU/U.S. trade deal is being driven by big business at the expense of European citizens.

Jun 29, 2014

Jobs, cars seen cementing U.S. spring rebound

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The United States can firmly consign its weather-beaten start to the year to history this week with June vehicle sales and jobs data expected to show a strong end to the second quarter.

The U.S. economy contracted at a 2.9 percent annual rate, the sharpest decline in five years, in the Jan-March period, figures showed last Wednesday.

    • 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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