U.S. pandemic aid program saved 51.1 million jobs, but wealthy and connected also got loans By Reuters



© Reuters. The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York

By Michelle Price, David Lawder and Lawrence Delevingne

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Some 51.1 million jobs were protected by a high-profile pandemic aid program, the Trump administration said on Monday as it revealed how a firehose of $521.4 billion in taxpayer cash washed across the landscape of America’s small businesses.

But the data underlined that in addition to mom-and-pop shops, the funds went to several well-heeled and politically connected companies, some of which got between $5 million and $10 million. Those include firms which lobby in Washington such as Wiley Rein LLP and APCO Worldwide, as well as law firms Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, which has represented President Donald Trump, and Boies Schiller Flexner LLP.

Sidwell Friends School, an exclusive private school which educated former President Barack Obama’s daughters, took out a loan for between $5 million and $10 million, as did Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn, which – with tuition exceeding $50,000 per year – is attended by the children of hedge fund managers and celebrities.

Some investment firms, such as those that run hedge funds for wealthy clients, also received checks. That included Advent Capital Management LLC, a New York-based debt investor with $9 billion in assets; Metacapital Management LP, a New York-based fixed income investor with more than $1 billion in assets; and Semper Capital Management LP, which invests nearly $4 billion in mortgage-backed securities.

None of those companies or schools immediately responded to a request for comment.

The colossal data set released by the Trump administration after some initial resistance, gives Americans their first full look at who got cash from the first-come-first-served program that has been dogged by technology, paperwork and fairness issues.

Senior administration officials at the U.S. Treasury Department and Small Business Administration (SBA), which jointly administered the Paycheck Protection Program, hailed it as a “wild success,” supporting about 84% of all small business employees.

To date, the SBA has released broad distribution figures for states, industries and the largest lenders. But the new data paints a much more detailed picture of which local communities and sub-sectors received support and whether it helped save jobs.

The Treasury and SBA released data for more than 660,000 loans of $150,000 or more, including recipient name, address, lender, business type, jobs supported, and some demographic information. That accounts for roughly 73% of the dollars granted, but only 14% of the 4.9 million loans, according to a summary of data the agencies released on Monday.

While the data does not say exactly how much money each borrower received, borrowers are placed in one of five bands: $150,000-350,000; $350,000-1 million; $1-2 million; $2-5 million; and $5-10 million. More than 4,800 loans were issued in the top band, while the overall average loan size was $107,000, the data shows. The Treasury released aggregate data on loans below $150,000 but did not name the borrowers.

Despite some eyebrow-raising recipients, the funds reached a wide swath of businesses – more than $67 billion for the healthcare and social assistance sector, $64 billion-plus for construction businesses, $54 billion for manufacturing and, at the smaller end, more than $7 billion for religious organizations, the data showed.

LINGERING QUESTIONS

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had initially refused to name any recipients, saying it could expose borrowers’ proprietary business information, particularly if they are sole proprietors and independent contractors. Under pressure from lawmakers, he agreed to shine a light on large borrowers.

Launched in April, the unprecedented program allows small businesses hurt by the pandemic to apply for a forgivable government-backed loan from a lender.

More than 5,000 U.S. lenders participated in the program, with JPMorgan (NYSE:) – the country’s largest bank by assets – accounting for $29 billion in loans. JPMorgan, Bank of America (NYSE:), Truist Bank, PNC Bank and Wells Fargo (NYSE:) originated 17% of total PPP loans, according to the data.

In the scramble to distribute funds, the program was beset by technology glitches, documentation snags and revelations that some lenders prioritized their most profitable clients, leading to some affluent companies receiving funds while less well-heeled borrowers missed out.

There have been lingering questions over whether the most needy benefited, which are only likely to be compounded by Monday’s new data.

Roughly $30 billion worth of loans have been returned or canceled, a senior administration official said. Those include loans taken by large or publicly listed companies which attracted fierce criticism for breaching the spirit of the rules, as well as duplicate loans issued to borrowers that applied with more than one lender or companies that decided they did not want or need the loan after all.

The data shows loans that have been approved by the SBA, but does not provide information on those which have been forgiven so far. Loans that appear to breach the letter or spirit of the rules may not be forgiven, and senior administration officials confirmed on Monday that they still intended to conduct a full review of loans of more than $2 million.

The Department of Justice has already brought charges against several PPP borrowers for fraudulently seeking loans, while the Securities and Exchange Commission has also begun scrutinizing companies whose public disclosures may have been inconsistent with the declaration of need borrowers were required to make when seeking the loans.



RBC commits C$150 million to diversity efforts By Reuters



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Royal Bank of Canada logo is seen outside of a branch in Ottawa

TORONTO (Reuters) – Royal Bank of Canada (TO:) is committing C$150 million ($111 million) to racial diversity initiatives and aims to increase the proportion of non-white executives to 30% from 20%, Canada’s biggest lender said on Monday.

The bank pledged C$100 million over five years in small business loans to Black entrepreneurs and said it would invest C$50 million until 2025 to create opportunities for 25,000 Black, Indigenous and people of color.

RBC is also committing to have BIPOC youth represent 40% of all summer opportunities by focusing on recruiting from Black and Indigenous groups, it said in a statement.

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China-backed AIIB to lend $500 million to two Turkish development banks By Reuters



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The headquarters of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is seen under construction in Beijing

BEIJING (Reuters) – The Beijing-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) said on Friday it would lend $500 million to two development banks in Turkey, to help ease liquidity issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two borrowers, Türkiye Kalkınma ve Yatırım Bankası AS (IS:) and Türkiye Sınai Kalkınma Bankası (IS:), plan to lend the borrowed funds to infrastructure companies, the bank said in a statement.

The loans are part of the AIIB’s $10 billion funding facility to help public and private sectors fight the outbreak.

(Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus: open https://tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.)

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Carlyle to buy 25% of Bharti Airtel’s data center arm for $235 million By Reuters



© Reuters.

BENGALURU (Reuters) – Carlyle will buy a 25% stake in Indian telecom firm Bharti Airtel Ltd’s data center arm for $235 million, the U.S. private equity group said on Wednesday, as it taps into the rapid growth of digital services in India.

The acquisition, by an affiliate of Carlyle, will give Airtel’s Nxtra Data Ltd an enterprise valuation of about $1.2 billion, the companies said in a statement. Airtel will hold the remaining 75% stake in Nxtra.

Nxtra, which is building multiple large data centres across India, will use the proceeds from the deal to scale up its infrastructure, the companies said.

India is seeing a surge in demand for data centres as more businesses choose cloud computing, and consumer demand for digital services such as smartphone entertainment continues to grow, they added.

Cloud and entertainment services represent the next revenue frontier for traditional telecom carriers like Airtel, as voice and data rates in India remain among the cheapest in the world.

Airtel’s local rival Jio, controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, has a cloud tie-up with Microsoft (NASDAQ:), under which it will build data centers hosted on Microsoft’s Azure cloud.

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Mexico loses 12 million jobs, workers in informal sector grow By Reuters



© Reuters. A recruiter of an assembly factory talks to job seekers as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues in Ciudad Juarez

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Twelve million Mexicans have lost their jobs since March as part of the economic fallout from the coronavirus, and the number of people working in the informal sector shot up significantly, official data showed on Tuesday.

The economic participation rate was 47.4% in May, national statistics agency INEGI said. The rate, which measures the percentage of the working-age population in the labor market, compares to 47.5% from the previous month and 60.2% in May 2019.

“The downward variation of 12 million economically active people compared to March was maintained, due to the temporary work suspension caused by the social distancing measures,” INEGI said.

The statistics agency stressed that workers are not being paid during the work suspension, nor are they guaranteed to get their jobs back once lockdown measures are lifted.

The new data comes from INEGI’s second “occupation and employment” telephone poll, a temporarily replacement for its regular face-to-face survey, which it suspended while social distancing measures are in place.

Mexico’s economy has been hammered by the pandemic, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicting the country’s gross domestic product could shrink by up to 10.5% this year, in what would be its biggest decline since the 1930s.

The number of Mexicans working in the informal sector has risen sharply to 22.6 million people, up 4.1 percentage points in May from April, INEGI said.

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Philly refinery sale expected to close next week for $27.5 million less By Reuters



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Sun sets on the Philadelphia Energy Solutions plant refinery in Philadelphia

By Laila Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A sale of the Philadelphia Energy Solutions oil refinery site to real estate developer Hilco is expected to close next week for $27.5 million less than planned, the bankrupt refiner said in a court filing.

Hilco Redevelopment Partners won an auction in January to buy the 1,300-acre (526-hectare) south Philadelphia refinery with plans to transform it into a mixed-use industrial park. It agreed to pay $252 million for the site.

The Chicago-based developers, citing economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic and higher-than-expected environmental costs tied to cleaning up PES land, asked to amend the agreement and delay the sale earlier this month, the filing said.

PES agreed to lower the price contingent partly on Hilco finalizing the deal by June 26. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware must sign off on the amended sale agreement.

The refiner shut its 335,000 barrel-per-day refinery, the largest and oldest on the East Coast, and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last summer after a fire at one of its fuel processing units badly damaged the plant and leaked toxic chemicals into the air.

More than 1,000 workers were laid off, including 640 United Steelworkers members. Executives of the company, which had just emerged from a separate bankruptcy at the time of the June 21 blaze, have received millions of dollars in bonuses since the shutdown.

Union workers, who were let go without access to extended health benefits typically given to laid-off employees, will receive several thousand dollars apiece in transition pay after the sale is finalized, according to the original agreement.

It’s not clear whether that amount will be affected by the amended sale agreement.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

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Germany earmarks $563 million to boost training By Reuters



© Reuters.

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany plans to make 500 million euros ($563 million) available to firms to prevent a collapse in company training and apprenticeships due to the coronavirus crisis, a document seen by Reuters on Sunday showed.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has already agreed two stimulus packages totaling 880 billion euros to mitigate the impact of a lockdown to contain the pandemic as Europe’s biggest economy braces for its worst recession since World War Two.

“We must prevent the COVID-19 crisis from turning into a crisis for the professional future of young people and for securing skilled workers,” said an outline of the plan, due to be approved by Merkel’s cabinet on Wednesday.

The program includes a training bonus of up to 3,000 euros for small and mid-sized companies that have been hit hard by the crisis. Aid will also be available to firms that avoid putting apprentices on a short-time work scheme or if they take on trainees from insolvent firms.

 

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Mexico sheds 344,500 formal jobs in May to push coronavirus losses above 1 million By Reuters



© Reuters. People walk past a building undergoing construction in Mexico City

By Sharay Angulo and Alberto Fajardo

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s economy shed 344,526 formal jobs in May because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, pushing the number of lost jobs in the last three months above 1 million even as the pace of layoffs slowed down.

Widespread confinement measures in place since late March have ravaged Mexico’s economy, second largest in Latin America. Economists predicted it would suffer its biggest recession in decades.

In April, the economy shed 555,247 jobs and 130,593 in March, among employees registered with the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS).

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has sought to play down the severity of the economic hit and previously said fewer than a million formal jobs would be lost to the pandemic.

But just three months into the health crisis in Mexico and that threshold has already been passed with losses from March to May totalling 1.03 million.

Those figures don’t include the informal sector, which represents 56% of all jobs in Mexico.

The government had planned an unwinding from anti-coronavirus measures and broad economic reopening to start from June 1, but surging deaths and infections have kept nearly the entire country in the highest red phase of contagion alert, dampening expectations for major changes.

That spells bad news for jobs, especially for the 31 million Mexicans working in the informal sector.

“The crisis exacerbates inequity and the critical employment conditions for those who have the least,” said economist Jose Luis de la Cruz.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

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Japan’s Fujifilm to spend $928 million to double capacity of Danish drug facility


FILE PHOTO: Fujifilm’s company logo (top) is seen at its exhibition hall nearby the headquarters of Fujifilm Holdings Corp in Tokyo, Japan June 12, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

(This June 10 story corrects second paragraph to say facility makes antibody drugs, not viral vaccines)

TOKYO (Reuters) – Fujifilm Holdings Corp (4901.T) will spend $928 million to double capacity at a drug manufacturing facility in Denmark, which it has pledged to use in producing COVID-19 treatments, as the Japanese company steps up its pivot towards healthcare.

The investment in Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies will expand production lines for bulk drug substances and antibody drugs, Fujifilm announced on Tuesday. It bought the facility in Hillerod, Denmark, in August from Biogen Inc (BIIB.O) for about $890 million.

The investment expands Fujifilm’s presence as a global contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO), which supplies other companies in the pharma industry. Fujifilm started to diversify from cameras and office equipment and into healthcare more than a decade ago.

Fujifilm previously announced that the Denmark site would offer future manufacturing capacity to the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator to speed-up the response to the global pandemic.

It is an initiative launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and two other large charities, aimed at accelerating drug development and identifying a promising COVID-19 therapeutic candidate based on efficacy and safety data demonstrated in clinical trials. [nL1N2B24YT]

Fujifilm’s pharma arm is testing its own anti-flu drug Avigan as a treatment for COVID-19. [nL4N2DK00K]

The company aims to achieve 100 billion yen ($928.68 million) in sales in its bio-CDMO business by the fiscal year ending March 2022.

Fujifilm shares rose 0.7% in Tokyo versus a 0.2% gain in the broader market.

Reporting by Rocky Swift; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman



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Lloyds Bank fined $81 million for mortgage arrears failures By Reuters



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A woman looks at her phone as she walks past a branch of Lloyds bank in London, Britain

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority said on Thursday it has fined Lloyds Bank (L:) 64 million pounds ($81.26 million) for failures in handling mortgage arrears.

Lloyds and its Bank of Scotland and The Mortgage Business units have estimated that they will have paid approximately 300 million pounds in redress, and the redress programme is nearly complete, the FCA said in a statement.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.