* British Prime Minister Theresa May will ask the EU to agree on a 2021 deadline to complete the final Brexit agreement ahead of parliament's scheduled vote on the deal next week, The Times of London reported. British lawmakers are set to begin debating on the deal this week, The Wall Street Journal noted.
* European finance ministers will select ECB Chief Economist Peter Praet's successor at a Feb. 11 meeting, Reuters reported. Irish central bank Governor Philip Lane has reportedly been floated by eurozone officials as a frontrunner for the role.
UK AND IRELAND
* Rothesay Life PLC is considering acquiring Swiss Re AG's U.K. closed life book consolidator, ReAssure Ltd., for £3.5 billion, Sky News reported. The move would get in the way of a plan to list ReAssure on the stock market.
* TSB Banking Group PLC has missed a Dec. 25, 2018 deadline to publish a report detailing the run-up to the previous failure of its IT systems, The Times of London reported.
* Former Barclays PLC CEO John Varley and three other executives of the British lender are set to face a trial today over deals with Qatari investors during the financial crisis, Reuters noted. Barclays, meanwhile, recruited 100 investment bankers in Europe as part of efforts to boost its presence in the region ahead of Brexit, insiders told Financial News.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* UBS Group AG is in preliminary discussions with Christian Meissner, former head of corporate and investment banking at Bank of America Corp., to bring him on as a potential successor to group CEO Sergio Ermotti, insiders told Bloomberg News. The talks reportedly focused on Meissner joining UBS in a senior position so that he could potentially eventually become CEO. UBS Chairman Axel Weber told Bloomberg TV that the bank is at a very early stage of planning for Ermotti's replacement.
* An audit found that Deutsche Bank AG purportedly allowed clients to participate in a so-called German cum-ex tax scheme that involved other global banks and cost Germany €5.6 billion in tax rebates that should not have been paid, Reuters reported. The review is one of five internal audits that the German lender commissioned to look into the matter.
* Cerberus Capital Management and Centerbridge Partners are again the leading bidders for a stake in Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale after merger talks between the state lender and Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen Girozentrale fell through, Handelsblatt reported. Apollo Global Management LLC also remains a potential investor.
* Responding to criticism from German financial watchdog BaFin, Allianz Group has set out to clearly define cyberrisks in commercial and industrial insurance whose coverage is not explicitly included or excluded in traditional products, Börsen-Zeitung reported. Chris Fischer Hirs, CEO of Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty, said establishing clarity on the issue was of utmost importance for the company.
FRANCE AND BENELUX
* Natixis Investment Managers is seeking potential acquisitions or ventures in China in a bid to tap into the country's large pool of savings, the Financial Times reported, citing CEO Jean Raby.
* The Belgian central bank has warned some small banks that they are not doing enough to prepare themselves for a no-deal Brexit, De Tijd reported.
* Belgian state-owned bank Belfius Banque SA may start selling shares in April, De Tijd reported, citing Deputy Prime Minister Kris Peeters as telling Belgian broadcaster VRT.
* Securcash BV, the Dutch money transporter that is on the brink of collapse amid a sharp decline in cash transactions, has been granted a deferment of payment by a Dutch court on Friday, Het Financieele Dagblad reported. The decision came a day after the same court declined a bankruptcy filing by SecurCash, arguing it still had enough cash to survive.
SPAIN AND PORTUGAL
* Banco Santander SA, CaixaBank SA and Bankia SA have lodged a lawsuit before the Supreme Court against the Spanish state for the €1.3 billion they contributed to facilitate the closure of the Castor submarine gas storage facility, and which the government promised to repay within 30 years plus damages, El Mundo wrote.
* The administration at Portugal's Caixa Económica Montepio Geral caixa económica bancária SA has approved a bylaw that would allow the board of directors at the savings bank to implement capital increases of up to €242 million without seeking prior approval from the general assembly, Jornal de Negócios reported.
* Portuguese insurer Fidelidade - Companhia de Seguros SA is set to take control of Peru's La Positiva group this week as its takeover bid nears completion, Expresso reported. Fidelidade is seeking to control 51% of the Peruvian company.
ITALY AND GREECE
* The ECB placed Banca Carige SpA in special administration to ensure the governability of the bank and the choice of former chairman Pietro Modiano and former CEO Fabio Innocenzi as two of the special administrators ensures management continuity, Ignazio Angeloni, member of the Supervisory Board of the ECB told Il Sole 24 Ore, noting that shareholders have the last word on an eventual merger and that the three-month mandate of the bank's administrators is extendable.
* Italian professor Gianluca Brancadoro has been appointed chair of the surveillance committee the ECB established as part of Banca Carige's temporary administration.
* It would be difficult to change the interest rate applied on the subordinated bond launched by Banca Carige to which the Interbank Deposit Protection Fund subscribed, Salvatore Maccarone, chairman of the fund, told Milano Finanza. Carige is exploring ways on how it could use the €320 million to raise capital.
* Credito Fondiario SpA is looking for acquisition opportunities in the nonperforming loan recovery platform sector after the deal that it just sealed with Banco BPM SpA, and will start considering an eventual IPO this year or 2020 at the latest, depending on market conditions, Director General Jacopo De Francisco told Il Sole 24 Ore.
* Norwegian stock market operator Oslo Børs VPS Holding ASA invited new bidders to participate in a tender process to acquire the company after raising questions about Euronext NV's 6.24 billion Norwegian kroner offer.
* Danske Bank A/S is set to begin today talks with investors over potentially selling them nonpreferred senior bonds as part of plans to issue up to 40 billion Danish kroner of such securities this year, Bloomberg News reported, citing Christoffer Mollenbach, the lender's head of treasury.
* Denmark-based digital payments firm Nets A/S completed the acquisition of Polish online payment service providers Dotpay/eCard after obtaining all relevant regulatory approvals.
* Norgesgruppen has established a "mini-bank" within the Norwegian grocery retailing and wholesaling group, Dagens Næringsliv reported. A new company called Norgesgruppen Finans Holding will take over all functions connected to the group's in-store and corporate card services as well as credit lines provided to merchants. NFH, which will have an initial operating capital of 3 billion kroner, has already obtained a licence from Norway's Financial Supervisory Authority to operate as a finance and payment services company.
* Hungary's OTP Bank Nyrt. increased the capital of its Bulgarian subsidiary DSK Bank by 1.17 billion Bulgarian leva, having subscribed for all 117,349,800 new DSK Bank shares, SEENews said. The capital hike is aimed at ensuring capital adequacy of the unit after the acquisition of Societe Generale Expressbank AD from Société Générale SA.
* The National Bank of Romania's control over monetary policy will be limited following the Romanian government's introduction of a tax on banking assets in December 2018, Reuters reported.
* Euroins Romania AD acquired a 19.98% stake in Bulgarian real estate investment company Futures Capital Ad-Sofia for the total of 2.1 million Bulgarian leva, SEENews said. Following the transaction, the stake held in Futures Capital by its owner FL Capital dropped to 80.02% from almost 100%.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: China to cut banks' reserve requirement ratio; India merges 3 banks
Middle East & Africa: Iran moves to save battered currency; Ghana concludes banking sector cleanup
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Sheryl Obejera, Ed Meza, Danielle Rossingh, Gerard O'Dwyer, Beata Fojcik, Yael Schrage, Stephanie Salti, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to this report.
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