In brief: Versace stake for sale
Blackstone, CCMP Capital and Investcorp are in a shortlist to buy a minority stake in Italian fashion house Versace, sources close to the matter have said. The family-owned luxury goods group is selling a stake of around 20pc ahead of a possible stock market listing in three to five years, with the aim of raising funds to open more shops internationally and develop its clothing and accessories ranges.
The two US private equity firms and Bahrain-based Investcorp are the remaining contenders. An earlier list of potential bidders had also included Italy's state-backed fund and private equity companies Ardian, Clessidra and Permira, sources said.
US PRODUCTION UP
US industrial production recorded its largest increase in a year in November as mining and utilities output rebounded strongly, in the latest suggestion the economy is gaining steam as the year winds down. Industrial output increased 1.1pc last month as auto production swung into higher gear, the Federal Reserve said.
It was the largest rise since November last year. Production at the nation's mines, factories and power plants had edged up 0.1pc in October. Economists polled by Reuters had expected industrial production to rise 0.5pc last month.
RBS CUTS CAPITAL TIE
Royal Bank of Scotland has cut itself free from an £8bn (€9.4bn) capital tie to the British government following recent moves to strengthen its capital base.
The ending of the Contingent Capital Facility marks another step along the road to getting the Ulster Bank parent in shape for the government to eventually start selling off its 82pc stake, which it acquired after pumping £45.5bn into the bank during the 2008 financial crisis.
SPAIN STILL STRUGGLING
Spanish banks will struggle with profitability over the coming years as lending shrinks further and housing prices keep falling, the European Commission and the IMF said.
A €41.3bn European aid programme for Spain's weakest lenders, which were crippled in the aftermath of a 2008 property crash, is set to expire on January 23.
The EC said the banks' solvency was now adequate after Spain used the funds to plug capital holes last year. However, the commission warned that the economy was still weighing on the sector, even though the country is slowly pulling out of recession.