E A Good News Day Except For The Gherkin

The iconic 10-year-old Gherkin building in the City of London has filed for receivership because its construction loans were denominated in Swiss francs. A German equity fund cannot pay its share of the interest and triggered the bankruptcy. The Swissie has risen by 64% against sterling since the loans were made, according to Bloomberg. And rents are payable in pounds sterling even by Swiss tenants. The Gherkin got its name because it looks like a pickle.

Rather than buying another football team, one of Putin's oligarch buddies should buy the 30 St. Mary Axe office building which houses the UK HQ of Swiss Re. The last time a major City of London site filed for bankruptcy it was Canary Wharf which recovered brilliantly.

More from Britain, Finland, Mexico, Colombia, Israel, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Denmark, Cyprus, and Belgium. Mostly good news closed the week.

*Nokia completed sale of its handset manufacturing operations to Microsoft for which it will receive a marginally higher sum than announced, euros 5.44 bn (over $7.5 bn). The Chennai plant in India and another in South Korea are not being transfered because of disputes over taxes. NOK will operate the Chennai factory as a contractor to MSFT. Rumor has it that the chief of NOK's largest remaining business, its Nokia Solutions and Networks, which sells exchanges to telcos, will head the firm now. He is Indian-born Rajeev Suri.

*Also in Finland, Sampo Oy, the financial conglomerate, says if someone bids euros 12-14 bn, it will sell its property & casualty insurance arm. It also has intersts in Nordea BankTopdanmark insurance, and Sampo life Iinsurance. CEO Karl Tardigh told a newspaper that SAXPY "is ready to sell any of its businesses if the price is right." He also said he has no ambitions to invest outside the Nordic region (Scandinavia plus Finland). Our former reporter who wrote up SAXPF remarks: "My kind of capitalists! How many US managements would say 'everything we own is for sale if the price is right' and work themselves out of a job?"

*Pure Technologies, our Canadian micro-cap water and sewage pipeline and bridge inspection systems firm, won a multi-year C$11 mn contract from the York regional waterworks which covers 9 municipalities in Ontario, Canada. PPEHF.

*GlaxoSmithKline got approvals from the European Union CHMP (Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use) for its mekinist drug against metastatic melanoma today. Among other GSK cancer drugs it is due to be sold to Novartis over the next year.

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