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Italian firms ‘could get German state loans’

Small business owners in Italy could soon be eligible for German government loans, as part of a plan by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble to help support southern European economies hurt by the eurozone crisis.

Italian firms 'could get German state loans'
Wolfgang Schäuble (file photo).

If Schäuble's plan goes ahead, a credit scheme already planned for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Spain would be extended to cover Portugal and Italy, he was quoted as saying Sunday.

Under the Spain programme, which Schäuble recently presented to parliament, Germany's KfW public investment bank will offer €800 million  (about $1 billion) in loans to businesses via Spain's ICO bank. 

"I have told my Portuguese colleagues already: you can have all this too," Schäuble was quoted as telling weekly business magazine Wirtschaftswoche.

The report said Germany would extend the same offer to Italy.

Schäuble is set to meet the Italian and French finance and labour ministers in Rome on Friday.

The report said launching the programme for Greece would initially be more difficult because it lacked a similar development bank, although a partner institution could be set up.

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ABB

Swedish engineering giant ABB to quit Russia over Ukraine

Swedish-Swiss engineering giant ABB said on Thursday it will quit Russia as a result of the war in Ukraine and the related international sanctions against Moscow.

Swedish engineering giant ABB to quit Russia over Ukraine

Russia accounts for only one or two percent of ABB’s overall annual turnover and the decision to pull out will have an estimated financial impact in the second quarter of around $57 million, the group calculated.

“ABB has decided to exit the Russian market due to the ongoing war in Ukraine and impact of related international sanctions,” the group said in a statement.

Russia accounts for only one or two percent of ABB’s overall annual sales and the decision to pull out will have an estimated financial impact in the second quarter of around $57 million, the group calculated.

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A large number of major western companies have pulled out of Russia since Moscow invaded its pro-Western neighbour on February 24.

“When the war broke out, ABB stopped taking new orders in Russia,” the group said.

At the same time, it said it continued to fulfill “a small number of existing contractual obligations with local customers, in compliance with applicable sanctions.”

Most of ABB’s dedicated Russian workforce has been on leave since March “and the company will do its best to support them as it realigns its operations in a controlled manner,” it said.

ABB has about 750 people in Russia and two production sites in the country located in the Moscow region and Lipetsk, as well as several service centres.

Separately, the group said that its net profit fell by 50 percent to $379 million in the second quarter, largely as a result of one-off charges, but also the cost of withdrawing from Russia.

Sales, on the other hand, grew by six percent to $7.2 billion in the period from April to June, ABB said.

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