Margin Rule Delay, Biomet, African Bank: Compliance

Banks won a delay in the introduction of minimum global rules on the collateral needed to back trades in the $691 trillion market for swaps and other over-the-counter derivatives.

International regulators said the date for beginning to phase in the measures would be September 2016, compared with previous plans for a December 2015 start. The rules were approved in 2013 to ensure lenders have sufficient safeguards in place when a trading partner defaults.

“The full phase-in schedule has been adjusted to reflect this nine-month delay,” the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and the International Organization of Securities Commissions said in a joint statement. Regulators will continue to monitor progress of the participants.

The Basel and Iosco rules will require both parties to a trade to post initial as well as variation margin.

Banks had called for a delay, warning that a lack of certainty over how nations would implement the rules meant they couldn’t complete their own technical work on schedule.

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Compliance Action

Biomet Says Regulators Extend Monitoring Amid Zimmer Takeover

Biomet Inc., the orthopedic medical-device maker accused in 2012 of violating a U.S. foreign bribery law, said regulators will keep monitoring its operations for another year.

Biomet, which is being acquired by Zimmer Holdings Inc., was accused of running afoul of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The company, which has 50 locations around the world, in 2012 entered a deferred-prosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice and a consent to final judgment with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The following year, Biomet disclosed improprieties involving its operations in Brazil and Mexico. Those investigations are ongoing, Biomet said in a filing Tuesday.

The Justice Department may bring further action against Biomet relating to its conduct in those nations, which could result in prosecution of the company, employees or executives, the Warsaw, Indiana-based company said. Biomet is continuing discussions with the SEC and the Justice Department, according to the filing.

Zimmer agreed last year to buy Biomet from private-equity owners for $13.4 billion. The deal is expected to close by the end of the first quarter or soon thereafter, said Monica Kendrick, a Zimmer spokeswoman. Bill Kolter, a Biomet spokesman, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

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African Bank Debt Holders End Bank-Law Objections

African Bank Investments Ltd.’s senior debt holders dropped their objections to legislative changes intended to assist with the failed lender’s restructuring and safeguard about 5,000 jobs, a South African government official said.

The Banks Amendment Bill, introduced after African Bank’s August collapse, seeks to give administrators of failed lenders the right to sell bank assets and liabilities and change capital structures without consulting investors. Some money managers initially opposed the changes, arguing they could result in disparate treatment of creditors and grant too much power to the finance minister and administrators.

African Bank collapsed after saying it needed to raise at least 8.5 billion rand ($686 million) to survive.

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Courts/Administrative Proceedings

Dole Loses EU Top Court Fight Over Banana Cartel Fines

Dole Food lost a final bid at the European Union’s highest court to overturn a 45.6 million-euro fine ($48.7 million) levied for price-fixing in the banana market.

The EU Court of Justice ruled on Dole’s appeal in Luxembourg Thursday.

Separately, Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. won a reduction March 14 in a European Union cartel fine to 8.82 million euros ($11.4 million).

The European Commission, the EU’s antitrust regulator, in October 2008 fined the two companies for colluding on prices between 2000 and 2002 in eight EU countries, including Austria, Germany and the Netherlands. Banana exports rose to the highest in at least a decade in 2011, making it the most-traded fruit, according to the World Trade Organization.

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EU Said to Ask Google’s Foes to Share Evidence in Antitrust Case

Google Inc.’s antitrust foes were asked to allow the search-engine giant to see secret evidence they gave to European Union regulators, two people familiar with the case said.

The EU request that complaining companies declassify some of their documents may be a sign that officials are preparing to escalate their four-year-long antitrust investigation, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because details of the probe aren’t public.

The EU stepped up its probe into the world’s biggest search engine in December when it sought fresh information from people involved in Internet maps, travel and other services. EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said last week that she hasn’t yet decided how to take the investigation forward.

A statement of objections lays out the antitrust case against a company, giving it a chance to see evidence and respond before regulators decide whether to fine it as much as 10 percent of yearly revenue. It doesn’t rule out a potential settlement.

Ricardo Cardoso, a spokesman for the commission in Brussels, declined to comment, as did Al Verney, a spokesman for Google.

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