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Etihad Denies Reports to Buy Stake in AirFrance-KLM

Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad Airways denied it was in talks to take a stake in struggling Franco-Dutch airline Air France-KLM, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

"Etihad Airways denies the rumours according to which it would be in talks to enter the capital of Air France-KLM," a spokesman said.

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Europe Promises 'Speedy' Response to Crisis

Top European finance ministers vowed Tuesday to respond "speedily" to the continent's debt crisis as Spain pleaded for help for its struggling banking system so as to avoid a full and humbling bailout.

Eurozone member Cyprus also warned that there was a serious possibility it may need EU aid to save its banking system, which is heavily exposed to twice bailed-out Greece.

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Heat on ECB to Act as Eurozone Crisis Deepens

The European Central Bank is coming under increasing pressure to come to the rescue once again as the Eurozone debt crisis deepens, with analysts suggesting it could cut interest rates soon.

The ECB's governing council usually convenes on the first Thursday of every month for its regular policy-setting session but it is meeting in the bank's Eurotower headquarters on Wednesday owing to a public holiday.

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Moody's Downgrades Three Austrian Banks

Moody's on Wednesday cut its debt rating on Austria's three biggest banks -- Erste Bank, Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) and Bank Austria, an offshoot of Italy's UniCredit group.

The move was largely due to their exposure to the financial crisis in eastern Europe.

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GM Registers Record China Auto Sales for May

U.S. auto giant General Motors said Tuesday that its China sales for May hit a record 231,183 vehicles, despite a looming slowdown in the world's second largest economy.

GM's sales in the country surged 21.3 percent in May from the same month last year and rose 1.7 percent from April, it said in a statement.

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Etihad Takes Stake in Virgin Australia

Etihad Airways, one of the Gulf region's fast-growing carriers, said Tuesday it has bought a 3.96 percent equity stake in Virgin Australia.

In an announcement posted by Virgin on the Australian stock market, Etihad said it built its holding over recent weeks through on-market share purchases.

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German Finance Minister: Europe Needs Real Fiscal Union

Before Europe launches common bonds or so-called eurobonds, it must first establish a real fiscal union, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in a newspaper interview Tuesday.

"The government has always said that before we start talking about joint debt management, we need real fiscal union," Schaeuble told the business daily Handelsblatt.

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Qantas Forecasts Huge Fall in Full-Year Profit

Australian flag carrier Qantas warned Tuesday its full-year profit could dive by up to 90 percent on the back of steep losses in its international arm, sending its share price plunging to all-time lows.

The airline said it expected underlying profit before tax -- its preferred measure of financial performance -- to be Aus$50-100 million (US$49-98 million) in the year to June 30, compared with Aus$552 million in the previous year.

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Report: Lufthansa Wants to Sell Onboard Caterer

German airline Lufthansa is planning to sell its onboard catering unit LSG Sky Chefs as it focuses more and more on its core airline business, the Financial Times Deutschland reported on Monday.

After already selling off loss-making units, such as BMI, Lufthansa has now turned its sights on profitable subsidiaries such as LSG Sky Chefs and its IT services unit, with plans to divest the catering unit particularly far advanced, the newspaper said without revealing its sources.

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European Stocks Slump at Open

Europe's leading stock markets dropped sharply at the start of trading on Monday on growing concerns for the world economy illustrated by the Eurozone debt crisis, poor U.S. data and a slowdown in China.

With London closed for the jubilee bank holiday, the German blue-chip DAX stock index fell below the key psychological level of 6,000 points for the first time since January at the start of trade on Monday.

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