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Top five stories you may have missed

4 min. 05.11.2022
In case you missed them, The Luxembourg Times has selected the best stories of the week for you
Refugees - including from Kryvyi Rih, where ArcelorMittal has a huge factory - disembark from a train at the Lviv station in April
Refugees - including from Kryvyi Rih, where ArcelorMittal has a huge factory - disembark from a train at the Lviv station in April
Photo credit: Shutterstock

ArcelorMittal in Ukraine: mining, missiles and money  

Mauro Longobardo's office furniture rattled and the shockwave jolted his chest seconds after a Russian missile hit its target just 3 kilometres away.

Workers at ArcelorMittal's massive manufacturing and mining operation in Kryvyi Rih were quickly sent to patch the crucial hydroelectric dam the Russian invaders had been targeting, about 80 km from the bloody frontline, the Luxembourg-based steelmaker's top local executive said.

The war notwithstanding, the company continues limited production, keeps paying its 26,000 employees and helps the Kyiv government just about hold together after eight months of Russia's human and economic assault.  

Though the bombs are exploding more than 2,000 kilometres to the East of its Luxembourg headquarters, the war also has come to ArcelorMittal. The company's massive operation in Ukraine means it plays an important economic role as Russia plots to strangle the country's economy and force its surrender. 

Luxembourg losing race to attract staff, EU recruiters say

Luxembourg’s shine for EU workers is dimming, senior managers at two of the main institutions headquartered in the Grand Duchy have warned, with candidates turning down job offers because of surging housing costs.

The 27-nation bloc needs to provide incentives for staff coming to Luxembourg, where pay is the same as in Brussels, but the cost of living much higher, representatives from the European Court of Auditors (ECA) and the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) said last week.

The ECA had seen a “big number of rejections” when it recently tried to fill 20 positions, from candidates who had “gone through the procedure but finally decided not to accept the offer,” the budget watchdog's secretary general told members of the European Parliament last week.

“The disparity in purchasing power compared to Brussels means that we are finding it more and more difficult to recruit skilled staff to Luxembourg,” Zacharias Kolias told Parliament's budgetary control committee.

Luxembourg court backs control of fund behind NSO

Private equity firm Novalpina failed again to wrest back management control of the fund behind notorious spyware firm NSO from the consultancy appointed to replace it.

A Luxembourg district judge ruled on Friday that Novalpina's claims against consulting firm Berkeley Research Group "were unfounded", according to court documents provided to Luxembourg Times. The judge ordered Novalpina to "pay the defendants procedural damages of €7,500". 

The decision follows a June court decision that found Novalpina's demands to reclaim management of the €1 billion fund unfounded. 

Finance jobs shielded from recession risk, leaders say  

Good news for workers in big parts of Luxembourg's financial sector despite building recession gloom across the world economy – companies will be unlikely to make hoards of people redundant in the months ahead.

Luxembourg may be heading for recession, the country's statistics agency said last week. Data analysed in the coming months will show if the economy contracted during the July-to-September quarter as Russia's invasion of Ukraine caused swelling inflation.

The country experienced a 0.5% fall in output during the second quarter, Statec said. The bright spot was that the country's financial services sector grew by 2.4% between April and June, Statec said.

The sector, and especially the growing field of alternative investments, should be largely insulated from significant job losses even if other types of companies cut workers or close down, according to a range of industry insiders from private equity to fund services and a member of the European Central Bank's governing board.

The gaudy, vacant office confronting the Ducal Palace  

Facing the Grand Duke's palace and the seat of Luxembourg's parliament in the old fortress city's section most reminiscent of medieval times, a gaudy storefront so unlike its neighbours grabs the attention. 

The broad front window glows with a neon light shaped like an open mouth sticking out a tongue toward the palace. A sign featuring crossed swords hangs above the door in a continuing violation of city rules and, some say, good taste.

Alessio, who lives and work in Luxembourg, said he's walked past the building many times without knowing what it was.

"It looks like a tattoo shop, or a showroom for modern art," he said.

The sign declares the 16th century house as belonging to Creutz & Partners Global Asset Management, a wealth management firm based in northern Luxembourg near where the country's border meets Belgium and Germany. 

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