The corporate landscape has changed radically over the past 12 months. At the start of last year, stock markets were ebullient, corporate earnings were strong and credit spreads were at record lows. Banks were falling over themselves to offer loans to companies across the credit spectrum, while covenants were gradually becoming looser and looser.

The current environment couldn't be more different. The easy lending conditions that characterised much of this decade appear to be over. Spreads have

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