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Monday, 30 November 2015


A firefighter stands on the roof of a destroyed house, in Bento Rodrigues district after a dam, owned by Vale SA and BHP Billiton Ltd burst, in Mariana, Brazil, November 9, 2015.

BHP’s Brazil disaster points to dividend cut

30 November 2015

The Anglo-Australian miner needs to conserve cash to pay for the Samarco dam disaster in Brazil. Forecast earnings already fall short of the $6.5 billion it paid shareholders last year. BHP would be wise to get ahead of the curve and scrap its commitment to progressive payouts.

Delta Lloyd waves white flag on insurer capital

30 November 2015

The Dutch insurer is raising capital equivalent to over half its market value to prepare for new Solvency II rules. But it’s also ditching its own solvency model for a tougher version supplied by regulators. If peers follow suit, insurer capital would be much more simple.

Toshiba Corp President and Chief Executive Officer Hisao Tanaka attends a news conference on panel to examine accounting issues in Tokyo May 15, 2015.

Toshiba's overdue nuclear illumination is welcome

30 November 2015

The scandal-hit Japanese group has been too fuzzy about the performance of important businesses. Now it has finally laid out the finances and outlook for various key units. Improved disclosure, plus growth potential in nuclear power, should help restore some market confidence.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during his meeting with mukhtars at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey, November 26, 2015.

Turkey has more friends in politics than markets

27 November 2015

Europe’s recent rapprochement with Ankara is born of necessity. Less porous shared borders will help control the flow of migrants into the West. But investors have a choice. Their ardour will hinge on how much reform latitude President Tayyip Erdogan gives his new government.

A Saudi money exchanger counts Saudi riyals in Riyadh.

Dollar peg remains Saudi Arabia’s best option

27 November 2015

Saudi Arabia is under pressure to break its currency peg with the dollar. The inflexible riyal means Saudi can’t devalue to offset weak oil prices. But given Riyadh’s huge forex reserves, the risks of moving to a floating currency still outweigh the rewards.

The headquarters of Spanish bank BBVA are seen in Madrid October 31, 2012.

BBVA’s Abengoa swerve cements risk-oversight kudos

27 November 2015

Unlike its domestic peers, the Spanish bank didn’t lend to the teetering engineering group. Nor did it invest in Bankia’s failed IPO or Spain’s bad bank, Sareb. Luck may be an element, but BBVA’s risk controls and an independent-minded chairman are probably helping, too. 

The Barclays headquarters building is seen in the Canary Wharf business district of east London.

Barclays money-laundering rap is oddly reassuring

26 November 2015

The UK bank has been fined for cutting corners on a 1.9 bln stg deal for politically sensitive clients in 2011. The temptation for banks to bend the rules for VIPs is just as strong today. But more vigilant regulators are chipping away at the idea that this is business as usual.

Men work on the roof of a luxury apartment building in Berlin

Deutsche Wohnen takes hostile bid defence too far

30 November 2015

The German landlord has complicated a 14 bln euros approach by rival Vonovia by buying apartments worth 1.2 bln euros and taking on debt. True, it shows that Wohnen can gear its balance sheet up under its own steam, but there are less risky ways to make the case for independence.

Customers line up outside a Bank of East Asia's (BEA) branch in Hong Kong September 24, 2008. Hong Kong lender BEA denied on Wednesday local rumours questioning its stability, which had drawn hundreds of people to at least one of its branches and drove it

Bank of East Asia feels weight of its China drive

30 November 2015

The Hong Kong lender has the second biggest branch network of any foreign bank in the People’s Republic. But fast expansion has come at a cost: BEA underperforms rivals. With activist Elliott still building its stake, it’s a good time to focus on improving profitability.

A tower belonging to the Abengoa solar plant

Abengoa has creditors over a barrel

27 November 2015

The beleaguered Spanish engineering group might survive if lenders take haircuts of two-thirds. In liquidation, losses could mushroom due to the group’s spiralling working capital needs, complex business and slow Spanish courts. Abengoa needs a speedy resolution and more cash. 

A woman carries shopping bags on Oxford Street in London, December 13, 2011.

Britain’s “Black Friday” better left on the shelf

27 November 2015

The Thanksgiving shopping orgy, recently adopted by the UK, is unhelpful for all concerned. Consumer credit is spiralling, confidence falling and retail margins are under pressure. If shoppers and retailers take a rational view of low prices, the festival will snuff itself out.

Employees work on an assembly line of Hero Motocorp during a media tour to the newly opened plant in Neemrana, in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan, October 20, 2014. REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

Indian sale makes Bain Capital rare buyout hero

27 November 2015

The U.S. firm has sold its remaining $116 mln stake in Hero MotoCorp four years after investing in the world’s largest motorbike maker. In rupee terms, Bain doubled its money in four years. As private equity pours into India, it’s a reminder that getting money out remains harder.


ECB has bright idea for targeted bank-bashing

26 November 2015

Imposing a staggered penalty on banks that hoard cash is one of many ways to ease policy being discussed by the European Central Bank. Such levies have drawbacks. But at least a split-level charge would encourage the biggest hoarders to boost cross-border lending.



A passerby walks in front of posters for the forthcoming COP21 World Climate Summit in Paris, France, November 2, 2015.

Climate will supplant shale as top energy disruptor

27 November 2015

The world’s politicians may be about to get serious on cutting greenhouse gases at the U.N. Paris confab. And shareholders are pushing Big Oil to disclose global warming risks. The consequences for the industry will be longer lasting than the recent oil production revolution.

Edward Chancellor

Review: Another "Minsky moment" may be on the way

27 November 2015

Hyman Minsky didn’t just predict the global financial crisis 10 years in advance, a new book on him argues. The maverick economist also explained how the cure – bailouts by the Federal Reserve and other central banks - would drive the financial system to the brink yet again.


Hugo Dixon

Dixon: EU-Turkey deal is historic, if it sticks

30 November 2015

The EU has dangled the prospect that Turkey can join the bloc, offered to liberalise visas and promised the government a chunk of cash in return for Ankara agreeing to stem the flow of migrants to Europe. The snag is that not all of the pact looks deliverable.