The death of the French oil group’s chairman and CEO in a plane crash deprives the company and the industry of a flamboyant leader. It poses a challenge for succession planning at Total at a critical time. A solution could be to separate the jobs of corporate figurehead and CEO.
That’s why recently resurgent volatility in currency markets won’t restore investment banks’ revenue. Blame a secular shift in FX, and the rise of electronic trading.
Property investment is slowing sharply, dragging GDP and commodity prices with it. So far, China’s planners have mostly stood by. Letting market forces operate could bring financial disruption. But unwinding the massive oversupply of hastily-built housing has to start somewhere.
The drumbeat for innovation banged on till the watch and payments technology finally appeared. In the meantime, it was iPhones that spurred better than expected revenue of $42 bln, accounting for 56 pct of the total. Apple’s one-trick pony will do until the herd picks up speed.
New rules on federal guarantees clarify lending criteria. They also cut required down payments to 3 percent. That invites another wave of underwater borrowers. Sure, home ownership is down from its peak. But focusing on that, rather than prudence, helped inflate the last bubble.
The German sports group is reportedly set to receive a $2.2 bln offer for the unit. Having overpaid for Reebok in 2006, Adidas has since turned it round and may be loath to sell. But Reebok has little strategic use. Fiduciary duty demands a cold appraisal of its financial value.
The central bank says a malfunction has led to backlogs in settling large payments, of the sort made by home-movers. The BoE is hard on retail banks for such failings. Its systems are meant to be “fault tolerant.” Even if the fallout is limited, an investigation shouldn’t be.
The Italian bank’s shares have tanked on fears it will fail this week’s EU stress tests, even though it has a sizeable buffer against losses. Second-guessing the upcoming results is a difficult task. But investors may also wonder where the new capital could come from.
The city’s business leaders have outsize influence over local politics. Relaxing their grip on special corporate votes would be a symbolic gesture to pro-democracy activists – and may help preserve the stability that has served tycoons, and their investors, so well for so long.
Turning tail on the $54 bln Shire deal exposes the U.S. drugmaker’s folly chasing a lower tax bill. Investors facing a $1.6 bln break fee should push for other AbbVie flips: boss Richard Gonzalez’s compensation and the company’s governance in the form of an independent chairman.
Most polls suggest Republicans will take control of Congress in November’s election. Their possible slim majority won’t mean much for lawmaking. But chairing banking committees and the confirmation process could reduce some of the pressure on the financial sector.
The Spanish group plans a 1 billion euro capital hike to pay down debt. That will massively dilute Esther Koplowitz’s majority stake after she refinances her own 1 billion euro debt. FCC can attract new investors, provided the price is right and markets agree.
Investors zapped $13 bln off Big Blue’s value after the firm ditched its 2015 goal of making $20 a share and had to pay to get rid of its chip business. That’s not the worst of it. What’s worrying is that CEO Ginni Rometty is sticking with the same plan that has sent sales lower.