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Thursday, 03 September 2015

BREAKINGVIEWS

Martin Winterkorn (L) talks with Hans Dieter Poetsch

Volkswagen gets new chairman decision half-right

03 September 2015

Naming CFO Hans Dieter Poetsch as its new chair should give the German carmaker a better balance between cost discipline and engineering perfection. But a strong external candidate would have made more sense. As it is, Poetsch will start off needing to prove his independence.

Roulette chips are locked down at Caesars in Atlantic City, New Jersey July 5, 2006.

Troubled U.S. firms get the Argentina treatment

03 September 2015

A court says they can’t force holdout creditors to accept less security against loans. A similar ruling led to a standoff between Buenos Aires and hedge fund Elliott. Unlike countries, companies can declare bankruptcy as a fallback. But restructuring is getting tougher for both.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde takes part in a euro zone EU leaders' summit on the situation in Greece, in Brussels, Belgium, July 11, 2015.

IMF misses chance to help global policymakers

03 September 2015

The lender’s warning on global economic risks lacks what policymakers need: insight into what’s happening to China and why market ructions have been so severe. G20 finance officials heading for Turkey need meatier, more challenging views than the IMF seems prepared to give.

A worker adjusts the valve of an oil pipe as smoke rises from burning excess gas (in the background) in Zubair oilfield in Basra, 420 km (260 miles) southeast of Baghdad May 23, 2011.

Russia has levers to cope with oil squeeze

03 September 2015

A low oil price will dent growth and public revenues, and Russia needs rebalancing. Yet President Vladimir Putin can hold the line by drawing on reserves and even inflating regional deficits, while the rouble’s fall helps competitiveness. That could enable a fragile equilibrium.

Soldiers of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China march in formation past the Tiananmen Gate and the giant portrait of Chinese late chairman Mao Zedong (C) as they gather ahead of a military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World Wa

Deepening economic ties belie China-Japan tension

03 September 2015

Seventy years after World War Two, relations between Asia’s two biggest economies are in poor shape – as Beijing’s huge military parade shows. But trade, investment and tourism tell a different story. Japan’s economic success increasingly depends on China’s, and vice versa.

David Bonderman, founding partner, TPG Capital in Beverly Hills, California April 27, 2010.

Buyout barons like the sound of a blank check

02 September 2015

David Bonderman’s TPG and Alec Gores’ eponymous firm are the latest to jump on the shell-company bandwagon. A cutthroat M&A scene and the success enjoyed by the likes of Martin Franklin have amplified the siren call. Not all acquisition nous is necessarily the same, however.

A woman walks with a Louis Vuitton shopping bag as she leaves a Louis Vuitton store in Paris

LVMH's bite out of Apple is digital coming-of-age

02 September 2015

The French luxury group has poached a top Apple music executive to head its online operations. It’s a significant move in a sector that has been wary of the net. It also cranks up the heat on the sector’s e-commerce leader Burberry and recently merged Yoox/Net-a-Porter. 

Natalie Massenet, founder and chairman of online fashion retailer Net-A-Porter

Yoox glee at Net-a-Porter exit may wear thin

03 September 2015

Shares in the upmarket online retailer popped 5 pct as Net’s founder cashed out of the merger agreed in March. Terms of the severance deal with Natalie Massenet confirm that Yoox bought its rival at a bargain price. But it is losing know-how at an important time.

Billionaire Guo Guangchang (L), Executive Director and Chairman of Fosun International, poses with Liang Xinjun, Executive Director, Vice Chairman and CEO, during the annual general meeting of the Chinese conglomerate in Hong Kong, China May 28, 2015.

Fosun global ambition clashes with market reality

03 September 2015

The Chinese conglomerate’s bid for private bank BHF Kleinwort Benson comes with alluring logic and a reasonable premium. That might not be enough. Weak markets in China, and an apparent belief that Fosun will offer more, are pulling in opposite and unhelpful directions.

An easyJet aircraft prepares to take off from Liverpool John Lennon Airport , northern England November 19, 2013.

Higher dividend is easyJet’s next destination

03 September 2015

The British no-frills carrier has upped its 2015 guidance significantly, sending shares up 6 pct. With earnings per share poised to rise by a fifth, it can easily afford topping up shareholder payouts. But future growth plans limit the scope of another 2013-like special dividend.

Oil and Gas

Why oil investors are so behind the curve

02 September 2015

Investors used to assume that the cost of pulling oil out of the ground was relatively static – or changed slowly. Reality is slipperier. Rethinking the way the “cost curve” works may help explain recent gyrations in oil and other commodity markets.

Volkswagen Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn

VW steers towards needed boardroom harmony

02 September 2015

Volkswagen is extending CEO Martin Winterkorn’s term to 2018, ruling him out as next chairman. This leaves room for an independent, external candidate to replace fallen patriarch Ferdinand Piech. VW’s flawed governance might then shift up a gear. 

A man walks past workers installing the new logo of Portuguese Novo Banco (New Bank) at their Lisbon office September 22, 2014. REUTERS/Hugo Correia

Novo Banco has issues - Chinese owner or not

02 September 2015

Insurer Anbang is no longer in line to acquire the bailed-out Portuguese bank. Yet given rival Chinese group Fosun remains in the race, Chineseness is unlikely to be the problem. Any buyer for Novo Banco needs to get comfortable with its uncertain capital and litigation bills. 

Videos

E-book

A Tamer Lion: Singapore at 50

The city-state defied all expectations during its first five decades. Now it faces fresh challenges. As celebrations fade, this collection of views examines Singapore’s prospects including the outlook for its workforce, property market, role as a finance hub, and water supply.

Columns

Rob Cox

Rob Cox: Wall Street's rave party feels the drop

03 September 2015

Robert Sillerman’s attempt to roll up the electronic dance music business is collapsing not long after UBS, Barclays and Jefferies helped his SFX Entertainment go public. Live Nation may once again turn out to be the buyer of a Sillerman creation, but this time will be different.

Hugo Dixon

Hugo Dixon: Greek election may reopen can of worms

31 August 2015

Given that no party is likely to emerge from next month’s vote with a majority, it may be hard to form a strong government that can implement the country’s new bailout deal. There’s even a risk that there will be yet more elections. That could tip Greece back into crisis.

Features

Edward Chancellor

Review: Ben Bernanke and a global monetary plague

28 August 2015

Ever since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Federal Reserve has engaged in financial experimentation that has delivered the weakest rebound on record while spreading deleterious effects around the globe that author Brendan Brown, in a forthcoming book, likens to a plague.