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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

BREAKINGVIEWS

A Golf VII car is pictured in a production line at the plant of German carmaker Volkswagen in Wolfsburg, May 20, 2016.

VW travels in two directions, both bad

31 May 2016

The stricken carmaker is making fewer vehicles than a year ago. Yet it hired more people in the first quarter. Investment and distribution costs grew too. Chief Matthias Mueller may be busy with a still-unresolved emissions scandal, but there’s little sign of needed cost-cutting.

The Bank of America building is shown in Los Angeles, California October 29, 2014.

JPMorgan Caz still iceberg of UK corporate broking

31 May 2016

Bank of America Merrill holds the most FTSE 100 mandates - the first time JPMorgan Cazenove has come second in 10 years. But a wider market view shows fewer shifts elsewhere. The glacial shifts of offering free advice to corporate clients are as British as awful summer weather.

Boeing

China's HNA buys frenemies at Virgin Australia

31 May 2016

The Chinese behemoth may be able to improve its foothold in a key market by buying 13 pct of its peer Down Under. Virgin is a struggling carrier, however, in need of a huge capital injection and it already has three other big airline investors. That caps HNA’s potential returns.

Brokers monitor stock prices while sitting in their booth during trading session at the Karachi Stock Exchange May 28, 2012. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

Pakistan deserves more investor love

31 May 2016

The country could return to the influential MSCI emerging market index. Pakistan’s stock market is the best performing in Asia this year and is still cheap. The economy is also not in bad shape. For investors who can stomach the political risks, Pakistan looks enticing.  

Noble Group logo

Noble CEO exit signals reduced ambitions

30 May 2016

Yusuf Alireza is leaving the embattled commodity trader after four years in charge. Though Noble has avoided an immediate liquidity crisis, investors still question its long-term viability. Flogging its U.S. energy arm will raise cash at the expense of further shrinkage.

The corporate logo of Bayer.

Bayer's Monsanto bid yields poor financial harvest

27 May 2016

The German chemicals group’s rejected $62 bln offer for the seed maker already appeared to violate one of its key principles: stick to projects whose returns beat the cost of capital. Upping the price to win over Monsanto would take heroic sales-growth assumptions to stack up.

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani

Qatar's debt bonanza stores up problems for future

27 May 2016

Too much of a good thing could be bad for the Gulf state. It has just raised a whopping $9 billion in the bond market thanks to investors’ hunger for yield. Loading up on debt will help Qatar cope with lower energy prices, but just dodges its biggest problem: lavish spending.

People walk past a cloth store in Madrid, Spain, May 26, 2016.

Spanish politicians leave demographic bomb ticking

31 May 2016

While economic activity has picked up, the Spanish population is ageing faster than the EU average. Consensus and long-term planning are needed to tackle the burden this will place on the welfare system and growth prospects. The current polarisation in politics stands in the way.

Britain Soccer Football - Arsenal v Aston Villa - Barclays Premier League - Emirates Stadium - 15/5/16 Mark Bunn scores an own goal and the fourth goal for Arsenal Reuters / Stefan Wermuth

China's sports deals hit the hogwash jackpot

31 May 2016

Mainland money is pouring into Western teams, rights, agents, and competitions. Bold M&A often comes with empty talk and hyperbole. The world of sport is not much better. Throw in the grand designs of China’s political leaders and you have a near-unbeatable trifecta of nonsense.

Wang Jianlin, the chairman of Dalian Wanda Group in Beijing, China March 21, 2016.

Wanda's $4.4 bln buyout bid is just good enough

30 May 2016

Wang Jianlin is offering his property firm’s Hong Kong investors a stingy 10 pct premium to the IPO price 17 months ago. The Chinese tycoon will pocket better returns if it relists on the mainland. Yet while minority investors have reason to hold out, doing so would be risky.

A worker of Globe Telecoms installs internet cables near electric posts in Manila March 9, 2012. Local telecom firms, facing a saturated market for mobile phones, are banking on growth in broadband and data services to fuel future growth, driven partly by

Philippine telco tie-up a blow to Asian upstarts

30 May 2016

The country’s mobile phone duopoly will jointly pay $1.5 bln for San Miguel’s telecom assets after the conglomerate’s effort to set up a new operator failed. From Thailand to India, new entrants are trying to take on big players. Access to capital and knowhow decides who wins.

Graduate student Giulia Agliardi, from Milan, Italy, uses a fluorescence microscope to study cancer cells in the Nanomedicine Lab at UCL's School of Pharmacy in London May 2, 2013.

Thermo Fisher's FEI deal holds up under microscope

27 May 2016

But that’s only if the healthcare M&A machine can boost sales at its $4.2 bln quarry. Reducing taxes and cutting costs at the maker of electron microscopes only gets Thermo partway to justifying the price tag. Thermo’s track record gives investors some comfort it can do this.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addresses reporters on the first official business day of the New Year during a news conference at his official residence in Tokyo, Japan, January 4, 2016. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

G7 pact offers minimal cover for Abenomics reset

27 May 2016

Shinzo Abe’s plan to revitalise Japan needs a boost. The PM didn’t get as much backing as he might have liked from hosting the club of rich nations. But he may just about be able to spin the summit statement as an endorsement of fiscal stimulus and a tax standstill.

Features

Jeffrey Goldfarb

Review: Craft-beer memoir goes down easy

27 May 2016

Jim Koch’s tale of brewing Samuel Adams is refreshingly candid about battles with Budweiser, a controversial IPO and other troubles. Unlike many stale business books, “Quench Your Own Thirst” reads like a pub chat. Only Koch’s pride in bad governance leaves a bitter aftertaste.

Gina Chon

Lockheed-Boeing rocket JV feels competitive heat

25 May 2016

Elon Musk’s SpaceX just broke the monopoly on military satellite launches enjoyed by the defense contractors’ alliance. Congress may help the pricey venture by allowing it to buy more sanctions-tainted Russian rocket engines. That’d be a strike against efficiency and innovation.

Columns

Rob Cox

Cox: The other European referendum to fret over

24 May 2016

While the world obsesses over Brexit, another perilous plebiscite looms in October. Italy’s leader has dangerously staked the future of his leadership over a constitutional reform vote. Its failure would present huge risks to Europe’s economy and global capital markets.