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Tuesday, 31 May 2016


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.

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.

A sign is seen at an AstraZeneca site in Macclesfield, central England May 19, 2014.

AstraZeneca glitch cements M&A discount

27 May 2016

A blockbuster drug the UK group bought in a $2.7 bln deal has been delayed. The production glitch could mean just a few months holdup, but highlights why Astra trades at a lower valuation than peers. Buying and selling businesses is a risky way to manage a looming patent cliff.

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.

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.

Logos are pictured outside a Lidl retail shop in Geneva, Switzerland May 2, 2016.

German discounters open new front in trolley wars

27 May 2016

Lidl is investing 6.5 billion euros to soup up its stores, half of that outside Germany; peer Aldi is upgrading too. That will advance their attack on the middle market. If they can do it without raising prices, big rivals like UK grocers Tesco and Sainsbury will be in trouble.