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Sunday, 21 September 2014


A Chinese national flag is seen in front of a GlaxoSmithKline office building in Shanghai, July 12, 2013.

GSK graft case raises risk for executives in China

19 September 2014

The drugmaker is paying a 297 mln stg fine for bribing non-government officials in China. That sets a floor for penalties in future probes. But the suspended sentences for five executives also send a warning that pain in such cases falls on individuals just as much as companies.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks to members of the media in front of 10 Downing Street in London September 19, 2014.

Federal UK is easier to promise than to deliver

19 September 2014

After the Scottish rejection of independence, the UK prime minister pledged a speedy devolution of more powers. Giving regions greater control of taxes and spending sounds sensible. But the politics and practicalities of knotty issues like devolving borrowing powers will be daunting.


Scots' no to independence still leaves UK in limbo

19 September 2014

The roughly 55:45 vote against secession in a landmark referendum reduces many risks: financial instability, a UK exit from Europe and a sharp fall in trade. But the bribe to No-voters of more devolved powers creates other dangers – including a weakening of the union.

Models present creations during New York Fashion Week in New York, September 10, 2013.

Zalando would find air rarefied in upper range

18 September 2014

Europe’s No. 1 online fashion retailer is aiming for an ambitious valuation for its Frankfurt listing. Anything in the upper half of its 18 to 22.50 euro range looks rich. Zalando has yet to prove it can deliver profit as well as growth. Then there are the governance risks.

A SAP logo is seen at its offices in the CityWest complex, Dublin September 5, 2013. Picture taken September 5, 2013.

SAP's biggest takeover is hard to Concur with

19 September 2014

The German software giant is buying the U.S. travel specialist for $7.36 bln. That’s SAP’s fifth sizeable “cloud” deal in three years. Concur brings blue-chip clients. But at 9.5 times historic sales, SAP is overpaying. And it now has a big backlog of acquisitions to integrate.

The European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi speaks during the monthly news conference in Frankfurt, February 9, 2012.

ECB can live with a pea-shooting bazooka

18 September 2014

Banks took up 83 bln euros in the first round of the ECB’s four-year liquidity injection. That’s less than hoped. Markets are sanguine, hoping sovereign debt purchases are now more likely. The limp start will at least pressure the ECB to deliver on its pledge to buy private assets.

An employee monitors the high-throughput screening of substances at the Pharma Research Center of Bayer HealthCare in Wuppertal February 24, 2014.

Bayer’s plastic float sows seeds for one more sale

18 September 2014

Investors added $5 bln to the German blue-chip’s market cap after it unveiled plans to float its capital-intensive MaterialScience unit. Once again, markets are rewarding sharper focus. A logical follow-up would be to quit agrochemicals, leaving a pure healthcare business.