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Thursday, 05 May 2016


Sadiq Khan, Britain's Labour Party candidate for Mayor of London and his wife Saadiya pose for photographers after casting their votes for the London mayoral elections at a polling station in south London Britain May 5, 2016.

Who's London's next mayor? It doesn't matter

05 May 2016

Neither Sadiq Khan nor Zac Goldsmith, frontrunners for May 5’s vote, have the tools to fix London’s housing shortage. That’s a national issue. The question for businesses isn’t who runs the capital after Boris Johnson, but whether expansion elsewhere in the UK makes more sense.

A statue of colonial Dutch governor Jan van Riebeeck stands before the headquarters of Barclay's South African subsidiary Absa bank in Cape Town.

Barclays Africa sale starts clock on Diamond bid

05 May 2016

The UK bank has placed $878 mln of shares in its Africa arm at a tight discount of 6.5 pct, with South Africa’s state pension fund taking a tenth. Central bank opposition to private equity won’t stop a tilt by its former boss for the rest. Barclays can sell that in 90 days’ time.

Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser addresses a news conference before the company's annual shareholders meeting in Munich, southern Germany.

Stupid names can't hurt good companies

05 May 2016

Healthineers, Siemens’ new brand for its healthcare unit, is reminiscent of a hero in a 1950s science fiction comic. Users of its brain-scanners are unlikely to care. For investors the goofy name is, at the margin, a good thing: it shows a spin-off may have become more likely.

Sainsbury's Logo on employee uniform

British store wars get simpler but no less fierce

04 May 2016

Sainsbury is disclosing fees suppliers pay to get their goods on shelves – equivalent to half its operating profit. Such complex agreements are falling out of favour with frustrated shoppers. Ditching them should help increase sales but won’t do much to end an ongoing price war.

An employee holds a 500 euro banknote in the Money Service Austria company's headquarters in Vienna, Austria, March 3, 2016.

500-euro note passes into illogical limbo

05 May 2016

If the ECB really feared its highest-value bill were a tool for criminals, it would scrap the note altogether. If it saw a strong case for keeping it, it would print more. Instead, the central bank is merely suspending production from 2018. It’s a classic euro-compromise.

London Stock Exchange building

LSE investors look even more bearish on merger

04 May 2016

The UK exchange’s shares dived after U.S. rival ICE said it wouldn’t submit a bid. Investors weren’t giving an LSE-Deutsche merger much credit for potential revenue synergies as it was. Now, fear a deal could get blocked may be prevailing over value creation from cost savings.

Swiss bank Credit Suisse's CEO Tidjane Thiam marches in a parade to mark the start of spring in Zurich, Switzerland April 18, 2016.

Credit Suisse sheds problem assets but not stigma

04 May 2016

The Swiss bank has sold $1.2 billion of distressed credit to buyout group TPG, locking in an extra $100 mln of writedowns. High-yield prices are similar to what they were in October. Hence Credit Suisse hasn’t gained much financially for the dent in its credibility.