Aimee joined Breakingviews in 2017 and writes about European airlines, insurance and property companies. Based in London, she previously spent three years at The Sunday Times as banking correspondent. Prior to that, she was a senior reporter covering the bond market at IFR, a financial trade publication published by Thomson Reuters. She holds a degree in English and History from the National University of Ireland, Galway, and a diploma in journalism from the London School of Journalism.
Belgium’s KBC may flog most of its $12.3 bln of local assets to Bank of Ireland. NatWest just pulled the plug on Ulster Bank. Tough regulation, large incumbents and low rates played their part. The same factors will push other European lenders to retreat from far-flung markets.
Daniel Kretinsky doubled his stake in British grocer J Sainsbury to 10%, prompting talk of a takeover. The $7.5 bln chain has thrived during the pandemic, but a reopening economy will mean more competition and higher costs. A buyout would yield mediocre returns.
German diagnostic tester Synlab is planning to float with a mooted $7 bln valuation. A receding pandemic may mean its 38% revenue growth in 2020 isn’t repeated. But the price reflects that, and consumers may well continue to obsess about other aspects of their health.