Alec Macfarlane is a columnist based with Breakingviews’ Asia team in Hong Kong. He was previously with the Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong, covering the Asian IPO market, and has also covered private equity for Dow Jones in London.
The U.S. private equity firm has earned poor returns in the region but it managed to exceed a $4.5 bln target for its new fund. New leadership in Australia and China provides some reassurance. Still, outsize success after relative failure is a telltale mark of a frothy market.
Mainland appetite for fried chicken helped Yum China turn a fourth-quarter profit and pushed same-store sales up 2 pct, beating forecasts. It's still expanding fast too. That suggests a resilient bet on Chinese consumers: even as budgets tighten, cheap eats stay on the menu.
An estimated $120 mln fee from SoftBank bolstered the broker’s earnings but failed to offset abysmal performance across wholesale, retail and asset management divisions. Job cuts and improved incentives are steps in the right direction, but thin padding against tough markets.