Germanwings tragedy requires industry response

March 27, 2015

The crash has drawn attention to less evident aspects of flight safety – possible risks posed by crew rather than passengers. That raises questions about procedures at parent Lufthansa and all airlines. But safety is an iterative process that innovates for unforeseen situations.

India’s boardroom diversity drive has weird result

March 27, 2015

Companies have met demands they dilute male dominance by installing wives and stepmothers as directors. Some women now sit on as many seven boards. Indian corporate governance needs improving and gender diversity can boost financial returns. But mandating change isn’t the answer.

Buffett-3G juggernaut can keep on truckin’

March 26, 2015

Kraft Heinz is the third time the Sage of Omaha and the trio behind AB InBev have joined forces, after swoops on the ketchup maker and Tim Hortons. The partners’ patience, financial firepower and industry experience give them big advantages. Bigger deals may lie down the road.

Hermes shares look too glossy

March 25, 2015

The French group weathered luxury market headwinds well in 2014 and will pay a 530 mln euro special dividend. Rivals Kering and LVMH were hit harder but are recovering. That makes the silk tie-maker’s luxury valuation of 32 times forward earnings more difficult to justify.

Deutsche Bank’s long round trip

March 25, 2015

The German bank spent two decades expanding massively into the capital markets business. Along the way, it lost touch with its original mission of serving German businesses and their owners, without finding a viable new one. The crisis has spurred a return to traditional values.

Google’s CFO search should have it feeling lucky

March 24, 2015

There’s a dearth of executives with the financial, tech and government experience needed to help run a $400 bln company. Even fewer women fit the bill. Silicon Valley and Wall Street just can’t find enough Ruth Porats fast enough. The challenge is to create more like her.

Tronchetti and China pitch Pirelli price cleverly

March 23, 2015

China National Chemical Corporation, aligned with Chairman Marco Tronchetti Provera, wants to buy and delist Pirelli. The 15 euros a share offer isn’t generous, but the market price is only slightly higher and the bidders aren’t forced buyers. Holdouts may not get much more.

Wall Street owners finally get breakup bona fides

March 19, 2015

The SEC is allowing BofA shareholders to vote on whether to spin off Merrill Lynch. The watchdog previously muzzled similar requests at JPMorgan and elsewhere. Banks won’t like the scrutiny, but it’s a worthwhile debate to air publicly, as they’re running the numbers internally.

Inditex shares no longer a bargain

March 18, 2015

The Zara owner’s stock has risen more than 20 percent this year. The weakening euro is an advantage over rival H&M. The Spanish recovery and the group’s nimble business model justify a premium valuation. But at more than 30 times earnings, the good news is already in the shares.

Rob Cox: If only GE had an activist who cared

By Rob Cox
March 17, 2015

The problem with Jeff Immelt’s conglomerate isn’t inertia, bad managers or crummy assets. GE faces a harder nut to crack: Investors don’t seem to give a damn. As Microsoft’s experience before Satya Nadella suggests, the perception of a stock as dead money is hard to shake off.