Alibaba delivery arm is a financial blind spot

October 2, 2015

The Chinese e-commerce group is a minority investor in the business that arranges delivery of billions of its packages. Yet Alibaba has spent over $6.3 bln on logistics-related deals in the past three years. Even if the investments make strategic sense, shareholders are in the dark.

New ANZ boss stuck in strategic mid-ocean

October 1, 2015

Mike Smith is leaving as CEO of the $55 bln Australian lender after eight years. Beefing up in Asia has proved less lucrative than he hoped. Yet a slowing home economy and tightening regulation mean successor Shayne Elliott may have to stay centered somewhere in between.

China criticism makes even Li Ka-shing defensive

September 30, 2015

The Hong Kong tycoon has rejected accusations that he is turning his back on the mainland. Yet the fact he felt the need to issue a defence shows the hostile terrain now facing business leaders in China. Shrill allegations of treachery will only make them less willing to invest.

Li Ka-shing’s power deal is at risk of a jolt

September 29, 2015

The tycoon’s Cheung Kong Infrastructure unit wants to buy cash-rich affiliate Power Assets for $11.6 bln in stock. Investors have the motive and the means to push for better terms. But they need to believe the rewards of a sweetened offer outweigh the risks of Li walking away.

Missing motorbikes point to Indonesian demand hole

June 19, 2015

A 36 percent slide in motorcycle sales in May shows just how fast falling commodity prices are eroding purchasing power. More worrying, however, is President Joko Widodo’s failure to offset the shortfall by boosting investment. A weakening currency is compounding the challenge.

AirAsia takes multi-stop route to capital-raising

June 18, 2015

Concerns over debt and accounting have hammered shares in Asia’s largest budget carrier. It says a rights issue isn’t needed and can recoup cash from overseas offshoots. But this requires investors to put fresh capital into the loss-making affiliates. That won’t be an easy sell.

How to tell if Japan’s shareholder love-in is real

June 15, 2015

Japan Inc. faces unprecedented pressure to get leaner, better-run, and more profitable. Real success means higher returns on equity. First comes a tough AGM season that could embarrass the likes of Sony and Sharp. Then expect more buybacks, stake sales, activism and M&A.

Return to China tough for American orphan stocks

June 12, 2015

Soaring home markets are prompting Chinese companies to delist from U.S. exchanges. The likes of social network Renren and data centre group 21Vianet may hope for higher valuations in China. But rigid rules make mainland listings harder. Only the unloved will attempt the journey.

Hardball Samsung move sets up chaebol reform test

June 11, 2015

Samsung C&T has sold a 6 pct stake to a friendly party to neuter opponents of its $10 bln merger with the South Korean conglomerate’s holding company. Official reaction to the underhand maneouvre will show whether the country really wants to rein in its large corporations.

MSCI lets fund managers ignore China a bit longer

June 10, 2015

The index compiler says China’s $10 trln stock markets aren’t quite ready for global benchmarks. That’s a relief for investors worried about inflated mainland valuations. But inclusion is only a matter of time. Being underweight will soon be a matter of choice, not inertia.