Breakingviews

China’s record waste deal is far from rubbish

February 5, 2016

State-backed Beijing Enterprises is buying Germany’s Energy from Waste for $1.6 bln. Unlike some of China’s splashier foreign deals, this looks decently priced and makes obvious strategic sense. China badly needs more clean-technology expertise. Expect more trashy buys.

ChemChina can reap rewards of new stance on GMOs

February 4, 2016

Buying Syngenta will thaw China’s hostility towards genetically modified organisms. Nationalist fears about food safety will ring hollow once the seeds are in Chinese hands. The buyer will be able to push into a huge new market – but so, in time, will rivals like Monsanto.

ChemChina megadeal will need FrankenFinancing

February 3, 2016

A near-$44 bln takeover of Swiss agribusiness Syngenta would be one of the biggest deals ever struck by an unlisted buyer. That calls for a monstrous funding package. The target could probably shoulder $16 bln or so of new debt. Big Chinese banks will also need to step up.

China index: Xi’s annus horribilis

February 1, 2016

Breakingviews’ Tea Leaf Index may have ended the year on a modest high, but a look back over 2015 shows China’s economy moving slowly. Sagging steel production, exports and rail freight contributed to the lowest 12-month average since President Xi Jinping first took office.

Swiss 1MDB probe holds fat tail risks for Malaysia

February 1, 2016

Switzerland’s attorney general has indicated $4 bln was misappropriated from state firms, undermining Prime Minister Najib Razak’s efforts to shrug off the mess involving the sovereign fund. Though he can manage the fallout at home, foreign investigations are a lingering threat.

Bank of Japan’s new currency salvo could backfire

January 29, 2016

The central bank has responded to turmoil in global financial markets by cutting interest rates below zero. The shock move weakens the yen and opens a new front in Japan’s battle against deflation. But it also risks adding to the international tumult that prompted the BOJ to act.

Aussie port and rail battle defies market gravity

January 28, 2016

Takeover interest has kept Asciano’s stock afloat in falling markets. Now that local rival Qube has formalised its $6.3 bln breakup bid, original suitor Brookfield is under pressure to respond or lose the backing of Asciano’s board. The recent selloff raises the stakes further.

Toyota can make handy tune-up with Daihatsu

January 27, 2016

The world’s top carmaker could buy out minority shareholders in its $5 bln subsidiary. That would eliminate inefficiency while boosting its small-car credentials. It’s also a good use of Toyota stock. A bolder follow-up would be to take control of affiliate Subaru.

Sweeter Cairn bid is Vedanta’s least bad option

January 25, 2016

Anil Agarwal’s Vedanta Resources is edging towards loan covenant limits. Bondholders are losing faith in the mining tycoon’s ability to tap buried cash and repay $8 bln of debt. The stress may force Agarwal to sweeten a deal to merge subsidiaries and simplify the group structure.

Foxconn is better off without Sharp

January 22, 2016

The Taiwanese giant wants to gatecrash a state-backed rescue with its own $5 bln-plus offer. The Japanese group’s display technology would make Foxconn even more indispensable to Apple. But fixing this basket case will be hard. And Sharp’s other businesses are a poor fit.