Australian bank crisis-proofing takes toll on NAB

May 7, 2015

The lender is bracing for higher capital demands by raising $4.4 bln from investors. With valuations still high despite a slowing home market, rivals may follow. Reinforcing a healthy sector is prudent. For shareholders, though, the era of supercharged returns is ending.

California drought may find relief from Down Under

April 1, 2015

Governor Jerry Brown has ordered a 25 pct cut in water use. With reservoirs and snow caps low, it’s a wise, if belated, move. Now he needs a comprehensive plan for identifying new sources, reallocating existing ones and getting citizens to buy in. Melbourne offers a good model.

GE’s crumbs make for Australian buyout feast

March 16, 2015

The U.S. conglomerate is offloading its consumer lending arm down under in one of the country’s biggest private equity transactions. Yet the $6.3 billion deal shrinks GE Capital’s balance sheet by just over 1 percent. The group has far to go to reduce its dependence on finance.

Australia’s property market joins closed-door club

February 26, 2015

The government plans to charge fees to foreign buyers and enforce restrictions on sales of existing homes. After Hong Kong and Singapore, another hot real estate market is cooling to Chinese money. It adds to the political pressure on other countries to become less welcoming.

Japan Post pays $5.1bln for global expansion stamp

February 18, 2015

The giant postal operator has offered a 49 percent premium for Australia’s Toll Holdings, despite few obvious synergies. The acquisition delivers Japan Post an international strategy ahead of its upcoming IPO. More deals will follow as Asia’s logistics industry consolidates.

Australia underscores urgency of Asian rate cuts

February 3, 2015

The Reserve Bank’s quarter-point cut, which traders dismissed as a remote possibility just days ago, shows how vital monetary easing has become across the region. From Sydney to Singapore to Seoul, policymakers risk falling behind the curve and hurting investment and growth.

Glencore Rio takeover would be harder than Xstrata

October 7, 2014

Ivan Glasenberg’s miner-trader is stalking $90 billion iron giant Rio Tinto. Though there’s some logic to a deal, Glencore will be loath to pay much of a premium, and the clash of cultures would be extreme. Rio is also in a better position to resist than rival Xstrata in 2012.

Australia at sharp end of China outbound ambition

September 19, 2014

Growing ties to China are a source of anxiety but the lop-sided relationship is here to stay. As Chinese buyers widen their horizons from resources to property and education, Australians have a chance to show they’re pragmatic. Beijing could help too, with a touch of soft power.

BHP spin-off won’t appeal to commodity players

August 19, 2014

The mining giant plans to hive off some assets into a new company. The prices of nickel and aluminium, two of its key products, are rising. Investors could use the new firm to follow the trends. But they probably won’t. There are purer plays and better-diversified producers.

Treasury Wine resistance withers under KKR assault

August 4, 2014

The Australian wine maker has agreed to open its books after the buyout group raised its cash offer to $3.15 billion. The bid could yet turn sour, or other suitors may come forward. But Treasury’s spell as a listed company looks like it will soon be coming to an end.