Brazil crisis may have silver lining: rule of law

November 25, 2015

Latin America’s biggest economy will get worse before it gets better. The arrest of billionaire banker André Esteves suggests room for further nasty surprises from the Petrobras corruption probe. But feisty independent courts and stronger institutions point to a brighter future.

Hadas: The BRICs are dead. Long live the BRICs!

By Edward Hadas
November 11, 2015

Goldman Sachs coined the acronym in the 2000s when Brazil, Russia, India and China promised the greatest economic shift in a century. Now Goldman is closing its flailing BRIC fund. But poor countries are still gaining on rich ones, and their base for growth is getting more solid.

Brazil dam disaster tests BHP’s mega-mining model

November 6, 2015

Investors ditched BHP Billiton shares after a jointly owned dam failed in Brazil. While mining is much safer than it used to be, such catastrophes are an inherent risk. A big balance sheet and diverse income streams mean it can absorb the financial consequences better than most.

BTG Pactual earnings flatter its performance

November 5, 2015

The Brazilian investment bank’s lower costs and 28 pct ROE put its U.S. rivals to shame. The country’s interest-rate hikes and the firm’s increasing diversity help. But Pactual often pays little or no tax – or gets a benefit. Strip that out and its returns are more pedestrian.

Petrobras should be considered too big to fail

October 29, 2015

The scandal-plagued Brazilian oil giant is hobbled by rising debt with bond yields pricing in a high degree of distress. A default does not look imminent, however, and the government has means and motive to keep the group afloat. Petrobras is probably a good fixed-income bet.

Brazil needs Dilma 2.0 to shine on U.S. visit

June 29, 2015

President Rousseff’s statist policies helped put Brazil’s economy in the tank. Her task now is to convince U.S. investors the more market-friendly persona she has adopted since re-election is real and resilient. Robust backing for her finance minister would reassure Wall Street.

Rob Cox: Bolivarian bank dream faces Andean climb

May 26, 2015

Brazilian lender Itaú has pursued a strategy to create the first truly pan-Latin America financial institution. Its biggest effort to date is at an impasse. The merger it thought it cleverly struck with Chile’s CorpBanca is backfiring in ways that may cost it treasure and face.

Rob Cox: Eat or be eaten is real Kraft calculus

March 31, 2015

It had a chance to buy Heinz two years ago. Instead of securing more of the combined value for itself, it’s now ceding control and renting its balance sheet. While selling to Warren Buffett gives the board cover, it raises questions about the sort of managers shareholders want.

Global water woes mix with trickle of good news

March 23, 2015

The planet faces a 40 pct H2O deficit by 2030 as rising populations require more food and energy. Droughts in Sao Paulo and California may become harbingers of doom. But progress on everything from data to usage to business awareness to international agreements offers some hope.

Santander’s next task: sustainable profit growth

February 3, 2015

After raising capital and trimming the dividend, new boss Ana Botin has proved her leadership credentials. The Spanish bank’s results show provisions and costs down, and net profit up. The real test will be maintaining the momentum even as key economies like Brazil falter.