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.

ChemChina’s Syngenta bid is prickly for Monsanto

February 2, 2016

The state-owned group is nearing a $42 bln deal for the Swiss seeds and pesticides group. The cash and friendly nature make it better than a similarly valued offer from Monsanto. The U.S. company could improve its bid or turn its attention to BASF. Neither M&A option looks easy.

Lesson from UBS: Who’d be an investment bank CEO?

February 2, 2016

Andrea Orcel has made the Swiss bank’s broker-dealer arm the envy of rivals, but it could only squeeze out a 4.4 pct return in the fourth quarter. With deal volumes at rock bottom, the industry as a whole looks beset. Alternative careers may never have looked so appealing.

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.

Alibaba offers two insights into China economy

January 28, 2016

The e-commerce giant’s third-quarter revenue rose 32 pct, above expectations. It shows China shifting to more consumption. But it also shows that Alibaba, like China, needs new ways to grow. Forays into local services and the cloud make it a less useful proxy for the consumer.

China’s online arms race shows no sign of cooling

January 20, 2016

Meituan-Dianping has raised $3.3 bln – a huge sum for a startup. The group deals site was created from a merger that was meant to curb brutal competition in China. But this new warchest, plus the huge resources of rivals like Alibaba, suggests the subsidies will keep flowing.

China’s just-so growth no balm for slowdown fears

January 19, 2016

The world’s second-largest economy grew 6.9 pct last year, in line with government targets. The official picture of a gradual slowdown is at odds with market jitters. Yet the numbers do little to ease investors’ key concerns: yuan devaluation and the risk of a messy debt crisis.

Taiwan’s new president inherits old economic woes

January 18, 2016

The island’s fortunes are uncomfortably tied to the tech industry and China, both of which are weakening. The electoral triumph of opposition leader Tsai Ing-wen reflects deep distrust of the mainland. Yet Taiwan’s president needs to keep her giant neighbour onside.