Breakingviews

VW’s U.S. lawsuit shows reboot is only half done

January 5, 2016

A strongly worded government complaint has undermined Volkswagen’s progress in tackling its emissions scandal. U.S. laws are tougher than in Europe, and the German carmaker’s lobbying clout there is smaller. VW needs drastic steps to win goodwill.

Paris deal gives green light to eco-investing

December 14, 2015

The climate goals agreed by 195 countries are laudably ambitious. Scepticism over governments’ ability to hit them is warranted. But the accord should encourage venture funds, bond- and shareholders to stump up more capital. And making an impact is not as hard as it may sound.

Breakdown: Uneven CO2 prices are better than none

By Ben Kellerman
December 11, 2015

Plenty of governments and executives support a uniform carbon emissions cost. Yet it’s unlikely one will emerge from the U.N. climate change confab. That’ll leave a hodge-podge of local schemes in place. As the need for energy innovation rises, it beats having nothing.

BHP’s Brazil disaster points to dividend cut

November 30, 2015

The Anglo-Australian miner needs to conserve cash to pay for the Samarco dam disaster in Brazil. Forecast earnings already fall short of the $6.5 billion it paid shareholders last year. BHP would be wise to get ahead of the curve and scrap its commitment to progressive payouts.

VW victims eclipsed by firms that bet on lawsuits

November 17, 2015

A firm backed by hedge fund Elliott is bankrolling a case claiming the carmaker duped shareholders. There are other customer and investor actions, too. The financial muscle makes huge awards more likely. But the real losers may take a back seat if court fights are just business.

Cox: Drought, not just of ideas, challenges Africa

November 12, 2015

The sub-Saharan region, once a bright spot for global growth, faces a worrying triple whammy. A lack of rainfall threatens agriculture and hydropower. Low commodity prices are taking a bite. Fold in sliding currencies, and inflation threatens stability and economic prospects.

New York coal settlement could be climate canary

November 9, 2015

Peabody’s deal with state prosecutors over misleading atmospheric risks may inform a similar probe of Exxon. Though the lack of fines is a weak sign, the miner at least must share its assessment of possible climate rules. That could expose the danger of stranded energy assets.

Three roadblocks to real change at scandal-hit VW

November 4, 2015

Family shareholders, unions and the Lower Saxon state all stand in the way of sweeping reforms the carmaker needs, such as an outside chairman. A share-price implosion might sway the family, but for the others to agree, Chancellor Angela Merkel may need to bang heads together.

VW’s new fiasco puts governance back in crosshairs

November 3, 2015

The carmaker is taking a 2 bln euro charge after saying it may have cheated on fuel-economy stats, too. This escalation yet again flags VW’s rotten processes and culture. Appointing outsiders as directors, chairman and even CEO would be the best way to prove it’s cleaning house.

Cash-rich VW braced for dieselgate impact

October 28, 2015

Third-quarter earnings don’t yet reflect the effect of the carmaker’s emissions scandal, besides slightly increasing its recall cost provision to 6.7 bln euros. Strong cashflow and stable demand for its cars suggest VW is in decent shape to absorb the likely financial impact.