Breakingviews

French investment banking has less than meets eye

April 23, 2015

Returns at BNP Paribas’ and Societe Generale’s trading and advisory businesses are better than peers. But the pair’s divisions carry less equity against gross assets than rivals. Before dashing in, investors should consider what the return would be with greater leverage restraint.

EU migration policy is economically short-sighted

By Edward Hadas
April 20, 2015

For many desperate and poor people, Europe is the nearest safe place to go to make a living. A sensible migration policy would recognise the region’s international appeal and manage the reality. But inward-looking politics make for bad economics and heighten the risks to life.

Review: Some of what is wrong with economics

By Edward Chancellor
April 17, 2015

Meghnad Desai mocks his fellow economists for not seeing trouble ahead during the early 2000s credit bubble. The retired professor wisely calls for more study of history and a less narrow perspective, but he is still too conventional. He ignores the crucial financial cycle.

Europe’s credit boom locks in mediocre returns

April 16, 2015

Investors are throwing money at European companies. Carrefour and Danone paid little over 1 pct a year to borrow for a decade; Novartis got 20-year funds at similar levels. A Breakingviews calculator shows how bond buyers’ generosity could backfire.

Hairy deals mean European animal spirits returning

April 15, 2015

Shell-BG and Nokia-Alcatel are complicated, long-mooted deals finally coming to fruition. Exor’s move is just plain ballsy. American firms powered last year’s $3.5 trln global M&A bonanza. With Old World boards and bosses becoming more daring, Europe looks set to catch up.

Nokia will struggle to cut through Alcatel tangle

April 14, 2015

An all-stock takeover by the Finnish company would create a roughly 40 bln euro telecoms equipment giant. Nokia investors are understandably sceptical. A deal would mean another big restructuring and stretch the buyer’s industrial expertise. The French connection adds complexity.

Review: China fails to live up to luxury hype

April 10, 2015

After a decade of red-hot growth, prospects have dimmed in luxury’s star market and given pause to high-end brands. With vigor returning to traditional hubs like the United States, a prediction that Chinese shoppers are establishing a Bling Dynasty looks premature at best.

Greece comes kicking and screaming to reform table

April 2, 2015

The Syriza government’s latest reform proposals include some concessions to its public creditors. The plan still lacks detail, and reneges on past promises. The government is fiddling while Athens burns, and the risk of an accidental euro zone exit is rising.

Bumper European share sales carry risk of excess

March 26, 2015

Banks have hawked big slugs of EU stock in overnight placings, with 5 bln euros worth offered in three days. For now, underwriters have support from QE-powered strong markets, so they’ll risk losses for the sake of league table kudos. But complacency seems to be creeping in.

Deutsche Bank’s long round trip

By Edward Hadas
March 25, 2015

The German bank spent two decades expanding massively into the capital markets business. Along the way, it lost touch with its original mission of serving German businesses and their owners, without finding a viable new one. The crisis has spurred a return to traditional values.