Allianz coal ban will change investment climate

November 24, 2015

The German insurer is to pull $4.3 bln out of investment in coal companies, ditching its scepticism against blanket anti-carbon policies. This rethink suggests big asset managers are taking climate change seriously. Other carbon-heavy industries like oil and cement may be next.

German co-op bank M&A shows Landesbanken the way

November 20, 2015

The merger of cooperative banks DZ and WGZ is a lesson for Germany’s state-owned lenders. The deal generates 100 mln euros of annual cost benefits. Ropey Landesbanken are bogged down by regional vanities but cannot afford to leave that money on the table by dodging mergers.

EasyJet’s brio bodes ill for Lufthansa, Air France

November 17, 2015

On the back of an 18 pct jump in pre-tax profit in 2015, the UK budget carrier is ordering more planes to step up growth and expand into new routes. The confidence is merited. High-cost legacy carriers are too bogged down by labour unrest to fight more nimble low-cost rivals.

France can afford budget-busting security spend

November 17, 2015

Prime Minister Manuel Valls says the deficit is bound to miss EU targets as security spending rises after the Paris attacks. Brussels is unlikely to kick up a fuss over this exceptional overspending. Nor will investors, who are used to serial French fiscal slippage.

VW skids further into the emissions scandal ditch

November 3, 2015

U.S. regulators accuse the carmaker of putting devices that fool pollution tests on even more autos, including Porsches and a wider array of Audis. If true, the claims would contradict VW’s defense, expose the company’s internal probe as hapless and drag its new CEO into the mire.

Too soon for BNP to ramp up its investment bank

October 30, 2015

France’s biggest lender by assets grew third-quarter revenue 8.5 pct on gains in trading, the U.S. and emerging markets. But a plan to grab investment banking market share is risky given its low capital ratio. And a skimpy equity allocation flatters the division’s returns.

Europe’s stricken airlines cursed with good luck

October 29, 2015

Lufthansa and Air France-KLM reported boosts from lower oil prices and strong summer demand. The uplift is probably temporary. But try telling that to restive pilots who may push back even harder on essential cost cuts. There’s little respite for the carriers’ horrible returns.

Deutsche Bank looks like tortoise to Barclays hare

October 29, 2015

The German lender is cutting 35,000 staff and 20 pct of risk assets in John Cryan’s big revamp. Its UK peer did better in Q3 capital markets advisory, a business both seek to grow. With Barclays hit by UK ring-fencing, Deutsche’s investment bank could cope better long term.

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.

Deutsche’s Russia and IT problems could be linked

October 27, 2015

Regulators are probing up to $6 bln of potentially sanctions-busting Russian trades made by Germany’s biggest lender. Deutsche Bank may be innocent. But another plan to rip up its computer systems implies a host of ways in which potential wrongdoing could slip by unnoticed.