Breakingviews

Singapore eyes last trick in the book to win IPOs

August 24, 2016

The city-state is moving closer to introducing dual-class shares. A growing sense of desperation about a moribund market for new listings has reduced opposition to such a move. The risks of giving up the high ground on shareholder democracy are likely to outweigh any rewards.

New Renault-Nissan pact is only roadside repair

December 14, 2015

France’s growing power at Renault is curbed, as is the French carmaker’s sway in Japan. It ends months of distraction for the auto alliance led by Carlos Ghosn. But the fiddly legal fixes only go so far. It would be better to see the duo drive towards a full merger.

Fosun looks badly exposed as boss goes AWOL

December 11, 2015

China’s top private conglomerate can’t locate Chairman Guo Guangchang. The disappearance amid a graft crackdown has spooked investors. His team can keep things ticking over. But unless he re-emerges soon Fosun’s strategy and bold overseas dealmaking are both in doubt.

Samsung investors learn the benefit of family ties

December 9, 2015

The heir to South Korea’s top conglomerate has pledged to backstop troubled Samsung Engineering’s $1 bln rights issue. Jay Y. Lee may avoid reaching into his own pocket. Yet for investors, it’s a reminder that being part of a larger group has benefits as well as drawbacks.

Toshiba’s overdue nuclear illumination is welcome

November 30, 2015

The scandal-hit Japanese group has been too fuzzy about the performance of important businesses. Now it has finally laid out the finances and outlook for various key units. Improved disclosure, plus growth potential in nuclear power, should help restore some market confidence.

Malaysia remains fragile despite China power deal

November 24, 2015

Troubled sovereign fund 1MDB will sell power assets to China’s CGN for $2.3 bln. To resolve its debt woes, the investor still needs to execute a larger bailout deal with Abu Dhabi. Even then, graft probes will keep up the pressure on Malaysia’s prime minister and the currency.

Samsung shows investors it can be generous too

October 29, 2015

The South Korean group plans to buy back stock worth $10 bln and pay out up to half of its free cash flow in dividends. That will shrink its cash pile and may help the Lee family reorganise their empire. It’s a small but welcome sign that restructuring can benefit shareholders.

Elliott buys new stick to beat Samsung

July 7, 2015

The activist fund has a new lever to oppose the South Korean group’s ruling Lee family over a $9 bln merger. Buying stakes in two more group firms probably ups Elliott’s total outlay on Samsung by more than a quarter. This makes the fight more complex – and perhaps uglier.

South Korean M&A quirks hold perils for investors

June 24, 2015

A $9.2 bln merger led by Samsung’s holding company has cast a spotlight on the country’s peculiar stock market rules. The dealmaking shows the limits of measures designed to protect independent investors and how the wider system is stacked in favour of the chaebols.

Weaker shareholder rights a bad omen for Hong Kong

June 22, 2015

Ditching its “one share, one vote” rule may help the stock exchange lure listings from New York – or Shanghai. But Hong Kong’s standards are already under pressure as China’s capital markets opens up. The willingness to sacrifice long-held principles bodes ill for future reform.