Breakingviews

India’s lenders deserve to be rich global outliers

September 27, 2016

Lenders like HDFC are among the world's priciest, trading on price-to-book ratios up to 7 times higher than Citigroup or BNP Paribas. They are well-capitalised, earn high returns, and are growing fast. The secret is lending to people, not companies. Headwinds look limited too.

Vodafone tops up for a fight in India

September 23, 2016

Injecting $7 bln of cash will help the mobile giant's Indian unit compete in a mega spectrum auction and in a price war against new entrant Jio. It also suggests an IPO of the wholly owned business is off the table for now. India may become a big drag on its London-listed parent.

India lays foundation for a fintech revolution

September 14, 2016

A new payments platform, tied to biometric identity data, will hasten the move to a cashless economy. The open system sets India's fintech infrastructure apart from China or the U.S. That's great news for consumers and entrepreneurs, less so for big banks and mobile wallet firms.

DoCoMo spat adds odd twist to India scare stories

September 6, 2016

The Japanese telco is struggling to enforce a London arbitration award ordering Tata Sons to pay it $1.2 bln. Tata says it wants to pay. India refuses to approve. Despite a slew of reforms, high-profile legacy disputes with foreign firms hurt the idea India is open for business.

Microfinance leaves India’s banks in the dust

August 23, 2016

After the near-collapse of the industry six years ago, small lenders to the poor are back and growing fast. A tight regulatory leash, low bad loan ratios, and high returns make microfinance a more attractive investment proposition than the country’s ailing state banks.

Rajan reforms can thrive with India’s new RBI boss

August 22, 2016

Urjit Patel is a safe choice to lead the central bank. The deputy governor was a key architect of reforms introduced by outgoing head Raghuram Rajan. To earn the same level of acclaim, Patel must see these through and ratchet up the fight against bad debts. 

Saudi building bust may demolish prince’s reforms

August 19, 2016

Low oil prices have left thousands of foreign construction workers stranded without pay, and some building companies in financial trouble. Saudi is trying to diversify away from oil, make economic reforms and avoid disrupting the social order. It’s not easy to do all three.

Indian tycoon’s $9 bln tidy-up is too clever

August 15, 2016

Kumar Mangalam Birla is merging two holding companies. That helps streamline his Aditya Birla conglomerate. But the overly complex deal gives investors on both sides reasons to grumble. One side is forced to share a healthy balance sheet and the other a promising financial arm.

from Viewsroom:

Viewsroom: India water woes; fintech; Trumponomics

August 12, 2016

Drought, farmers, poor pricing and bad infrastructure in the world's second-most populous country hinder Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Make in India' vision; peer-to-peer lenders try to deal with a downturn; and Donald Trump's economic plan is more pinstripes than blue collar.

Viewsroom: U.S. election, European banks, Uber-Didi

August 8, 2016

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump battle over infrastructure needs, while Trump faces growing opposition from fellow billionaires. Also: the ups and downs of Europe's lenders after a stress test with no fail grade, and why Uber is ceding to Didi the ride-sharing crown in China.