European crisis will bend but not break Tata Steel

October 6, 2015

The Indian steelmaker’s net debt of $9 bln is three times its market value. Its European business, acquired in 2007, is suffering from cheap Chinese imports. Yet last year’s timely refinancing and support from its parent means Tata Steel can avoid the fate of British rival SSI.

Bangkok attack shakes Thai economy’s last support

August 18, 2015

The deadly bombing of a shrine will scare off tourists whose numbers were up 29 pct this year. It’s another jolt to an economy already grappling with flat exports and weak private investment. Military rulers have been slow to boost public spending. That’s making things worse.

Asian conglomerates lose plot in $10bln CITIC deal

January 21, 2015

That’s what Japan’s Itochu and Thailand’s CP Group are spending to buy 20 pct of the state-controlled Chinese giant. Only then will the three decide how they can work together to create value. The back-to-front deal allows CITIC to tick a “reform” box while giving up very little.

Aggressive M&A puts focus on Thai tycoon’s empire

August 27, 2014

Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi is eyeing more deals on top of the $3.3 bln his drinks-to-property group has spent this year. Investors have given a poor reception to his recent transformative acquisitions. A pick ‘n’ mix approach to public markets may explain some of the doubts.

Asia’s solid exterior hides internal weakness

July 17, 2014

While more competitive currencies and improving trade balances are making the region externally resilient, sputtering GDP growth is enfeebling it from within, especially since the slowdown is occurring amidst a large debt overhang. Monetary stimulus is an option – but a risky one.

Unavoidable coup is awful for Thai economy

May 23, 2014

The latest military takeover fills a power void, but won’t heal the country’s deep divisions. As in 2006, junta-initiated “reform” may be a ruse for the elite to deny political control to rice farmers. The increased risk of violent conflict leaves the economy further adrift.

Thai opposition win is good for growth

July 4, 2011

The Thaksins' surprise win in the Thailand elections already has investors' vote and although there is some way to go before Thailand attains enough stability to regain favour with global investors, it's a good start.

Thailand’s weak exports don’t dent recovery story

April 26, 2012

Rebuilding after 2011’s floods should produce a V-shaped recovery. Falling European demand is a worry, but investment is booming and output should rebound as factories reopen. Government handouts will prop up rural consumption. That augurs well for earnings and stocks.

Heineken tries to take the Asian Tiger by the toe

July 20, 2012

The Dutch brewer launched a $6 bln bid to take control of Asia Pacific Breweries, its longtime Asian partner and Tiger brand owner, pitting it against a thirsty Thai beer mogul and Kirin. It’s a bold move for conservative Heineken that will test Singapore’s corporate governance.

Asian conglomerate owners owe Heineken a toast

July 25, 2012

The Dutch brewer’s $6bn bid for its beer venture with Fraser and Neave should prompt the Singapore drinks and property group’s independent directors to consider a full-blown breakup. Even after the recent rally in its shares, the pieces are worth some 20 pct more than the whole.