Qube edges ahead in Aussie infrastructure fight

November 26, 2015

Brookfield’s $6.5 bln agreed bid for Australia’s Asciano has hit serious opposition from competition regulators. The Canadian group could yet salvage its takeover. But interloper Qube, whose break-up consortium is already examining Asciano’s books, now looks like the favourite.

Rail deal needs more than $28 bln to stay on track

November 18, 2015

Canadian Pacific justifies its hostile bid for Norfolk Southern by touting cost savings worth over $12 billion. But CP shareholders will keep $5 billion of that amount for themselves. Given antitrust risks, a higher offer will be necessary to bring this merger into the station.

Savings may get $50 bln rail deal across the line

November 10, 2015

The $22 bln Canadian Pacific could try to buy slightly larger Norfolk Southern. If CP can boost its U.S. rival’s efficiency to match its own, the result would be some $7 bln worth of cuts. That’s enough to cover a premium and compensate for the risk of an antitrust derailment.

Hitachi’s $2 bln deal signals Italy open for M&A

February 24, 2015

The Japanese firm is buying Finmeccanica’s rail units. In Italy and across Europe, sales of high-end industrial assets to the Far East can be unpopular. But Hitachi is a credible buyer paying a full price. It helps too that the seller is eager to slim down and cut debt.

Uber’s law flouting could bring joyride to a halt

December 15, 2014

The taxi app company is covering drivers’ fines for illegal pick-ups. That may be just another business expense to a firm that earned a $40 bln valuation by moving quickly and breaking the rules. But the legal, lobbying and PR costs of reckless behavior are accelerating fast.

Uber is one startup that needs to grow up fast

November 19, 2014

The taxi app’s disregard for rules has spurred it toward a $30 bln valuation. But execs who threaten to “dig up dirt” on critics, employ unsavory tactics against rivals and post stats on clients’ one-night stands pose an existential risk. Such laddishness is bad for business.

China’s subway splurge only half on right track

June 26, 2014

Building more tube lines is a good idea. Asking international investors to fund them is not. Beijing’s $190 mln subway bond may be an exception. But given the positive externalities, urban transport is one thing China needn’t be coy about funding from the public purse.

World’s new air giant taking off at turbulent time

June 18, 2012

The marriage of Brazil’s TAM with Chile’s LAN has taken nearly two years to consummate and will create the most valuable airline in the world. The promise of greater regional integration is fueling big expectations that will be difficult to meet given economic headwinds.

Heathrow needs decisive capacity fix

By Chris Hughes
January 21, 2013

Snow has exposed the London airport’s lack of slack when problems arise. Passengers’ expectations of a zero-failure service are hard to shift. But if Heathrow can’t build another runway, it needs to be radical. That may mean operating its infrastructure at lower capacity.

Review: Walking cure for cash-strapped U.S. cities

April 19, 2013

With financial woes hitting American cities big and small, urban revival requires attracting residents who prefer foot power to cars, says city planner Jeff Speck. A demographic bulge of “millennial” workers and empty-nesters want walkability. Build it, and they will come.