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.

Rob Cox: The pope, Bernie, Jeremy walk into a bar

September 15, 2015

… only to find they have far too much in common to make a joke of their fictional congregation. On economics, the Vermont senator surging in Democratic polls and the new UK Labour leader owe more to the bishop of Rome’s encyclical than prevailing capitalist orthodoxy.

Numbers add up to HSBC leaving London

July 31, 2015

The global bank is reviewing its head office location based on 11 criteria such as economic importance, transparency and tax. A ranking based on data compiled by Breakingviews shows Singapore, Hong Kong and even Toronto are more attractive than HSBC’s current home base.

HSBC in 2020: An imagined letter to shareholders

May 15, 2015

Moving its head office to Shanghai marks a new era for the bank, writes chairman Hank Paulson in a make-believe memo. However, despite escaping hostile regulators in the aftermath of Britain’s divorce from the European Union, HSBC faces many challenges, both familiar and new.

HSBC revival overshadowed by existential questions

May 5, 2015

Better investment banking revenue and fewer bad loans boosted the $194 bln bank’s quarterly results. That’s a welcome respite from the Swiss tax furore. Still, long-term fortunes rest on decisions about its shape, head office location and UK business. None will be resolved soon.

UK politics is failing the trust test

By Hugo Dixon
May 4, 2015

In the run-up to the May 7 election, the public has lambasted leaders of the established parties for breaking promises and lack of candour. While the critique is healthy, Britain has yet to give birth to leaders who score high on integrity. This is needed, not just in the UK.

StanChart equities closure is overdue but welcome

January 8, 2015

The emerging markets bank has pulled the plug on its share trading and underwriting arm, cutting 200 jobs. It’s a rational but still-rare step for a business that suffers from chronic overcapacity. Rivals will feel extra pressure to justify their decision to soldier on.

Scots’ no to independence still leaves UK in limbo

September 19, 2014

The roughly 55:45 vote against secession in a landmark referendum reduces many risks: financial instability, a UK exit from Europe and a sharp fall in trade. But the bribe to no-voters of more devolved powers creates other dangers – including a weakening of the union.

Astra has small tactical advantage over Pfizer

By Chris Hughes
May 1, 2014

Time can benefit bidders rather than targets – that’s why Kraft left Cadbury flailing for months. But uncertainties around regulatory clearance and Washington politics complicate the dynamics of Pfizer’s approach to AstraZeneca. The U.S. group will want a quick, recommended deal.

New London air hub plan needs public money to fly

December 1, 2011

Heathrow is a jam-packed embarrassment for those who promote London as a global financial centre. A brand new four-runway hub in the Thames estuary is appealing but expensive. Even using rosy forecasts, it is hard to see an all-private enterprise earning a decent return.