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Oct 2, 2014
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Double-digit oil forces majors into more self-help

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

The big listed oil companies had enough trouble with profitability when the price of crude was above $100 a barrel. A sustained fall into double-digit territory will force majors to step up their self-help programmes.

Sep 26, 2014
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Santander has a 6 bln euro capital opportunity

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Santander looks light on capital. The euro zone’s largest bank doesn’t disclose its current Basel III “fully loaded” common equity Tier 1 capital ratio, and no wonder: it seeks 9 percent by year-end, way off the 11 percent average of European peers. Ana Botin, Santander’s new chair, can probably get away with inaction. But given her bank’s toppy valuation, she’d be better off moving now.

Sep 4, 2014
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Scottish secessionists in bind over North Sea oil

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

How much oil is left in the North Sea? The question is playing a key role in the debate over Scottish independence, since most of the bounty would probably remain in Scotland, and would make up around 15 percent of national output. But the real question isn’t just how much is left, but what politicians can do to get it out of the ground.

Aug 28, 2014
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Vivendi boosts shareholder credentials in GVT sale

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo and Neil Unmack

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own. 

Vincent Bolloré, Vivendi’s chairman, is doing right by his shareholders. The French media group says it has entered exclusive talks with Telefonica on the Spanish group’s 7.5 billion euro bid for its Brazilian business GVT. The French conglomerate spurned a lower bid from Telecom Italia. It might have squeezed a bit more from Telefonica, but has chosen the surest exit. That leaves rival bidder TI facing an uncertain future.

Aug 28, 2014
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Telefonica may have to inch higher for GVT

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own. 

Telefonica is showing how much it wants to buy GVT. The Spanish telecoms group has given Vivendi a 24-hour deadline to accept a new 7.45 billion euro ($9.8 billion) offer for the French conglomerate’s Brazilian subsidiary. A competing bid from Telecom Italia is 450 million euros lower, has less cash and is more conditional. Still, Vivendi could yet wring more out of this auction.

Jul 16, 2014
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Portugal Telecom pays the price for weak controls

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo and Christopher Swann

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

The show will go on. Portugal Telecom and Brazil’s Oi are forging ahead with their planned merger after an Espirito Santo group company failed to repay a $1.1 billion loan to PT. The Portuguese telco is paying the price for its weak controls over its own cash management. Its shareholders will now hold a smaller stake in the group it planned to form with Brazil’s Oi.

Jul 7, 2014
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Gowex collapse leaves egg on many faces

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

The collapse of Gowex has ramifications beyond Spain’s junior stock market for riskier companies. The Spanish wifi provider has said its chief executive admitted falsifying the accounts, days after investment firm Gotham City Research attacked the company. With Gowex held up as the poster child for Spanish entrepreneurialism, its impending failure will make life harder for other small firms.

Jun 24, 2014
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Iraq troubles are unlikely to bring new oil crisis

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

The continued violence in Iraq looks like a harbinger of a sharp cutback from the world’s seventh-largest oil producer. But the bulk of Iraq’s production is still secure. Even though the Middle East has clearly become less stable, it will still take a cascade of problems to create a big oil price shock.

Jun 19, 2014
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Spexit comes two years late

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

The unthinkable has happened. Spain stayed in the euro but exited the World Cup in the early group stages. The negative correlation with the economy is striking. Spain’s national side has modernised less rapidly than its economic policy in recent years.

Jun 13, 2014
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Spanish government oddly passive on Catalonia risk

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own. 

Investors in Spanish debt don’t seem to worry much about the tension in Catalonia. Independence is a distant possibility, and yields on the country’s 10-year bonds, at 2.7 percent, are now below the UK’s. But the insouciance of the Spanish government on the matter is harder to fathom. The crisis won’t simply go away if Madrid does nothing.

    • About Fiona

      "Fiona Maharg-Bravo is breakingviews´ Madrid correspondent. Fiona joined breakingviews in 2003 in London, covering media, transport, energy and Spain. Previously she spent a few months at the Financial Times as winner of the 2002 Nico Colchester Fellowship. Before becoming a journalist, Fiona worked nearly five years in banking, first at JP Morgan in equity capital markets and leveraged finance groups and then at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. She gained a BA/MA (Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of Chicago in Political Science and International Relations and a Diploma in Economics from Cambridge University."
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