Fiona's Feed
Apr 8, 2015
via Breakingviews

Shell could win from bold $70 bln swoop on BG

Photo

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

Royal Dutch Shell sat out previous waves of energy consolidation. Now the Anglo-Dutch major has struck the first megadeal of the latest oil rout. Paying $70 billion for smaller, gas-focused rival BG looks like a smart and opportunistic way to boost growth.

Mar 18, 2015
via Breakingviews

Inditex shares no longer a bargain

Photo

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

Inditex is back in fashion. The Zara owner’s shares have risen more than 20 percent this year, against 7 percent for rival H&M’s. The Spanish recovery, a weakening euro and the group’s nimble business model justify a premium valuation. But at more than 30 times forward earnings, the good news is already priced in.

Mar 18, 2015
via Breakingviews

Inditex shares no longer a bargain

Photo

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

Inditex is back in fashion. The Zara owner’s shares have risen more than 20 percent this year, against 7 percent for rival H&M’s. The Spanish recovery, a weakening euro and the group’s nimble business model justify a premium valuation. But at more than 30 times forward earnings, the good news is already priced in.

Mar 12, 2015
via Breakingviews

Santander’s U.S. woes a cautionary M&A tale

Photo

By Fiona Maharg-Bravo &  Antony Currie

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

Santander’s U.S. woes are a cautionary tale for bank M&A. The Spanish firm’s stateside lender is struggling to pass the Federal Reserve’s stress test for the second year in a row. It has enough capital, but its risk management processes appear not to be up to snuff. Granted, the franchise former Santander boss Emilio Botin took control of in 2009, three years after securing an almost 25 percent stake, was flawed. But he and his cohorts let the problems drag on.

Mar 5, 2015
via Breakingviews

Carlos Slim buys Spanish real estate on the cheap

Photo

By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

The world’s top billionaires are battling for Spanish property. Bill Gates, George Soros and Amancio Ortega have all taken stakes in real estate companies or bought emblematic buildings in Spain. Now Carlos Slim is building his own Spanish empire on the cheap.

Jan 8, 2015
via Breakingviews

Santander finally gets the message on capital

Photo

By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

Ana Botin is grabbing the bull by the horns. The new chair of Santander is seeking 7.5 billion euros of fresh equity in a speedy share sale and slashing the dividend. The Spanish bank has long resisted raising capital or touching its outsized payout. The moves may be overdue and including pre-emption rights would have been fairer on shareholders. But Santander is getting capital now without the challenge of a drawn-out rights issue during a critical Greek election.

Jan 2, 2015

Breakingviews: Crude slump will stoke European oil and gas M&A

By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

MADRID (Reuters Breakingviews) – There was $383 billion
worth of oil and gas sector M&A in the 2014 year to Dec. 11. Yet
Europe has largely missed out on the gusher: about
three-quarters of the targets have been in North America,
according to Thomson Reuters data. Shale has played a big role.
In 2015, oil and gas bankers in Europe will get a bigger slice
of the action.

The sharp drop in the price of Brent, to around $60 a
barrel, will make it harder to get deals done in the short term.
It makes everyone more cautious. Buyers worry prices could fall
further, while the seller’s instinct is to hold out for a
recovery. The last big oil price fall at the end of 2008 was too
short-lived to push a big M&A wave.

Jan 2, 2015
via Breakingviews

Crude slump will stoke European oil and gas M&A

Photo

By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

There was $383 billion worth of oil and gas sector M&A in the 2014 year to Dec. 11. Yet Europe has largely missed out on the gusher: about three-quarters of the targets have been in North America, according to Thomson Reuters data. Shale has played a big role. In 2015, oil and gas bankers in Europe will get a bigger slice of the action.

Dec 16, 2014

Breakingviews: Repsol takes risky $13 bln bet on Talisman

By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

MADRID (Reuters Breakingviews) –
The precipitous drop in the price of crude has produced the oil
and gas sector’s first big deal. Repsol of Spain is
paying a fat premium to buy Canada’s Talisman for $13
billion, including $4.7 billion of net debt. The purchase price
looks steep.

Talisman ticks many boxes. The Canadian company gives the
Spaniards a much-needed boost to production following
Argentina’s expropriation of its YPF unit, for which it received
$6.3 billion of cash. The deal will boost Repsol’s production by
76 percent, with more than half the combined group’s capital
employed upstream. Half of that will be in North America,
diluting more risky countries like Libya.

Nov 28, 2014
via Breakingviews

Market too bearish on European oil services

Photo

By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

Oil service companies are in a bad place. The sharp drop in oil prices to $72 a barrel has coupled with slowing capital expenditure among oil majors. Petrofac, whose shares have fallen 30 percent in a week, has fared especially badly. Seadrill is another.

    • 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."
    • Follow Fiona