Fiona's Feed
May 7, 2015
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ECB’s bank board-crashing makes sense – to a point

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

The European Central Bank plans to crash bank boardrooms across Europe. The euro zone’s financial stability gnomes will observe meetings. As part of the effort to foresee banking sector trouble, this makes sense – at least to a point.

Apr 28, 2015
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BP and Total find downstream respite

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

The steep descent of the oil price isn’t all bad for the big integrated oil companies. Strong results from refining and marketing limited the fall in profit at both BP and Total in 2015’s first quarter. With the price of a barrel of Brent crude down 50 percent from the previous year, these gains are welcome. But they may not be sustained.

Apr 28, 2015
via Breakingviews

BP and Total find downstream respite

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

The steep descent of the oil price isn’t all bad for the big integrated oil companies. Strong results from refining and marketing limited the fall in profit at both BP and Total in 2015’s first quarter. With the price of a barrel of Brent crude down 50 percent from the previous year, these gains are welcome. But they may not be sustained.

Apr 8, 2015
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Shell could win from bold $70 bln swoop on BG

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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.

Apr 8, 2015
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Shell could win from bold $70 bln swoop on BG

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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
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Inditex shares no longer a bargain

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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
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Inditex shares no longer a bargain

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

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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
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Carlos Slim buys Spanish real estate on the cheap

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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
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Santander finally gets the message on capital

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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.

    • 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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