Kevin's Feed
May 18, 2012
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Debt markets may be good compromise for Dreyfus

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By Kevin Allison

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

Commodity traders are finding it harder to maintain their privacy. Louis Dreyfus is the latest to step out of the shadows. The venerable agricultural trader needs to invest if it wants to stay relevant in a consolidating and increasingly capital-intensive industry. But a float or merger would dilute family control. For now, plans to tap debt markets mark a sensible compromise.

May 17, 2012
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Tempting mining valuations aren’t hard to resist

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By Kevin Allison

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

It’s easy to see the temptation to pile into mining industry bellwethers BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto after the sector’s recent pummelling. The miners’ valuations looked depressed even before the market’s recent Greece-related sell-off. After a near-15 percent slide since May 1, the companies’ shares are trading close to forward enterprise multiples last seen during the dark days of 2008-2009. But any rally could be a way off.

May 14, 2012
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Jewellers needed to ease gold bugs’ pain

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By Kevin Allison

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

Gold has a dual personality. Many think it is the ultimate hard currency. Others like it because it looks pretty. And while its price climbed high as investors have sought shelter from the financial crisis, gold has behaved more like a risk asset recently.

May 4, 2012

Repsol still not a tempting takeover target

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

By Kevin Allison and Fiona Maharg Bravo

LONDON/MADRID, May 4 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Investors
shouldn’t take bid speculation around Repsol (REP.MC: Quote, Profile, Research) too
seriously. The YPF (YPFD.BA: Quote, Profile, Research) fiasco in Argentina may have wiped
out a third of the Spanish oil major’s market capitalisation.
But a bid for the 17 billion euro ($22 billion) company still
looks unlikely.

Apr 24, 2012
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Space mining plan more than just sci-fi fantasy

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By Kevin Allison

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

Shady corporation sends robot army into space to mine precious metals from asteroids. That’s the basic setup of Blade Runner, the sci-fi epic that hit cinemas 30 years ago this June. It’s also the business plan for Planetary Resources, a U.S. startup that has outlined its strategy to take the mining industry into near-Earth orbit. The economics look challenging, to say the least. But the idea is not completely bonkers.

Apr 20, 2012
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UK gas bounty will be tricky to exploit

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By Kevin Allison

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

The British government may have warmed to fracking. But while shale-gas extraction has put America on the road to energy self-sufficiency, it may be premature to bank on a similar boom in the UK. The country’s shale formations could be enough to meet decades of demand if bullish interpretations of geological data are right. But economics may keep much of the shale bounty under ground.

Apr 11, 2012
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Euro zone powerless to avoid big oil divide

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By Kevin Allison and Christopher Swann

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

Higher oil prices are yet another force pushing the euro area’s economies apart. They hit gross domestic product three times harder in Greece than in Germany, according to data from Moody’s Analytics. Ireland and Italy are big losers, too. With Iran worries driving prices higher and sovereign debt fears flaring up again, governments may be even more tempted to tap strategic petroleum reserves. But that won’t guarantee lower prices.

Apr 5, 2012
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Nigerian billionaire’s LSE-quote plan is watershed

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By Kevin Allison

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

Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote is seeking a London listing for his $11 billion cement company. It is a watershed moment for Nigeria, and for Africa. There are significant governance hurdles, and Dangote’s plan to build a pan-African aggregates champion isn’t without risks. But the prospect of a FTSE 100-sized Nigerian company is worth celebrating.

Apr 2, 2012
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BP has yet to deliver its positive Macondo legacy

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By Kevin Allison

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

Two years after BP’s disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the UK oil major has yet to convince investors it is undergoing the radical corporate change it promised to achieve. There is no sugar-coating the financial, human and environmental toll of Macondo. But the catastrophe prompted a needed bout of soul-searching and some long-overdue restructuring at the company. A new strategy emerged – to shed stodgy, mature assets and create a smaller, higher-returning company focused on its core competence in exploration. That was the right response. Still, BP’s road to renewal is proving a long one.

Mar 29, 2012
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North Sea blowout hardly justifies Total meltdown

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By Kevin Allison

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

Two years after BP’s deep sea Gulf of Mexico disaster, Total is facing an underwater emergency of its own. The French oil major said on March 27 that it could take up to six months to stem the flow of gas from a leaking well off the Scottish coast. That sent shivers down the spines of investors who watched BP lose about half its market value as the Deepwater Horizon disaster turned from bad, to worse, to catastrophic.