Kevin's Feed
Feb 20, 2013
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Marius Kloppers will be hard act to follow at BHP

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By Kevin Allison

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

Marius Kloppers, BHP Billiton’s outgoing chief executive, mostly deserves his reputation as a savvy boss. Management discipline – along with great assets, a bull market, and not a little luck – underpinned strong shareholder returns during his tenure. Incoming boss Andrew Mackenzie will stick to the formula, but he’ll need more luck to do as well.

Jan 31, 2013
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Shell shows the flip side of shale nirvana

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By Kevin Allison

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

Royal Dutch Shell’s latest results show there is a flip side to shale nirvana. The combination of vast new supplies and a continuing lack of export capacity have kept oil and gas prices down in North America. The cost advantage for the region’s manufacturers might excite the Davos set, but the much-hyped shale revolution also creates relative losers.

Jan 29, 2013
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European carbon market doesn’t need a supply fix

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By Kevin Allison

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

Policymakers racing to prop up the European Union’s carbon market should focus on the long term instead. Proposals to boost record-low carbon prices show a confusion about what cap-and-trade systems such as the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme can achieve. Even if the carbon price fell to zero, greenhouse gas emissions would stay within an agreed 2020 limit. To ensure the scheme’s future, authorities should focus on the cap, not juggle permit supplies.

Jan 24, 2013
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Glencore Xstrata needs governance champ in chair

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By Kevin Allison

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

Independent shareholders should urge Glencore Xstrata to cast a wide net in its hunt for a new chairman. Ivan Glasenberg, chief executive of Glencore and the biggest individual shareholder in the combined group, stocked his board at Glencore with operational expertise. Glencore Xstrata needs a broader perspective.

Jan 22, 2013
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Fog of Bumi’s battles may be just too tiresome

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By Kevin Allison

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

Bumi’s minority shareholders are ill-served by the open conflict raging between the coal miner’s board, its founder Nat Rothschild and Indonesia’s Bakrie clan. They deserve an adult debate about the merits of competing plans to unwind a tie-up with its Indonesian backers. They need clarity about the nature of alleged financial irregularities. They are getting a juvenile shouting match.

Jan 17, 2013
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Rio’s snap succession makes bad news look worse

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By Kevin Allison

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

It was time for Tom Albanese to go. But the snap succession at Rio Tinto which dismissed its chief executive on Jan. 17 as it took a $14 billion writedown on the value of its coal and aluminium businesses, makes a bad situation look even worse. Although Albanese’s successor, Rio iron ore boss Sam Walsh, is experienced and capable, the decision to install a new CEO immediately looks rushed.

Dec 12, 2012
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Corporate carbon bubble may start to deflate

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By Kevin Allison

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

Next year could see markets start to wake up to a proper carbon bubble: the inflated value of hydrocarbon-heavy corporates.

Nov 14, 2012
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Anglo needs a dealmaker CEO to unlock value

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By Kevin Allison

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

Anglo American needs a dealmaker chief executive to unlock value. It may be tempting to replace Cynthia Carroll with an operational obsessive who can deliver big projects. That’s where the outgoing boss struggled. But what the miner really needs is someone who can think the unthinkable – like demerging its troubled South African platinum business and finding a strategic buyer for the rest.

Nov 13, 2012
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UK gas price probe another jolt to cosy markets

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By Kevin Allison

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

Free-wheeling capitalism has a knack for self-destruction. Allegations that traders rigged UK wholesale gas prices, if true, would be another blow to the public’s faith in market indicators. Libor was bad enough. Anger at rising home heating bills makes a gas scandal more politically explosive in the UK, even if the financial stakes look smaller.

Nov 9, 2012
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Lonmin doesn’t have to surrender to Xstrata – yet

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By Kevin Allison

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

Xstrata has long been considered a private equity house in miner’s clothing. Now it’s taking on the role of activist investor, too. The miner owns 25 percent of struggling platinum producer Lonmin, and is being far from supportive in its role as a lead shareholder. Lonmin says Xstrata will back the company’s $817 million emergency rights issue but only if it gets to hand-pick a new chief executive and other top managers. Lonmin is rejecting those demands and for now, it can afford to.