Neil's Feed
Feb 25, 2014
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Italy’s Renzi has big dreams and small mandate

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By Neil Unmack

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

Italy’s new prime minister has big dreams and a small mandate. Matteo Renzi has announced ambitious reforms on a tight deadline. But his position in parliament is weaker than even his sleepy predecessor’s.

Feb 21, 2014
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Italy needs fewer bad banks – not a big new one

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By Neil Unmack

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

Italian banks need to shed their bad debts to start lending again. The classic solution – selling poor credits to a national “bad bank” – would require Italian taxpayers to cough up at a time when state debt is 133 percent of GDP. Matteo Renzi, the likely prime minister, should try something different.

Feb 21, 2014
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Italy needs fewer bad banks – not a big new one

Photo

By Neil Unmack

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

Italian banks need to shed their bad debts to start lending again. The classic solution – selling poor credits to a national “bad bank” – would require Italian taxpayers to cough up at a time when state debt is 133 percent of GDP. Matteo Renzi, the likely prime minister, should try something different.

Jan 23, 2014
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Banks can gain as well as lose from fund usurpers

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By Neil Unmack

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

Asset managers are making inroads into the corporate lending market. Banks once looked on these “direct lenders” as rivals. But working with funds can help banks manage refinancing risks, and retain clients as they deleverage.

Dec 27, 2013
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Europe will court shutdown with new parliament

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By Neil Unmack

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

The European Parliament that will be elected next year will be the most powerful and most fragile in the short history of the institution. It will be the first to use powers afforded by the Lisbon treaty: among other things, it will appoint the president of the European Commission. But support for its authority is waning. Europeans will neglect the polls and more votes will be captured by anti-euro, populist or far-right parties.

Dec 2, 2013
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BoE’s small-firm stimulus is blueprint for Draghi

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By Neil Unmack

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

The euro zone is no longer collapsing, but credit is. The European Central Bank is reportedly considering giving banks cheap loans to stimulate lending. The Bank of England’s so-called Funding for Lending scheme shows that’s tricky, but the euro zone shouldn’t hold back.

Nov 19, 2013
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DSM’s pill deal oddly blends carve-out and LBO

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

DSM has come up with an odd formulation to solve its drug-production headache. The world’s biggest vitamin maker is merging its DSM Pharmaceutical Products (DPP) business with a private equity-backed rival. DPP was a subscale distraction. But the precise benefits of the $2.6 billion tie-up are hard to fathom. And DSM cedes control of the unit without reducing its economic exposure.

Nov 11, 2013
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Shire adds to premium valuation with toppy deal

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By Neil Unmack

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

Markets must like Shire’s boldness. Shares of the UK pharmaceutical firm jumped almost 4 percent on the news it would acquire ViroPharma, even though it agreed to pay an eye-watering nine times this year’s sales for the biotech group.

Oct 9, 2013
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Italy’s corporate zombies haunt Letta reboot

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By Neil Unmack

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

Italy’s corporate zombies are testing Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s reform intentions. The sagas of Alitalia and Telecom Italia share a common theme: both the airline and the telecom operator are suffering under shareholder structures derived from past attempts to block foreign ownership. For Letta, they offer a chance to prove that he can make tough decisions – or that he’s happy with business as usual.

Sep 9, 2013
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Brussels partly detoxifies Monte dei Paschi rescue

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By Neil Unmack

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

The world’s oldest bank is being dragged into the modern era. For some time, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena’s shareholder-friendly bailout has sat oddly with Brussels’ new burden-sharing regime. A tough stance from the European Commission now means the disparity is less glaring.