Olaf's Feed
Jun 11, 2014
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New Lufthansa chief starts with crash landing

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By Olaf Storbeck

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

Lufthansa’s problems go much deeper than the 2014 revenue miss that just forced the group to issue a profit warning. The German airline’s ambitious medium-term cost-cutting programme “Score” also lies in tatters. So does Lufthansa’s credibility with investors, which sent the share down 14 percent on June 11.

May 15, 2014
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Good German growth covers up bad economic policies

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By Olaf Storbeck

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

Germany’s pleasant growth surprise comes with a hidden cost. The stronger-than-expected upswing allows Angela Merkel, the chancellor, to carry on with some misguided policies.

May 7, 2014
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Alstom chase is distraction from Siemens revamp

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By Olaf Storbeck

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

Joe Kaeser has hammered out a plausible new strategy for Siemens. The new chief executive’s focus on internal reforms could make the unwieldy engineering giant less complex and more efficient. But Kaeser is simultaneously mulling a bid for the power assets of French rival Alstom – a big-bang acquisition that could foil “Vision 2020.”

May 6, 2014
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Tax steroids justify Bayer’s $14 bln Merck deal

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

Bayer’s $14.2 billion acquisition of Merck’s consumer care business is less pricey than it looks. Non-prescription pharmaceuticals are among the most sought-after assets in global healthcare. Demand for “over the counter” drugs, driven by emerging markets, is growing at 4 percent to 5 percent a year. Revenue is unthreatened by patent cliffs and less vulnerable to regulatory interference. Strong OTC brands earn EBITDA margins of 30 percent and more.

Apr 25, 2014
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Alstom split would energise business units

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By Olaf Storbeck

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

Ending the days of Alstom as an unwieldy conglomerate would end many of its headaches. Given time, the group could probably take care of its problems on its own. Outside help would allow it to speed up the recovery. And General Electric could be a powerful catalyst for the transformation.

Apr 25, 2014
via Breakingviews

Alstom split would energise business units

Photo

By Olaf Storbeck

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

Ending the days of Alstom as an unwieldy conglomerate would end many of its headaches. Given time, the group could probably take care of its problems on its own. Outside help would allow it to speed up the recovery. And General Electric could be a powerful catalyst for the transformation.

Apr 22, 2014
via Breakingviews

Manchester United’s crisis has silver lining

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By Olaf Storbeck

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

Manchester United fans won’t like this, but the club’s crisis is exactly what the soccer business, and United itself, needs. A manager ditched after 10 months, a lowly seventh place in the league, an enforced absence from European football: this is the kind of drama that keeps the sport exciting and secures future revenue streams. Nothing is more boring than a league dominated by an overwhelming team.

Apr 22, 2014
via Breakingviews

Manchester United’s crisis has silver lining

Photo

By Olaf Storbeck

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

Manchester United fans won’t like this, but the club’s crisis is exactly what the soccer business, and United itself, needs. A manager ditched after 10 months, a lowly seventh place in the league, an enforced absence from European football: this is the kind of drama that keeps the sport exciting and secures future revenue streams. Nothing is more boring than a league dominated by an overwhelming team.

Mar 25, 2014
via Breakingviews

Berlin’s housing boom has lessons for London

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By Olaf Storbeck

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

Berlin is becoming a bit more Londonesque. While the buses in Germany’s capital are still yellow, not red, and the locals remain grumpy, the behaviour of housing prices has a British accent. According to property website ImmoWelt.de, asking prices for one-bedroom flats have risen 53 percent in three years. The Bundesbank has warned that property prices are roughly a quarter higher than fundamentals justify. But Berlin’s boom is much less likely to last than London’s.

Mar 25, 2014
via Breakingviews

Berlin’s housing boom has lessons for London

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By Olaf Storbeck

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

Berlin is becoming a bit more Londonesque. While the buses in Germany’s capital are still yellow, not red, and the locals remain grumpy, the behaviour of housing prices has a British accent. According to property website ImmoWelt.de, asking prices for one-bedroom flats have risen 53 percent in three years. The Bundesbank has warned that property prices are roughly a quarter higher than fundamentals justify. But Berlin’s boom is much less likely to last than London’s.