Nirav Modi (right) is a jeweller to the stars including Naomi Watts (left) He was already the second most famous Mr N Modi of India. But now Nirav Modi – the billionaire diamond trader and jeweller to Hollywood and Bollywood stars – is in the news for very different […]
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – When a Mexican real estate investment trust bought four hotels along the country’s Gulf coast operating under the Marriott, Quality Inn and Fiesta Inn brands, it expected the government’s recent energy reform to attract droves of oil executives, engineers and technicians. Instead, FibraHotel’s properties in Ciudad del Carmen and Villahermosa and an earlier purchase in Coatzacoalcos, like many along the Gulf, are pinched for guests.
President Enrique Pena Nieto’s 2013-14 legislative overhaul of the energy sector, which broke a 75-year monopoly by state oil firm Pemex, had been expected to jumpstart the economy and revive the declining oil industry. It coincided, however, with a global collapse in oil prices that muted investors’ interest. Prices are now rebounding, and the government forecasts that some of the world’s largest oil companies will ultimately invest about $150 billion in Mexico if they succeed in extraction efforts. But experts say the promised growth could still be several years coming.
TORONTO/MELBOURNE (Reuters) – As shareholders push the world’s cash-rich miners to maintain lush dividends and make the most of existing assets, Glencore is taking a slightly different tactic that positions it for shrewd acquisitions. Like other big rivals, Glencore is expected to lift its dividend payout when it reports results next week, but the Swiss miner and trader is also “open for business” when it comes to buying mines or companies, its chief financial officer said in December.
“Glencore’s deal-making is now very strategic. They’re trying to find businesses with the highest margin and get into sectors where they will have a competitive advantage,” said David Neuhauser, managing director of Livermore Partners, which holds Glencore shares.
“They want to do deals where they are not just first movers, but can become leaders,” he added.
Rising commodity prices, cost cuts and global growth have improved their balance sheets, but most miners are not plowing money into mega-mines or big acquisitions – caution welcomed by investors burned by massive losses in the last downturn.
The US has rejected a proposed merger between the Chicago Stock Exchange and a Chinese-linked investor group. The decision comes after more than two years of reviews by officials. The tie-up was initially approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, pending further approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
But US politicians, including President Trump, have said letting a Chinese firm invest in a US exchange was a bad idea. Under the proposal, the Chinese-led North America Casin Holdings group would have bought a minority share of the privately owned Chicago Stock Exchange. The exchange, which handles just 0.5% of US stock trades, had said the deal would have provided the exchange with “vital capital”. That funding would have been used “to boost numerous initiatives designed to benefit the city of Chicago, the US economy and market structure as a whole”.
(Reuters) – CBS Corp (CBS.N) topped Wall Street’s quarterly revenue and profit estimates on Thursday as U.S. and international distributors licensed more of its shows. The owner of the most-watched U.S. TV network said it also expects high single-digit revenue growth for 2018 and earnings per share growth in the high teens, ahead of Wall Street’s average estimates. The company’s shares were slightly higher in after-hours trading.
CBS, whose shows include “Big Bang Theory” and “NCIS,” has focused on diversifying its revenue away from advertising as many brands shift spending online from TV. Advertising accounted for 44 percent of its revenue in the quarter, compared to 51 percent a year ago. The company said it now has nearly 5 million subscribers for its CBS All Access and Showtime online streaming services. Its goal is to have 8 million subscribers of the two services by 2020. The New York-based media company beat Wall Street’s expectations despite a 3 percent drop in advertising revenue after hitting a record the previous year. CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said on an analyst call he is “optimistic” that this year will see stronger political advertising than 2016 with the U.S. midterm elections.
(Reuters) – U.S. industrial conglomerate General Electric (GE.N) has reached a deal to sell parts of its overseas lighting business to a company controlled by former executive Joerg Bauer for an undisclosed amount. Bauer most recently served as President of GE Hungary where GE Lighting’s Europe, Middle East, Africa and Turkey business is headquartered, the company said in an emailed statement.
The deal, which marks the first step in the divesture of the lighting business, includes GE Lighting in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Turkey, along with its Global Automotive Lighting businesses. The remaining pieces of GE Lighting, as well as the Current, will now be marketed as part of a separate sale or sales, the company also added.
The lighting business dates to the earliest days of GE, which was co-founded by Thomas Edison more than a century ago.GE has been preparing to sell the lighting business, as part of a broad restructuring plan aimed at shedding $20 billion worth of assets and focus the remaining company on three core divisions: power, aviation and health care. Profit fell sharply at GE’s lighting business last year. It earned $93 million on revenue of nearly $2 billion in 2017, down from $199 million on $4.8 billion in 2016. GE Chief Executive John Flannery last month said the conglomerate was looking at restructuring options “including separately traded assets” after it announced more than $11 billion in charges from its long-term care insurance portfolio and new U.S. tax laws.
LONDON (Reuters) – Revenues at the world’s 12 biggest investment banks fell to their lowest levels since 2008 last year, a survey showed on Friday, while a return to more volatile global markets in 2018 could be a mixed blessing for their business.
“In January banks were thinking ‘2018 will be bad for equities revenues but not as bad as 2017’, but now with the volatility of the last two weeks all bets are off,” Amrit Shahani, research director at analytics firm Coalition said.
Revenues for the 12 investment banks in the survey fell to $150 billion in 2017, a 4 percent decline on 2016, Coalition said, with falls in income from trading in equities and fixed income, currencies and commodities (FICC), two of their three main business lines, with the latter dropping 11 percent. Investment banking advisory, the third main plank, was 2017’s bright spot with revenues up 10 percent annually thanks to a strong flow of underwriting fees from stock offerings. The decline in revenues meant that return on equity, a key measure of profitability, fell to an average of 8.6 percent, a level at which most banks do not meet their cost of capital.
South Africa’s new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, will have a daunting in-tray, including a formidable economic agenda to tackle. Growth under Jacob Zuma’s leadership has been weak and unemployment is painfully high. It is one of the most unequal countries on the planet – the legacy of apartheid is still evident. And businesses face many barriers that make it harder to contribute to addressing these problems.
Here are some figures to set out the challenge. Over the last decade, the South African economy has grown at an average annual rate of 1.4%. An emerging economy should be able to manage much better, perhaps something close to 5%. Turkey and Malaysia both have, and China, in spite of its much vaunted slowdown, has done a good deal better. South Africa’s growth in the last few years has weakened to such an extent that it’s slower than the increase in population. GDP (gross domestic product) per person, which is a rough and ready indicator of average living standards, has declined. The unemployment rate is worse than one in four.
Here’s a question. Does a bag have a gender? My husband recently spent more than £100 on a Scandi-made rucksack – black canvas, hint of leather on the trim. But has it ever crossed his mind that he’s carrying a manbag? Well, yes, as it happens. To my surprise it has and he’s happy, proud even, to admit it. And he’s not alone – according to Mintel 15% of British men bought a manbag last year – and that rises to nearly a quarter among 16-34 year olds.
Of course it doesn’t hurt that big names have flocked to adopt the trend. Pharrell Williams, David Beckham, Kanye West, Ryan Gosling and Justin Theroux are just some of those who’ve been spotted rocking a manbag. Last year style bible Vogue got to grips with the issue. From it we learnt there are also such things as “murses” – man purses – or, if bigger, “motes” – men’s tote bags. It seems though it’s not a new fashion. Back in 2016, GQ magazine investigated “A brief history of the man-bag” and traced its origins back to Renaissance girth pouches.
A new report suggests the government should give £10,000 per year to every citizen under 55. The Royal Society for the encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) says it could pave the way to everyone getting a basic state wage. The Labour party has also said it is looking into similar arguments for a Universal Basic Income (UBI).
And Scotland is already piloting UBI schemes in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Fife and North Ayrshire. The RSA report says the payments would come from a British sovereign wealth fund in the form of two annual £5,000 dividends. The payments would not be means tested, and applicants would only have to demonstrate how they intended to use the money. Most state benefits would be cut under the scheme. The RSA said the dividends would help steer people through the challenges of the 2020s.
Sweden is one of the most innovative countries in the world, yet has a business culture that discourages bragging about its success. So is this humility a help or a hindrance when it comes to start-ups? From household names such as Spotify and Skype, to gaming leaders King and Mojang and cashless payment companies iZettle and Klarna, Sweden is a hotspot for industry-changing new technologies.
Despite just 10 million inhabitants occupying a land mass largely defined by forest wilderness, the Nordic nation has in recent years created more billion dollar companies per capita than anywhere else outside Silicon Valley. Last month, Sweden was top in Europe in Bloomberg’s global innovation ranking. The more familiar narrative for Sweden’s start-up success story typically touches on several factors. It has a strong digital infrastructure, a highly educated, tech-savvy workforce, and an ideal population size for testing new innovations. And for those whose ideas don’t take flight, there is a strong social welfare net to set them back on their feet.