LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - KFC’s penny-pinching ways have left it stuffed. The fried-chicken chain owned by Yum Brands had to close hundreds of its UK restaurants after running out of poultry. Its plan to cut costs by ditching its old food supplier for a cheaper one backfired. The cock-up shows that chasing higher margins is no sure way to feather your nest.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Stuart Gulliver claims to have left behind a “simpler, stronger” bank than the one he took charge of in January 2011. The departing HSBC chief executive is mostly right. He has shrunk the Asia-focused lender’s geographical footprint and boosted its common equity Tier 1 capital ratio to a hefty 14.5 percent. Though return on equity fell short of Gulliver’s target last year, following winds should help his successor clear that hurdle.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Foxconn is aiming to manufacture something different in a new location. The Taiwanese assembler of Apple's iPhones plans to spin off a subsidiary in Shanghai. Fresh funds will help it push into new technologies. Given the nature of stock trading in China, it also could be retooling its valuation.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Should Jeremy Corbyn win Britain’s next election, his Labour Party has said it will end private sector ownership of natural monopolies like water companies. The received wisdom is that returning utilities to the public sector will be exorbitantly expensive. But that depends how it’s done.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Wall Street is turning the task of paying chief executives into something akin to snowboard cross. The Winter Olympics sport features half-a-dozen contestants hurling themselves down a narrow, twisting course with massive jumps, each trying to grab a few inches of advantage over the other while avoiding collisions. The pay race for six of America’s top bank bosses is becoming similarly bunched up.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - It can be difficult to stay on when all your peers are retiring. That’s the case for Haruhiko Kuroda who will be reappointed Bank of Japan governor. The continuity at the helm of the Japanese central bank contrasts with a changing of the guard in the United States and Europe and reduces the chances of major monetary policy shifts in Tokyo. But Kuroda faces some tricky challenges.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - When does taking a stand against social harm outweigh a financial objective? It’s a reasonable question for the likes of Lazard and BlackRock. The Wall Street investment bank advised AR-15 maker Remington on its restructuring days before Wednesday’s school shooting in Florida, perpetrated with a similar rifle – yet its asset managers talk about responsibility. So does Larry Fink, who runs BlackRock, the $6 trillion fund-management giant and top owner of firearm
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Higher wages, inflation fears and the prospect of faster than expected rate hikes are posing challenges market players haven’t seen for years. Comcast may spike Walt Disney’s potion to acquire Rupert Murdoch’s entertainment assets. Plus, Singapore’s airshow has everyone buzzing.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - German politics has become Europe’s weak link. Though the country’s left-leaning Social Democrats (SPD) last week clinched a coalition deal with Chancellor Angela Merkel, the party is now putting the agreement to grassroot members. Infighting means this is no longer a rubber stamp. A rejection would make it harder to push through reforms to the euro zone.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Credit Suisse’s openness about Asia is yet to pay off. Since taking over in 2015, Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam has been keen to ensure the $47 billion group is seen as the “entrepreneurs’ bank” in a region where managing private fortunes goes hand in hand with cutting corporate deals.
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