Edition:
United Kingdom

Ed Cropley

Breakingviews - UK Labour’s broadband plan is free of most logic

15 Nov 2019

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - “British Broadband” is a catchy alliterative title, but that’s about all. The opposition Labour party on Thursday announced it wants to nationalise telecoms provider BT’s network in order to give everyone speedy fibre connections. State ownership might fix the country’s lagging communications infrastructure. But the promise of free web surfing risks condemning the idea to previous failed experiments in public ownership like British Coal or carmaker British Leyland.

Breakingviews - Iliad’s baffling buyback tests investor credulity

12 Nov 2019

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Xavier Niel is adding financial wizardry to his reputation for entrepreneurial flair. The French billionaire on Tuesday unveiled a convoluted share buyback and capital increase that could raise his stake in Iliad, the struggling telecom group he controls, by 20%. It looks a costly way to buy shares.

Breakingviews - Vestas buttresses Denmark’s wind-power primacy

07 Nov 2019

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - To bacon and tragic Shakespearean princes, Denmark can add a new claim to fame: wind power. Despite being small and only moderately blustery, the northern European nation is home to the sector’s two leading lights – wind farm operator Orsted and turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems, worth $54 billion between them. With climate change inflating the global wind-power market to more than $1 trillion in the next two decades, there’s potential for both to get a whole lot bigger.

Breakingviews - Ryanair’s ascent could yet hit a 737 MAX ceiling

04 Nov 2019

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Ryanair still has a 737 MAX-shaped cloud on the horizon. Shares in the European budget airline are up more than 50% since hitting a near five-year low in August, mainly because a price war is proving less painful than feared. Yet outsize exposure to the grounded Boeing jet is crimping future passenger growth. Without the super-efficient plane in its fleet, costs will also be harder to control.

Breakingviews - Germany’s takeover rules are more S&M than M&A

28 Oct 2019

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - In takeovers, minority investors are often treated like the slaves of their acquiring masters. Not in Germany. M&A rules in Europe’s biggest economy, centred around ominously named “domination agreements”, indeed feature a strong hint of masochism. But as Austrian chipmaker AMS may soon discover in its 4.5 billion euro quest to snare Munich-based Osram Licht, it’s normally the bidder which ends up enduring the pain.

Breakingviews - Ericsson’s upbeat 5G forecasts still too cautious

17 Oct 2019

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Given its importance to 5G, Ericsson has major self-confidence issues. The $30 billion Swedish firm has added 10% to its 2020 sales forecasts for the superfast mobile kit that will supposedly bring the ‘internet of things’ to life. With Chinese market leader Huawei weighed down by U.S. President Donald Trump, that looks overly cautious.

Breakingviews - Angola’s answer to Aramco has similarly tricky IPO

09 Oct 2019

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Sonangol is Angola’s answer to Aramco - in more ways than one. After years of false starts, the Angolan state oil giant is on track for an IPO. As with its larger Saudi cousin, awkward questions about financial transparency and governance could yet cause a derailment.

Zimbabwe's Mugabe: from liberator to oppressor

06 Sep 2019

Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe was feted as an African liberation hero and champion of racial reconciliation when he first came to power in a nation divided by nearly a century of white colonial rule. | Video

Breakingviews - Britain’s blackout whodunnit has multiple suspects

20 Aug 2019

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Ofgem is like inspector Hercule Poirot at the end of an Agatha Christie whodunnit. Britain’s energy regulator has multiple suspects to consider after this month’s major blackout. The true culprit may be how the government is implementing its uber-green energy policy.

Breakingviews - Ebola bonds are wonky way to tackle pandemics

13 Aug 2019

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Ebola bonds seem like a decent idea. Marrying the good intentions of concerned governments and market incentives sounds a promising way to battle the latest outbreak of the deadly disease, in which 1,800 people have already died. Yet the initiative looks less than the sum of its parts.

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