LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - How did Vladimir Putin and his allies take control of Russia’s economy? That’s the story Anders Aslund sets out to tell in “Russia’s Crony Capitalism: The Path from Market Economy to Kleptocracy”. The president is cast as a patriarchal overlord who handsomely rewards those loyal to him. His generosity has helped to create a new elite of friends, former co-workers and relatives. What’s less clear is what, if anything, might upset this cosy arrangement.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Independent central bankers are under attack around the world. Turkey’s Murat Cetinkaya has become the latest casualty. President Tayyip Erdogan, who wants lower interest rates to boost growth, on Saturday fired the governor who had maintained some credibility by keeping benchmark borrowing costs on hold since September. His replacement, Murat Uysal, will find it even harder to give the president what he wants.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Will that be Absolut or Smirnoff in your Cosmopolitan, Madame? Investing can be as simple as ordering a drink at the bar. But as with the after-effects of certain cocktails, the results can vary.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Metro is limbering up for a lengthy battle. The German cash-and-carry retailer on Sunday rebuffed an offer from two investors valuing the company at 5.8 billion euros. Though the offer looks stingy, Metro CEO Olaf Koch will have to convince more investors his turnaround plan is working to see off a more serious assault.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Secretive offshore UK tax havens could soon become slightly less shadowy. Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man said on Wednesday they would look at requiring companies registered there to publish their real owners on a public database by 2023. The British outlying islands are expected to move things forward off the back of a 2022 European Union review, which could see other tax havens globally shamed into following suit. But it may not turn out that way.
ST PETERSBURG (Reuters Breakingviews) - St Petersburg this week became a haven for the victims of U.S. sanctions. Shunned by Western leaders and executives, Russian President Vladimir Putin recast his annual economic conference in the Russian city as a forum for the expanding club of countries and companies in Washington’s bad books.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Unilever’s foods business is going slightly stale. Like its Swiss rival Nestlé, the Anglo-Dutch giant beat sales growth forecasts in the first quarter by growing its top line 3.1 percent on a like-for-like basis, according to Thursday’s report. New Chief Executive Alan Jope is sticking with his targets for the year and, like Nestlé, to a 20 percent operating margin goal by 2020. Beauty and homecare are doing fine, but Unilever’s foods and refreshment segment is looking less fresh.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Bankers hunting Europe equity raisings have had a fallow start to the year. They should get used to it.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Setbacks that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AK Party suffered in Sunday’s local elections will prod him into making the wrong economic policy choices. He is all the more likely now to opt for short-term fixes rather than the more profound changes that investors want but which would take time to combat recession.
MILAN/LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Ever since uppity investor Elliott Advisors turned up at Pernod Ricard late last year, Paris has been awash with talk that LVMH is lurking somewhere behind the gilded curtains, waiting to pounce on the $46 billion spirits group. The rumours reached a fever pitch in February when an equity research firm published a report detailing the potential financial benefits that might accrue from such a deal.