LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - International Airlines Group boss Luis Gallego won’t be the only airline chief executive bracing for a wretched Christmas. Barely six weeks into the job, the Spaniard revealed that the parent of British Airways and Iberia lost 1.3 billion euros in the third quarter, and would not break even in the next three months due to rising infections and renewed travel restrictions. Dashed hopes are becoming aviation’s default setting.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - The European telecommunications buyout buffet just added a meaty Dutch main course. Private equity firm EQT is casting a hungry eye over KPN, Bloomberg reported on Friday. At 16 billion euros including debt, the former Netherlands state monopoly would make a sizeable meal, rendered all the chewier by the need to keep the government on side. Happily, for potential corporate raiders, there are more digestible morsels on the menu elsewhere.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - In its darkest hour, Britain turned to Rolls-Royce for salvation. As a developer of the Merlin engine that powered the legendary Spitfire, the 114-year-old firm can claim more credit than most for the Battle of Britain air victory that prevented a Nazi invasion. Eighty years later, in arguably Rolls’ darkest hour, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is returning the favour.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Rolls-Royce’s plans to flog chunks of the family silver look like self-harm. Although the 2 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) it hopes to raise will please the struggling British jet-engine maker’s lenders, Rolls will be left with a permanent limp, assuming it eventually recovers from the damage caused by Covid-19 lockdowns.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Does anybody really want to buy BT? Despite nearly four decades as a private company, Britain’s former state telecommunication monopoly has struggled to balance the demands of politicians and shareholders. With Prime Minister Boris Johnson targeting rapid broadband rollout as a solution to British inequality, the tension is particularly acute. But that may provide a new owner with a possible edge to add to BT’s juicy breakup potential.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Cable Cowboy John Malone has pulled an aggressive pirouette on a tricky Alpine pass. Liberty Global, the telecoms group founded by the U.S. billionaire, is paying $7.4 billion for Sunrise Communications less than a year after failing to persuade it to buy its own Swiss unit. It’s a riskier and more expensive deal than the original plan, but one Malone can probably live with.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Saudi Aramco has deployed its triple-bottomed dividend defences sooner than expected. The Saudi state energy giant is handing $18.75 billion to investors this quarter even though earnings plunged to little more than a third of that amount. It’s a contrast with rivals BP and Royal Dutch Shell, which both trimmed their payouts. But even if crude demand plunges again, the $1.8 trillion firm has multiple ways of ensuring rewards for shareholders.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Bernard Looney is betting BP’s house on his green energy ambitions. Besides cutting the dividend to free up cash for renewable investment, the chief executive of what is still essentially a 61 billion pound oil and gas company plans to reduce hydrocarbon production by 40% over the next decade.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - British consumers could end up paying for the government’s Huawei Technologies red card. If Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposes a total ban on the Chinese company’s equipment from superfast 5G networks, mobile operators BT and Vodafone may have to spend over a billion pounds ripping out and replacing existing Huawei kit. The bill for the sudden change will land with taxpayers.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - AEX Gold is setting the early pace in a global warming-fuelled scramble for Greenland’s mineral wealth. The Canadian miner wants to restart bullion production on the giant ice-bound island with 45 million pounds unearthed from a planned UK listing. The idea is less sketchy than it looks.