Daily Archives: Jan 31, 2012

It’s one of those days executives at Brazil’s Bradesco bank would probably rather forget.

The country’s second-biggest non-state bank reported lower fourth-quarter profit, missed analysts’ estimates, and saw its shares plunge more than 3 per cent. To top it off, a group of hackers picked this day to bring down Bradesco’s website as part of a campaign against injustice and corruption. Read more

Juan Monteverde, an Argentine school teacher, has been waiting in line for two hours to get the smart card, SUBE, he hopes will keep his bus fares at around $0.58 .

He only takes a couple of buses a day, but has colleagues – known here as “taxi teachers” – who take as many as six to get to the classes they teach in one school in the morning, another in the afternoon and another in the evening. For them, getting the smart card is essential or their monthly transport bill is set to double. Read more

Here’s one for all those Latinos feeling starved of an Iranian angle on regional affairs: Iran is to launch a Spanish-language television network, called Hispan TV, aimed at “Spaniards and Latin nations”.

That may leave some Brazilians feeling a bit miffed. Or not. But then relations between Brazil and Iran, so close so briefly under Brazil’s former charismatic president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, have gone a bit colder under the more businesslike Dilma Rousseff. Read more

Russia released a preliminary estimate for 2011 GDP growth on Tuesday – and at 4.3 per cent, it looks pretty healthy.

The figure crept ahead of analyst expectations, buoyed by a strong recovery in consumer demand over the year, while 2010 growth was revised upwards, also to 4.3 per cent. Renaissance Capital was cautiously bullish, calling the forecast “reason for a (modest) celebration”. Read more

Turkey’s central bank plans to get the country’s double digit inflation rate on track – but not before the middle of next year. And the success of its plans will largely depend on a relatively strong Turkish lira. Read more

What to do with a real estate developer that built the world’s biggest indoor theme park (left), complete with its fastest rollercoaster, but can’t seem to make money?

That question has been bothering the government of Abu Dhabi for some time now, as it grapples with the future of Aldar, a state-owned property company that has needed just as much help as the most troubled empire-builders in neighboring Dubai. Read more

Indian telecoms group Bharti Airtel bet big in Africa over 2011 – but its ambitions were stymied by a Nigerian court on Monday.

A legal dispute with Econet Wireless, a rival which operates mostly in Zimbabwe, has thrown its Nigerian business into disarray. Bharti’s ownership of Airtel Nigeria has been declared “null and void” because Econet, a 5 per cent shareholder in the original business, was not consulted on the transfer. Read more

Davos is over for another year, but here’s something we missed: HCL Technologies, India’s fourth-largest IT company, plans to add 10,000 jobs in the west in the next five years.

Call it the new world helping out the old – and a convenient way to deflect complaints about Indian IT companies sucking jobs out of the US and Europe during tough economic times. Read more

Concerns about the growing economic role of the Hungarian government are among the issues holding back the European Union and the International Monetary Fund from rushing to Budapest’s assistance.

But that’s not stopping prime minister Viktor Orbán from pushing even further into the economy, with a consortium of state companies on Tuesday securing entry into the mobile phone market. Read more

The rising costs of pensions and healthcare are challenges not limited to the developed world. As a report from Standard & Poor’s shows, the biggest likely increases in these budgets over the coming decades won’t come in the US, western Europe or Japan – but in Russia, Brazil and South Korea.

Policymakers have no easy answers – anywhere: emerging market governments probably have a bit more room for manoeuvre than their rich-world rivals but not a lot. Read more

* EBRD takes stake in merged Russian bourse

* Middle East scores highly in corruption

* China ministry says to bar giant ships from ports

* Victory for Merkel over fiscal treaty Read more

The answer is: Hernán Crespo (left), the Argentinean striker who has knocked in a few goals in his time in Italy’s Serie A and the English Premier League. On Monday he became the top gem of India’s new Premier League Soccer , the country’s latest venture to bring football to the masses.

The seasoned striker was signed by Barasat – one of five PLS franchises – for $840,000, the highest bid in the players’ auction of the new tournament, which is modelled on the highly lucrative Twenty20 Indian Premier League of cricket. Other aging superstars who once lit up Europe’s big leagues also went for large sums. But can football take off in India? Read more

Microsoft’s Beijing office handed out a curious Chinese New Year’s gift to its staff a few weeks ago: a heavy-duty gas mask. Other global companies have also been distributing face masks to their Beijing staff, including electronics maker LG.

Why such a morose gift during a holiday season? Air pollution and its health impact is becoming a bigger concern in China’s smoggy capital. Read more

Tuesday’s treat from the beyondbrics team: Lex on the construction machinery land-grab; who is Africa’s ideal development partner?; a $1.3bn decision that encapsulates Indonesia’s problems; China’s equivalent of Twitter, Sina Weibo, damaged by high-profile snubs; and why twitter itself will regret flirting with censorship.  Read more

By Andraž Grahek of KD Funds

On Saturday, a full eight weeks after parliamentary elections in Slovenia, Janez Janša, the leader of the centre-right SDS, finally secured parliamentary backing for his appointment as prime minister and a mandate to form a five-party coalition government.

Janša has got the job after some tortuous political manouvering and bungling by his chief challenger, Zoran Jankovic, mayor of Ljubljana and ex-CEO of Mercator, the largest hypermarket chain in the Balkans. But given the economic mess the new government faces, it may be Jankovic, who eventually gets the last laugh. Read more

Blame it on Europe and the US. Taiwan’s economy grew by just 1.9 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2011, far below economists’ estimates of 2.8 per cent, according to government data announced on Thursday. For the full year, the economy grew by 4.03 per cent.

It gets worse when you look at the quarterly numbers. Fourth quarter GDP was down -0.25 per cent from the third, which was down -0.21 per cent from the second. So Taiwan has, technically, slipped into recession. Read more

After falling 16 per cent in 2011 – and earning the dubious distinction of Asia’s worst-performing currency – the rupee bounced back in January by 7 per cent against the dollar, its best monthly performance in over a decade.

It stood at 49.54 against the dollar on Tuesday, after repeatedly trading at its weakest-ever levels above 53 last month.

Economists told beyondbrics the rupee’s recent surge was driven by an increase in capital flows – particularly deposits by non-resident Indians taking advantage of a weak rupee and high interest rates. But with the euro still in turmoil the appreciation is not expected to last long. Read more

Manmohan Singh, India’s prime minister, has lit a proverbial fire under the country’s big state-owned companies. He has ordered a $35bn wave of public sector investment – that he will personally oversee – to reverse a decline in the fast-growing economy’s growth rate.

But his top bureaucrats can do much more to get better value out of a state sector that represents a considerable chunk of the Bombay Stock Exchange’s market capitalisation. Read more

Georges Plassat, who was appointed on Monday as the new chief executive of Carrefour, the world’s second largest retailer after Walmart, will have many questions on his agenda.

Among them is what to do about emerging markets, arguably the brightest spot in the French group’s business. After a decade of slow but steady decline – including five profit warnings in 18 months and three chief executives in five years -  Carrefour shareholders have good reason to be grateful for these farflung operations. But will they hang on to their jewels, or will they sell? Read more

Unilever, the consumer goods group, is due to release third quarter results on Thursday [not Tuesday as wrongly reported earlier].  The FT’s Alphaville blog will host chief financial officer Jean-Marc Huet for a live Q&A session at 11am to discuss the numbers. Huet also gave his thoughts last year: here’s the transcript.

In August, Unilever said it expected to see three-quarters of its turnover coming from emerging markets by 2020. To get involved, log on to Alphaville’s ‘Markets Live’ session.