Acquiring a small bank in Brazil may seem like a rather brave thing to do right now. Over the past two years, seven small or mid-sized lenders have either been closed down or changed ownership as a result of financial difficulties. Several of those cases have allegedly involved fraud.
However, if you’re a big foreign bank looking to get into Brazil and you’re savvy enough to know which bank to choose, an acquisition in the sector could be a very smart move. Not only are shareholders now willing to sell for a low price, but it can also be one of the simplest ways to get a banking licence in the country.
For this reason, ABN Amro’s acquisition of Rio de Janeiro-based Banco CR2 last week seems to make sense. Read more
Argentine bonds had a bad enough day last Friday, when a US appeals court dealt it a setback in its fight not to pay “holdouts” – the owners of debt on which it defaulted in 2001 who did not accept restructuring offers in 2005 and 2010.
Monday was worse – JP Morgan, Bank of America and Barclays cut their recommendations on Argentine debt, extending Friday’s sell-off into the worst two-day rout since 2008. Read more
New United Arab Emirates central bank rules aimed at cutting lenders’ heavy exposure to state institutions have come into force – but the scale and size of the problem mean it could take years to resolve, write Simeon Kerr and Camilla Hall.
While the directive aims to protect the financial system by reducing local banks’ loans to governments and state-related entities, the latest results from some big banks suggest these credit lines are continuing to expand. Read more
A few years ago beyondbrics visited La Oroya, a town of about 30,000 people stuck in a valley high up in the Peruvian Andes. This could sound idyllic to many. But it was not.
Towering the valley was a massive chimney constantly spitting fumes with high concentration of arsenic, lead and cadmium from the local smelter. Infants were born with lead in their blood, according to local physicians. Your correspondent still remembers the rough coughs, and metallic taste with utter disgust. Read more
Whether you call it resource nationalism or getting a fair share of your natural resources, when countries introduce local ownership regulations it can hit foreign investors hard.
The latest case is Base Resources, a small-cap listed in Australia, with a flagship project in Kenya – Kwale Mineral Sands. Kenya’s mining ministry wants a local equity stake of 35 per cent of all mining licences. The market reaction? Base shares fell 36 per cent on Monday. Read more
Partial results from Ukraine’s parliamentary election on Sunday suggest a narrow victory for the governing party of Viktor Yanukovich, president since 2010.
It is still too early to say whether Yanukovich’s Party of Regions will be able to build a working majority, and at what political cost. But the election looks unlikely to make it any easier for Yanukovich to tackle his country’s pressing economic problems. Read more
It’s too early to call the result of Ukraine’s parliamentary election on Sunday but if exit polls are any guide the country is set for a delicate balancing act between government and opposition in parliament and, on the world stage, between the west and Russia.
The country branded by Angela Merkel as a dictatorship may not, by a slim margin, merit quite such outright condemnation. But the forces competing for its future could tip it either way. Read more
As Western donors prepare to pull out of Aceh, nearly eight years after the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami that killed 170,000 people in the province, the ultimate challenge is whether it can fend for itself. In the provincial capital of Banda Aceh, the signs are encouraging.
New Japanese cars fill the reconstructed streets, teenagers pack out the coffee shops in the city centre and shoppers buzz around the city’s first shopping mall – the symbol of arrival for every up-and-coming Indonesian mid-tier city. Read more
* Ukraine ruling party claims election victory
* India sets 3% deficit target for 2017
* China’s luxury buyers embrace thrift Read more
The FT’s Kanupriya Kapoor talks to three very different people about their lives, work and aspirations to understand what being middle class means in India.
Monday’s picks from the BB team: the African National Congress must renew itself; China’s political transition could lead it down a path to openness; and Brazil’s autos decelerate. Plus: China’s territorial disputes; and blackmail in the Indian media. Read more
The New York Times just ain’t what it used to be. It’s full of sensationalism, plagiarism and out-and-out fake news. Loyal readers are losing their faith.
Or so goes the verdict from that arbiter of fine journalism: the People’s Daily, mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China. Read more
Weak corporate earnings are making Korean investors nervous. South Korea’s benchmark Kospi index has fallen back below 1,900 points, near its level before the US Federal Reserve unveiled its third round of quantitative easing, as South Korean companies feel the pinch of Europe’s protracted debt crisis and the global economic slowdown. Read more
By Kim Hayward of BDO
The risk-reward dynamic is changing for companies pursuing investment opportunities overseas. And, as a result, CFOs face a quandary.
In 2011, red tape and bureaucracy topped the list of CFOs’ concerns when investing abroad. But in 2012 the focus is set firmly on the threats presented by currency fluctuations and geopolitical risk. CFOs are telling us that they face greater risk for the same reward. Read more