Daily Archives: Nov 29, 2012

Football bosses are not normally ones to mince their words, but Brazil’s new coach really surpassed himself on Thursday. Luiz Felipe Scolari, or Felipão (Big Phil) as he’s known, has only been in the job a few hours but he’s already managed to spark a national scandal, it seems.

At a press conference to announce his appointment, the former Chelsea manager was asked about the pressure the Brazilian team would be under to win the World Cup on their home turf in 2014. 

Phew! That’s how Wednesday’s Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, freezing a controversial order in favour of holdout creditors led by US fund Elliott that could have triggered an imminent Argentine default, was greeted in Buenos Aires.

But don’t uncork the champagne too soon. It’s going to be a tough month. It’s no longer a race against imminent default but a race to convince appeals court judges that they must review New York Judge Thomas Griesa’s controversial February ruling on pari passu. 

Russian Railways has approved the $1.6bn sale of its remaining 25 per cent in Freight One completing the privatisation of its biggest freight subsidiary. But that doesn’t mean the state rail monopoly will part lightly with other prize assets.

On the contrary. If the group gets its way, plans to sell off its remaining stake in London-listed Transcontainer will fall by the wayside as the container carrier is wrapped into a proposed new rail transport group owned jointly by Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus. 

Who’d be a shipbuilder? New figures from Drewry Maritime Research show the bleak prospects facing the industry after a slump in world trade – or, more precisely, a slump in the rest of the world’s trade with China. 

Fixing Nigeria’s power woes through privatisation was never going to easy. Staying employed while trying to do so seems equally challenging.

First to fall was Barth Nnaji (right), the power minister who had been credited with moving forward the privatisation process but was pressured to resign in August due a conflict of interest. On Tuesday he was followed out the door by Bolanle Onogorowa (left), head of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), the agency that oversees the sell-off of government assets. 

By Ben Aris of bne

Reforms to Russia’s automotive sector have been a rare success story in the country. The latest illustration comes from Sollers, the independent carmaker, whose announcement of robust six-month earnings for its new joint venture with Ford led to a doubling of its share price. 

Courtesy of Ukraine's Cabinet of Ministers

From the PR viewpoint, things went terribly wrong for Ukraine during an energy deal signing ceremony on Monday, intended in part to demonstrate to Russia’s Gazprom that Kiev was moving fast to build its first LNG terminal, and had big backers – and thereby give the country leverage in negotiations over gas prices.

Tragically, the much-sought-after leverage evaporated after a Spanish “negotiator” Jordi Sarda Bonvehi breached authority by signing a non-binding co-operation agreement with Ukraine on behalf of Gas Natural Fenosa, causing all sorts of bother, as reported by beyondbrics

There had been talk of mining splits in South Africa and now it’s happened – Gold Fields, the world’s 4th largest miner, said on Thursday it would spin off two of its more troubled mines into a new company, Sibanye Gold, created out of an existing subsidiary.

The move was cheered by investors, who promptly pushed Gold Fields shares up nearly 7 per cent on the day. 

After Megafon, another opportunity to invest in CIS telecoms: Kcell, Kazakhstan’s biggest mobile telephone operator, expects to raise $525m-$650m in an initial public offering. 

* Emerging-market stocks rise

* Argentina debt repayment order frozen

* Rio Tinto seeks $5bn cuts over 2 years

* Gold Fields to spin off mature mines 

With Egypt on political tenterhooks on Thursday as president Mohamed Morsi prepared to address the nation, investors were understandably nervous.

Egyptian shares slumped 2.6 per cent at the opening before recovering slightly to trade 0.9 per cent down on the day, and have lost 12.3 per cent since Morsi (pictured) last week precipitated the latest crisis by assuming increased powers. 

Just as China’s stock market continues its grind downwards, India’s is looking up. On Thursday the Sensex index climbed to a new 2012 high, rising above the 19,000 point mark after a gain of 1.8 per cent.

While the broader push for economic reform is the background to Thursday’s jump, the immediate jolt may well have come from a bullish Goldman Sachs report. 

Wednesday’s wisdom from the BB team: domestic gloom in China as markets rally; Megafon shares fade after IPO; and Mantega foresees a rebound. Plus: favoritism for the garment industry in Bangladesh; Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili accuses the Washington Post of working with his nemesis; and India’s government debates retail FDI in parliament. 

The territorial dispute between China and Japan has already given business a jolt between the two nations, especially car sales.

On Thursday, three of the big Japanese carmakers released numbers showing how the spat has hurt production. The numbers are grim, but could have been grimmer. 

There is no doubt that Korean companies are gloomy about their business outlook. But it is sluggish domestic consumption rather than slowing exports that worries them the most, as debt-laden consumers show no signs of opening their wallets.