Hugo Chávez’s designated successor, Nicolás Maduro, warned on Wednesday of “difficult” times ahead. Although Venezuela’s cancer-stricken president was successfully operated on this week, the recovery period is going to be “complex and tough”, he said.
This has significant implications for the economy, particularly given the fact that information minister Ernesto Villegas openly raised the possibility that Chávez might not even be back in time for the inauguration of his next presidential term on January 10th – in which case the people should be “understanding”. Read more
If you’re ever in any doubt about which countries Brazilian companies are looking to for expansion, just follow the money, or rather the banks.
After buying a US lender last year to cater for the growing number of Brazilians setting up home in Florida, state-controlled Banco do Brasil is now targeting the rest of Latin America and China. Read more
When, in a traditional Mexican cantina, it’s time for one for the road, drinkers ask for las penúltimas. It’s best not to tempt fate by calling the last drinks las últimas, simply because they might be the last ever.
A similar logic could be applied to Diageo’s efforts to acquire the world’s leading tequila maker, José Cuervo. Both companies have announced that the talks have irretrievably broken down. But some observers are not prepared to accept that the long-running saga is now finally over. Read more
Louise Lucas, the FT’s Consumer Industries Editor, explains how companies are taking their goods to people’s homes in Brazil, one of the world’s biggest consumer markets.
Could the end to a grim year bring hope for beleaguered Romania? Markets have welcomed the ruling coalition’s landslide victory in Sunday’s election, hoping the country will win a new deal with the IMF and push through reforms in return. But have investors factored in the challenges ahead, or Romania’s fluid political landscape? Read more
What price a reputation? Earning a good one takes time. Losing it can take a moment. So some of the biggest companies based in Brazil, Russia, India and China may not be pleased to read a report issued this week by RepRisk, a consultancy that calls itself “the leading provider of business intelligence on environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks”. Read more
The bottomless money pit that is Lot Polish Airlines is asking for yet another handout – this time 400m zlotys ($127m), but that is only the starting point of a demand that could go as high as 1bn zlotys or more.
The airline’s need for cash took many by surprise. Lot has been making a loss ever since 2008 but had been expected to scrape out a small operating profit this year after posting a 145m zlotys loss in 2011. Read more
Will a Bollywood producer soon capture and broadcast the Olympic Games? It’s possible, as the Indian conglomerate Hinduja announced this week it’s in exclusive negotiations to buy Alfacam, a TV production company that specialises in filming major sport events.
This summer Alfacam was among those hired to film the London Olympic Games and the European Football Championships in Poland and Ukraine. But for a while it looked like that would the last tour de force of the struggling Belgian company. Read more
By Ben Aris of bne
Skoda, the Czech subsidiary of German car giant Volkswagen, launched production of its aptly named Yeti sports utility vehicle at GAZ’s facility in Nizhny Novgorod on December 6, as the iconic Russian car maker takes another step on the road to recovery.
GAZ (which stands for the Gorky Automotive Plant) was effectively bankrupt when Bo Andersson (pictured) was hired by owner oligarch Oleg Deripaska in 2009. “It was a nightmare. We owed $250m to suppliers, but within ten months we managed to pay them all back,” says the former Swedish brigadier general who remade himself as a car man working for General Motors. Read more
* North Korea launches ballistic missile
* Hong Kong introduces tougher IPO rules
* Saudis cut oil output to lowest in a year
* India to probe Walmart’s lobbying activities Read more
China’s big spenders have finally made it to the top of the league table: according to reports published on Wednesday by McKinsey and Bain, mainlanders are now the world’s biggest luxury buyers – even if they choose to do more and more of their shopping away from home. Read more
Wednesday’s picks from the beyondbrics team: Saudi’s tricky call; Egypt’s lessons on the perils of rushed transition; and Russia’s “strategy of state nationalities policy”. Plus: India’s Congress Party’s support for Walmart marks a milestone; Niemeyer’s impractical, utopian ideas of the past; and eradicating corruption in Nigeria. Read more
India’s industrial production grew 8.2 percent year-on-year in October, far exceeding analysts’ expectations of 5.1 per cent.
But the figures may be deceptively positive. With the date of Diwali moving to November from October last year, seasonal factors are creating a base effect – which will switch in November, so there could be disappointment to come. Read more
Violent protests over the ownership of some uninhabited islands have brought the fractious relationship between Japan and China into the spotlight. From both sides of the East China Sea, the FT’s Mure Dickie examines the issue of rising nationalism.