Daily Archives: Feb 1, 2013

MIT, Stanford and Harvard may have written case studies about his company but Martín Migoya, CEO of Globant, an Argentine-based design- and innovation-focused technology service provider, is not big on business plans.

In fact, he and three friends hatched their vision for the company, in which leading communications group WPP recently bought a 20 per cent stake for $70m, in a bar in Buenos Aires with no business plan in sight. Read more

So, it finally did it. After a series of warnings, the International Monetary Fund has issued a declaration of censure against Argentina over its faulty inflation and GDP data.

It’s an unprecedented step. It could be followed by the ultimate sanction of expulsion from the IMF under a lengthy procedure now set in motion. But few people (yet) expect it to come to that. Read more

Getty Images

Built at the height of Mexico’s oil boom more than three decades ago, the Pemex Tower in Mexico City – now badly damaged by Thursday’s explosion – was once described as “reflecting the pharaonic ambitions of Mexican bureaucracy”.

The description was penned by Manuel Buendía, once the nation’s best-known newspaper columnist, who was shot dead in a city centre street in 1984 in a killing that involved the secret police and drug barons. Read more

That was then. Photo: Bloomberg

Just one year ago, in the pre-dawn gloom of Friday February 3, the normally busy but orderly passenger terminals at Budapest’s Liszt Ferenc Airport were in chaos. Malév, the debt-laden Hungarian flag carrier, had canceled all flights during the night on fears that its fleet would be impounded at foreign airports in lieu of unpaid bills. The news left thousands of passengers scrambling for alternative flights and Budapest Airport, the operating company, staring at a massive hole in its revenues – given that Malév accounted for 40 per cent of all passenger traffic. Read more

Photo: Bloomberg

The weather gods have been kinder to Vale than to Brazil’s government, it seems. Low rainfall across Brazil at the end of last year may have dried up the country’s reservoirs and brought it to the brink of an energy crisis this month. But it has done wonders for Vale’s production.

The miner on Friday posted better-than-expected iron ore output for the fourth quarter, partly as a result of lighter rainfall than normal in the Amazonian state of Pará where the company’s vast Carajás mining development is located. Read more

By Bernice Lee of Chatham House

Resource insecurity is back with a vengeance. It is time for world leaders to respond to burgeoning demand from emerging economies, which has driven up commodity prices and made them more volatile, and led to supply disruptions, environmental degradation and political tensions.

Governments have mostly reacted with unilateral – and often myopic – policies, alongside vague attempts at collaboration. This is not enough. The world’s top resource-producing and resource-consuming nations should establish a Resources 30 (R30) Group, and cooperate in managing global natural resources. Read more

Bond trading in Nigeria is largely the preserve of big investors dealing over the counter, but the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Friday opened a new trading platform which it says will make dealing in fixed income “as easy as trading in shares” for retail investors. Read more

A fistful of kunaCroatia is set to become the European Union’s latest member in July, but Moody’s decision to downgrade its credit rating shows long-awaited accession cannot quickly fix the country’s woes. The sluggish pace of reform and a tight fiscal position have exacerbated the difficulties caused by the eurozone crisis. Read more

Roman Abramovich is (slightly) better known for his ostentatious spending on yachts, cars and Chelsea Football Club than his forays into the art world.

But he has recently made headlines among Russian art lovers with the purchase of works by Ilya Kabakov, the most expensive living Russian artist, from a US collector. Russians are hoping Abramovich will bring the Kabakov trove home to Russia. Read more

Rosneft shares fell 2.3 per cent on Friday after the company’s 2012 profits fell short of expectations due to a charge on unproven reserves, increased exploration expenses and taxes, and the costs of the TNK-BP acquisition.

Net profits rose 7 per cent to Rbs 342bn on a 13 per cent rise in revenues to Rbs2,718bn. The numbers will be even bigger this year, when the TNK-BP deal is completed and Rosneft becomes the world’s largest listed oil group. Read more

Mali’s economic isolation is helping west African rated sovereigns avoid revisions to their creditworthiness, said Standard & Poor’s in a note released on Thursday night covering Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, and Tunisia

FDI and portfolio flows between Mali and its neighbours are small and regional capital markets are underdeveloped. Trade and investment linkages are weak due to tariffs, poor infrastructure, low incomes and inefficient customs procedures. Read more

Another iconic western brand goes to Chinese buyers. This time it’s Manganese Bronze, the maker of London’s black cabs. As Patti Waldmeir reports, automaker Geely is paying just £11m because debt-laden Manganese Bronze is in administration.

 Read more

* China’s factories report slower growth

* China data signals capital outflows in 2012

* Emerging stock volatility falls to lowest since 1997; banks rise Read more

Shares in Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) plunged over 5 per cent on Friday after the bank issued a profits warning, saying that its results for 2012 had been hit by charges including bad debt provisions in eastern Europe and a chunky write off in Ukraine.

While RBI won’t be giving full details until February 20, it made a loss in the fourth quarter – its first quarterly loss since its 2005 IPO – of just over €100m net. So while there’s cautious optimism about economic recovery in CEE, there’s still a lot of risk in the commercial undergrowth. Read more

By Riccardo Puliti of the EBRD

Ukraine has been an independent state for nearly 22 years. Yet its struggle for energy independence is still ongoing. Despite a generous endowment in both conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon reserves, Ukraine is still highly dependent on natural gas imports from Russia, which has impacts both on the country’s budget and on its geopolitical situation. Read more