Ukraine’s billionaires are losing their cash, especially those with significant assets in the Donbas, an area that has become a battlefield between pro-Russian rebels and units loyal to Kiev. According to Forbes’ 2015 billionaires list, Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine’s richest man, has lost as much as $5.8bn over the past year.
The mining, steel-making, energy and heavy engineering units of Akhmetov’s SCM Group have been forced to halt operations or reduce their capacity in territories controlled by separatists or near the front line. The Group’s media, telecommunications and banking businesses are also feeling the effects of the rebellion. Read more
Two neighbouring, Adriatic, former-Yugoslav states, both now members of the EU: one is continuing a remarkable recovery from a banking crisis, the other showing glimmers of a revival after a full six years without growth.
Slovenia’s economy grew by 2.6 per cent last year; Croatia’s shrank by 0.4 per cent. The growth gap between them should narrow this year, with Slovenia’s economy slowing and Croatia’s at last picking up to leave the worst years behind. Croatia will benefit from rising exports and increasing European Union funding, while Slovenia’s export growth slows and an EU cash injection tapers. Nonetheless, as the countries enter the second half of the decade, Slovenia looks likely to set the pace, with its southern neighbour still a laggard. Read more
** FT News **
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By Dominic Jephcott, Vendigital
The Chinese Government’s decision to embark on a fresh round of industry consolidation as part of a move to strengthen state-owned enterprises (SoEs) and increase their global competitiveness has been a long time coming. It is an understandable response to the slowdown in economic growth, over-capacity in many sectors and poor returns on huge capital investments over the last ten years.
The Made in China 2025 initiative, which was outlined last week at the National People’s Congress, is a 10-year plan for transforming the country’s disparate manufacturing sector in order to create a smaller number of large-scale businesses capable of competing internationally in the higher added-value and strategic industries. Calls to address the endemic inefficiencies of China’s SoEs and increase their global competitiveness are nothing new, of course, but this time it seems there is a clear commitment to make sure it happens. Read more