China is not known for its moral scruples or sensitivity when it comes to investing in dangerous countries. It may help to build schools, hospitals and railways as a quid pro quo for getting access, but what it mostly seems to want is to get in and out with its raw materials and without interfering in local politics.
Erik Prince and China could be made for each other. The former Navy Seal who founded the hugely controversial private security group Blackwater is pitching to run logistics for Chinese mining and energy companies in Africa. Continue reading »
Asia has the worst defences against corporate fraud of any region and only 4 out of 10 companies have any kind of anti-bribery and corruption policy in place compared with more than 8 out of 10 globally, according to a report by Ernst & Young published on Thursday.
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The Middle-Eastern Gulf states have had a huge swing towards Asia in trade but investment dinars have not followed to the same degree. Ahmad Al-Hamad is looking to change that.
Asiya Investments is part of the listed Kuwait China Investment Company and already runs about $450m in assets, more than 10 per cent of which comes from the Kuwait Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund. Continue reading »
It is tempting to see Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s $1.47bn sale of the last bit of its stake in China Construction Bank as part of an ongoing story of capitulation by western banks that have failed to make it in the Middle Kingdom.
But look at little closer, and it appears to be more of a shift in tactics than a wholesale exit. Continue reading »
Thai billionaires have been flexing their financial muscles this past 12 months. The names of Dhanin Chearavanont and Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi still don’t exactly trip off the tongue, but they have become much more commonly uttered in the corridors of Asia’s investment banks.
Dhanin’s CP Group pulled off Thailand’s biggest acquisition this year with the $6.6bn takeover of retail chain Siam Macro and picked up HSBC’s chunky $9bn stake in Ping An, China’s biggest private insurer. Charoen, not to be outdone, waged a monumental bidding war with Heineken over Asia Pacific Breweries in Singapore. Charoen’s Thai Beverage group ultimately lost the drinks business, but won control of Fraser & Neave, the property group that formerly part-owned APB.
Now, a third Thai name looks likely to become much familiar alongside these two. Continue reading »
Southeast Asian equity markets are on a tear. Ripped on the Fed’s easy money, the markets keep rising and the cash keeps coming in.
Thailand and the Philippines – the two best performing stock markets in the world last year – have continued their rise more or less uninterrupted with the former up 15 per cent so far this year and the latter up an eye-brow raising 24 per cent! And this is in spite of some concerns bubbling up about regional growth rates. Continue reading »
From Bangkok to Rio, a new-found desire for keeping up with the Joneses among hundreds of millions of people has been helping to keep the world afloat.
But the emerging consumers of Asia, eastern Europe and Latin America are all showing signs of slowing their scramble for clothes, white goods, cars and so on. Daniel Martin at Capital Economics reckons many of them have had to change down a gear for the foreseeable future. The problem is, you guessed it, debt. Continue reading »
If you had an indebted, loss making property development business in a market that was saturated with supply and you asked your local government to cough up a reasonable chunk of money to take it off your hands, what do you think would happen?
Well, if your name is Weixian Wang and your business is in Shanghai, it seems the government says ‘ Yes!’ Continue reading »
So, your reputation has taken a battering in recent years and you’re now just about out of the spotlight. And, even if you’re not deeply loved, at least most people have got bored of calling you the Vampire Squid.
What do you? A: Try to ensure you do everything you can to keep your nose clean and stay away from controversy? Or B: Take on what looks like a highly lucrative private bond deal for a government-linked entity in Malaysia, barely a month ahead of what is expected to be the closest fought election since elections began in the late 1950s.
If you’re Goldman Sachs, the answer is… B! The question is: why? Continue reading »
Sinopec has taken advantage of a huge demand for Asian debt by selling the second biggest ever US dollar bond deal in the region – and the biggest ever out of mainland China – at a lower interest rate than the Chinese government itself pays for similar debt. Continue reading »
Is China’s leadership about to heed calls to unleash competitive spirits among the state owned enterprises?
Analysts at BoA-Merrill have come up with a different view from most by answering this with a big ‘Yes’. Continue reading »
Two swallows don’t make a summer, but there are already some small signs that Asian markets are heading for a better year in 2013.
JPMorgan and Citigroup have both reported much improved first-quarter results in recent days and, while the lion’s share of their gains have come in higher margin US operations, Asian investment banking has lent a hand. Continue reading »
Another resource-rich country. Another push to renegotiate a deal between the government and a foreign mining company.
This time it’s Kyrgyzstan, a small country that rarely excites the international investor. But the disputed deal concerns an operation that’s big enough to interest the global mining industry – the Kumtor gold mine, the country’s largest single asset, which has generated annual revenues of up to $1bn. Continue reading »
The 2000 dotcom crash brought the ultra-low interest rates that fed the US housing boom. After that blew up, the even looser monetary policies of the last few years have driven fears of a new bond bubble.
And in Asia, these bubble fears are inflated further by the success of the region’s own response to the crisis from the late 1990s. Continue reading »
It’s traffic clogged streets are some of the most difficult and slow to navigate anywhere, but that’s not stopped the flood of businesses setting up offices or expanding in Jakarta.
The limited amount of prime office space – and the desire to beat the traffic by staying as close to the centre as possible – has seen Jakarta office rents shoot up by almost 80 per cent in the past year. Continue reading »