HSBC ceo Stuart Gulliver on Wednesday pledged to stick the tough strategy he launched in 2011, with more cost cuts combined with boosting financial commitment to emerging markets.
In a presentation of plans for 2014-16, he delivered a difficult message for employees, with a target to reduce jobs from 261,000 last year (down from 295,000 in 2010) to 240,000-250,000.
But investors will be happy with the promise of a return on equity target of 12-15 per cent, and a commitment to push 75 per cent of the growth in risk-weighted assets to emerging markets. The shares barely moved but are up by 12 per cent since a recent low in April and by 36 per cent in the last 12 months. Continue reading »
Time for collective action on bad debt in some of the more vulnerable economies of central and eastern Europe? The experts at Raiffeisen International Bank certainly think so, at least for Ukraine, Hungary, Slovenia and the Balkans. Nearly five years after the 2008 crisis, it’s time for “joint efforts” to tackle non-performing loans, they say in a report.
As CEE’s second-biggest lender, Raiffeisen is hardly a neutral observer. But given that rates of non-performing loans run to 20 per cent or more in some southeast European states, it’s difficult to see solutions without greater coordination and cooperation. Continue reading »
When a short seller launches a public attack on a company, the resulting storm can lead to a big dip in share price as investors digest the charge sheet – see Muddy Waters on Olam.
But African Bank, South Africa’s biggest household lender, saw its shares climb on Thursday despite a highly critical presentation by David Stemerman of Conatus at a conference in New York on Wednesday. A less-than-convincing case by the short seller? Or a question of the bad news already being out there? Continue reading »
By Otilia Simkova of Eurasia Group
In the midst of the mayhem over Cyprus, some observers of Europe’s banking crisis noticed another small country – Latvia.
The Baltic country made headlines when it applied to join the eurozone by January 2014, pushing ahead despite doubts about the benefits of accession. Now it risks making news again for another reason: non-resident deposits. Foreign money, especially from Russia, has been trickling in. Continue reading »
Many Korean banks, hard pressed to find growth at home, have tried to expand into emerging markets across Asia, their main targets due to cultural affinity.
But a decade on after launching aggressive expansion plans, they have struggled to gain a strong presence overseas because of their limited international experience and a lack of an extensive international network. 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 »
Hungarian companies are shy about expanding abroad – fewer than 10 per cent do so, according to a survey of chief executives by PwC.
OTP Bank, for one, bucks that trend: seeking a bigger role in the region at the turn of the millennium, it dipped its toes into the water when it bought a small bank in Slovakia, before swooping into Bulgaria – and scooping Austria’s Erste Bank in the process – to pick up DSK, the country’s savings bank, in 2003. It has since moved into Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Ukraine and Russia, and boasts some 13m customers and 1,500 branches in nine countries.
Are these forays abroad working? Continue reading »
For the eighth time in 10 months, Peru’s central bank has raised deposit requirements on dollar-denominated accounts to stem the flow of hot money into its fast-growing economy and dampen currency appreciation. Continue reading »
The turbulent global economy seems not to be harming the prospects of International Personal Finance, a small cash loan company with operations across central Europe and Mexico, which expects double digit revenue growth this year.
Gerard Ryan, the company’s CEO, talked to beyondbrics on Wednesday, on the day the company launched a secondary listing on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, marking Poland’s status as IPF’s largest market, with 820,000 customers. Continue reading »
Emerging market equites rose sharply on Monday lifted by the general relief at the 11th-hour Cyprus rescue deal.
Even though key details still need to be decided, such as when the Cyprus banks actually re-open, investors judge that the settlement will be enough to reassure market participants – except, of course, for those wretched depositors who stand to lose a chunk of their savings. Continue reading »
By Sergey Karaganov
When the eurogroup of finance ministers first issued its ultimatum to Cyprus demanding a levy on deposits – requiring their de facto partial confiscation – many Russians were indignant. Even Russia’s leaders called the Eurogroup demand absurd, non-professional, unfair and dangerous.
The latest rescue plan agreed on Sunday by the eurogroup, which also involves the partial confiscation of deposits, changes nothing. Russians are angry – and have every right to be. Continue reading »
Zenith Bank, Nigeria’s second largest bank by market share, has successfully listed on the London Stock Exchange on Thursday. The bank has listed 125m global depository receipts – but the move is not capital raising, as the bank has bought back shares in Nigeria to make the move.
So why the switcheroo? And what does it say about listing in Nigeria? Continue reading »
By Timothy Ash of Standard Bank
Greek Cypriots must be thinking that with friends like these (the EU and Russia, both seeking to extract their pound of flesh for any bail-out), who needs enemies?
Well, what if Cyprus begins to think outside the box, and what if it goes to its erstwhile enemy, Turkey, for assistance? Continue reading »
By Jake Maxwell Watts and Nguyen Phuong Linh
Vietnam’s prime minister, Nguyen Tan Dung, is arguably a better Communist than he is a match-maker, judging by a recent spate of enforced bank mergers. The latest, between Western Bank and PetroVietnam Finance Corp, the finance arm of state-owned oil and gas giant PetroVietnam, was confirmed by the former and denied by the latter. Judging by an announcement on the central bank’s website, it looks likely to go ahead anyway. Continue reading »
Mikhail Prokhorov, the billionaire Russian businessman and politician, reckons the Kremlin should help rescue Cyprus from financial collapse. But Vladimir Putin does not appear to be listening. Here’s why. Continue reading »