LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - French President Emmanuel Macron’s reformist credentials are on the line. The former Rothschild investment banker on Friday reshuffled his government, the first step in what he has previously flagged would be a reinvention of his presidency. He may be willing to ditch more than his prime minister in his bid to win re-election in 2022.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Bidding up shares in teetering car-rental companies is meant to be the preserve of credulous day traders. Volkswagen begs to disagree. The $80 billion German automaker is mulling the purchase of fraught Europcar Mobility. Boss Herbert Diess may have in mind using Europcar’s locales to offer ride-sharing. But plummeting rentals and high debt mean bumpy economic returns lie ahead.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Long-time Volvo CEO Pehr Gyllenhammar was pushing radical environmental and social changes at the carmaker long before they became fashionable. One of Sweden’s most admired businessmen argues why CEOs should be paid less and how it felt to become a father again at 81.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Germany’s financial regulator has received a Wirecard-sized wake up call. The payments company has long faced allegations of fraud, but until recently watchdog BaFin had focused on probing short-sellers and investigative journalists. Wirecard’s ownership of a regulated German bank adds to doubts about financial supervision in Europe’s largest economy.
LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Empty sports stadiums could turn into Covid-19’s most abiding cultural legacy. Since the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic in March, virtually all sporting events have been cancelled, including this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo and Europe’s flagship soccer tournament, Euro 2020. Even those which have tentatively restarted, like South Korea’s KBO baseball league and Germany’s Bundesliga soccer division, have plied their trade in eerily vacant arenas. America’s National Hockey League on Tuesday said it would complete the season, but probably without fans.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Few things would please the world’s big automakers more than customers quickly returning to dealers’ lots to buy new cars once pandemic-induced lockdowns are lifted. What would top that is if many were to drive away in the battery-powered cars manufacturers have devoted hundreds of billions of dollars to develop. It may take state aid to tip the balance in electric vehicles’ favour.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Sweden’s coronavirus choices are unique. The Scandinavian country is the only Western one not to impose a lockdown and will suffer less economic damage as a result. Others would struggle to emulate its example.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Credit to Pedro Sanchez for thinking big. The Spanish prime minister wants the European Union to use its budget to raise up to 1.5 trillion euros in perpetual bonds to pay for a post-virus economic recovery. It’s a smart move that could reduce the burden on struggling countries, but may not appeal to both bondholders and other member states.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - A virus-shaped squall is threatening to capsize Carnival, the world’s biggest cruise company. Two of its boats have been hit by coronavirus outbreaks in little more than a month. If past crises are any guide, the hit to earnings will be painful but temporary. Still, luring the industry’s older passengers back on board may be harder this time.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Gilles Grapinet is testing financial credulity in pursuit of scale. Less than two years after shelling out 2.3 billion euros for the payments arm of Switzerland’s SIX, the chief executive of Paris-listed Worldline is offering 7.8 billion euros for French rival Ingenico. The deal would catapult the company into the top five global payment processors. But shareholders risk being stuck with dour financial returns.