HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Tesco is heading to the checkout lane in southeast Asia at the right time. Britain's biggest grocer says it is considering a sale of its businesses in Thailand and Malaysia. Thai peer Central Retail's rich 2020 listing, plus interest from local heavyweights like CP Group, make it a good time to exit before regional economies cool further. If Tesco can reap a $9 billion valuation, as a Wall Street Journal report suggests, incoming boss Ken Murphy has reason to cheer.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - The equities bridge between London and Shanghai leads right back to Hong Kong. Beijing-based SDIC Power just postponed plans to raise some $800 million using a link between Chinese and British bourses. In rejecting a recent $34 billion takeover bid from Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, the London Stock Exchange argued that its partnership was a better route to the mainland. But the protest-hit financial hub can feel secure in its position.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - A Thai billionaire is tempting Budweiser to the bar. Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi-controlled Thai Beverage, maker of Chang lager, may list its beer assets in Singapore, including a much-coveted Vietnamese brew. A mooted $10 billion valuation suggests such a move could unlock some value, but the real prize here is a deal with Anheuser-Busch InBev's recently listed Asian arm.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - The Australian central bank has room for policy manoeuvre that would be the envy of other countries. Governor Philip Lowe can still cut the key policy interest rate twice to help a slowing economy before he has to resort to buying assets as some of his peers have been doing for years. But the Reserve Bank of Australia has good reasons to take it slowly.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Manchester City has beefed up its roster – off the pitch. Silver Lake is buying a $500 million stake in the club’s owner, valuing the international soccer conglomerate at a record $4.8 billion. Victory in the Premier League won’t be enough to satisfy the buyout shop’s goals. That may take winning in new top-level tournaments, e-sports and even Asia.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Australian banks can, and probably will, sink further. Westpac just became the latest of the country’s Big Four to part ways with its top brass. Days after it was hit by scathing allegations from regulators, Chief Executive Brian Hartzer has departed and Chairman Lindsay Maxsted accelerated retirement plans. Persistent rot suggests investors may be underestimating the cost of a cleanup.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Bushfires and a historic drought have put climate change front and centre for Australia, increasing pressure on a pro-coal government to act. Ross Garnaut, economist and former Canberra adviser, explains why there's an opportunity Down Under that may outweigh the cost of change.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Macquarie is one of finance’s inveterate shapeshifters. For its next act, the $30 billion Australian investment bank’s newish boss, Shemara Wikramanayake, is betting on wind farms and the like. With fewer constraints than Wall Street rivals and plenty of experience, Macquarie is well placed to benefit as the global economy moves away from fossil fuels and adapts to a changing climate. A greener book, though, also brings new risks.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Is it better to criticise from inside the tent, to paraphrase U.S. President Lyndon Johnson’s famously earthy line, or from outside? Aberdeen Standard and other shareholders want miner BHP to cut ties with industry groups at odds with Paris climate pledges. The $113 billion Anglo-Australian giant says it is already reviewing its memberships, but argues change can be promoted from within too. It's a quandary familiar to fossil fuel investors.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Hong Kong offers Jakarta a valuable lesson in the cost of inaction. Unpopular legislative changes have brought tens of thousands of demonstrators onto the streets, just as in the former British colony. It is early enough for Indonesian President Joko Widodo to defuse the tension. Stalling will make it harder to tackle important and thorny policy matters.