LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - The UK is once again talking a good game in the battle against climate change. Fresh from committing to cut carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050 - without explaining how it would get there - the British government on Tuesday said it was considering forcing listed companies and pension funds to disclose how their activities would be hit by global warming. Such mandatory disclosure sounds tough, but might not achieve much.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi are involved in a high-stakes game of double or quits. The kingdom and its Gulf ally’s wealth funds jointly put up $60 billion of the near-$100 billion pledged to SoftBank Group’s giant Vision Fund. Now they have to decide whether to participate in the sequel planned by Masayoshi Son, the Japanese group’s founder. Walking away could undermine confidence in the vehicle’s current batch of startups.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Steel is a tricky candidate for a UK government bailout. The fate of 4,000 workers employed by British Steel is in question after the operator of the Scunthorpe steelworks entered insolvency in May. Unless one of the private enterprises now examining its books steps in, public cash will be needed. Unfortunately, three decades after it was privatised by the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher, neither company nor sector looks sufficiently strategic or sustainable.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Greg Clark has one of the worst jobs in the UK government. The business secretary needs to decide whether to nationalise British Steel, let it go bust with the loss of at least 5,000 jobs, or apply a sticking plaster to let it limp on. All three are bad options, but the last is the worst.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Donald Trump is calling in a favour. In November, the American president publicly exonerated Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, over his alleged role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents. Five months on, Trump’s quid pro quo for MbS - to help him mitigate the effect on oil prices of stymieing Iran via tough sanctions – looks clear-cut.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Aramco’s debt is both cheap and overpriced. That’s the takeaway from the Saudi oil giant’s maiden $12 billion bond sale to international investors. While a success, it’s also contradictory.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Rugby Union teams awarded a penalty near the opponent’s goal line face a dilemma. Should they kick a penalty between the H-shaped posts and earn an easy three points, or attempt to ground the ball beyond the posts for a so-called try, earning seven? That’s one way to think about the choice between a 500 million pound private equity bid from CVC for the Six Nations Championship, and a more ambitious 5 billion pound plan by governing body World Rugby for a wider global league.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - There’s no getting around Ben van Beurden’s extremely large bonus. Royal Dutch Shell said on Thursday that its chief executive would receive 19.8 million euros in direct pay, more than double 2017’s 8.5 million euros, with the major shift via a near-quadrupling of his so-called long-term incentive plan. Unless one takes a moral approach to gargantuan pay awards, the bigger problem is not size but length.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Norway has taken a step in the right direction, but then slipped on an oily patch. Oslo on Friday finally answered a question that had kept climate change watchers on tenterhooks: whether its $1 trillion Government Pension Fund Global would continue to invest in oil and gas stocks. Its equivocal response represents a missed opportunity.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Bob Dudley and Igor Sechin both have something the other lacks. The BP chief executive, whose $138 billion oil producer owns 20 percent of Sechin’s $67 billion Rosneft, may look covetously at the Russian group’s fat margins. Sechin, meanwhile, will look ruefully at Dudley’s much perkier valuation.