George Hay

Breakingviews - TCI plays outrider to Mark Carney’s climate drive

03 Dec 2019

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Chris Hohn made his name by assaulting the entrenched boards of European companies. Now the boss of activist hedge fund TCI is deploying those skills for a higher purpose. He’s planning to vote against directors of companies that don’t disclose how their balance sheets would be hit by climate change, the Financial Times reported on Sunday. Doing so would help outgoing Bank of England Governor Mark Carney’s push for greater transparency about the financial risks of global warming. Yet for Hohn there’s a fine line between being an outrider or a guinea pig.

Breakingviews - UK election rivals ignore reality in own ways

25 Nov 2019

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - After decades of tussling over the middle ground, Britain’s two main political parties have drastically diverged. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s manifesto for the Dec. 12 election is short of new policies and long on pledges to deliver Brexit speedily. His nearest rival, Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, is offering the opposite with a laundry list of spending plans. Each ignores reality in his own way.

Breakingviews - Aramco’s $1.7 trln price tag pleases almost no one

17 Nov 2019

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Saudi Aramco has gone for a suboptimal compromise. The long-awaited price range for its massive initial public offering, unveiled on Sunday, confirmed what everyone already knew: The Saudi Arabian oil giant is not worth the $2 trillion the kingdom originally sought. But even at a valuation of $1.6 trillion to $1.7 trillion it may still be too pricey for foreign investors.

Breakingviews - Aramco has first-class seat on oil-tanker Titanic

11 Nov 2019

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Saudi Aramco’s relative strength as the world’s biggest oil producer is an absolute distraction when it comes to establishing its worth. The Saudi oil giant’s initial public offering prospectus, published on Saturday, outlines how it is both much more profitable than sector peers like Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell, and more likely than them to remain afloat when the global oil industry hits the iceberg of peak demand. The problem is that such a collision is coming, and matters greatly to the company’s valuation. 

Breakingviews - EU can afford to act tough on carbon border taxes

06 Nov 2019

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Ursula von der Leyen’s big tax idea may sound like a non-starter. The incoming European Commission president wants to levy the same tax on CO2 emissions from imports as on products made in the single market. That is likely to go down like a roomful of methane with big trading partners such as the United States and China.

Breakingviews - Aramco IPO can choose either price or credibility

04 Nov 2019

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Saudi Aramco has gone further than it ever dared before. The oil giant on Sunday kicked off a long-awaited initial public offering for the world’s biggest crude producer. The relationship between valuation and credibility is more complex than it might look.

Breakingviews - BP’s new CEO can give investors a golden hello

29 Oct 2019

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Bernard Looney’s new job is already hard. BP’s incoming chief executive, who takes over next year, faces a dilemma over how to balance fossil fuels with a lower-carbon world. Third-quarter results on the surface complicate things further, but there’s a silver lining.

Breakingviews - Germany’s takeover rules are more S&M than M&A

28 Oct 2019

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - In takeovers, minority investors are often treated like the slaves of their acquiring masters. Not in Germany. M&A rules in Europe’s biggest economy, centred around ominously named “domination agreements”, indeed feature a strong hint of masochism. But as Austrian chipmaker AMS may soon discover in its 4.5 billion euro quest to snare Munich-based Osram Licht, it’s normally the bidder which ends up enduring the pain.

Breakingviews - Aramco’s latest IPO delay is a triple fail

18 Oct 2019

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Saudi Aramco’s interminable soap opera just commenced a new and problematic chapter. Early on Thursday, the kingdom finally appeared ready to launch the listing of a 5% stake in its oil giant. By the end of the day that was off again, with the latest delay set to last weeks or even months. It's a triple setback.

Breakingviews - Send the A-Team to Saudi’s “Davos in the Desert”

11 Oct 2019

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Who’s off to Riyadh later this month? A year ago, finance executives from BlackRock’s Larry Fink to JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon stayed away from the Future Investment Initiative, Saudi Arabia’s annual money junket, following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul by the kingdom’s agents. The calculus on whether to attend the so-called “Davos in the Desert” looks different 12 months on.

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