Sunday 9 December 2007

Sunday Business Round Up - 9 December

Well there aer only a couple of weeks left until Christmas in the UK. Normally this is quite a busy time of year, not just for retailers, but for everyone trying to get deals signed and orders firmed up before the last week in December.

As such, there are a few stories of note:

Wine to go - Here is a nice festive one to start from the Telegraph. The Off-Licence sector has strgguled in recent years as supermarkets have started to drink their lunch so to speak. The latest idea to fight this is a tie up of Oddbins and Threshers.

Woolies to go to- The long-0struggling high street reailer is already in trouble over it debt mountain. A bad Christmas will see the end of this business, but then this has been said every year for over 10 years now.

Commercial property meltdown - Difficult news this, the commercial sector is in all sorts of trouble at the moment and large investors are pulling funds out as fast as they can.

Northern Rock - Will a buyer finally be recommended this week?

Northern Rock collateral damage- Reports that Sir John Gieve will be forced to quit the Bank of England over the Northern Rock crisis.

Consumer spending to be hit next year
- obvious, yet necessary look at what is really going to happen to the economy next year (answer, stagflation, bugger...)

Murdoch changes everything? - The Guardian has a hilarious story mixing envy and fear in equal measures and trying to paint James Murdoch as the new Darth Vader.

Pop goes Maxjet - New airline start-up's must be one of the most vulnerable businesses to get into. Which is one reason to admire Stelios for building up Easyjet and Branson for Virgin. Maxjet is another casualty with a poor business model that was doomed from the start...

International Summary - A succinct piece form Irwin Stelzer summarising some of the challenges to the EU economy from other parts of the world.

Emap break-up - More on the long running break up of this media institution.


Richard Havers said...

Ref, MAXjet. The Independent's artcle sad, 'According to one stock market analysts, "The whole thing came as a total shock to the market and it does make you question whether or not they have got the right model. British Airways and some of the other big carries seem to doing fine with their transatlantic services, so you really must ask about MAXjet." '

I marvel at what credentials he has for being an analyst with such a dumb question. The business model of these single class, up-market airlines is questionable at best. For them to survive they have to run a 100% service and they have to avoid incurring the business wrath of the established carriers. MAXjet's model seems the least well thought out of the up-market carriers in that they have offered business class rather than first class - although the same rules apply to them. To make it work you need high yield passengers, because the cost base is not markedly different.

Still it’s good news for Eos and Silverjet (more so as they offer a business class only product) in that it might well keep the BA, Virgin, American and Continental wolves at bay. However, with choppy economic waters ahead watch out for some tasty offers.

James Higham said...

Strggule no more.

CityUnslicker said...


points well made, I wonder how any of silverjet etc are really going to make it.

until they can offer flights as frequently as the majors the model is under threat.

it seems like a good idea at first pass; but as I said, the world is littered with wound-up airline start-up's.

Richard Havers said...

A friend of a friend asked me about investing in one of these airlines. I suggested he just give me the money instead.

There is a fatal fascination when it comes to investing in airlines. There's a romance associated with it (Branson syndrome) which unfortunately has a lot less to do with reality than is necessary in order to see a return.

I worked in the airline business for twenty years and while that was a long time ago little has changed. It's a boom or bust business. Profits are either enormous or losses of a similar magnitude are incurred as the pendulum swings. The art is to get out near the top of the swing and then hang onto your money until it swings back to the other (low) side and then leap back on. Just look at how many US airlines have been in Chapter 11 more than once.

CityUnslicker said...

Spot on Richard. If you add up all of the profits and losses every year for all the global airlines since WW! you end up with a very, very big red figure.

Not an investment for the faint hearted.

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