Sunday, 18 May 2008

Sunday Business Round Up - 18 May

Back from a business trip to a very economically buoyant Germany, below is a round-up of the most interesting business stories from the Sunday Broadsheets.

Most interesting to hear the views in Germany that the current slow down will not be too bad. Exports of cars and other goods still exceed China, taxes have been cut and there is even some small reform to the job market. All completed by a left-wing government. Perhaps our own political parties could learn something from this....

To the weeks news then;

BA to retrench - Good results this week, but this story is interesting as it notes with oil over £120 there is no way for the company to make money.

Pension crisis - The law of unintended consequences strikes again, pension rules are forcing companies to bolster their pension schemes at the expense of the treasury. Hooray, but leaves sickly government finances in an even worse state.

Energy battle - A strange time ahead, with BE shareholders thinking they will get bids at 720p and above, the current share price is 660p and the bids will be in that region. The saga will run for a few weeks yet.

BOE loses key player - Rachel Lomax, the Deputy Governor is to leave after not getting the top job.

Losing your job in financial services - An interesting story about how things are being done on wall street in the New York Times.

PPI - This it eh worst kind of insurance, with 90% margins for those who offer it. At last the FSA is cracking down on the industry.

30% fall for commercial property - Even further to fall for a sector ravaged the last 2 years, when will it reach the bottom?

Virgin Money to sponsor Marathon - A hidden story here, a £400 million turnover business is to spend £17 million on sponsorship? I think Branson has some plans for this business....

Return of supersonic travel - An executive concorde jet is et to hit the market in 5 years.

Comment of the week - Liam Halligan destroys Brown's economic record.


Richard Havers said...

If BA are going to struggle to make money God help the likes of Ryanair and easyJet. easyJet's shares have hovered around 280p all week and that's down from over 700 this time last year. With the squeeze on disposable income affecting the discretionary travel market and ever more pressure on load factors then the low fare carriers are in even more trouble.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the nice article.
I think, the article links you have given here are informative. It is a tough time for world economy. So, naturally it would be a challenge for the companies like BA to make money. So is for other companies as well.

Sackerson said...

How does Germany manage it, exactly? What's the secret? More automation?

Bill Quango MP said...

Ryanair are already prepared to BRING IT ON: Tough times = bold decisions.

*Ryanair announced that the airline would be halving ticket prices.

*if it follows through, Ryanair's move could prompt a devastating fare war in Europe that could knock some of Ryanair's competitors out of the skies.

*Ryanair, announced that the In the wake of the 911 placed a massive order with Boeing for 100 new aircraft and options on 50 more at rock-bottom prices.

*What they may not be discounted at this point is the enormous strategic gain that Ryanair could reap if it wins its European air offensive. That, plus the company's (below market) value to a potential acquirer, could see the stock regain some altitude from its currently depressed level.

CityUnslicker said...

RH - I think easyjet is vulnerable as essentially it faces BA etc more regularly. Ryan air focus' on the different routes which allows it to prosper.

Also RA thinks £5 gross profit per person is plenty, BA looks to £30.

BKD _ thanks for this, let's trade links.

Sackerson - Better management training, better education system that focus' on skills needed for life. You have any thoughts in this?

Letters From A Tory said...

I can't imagine how serious the impact of oil prices might be on all kinds of industries. Needless to say there will be a lot of pain for a lot of people.

Anonymous said...

Siemens - shedding workforce
BWM - shedding workforce
Infineon - shedding workforce
Qimonda - heading towards bankruptcy

Various German bnaks in trouble.

Euro up, causing export led recovery to come off the rails. No improvement in consumer confidence.

Merkel seen as Germany's own "Maggie Thatcher" - not sure how left-wing she is but all things are relative I suppose!

Oh, they are also experiencing a property crash and have been for a while now. Not so important in a country where home ownership is less common of course.

So I don't know why they are giving you the impression that all is well in Germany but it could be that since they have been in a depression for 20 odd years it's busioness as usual! Or it could be that the astonishing narrowness of a German education prevents the citizenry from understanding anything much about politics, hostory or economics. You can have a conversation with a German on such matters but you would be better off discussing them with my 10 year old.

Don't get me wrong, I love the Krauts, but they are rather easily led you know....

Anonymous said...

Whoever owns this blog, I would like to say that he has a great idea of choosing a topic.

Sackerson said...

Thoughts on education... how long have you got? I think progress in that area is hampered by the great desire of a lot of old hippies and Trots (many of whom got early retirement - without actuarial reduction - from the profession, and then eked out their gold-plated pensions with jobs as inspectors, advisers and consultants) not to admit that they were bloody wrong.

Let me give you one tiny, representative example: what's 7 x 9? If you know the answer straight away, you learned by chanting "six nines are fif-ty four, sev-en nines are six-ty-three" etc. And you're probably over 45 at least. If you haven't a clue, you're younger.

But your kids will be taught the 9 times table thus: "nine... eighteen... twenty-seven... er..." because although chanting works, going back to the old way would be an admission of 30+ years of failure. So we bring in Chanting Lite, with the result that every single multiplication means a slow climbing of the ladder towards the answer, and multiplying a 2 figure number by a 3 figure one means 6 ladder-climbs and is perfect torture for the children.

And I know of 3 separate cases from the early 70's, where heads of English in secondary schools threw away all the coursebooks (in one case, actually burning them in a skip in the playground as his Parthian shot) to ensure that such wicked, boring ways of teaching would never return.

There's a book in this, but we'd have to build more prisons first.

Anonymous said...

Can't really agree with you there Sackers. My kids have been told by their local state primary school to know their times tables backwards, forwards, randomly, and however. They are tested on it daily. So not only can they tell you instantly that 6 x 7 = 42, but they can tell you just as quickly that 54/9 = 6. So they probably know their times tables better than I did at their age! Functioning primary schools don't seem to be the problem. The real problems seem to start in secondary school. It's still the case that we are teaching kids far too much stuff they will forget within one year because its no use to them. We don't teach them about inflation, fractional freserve banking, public speaking - surely these things are more important than knowing that Jupiter was the king of the gods?

Sackerson said...

You are fortunate in your choice of primary school, Ryan. And I stand by my general point about educational fashions - until fairly recently, it was almost a career no-no to use phonics for teaching reading. All part of those horrid old schemes to be burned in skips.

As to inflation and fractional reserve banking, these should be matters discussed regularly on the news to educate the public generally, who don't understand the monstrous scam.

Jupiter: children can and should absorb scads of knowledge. I'm more concerned about what it's not considered PC to teach them, such as their own country's history, culture and form of government.

Speaking: yes, we have always seemed to be behind the Americans in this. More "show and tell" lessons, perhaps.

Finally, computer games - brain rot. My American niece know several students thrown out of college because they were so engrossed in such things that they forgot to do any work. See that programme about school in China - pile of textbooks on each pupil's desk, kids reading them aloud to themselves? There's only so many jobs for creatives and computer games designers, everyone else will have to learn how to work.

Anonymous said...

Sackers: Yes kids can absorb ton(nes?) of knowledge - but they forget it too. See "are you smarter than a ten year old" for details. If you teach stuff the kids have entirely forgotten after 1 year away from school , you were wasting everyone's time. I have an "O" level in Latin but can only remember the word "omnibus"! Fat lot of good that was!

Independent schools fair little better. £6000 a year but these schools use the same teachers from the same colleges and even use the governments "national curriculum" material! (I know a lot of teachers!)

We have to teach our kids more stuff that is of use to them. But we do need to be creative. That's what UK PLC is all about. It's what gives this 1% of the world's population an edge. Any idiot can copy a circuit out of a text book, or copy the design of a car. To make more money than the average Chinese sheet metal worker we need to be smarter, more creative and more innovative. We also need to be focussed on trying to be competitive - something this government has completely forgotten about. The Chinese aren't smart or clever or innovative or creative - but they can do "competitive".

Sackerson said...

Agreed, we need compettitveness - and discipline. The lack of the latter is what shocked me when I returned to teaching in 2000.

Ellee Seymour said...

I'm glad you are still doing this round up, and that it gets a good following. Well done.

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