Tuesday 23 October 2012

What is BP Doing ?

We've discussed BP in Russia many times, wondering if they know what they are doing.  We're not the only ones this morning: the Telegraph, whilst airing a view that the shareholders will enjoy the dividend, also carries a more cautionary piece - and quite right, too.

In the context of stories surrounding another Russian energy giant, I've often pointed out that Gazprom never pays cash for anything.  It's always an "asset swap".  And why wouldn't they, being replete with the traditional Russian asset - land under their complete control - and no end of western suckers, always ready to kid themselves that a % of a chunk of said wasteland is worthy of a place on their balance-sheets.

Russian equity has many of the same characteristics: de facto control is everything.  Russians don't know what equity means.  Kto kvo?, as the saying has it - who rules ?  It ain't the shareholders.



Graeme said...

I agree...I have distant memories of a Russian-style rights' issue where a minority shareholder was reduced to insignificance by a share issue for which the company had no advance warning. The sort of practices that Balzac wrote about in France in the 1830s are still alive and kicking in Russia today.

Budgie said...

I worked for a company that sold two big orders to Russia (actually USSR). The first nearly broke them; then the silly fools did it again, and it did break them.

It all goes to show that our belief that Johnny Foreigner has our best interests at heart is deeply embedded in our psyche.

Nick Drew said...

Then we are all agreed !

(don't know how that happened, Budgie)

Sebastian Weetabix said...

Definition of insanity, et cetera. I'm just a management drone in an SME but I can see it. Why can't the squillionaires at the top of BP?

Budgie said...

Nick Drew said: "Then we are all agreed!"

Errk! How did that happen??!?