Business this week
Oct 2nd 2008
From The Economist print edition
More banks went to the wall amid the turmoil in financial markets caused by the uncertainty over the bail-out package. In America’s biggest banking failure, Washington Mutual was seized by federal regulators and its banking operations sold to JPMorgan Chase. Separately, Citigroup stepped in to rescue Wachovia. Both deals were brokered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
The crisis continues
Lifelines were also thrown to European banks. The Dutch, Belgian and Luxembourg governments partly nationalised Fortis amid uncertainty about its ability to sell assets it holds in ABN AMRO, a Dutch bank. Dexia, a Belgian-French bank, received a euro6.4 billion ($9.2 billion) government cash injection. In Britain Bradford & Bingley, a specialist in buy-to-let mortgages, was nationalised and some assets sold to Spain’s Santander. Hypo Real Estate, Germany’s second-largest property lender, obtained euro35 billion ($51 billion) in credit guarantees from the government and the banking industry. And Glitnir, Iceland’s third-largest bank, was nationalised.
欧洲银行也是一线生机。由于富通集团对出售其在荷兰银行（ABN AMRO）的持有资产并无把握，荷兰，比利时和卢森堡政府将富通集团(Fortis) 部分国有化。比利时与法国合资的德夏银行（Dexia）收到64亿欧元（92亿美元）的政府注资。英国抵押贷款提供商Bradford & Bingley被国有化，部分资产出售给西班牙Santander。德国第二大房地产贷款商Hypo Real Estate获得政府和银行业350亿欧元（510亿美元）的信贷担保。冰岛第三大银行Glitnir被国有化。见文章
Ireland’s government took the extraordinary step of guaranteeing all deposits in six Irish banks after their share prices suffered huge losses. The guarantee covers around euro400 billion ($575 billion) of liabilities, more than twice Ireland’s gross domestic product. Some politicians, especially in Britain, grumbled that the Irish move may be contrary to European Union competition law.
The Reserve Bank of India stepped in to reassure depositors that ICICI was financially sound amid reports of a wave of cash withdrawals from the bank. And Russia provided a further $50 billion to increase liquidity in its banking system. This comes on top of a $130 billion package doled out to Russian banks in the form of loans, tax cuts and delayed tax payments.
在有关储户从印度工业信贷投资银行（ICICI）掀起提款浪潮的报道中，印度储备银行（Reserve Bank of India）开始介入此事并向储户保证，印度工业信贷投资银行财务状况良好。此外，俄罗斯进一步提供了500亿美元来增加其银行系统间的流动性。不过，俄罗斯各银行需要以贷款，减税和延期缴税的形式支付高达1300亿美元的一揽子交易。
Apple’s share price tumbled by 18% as investors fretted that consumer-technology companies would bear the brunt of a slowdown in spending. Apple’s shares had only recently recovered from a similar battering in January.
GE said it was planning to offer $12 billion in common shares, and that Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway would buy $3 billion in preferred shares. Jeffrey Immelt, the conglomerate’s boss, was active this week in pressing politicians to pass the bail-out package because of the “negative ripple effects” of the financial crisis on business.
Xstrata dropped its $10 billion offer for Lonmin, a platinum producer, citing the risks caused by “the current lack of clarity and certainty regarding the future availability of credit”. The Anglo-Swiss mining giant did, however, raise its stake in Lonmin to 25%.
A judge in Delaware ruled that Apollo Management must proceed with its buy-out of Huntsman, a chemical company. Apollo made the offer in July 2007, at the tail-end of the private-equity boom and shortly before the bust in credit markets. Apollo had argued that it was not obliged to conclude the deal because of a material adverse effect in Huntsman’s business, an assessment which the judge decided was “unreliable”.
特拉华法官裁定，阿波罗管理公司（Apollo Management）必须继续收购亨斯迈化工公司（Huntsman）。2007年7月，正当私募股本繁荣结束之时，信贷市场尚不景气之前，阿波罗管理公司提出此项收购要约。阿波罗管理公司曾认为并无义务签订该协议，因为亨斯迈公司的化工材料带来不良影响，法官认定该评估并“不可靠” 。
Ready for take-off?
Chicago’s Midway Airport looked set to become the first big airport in the United States to be privatised when the city’s mayor accepted a $2.5 billion bid for the right to run Midway for 99 years from an investment group. Virtually all of America’s commercial airports are owned by city and local governments.
A consortium led by Abertis, a Spanish infrastructure company, pulled its $12.8 billion proposal to take over the running of Pennsylvania’s turnpike, the state’s main toll road. In May the consortium, which includes Citigroup, won the bidding for the lease with the backing of Pennsylvania’s governor, but the privatisation was resisted by legislators.
After almost losing its licence to fly, Alitalia saw a rescue plan approved by the two remaining unions that were holding out against a deal, giving the go-ahead for a sale to CAI, a consortium of 16 Italian entrepreneurs led by Roberto Colaninno. Italy’s government has been trying to privatise the struggling state airline for more than two years. CAI intends to relaunch a slimmer Alitalia next month, after merging its operations with Air One, a domestic rival.
在近乎停飞后，意大利航空公司（Alitalia）看到了由其余两大工会批准救援计划。此前，两工会对出售给CAI的许可协议表示反对。CAI是一家16位投资商组成的财团，受罗伯托·克拉尼诺(Roberto Colaninno) 的领导。两年多来，意大利政府一直试图将苦苦挣扎的国有航空公司私有化。在同国内竞争对手Air One的业务合并后，CAI打算在下月重新开张一家经过瘦身的意大利航空公司。
The Baltic Exchange Dry index, which measures the cost of dry bulk shipping, continued to drop. Although not as good a proxy for commodity indices as it once was, the Baltic Dry’s fall is reckoned to reflect weakened demand for raw materials in China. The share prices of shipping lines in China and Japan are also sinking.