Top News from Top Sources

Volvo Cars and Geely to establish JV to boost synergies, accelerate next-gen electrified vehicle technology

Volvo Cars and Geely to establish JV to boost synergies, accelerate next-gen electrified vehicle technology

Jul 23, 2017

Volvo Cars plans to set up a new joint venture technology company with Geely Holding, the Chinese car group, to share existing and future technology, to deepen industrial synergies and to provide the economies of scale that will allow them to develop next generation electrified vehicle technology more rapidly. According to a Memorandum of Understanding signed today, Volvo Cars, Geely Auto and LYNK & CO will share vehicle architecture and engine technologies via cross licensing arrangements of technologies managed by the new joint venture. They will also cooperate more deeply by commonly sourcing components and cutting procurement costs. Volvo Cars, Geely Auto and LYNK & CO are controlled by Geely Holding, the Chinese car group. The new joint venture will be 50/50 owned by Volvo Cars and Geely Holding and be headquartered in China with a subsidiary in Gothenburg, Sweden. Partnerships to share know-how and technologies are common practice in the automotive industry. This is the model we are adopting. This planned collaboration will strengthen Volvo’s ability to develop next generation electrified cars. —Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive Volvo Cars and Geely already share technology, most notably the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) which is being used by Volvo Cars for its soon-to-be-announced smaller range of 40 series cars and by LYNK & CO. The intellectual property rights for the technology to be shared will remain with the company that developed it, but the technology itself will be available for use by Volvo, Geely Auto and LYNK & CO, via license agreements. Future modular vehicle architectures and other technology will be shared and developed based on cost sharing agreements. The company leading the development will own the technology and the other group companies will have full access to it through a license, reducing overall development costs. The partners expect that the collaboration will extend in future to also cover electrified vehicle components such as battery cells, e-motors and charging systems in order to maximize synergies across the group. Separately, Volvo is taking a significant minority shareholding in LYNK & CO. This stake reflects the fact that LYNK & CO will benefit from the use of Volvo technology both now and in the future. LYNK...

The Airport of Chios awaits its turn-

The Airport of Chios awaits its turn-

Aug 1, 2016

At Chios Airport We welcome the inauguration of Paros’ airport today by Greece’s prime minister despite the opposition’s silly media uploads and we invite PM Alexis Tsipras to give the go ahead here and now for the ailing Chios airport! A timely reminder by John Faraclas:  It is a must for the current government to proceed and finish a project which remains idle for nearly ten years due to the inability of local authorities, coupled with political confrontations – the usual dirty party politics and private  “vested” interests, which at the end of the day damage the well-being and progress of all Chiots! There is no excuse whatsoever to have Greece’s fifth largest island in a delicate and sensitive geopolitical position, without a proper airport which will serve better the islanders and the thousands of tourists who wish to visit the island of mastiha, of Homer and the famous Seafarers as well as the Island of the Masters of the Seven Seas. It is the duty of  the respective ministers of Shipping & the Aegean as well that of Tourism to end this mess immediately and proceed with the materialisation and completion of Chios’ enhanced airport – you dead well know what I mean. The opposition also must shut-up! We feel awful here in London for over four decades that there are no charter flights direct to Chios with the usual planes for 300 passengers – as per the norm. I don’t wish herein to mention anything for the procurement of turbo-prop planes. Let’s forget the past and see the now, here and now. A couple of days ago a new Association was formed to improve the cruise industry in Greece. Chios can become a hub port and attract mega cruise-ships, but you  need an airport capable for inbound and outbound passengers. Just think of the benefits! The advantages of an improved airport are incalculable! Finally, on a recent visit last year with a private plane, I was shocked to witness the working hours and shifts at Chios’ airport… Despicable… Of course the same applies to the majority of Greece’s airports and airfields stopping short the development of Air-Clubs. Private planes belonging to the...

The problems at Deutsche Bank

The problems at Deutsche Bank

Jul 31, 2016

Deutsche bank’s share price has fallen by more than half in the last year. For some insight into the background see these two extracts from Other People’s Money, published in September 2015 (and available from the shop in paperback or hardback). My return on equity is bigger than yours In the years before the global financial crisis, bank CEOs competed like schoolboys to demonstrate that ‘my return on equity is larger than yours’. The display was led by Josef Ackermann, chief executive of Deutsche Bank from 2002 and chairman from 2006 to 2012, who announced a target of 25 per cent return on equity. In 2008, as the global financial crisis broke around him, he proudly announced that this target had been achieved. Return on equity (RoE) is a ratio of profit to shareholders’ funds, and there are two ways to increase a ratio. You can raise the numerator – the profit – or you can reduce the denominator – the equity capital. Reducing equity is easier. RoE is a seriously misleading measure of profitability. For businesses that are not very capital-intensive – such as asset management, or other professional service firms such as accountants – high returns on equity are achievable because the capital requirement is so small. Capital-intensive businesses – in the modern economy they are principally banks, utilities and resource companies – can achieve high returns on equity only through extreme leverage, as Deutsche Bank did. Even as the thinly capitalised Deutsche Bank was benefiting from state guarantees of its liabilities, it was buying back its own shares to reduce its capital base. And whatever return on equity was claimed by the financial officers of Deutsche Bank, the shareholder returns told a different, and more enlightening, story: the average annual total return on its shares (in US dollars with dividends re-invested) over the period May 2002 to May 2012 (Ackermann’s tenure as chief executive of the bank) was around minus 2 per cent. RoE is an inappropriate performance metric for any company, but especially for a bank, and it is bizarre that its use should have been championed by people who profess particular expertise in financial and risk management. Banks still...

Mommy Wars: Brexit edition

Mommy Wars: Brexit edition

Jul 13, 2016

Why are women so vicious to each other when it comes to parenting? Why do some mothers feel invalidated when they find someone who raised her children differently? Why do some mothers imagine that because they give birth they are now experts on anything having to do with children no matter how tenuous the connection? Politics is a contact sport, but there’s no match for the viciousness of the Mommy Wars. These are the Mommy Wars. I grapple with these questions every day as I write about the ways in which women — generally Western, white women of privileged status — torment each other over childbirth, breastfeeding and parenting small children. Most mothers grapple with these questions every day on websites and message boards, at playgrounds, and at work. It’s hardly a secret within the professions that women often find that those who are least supportive of their efforts to combine mothering and work are other women. It’s hardly surprising then that no sooner do we have the historic occurrence of two women vying with each other to become Prime Minister than the ugly specter of the Mommy Wars takes center stage. Witness the Mommy Wars, Brexit edition: In the wake of the successful vote for Britain’s exit from the European Union, Prime Minister David Cameron resigned to be replaced by the leader of the Conservative Party. Two women were vying for the leadership, Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom. They say that politics is a contact sport, but there’s no match for the viciousness of the Mommy Wars. In a breathtaking display of pure cruelty, Leadsom was quoted in The Times of London as claiming that rival Theresa May’s infertility disqualified her from leading the UK. As explained by Business Insider: The Times newspaper ran a piece on Saturday where it quoted Leadsom saying May must be “really sad” about not being able to have children. “I feel that being a mum means you have a very real stake in the future of our country, a tangible stake,” she said in the article, which was published as a front-page lead and headlined “Being a mother gives me edge on May — Leadsom.” That’s why...

British Labour Party Leader Loses No Confidence Vote

British Labour Party Leader Loses No Confidence Vote

Jun 29, 2016

In the latest example of the political backlash growing out of last week’s Brexit vote, Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, lost a no-confidence vote among Labour’s Members of Parliament, but he says he will not leave office even as his position seems to become more and more precarious: LONDON — Britain’s political turmoil deepened Tuesday, with members of the opposition Labour Party rebelling against their leader in a no-confidence vote while the governing Conservatives started to joust over the selection of a new prime minister to replace David Cameron. The turbulence — spawned by the country’s stunning vote to exit the European Union last Thursday — has already claimed Cameron’s political career. The prime minister is stepping aside just a year after he won a sweeping general election victory. Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, could be the next to go following Tuesday’s mutinous vote among Labour’s members in Parliament. In a secret ballot, 172 members said they had no confidence in their leader. Just 40 backed him. Tuesday’s vote is nonbinding, but it is likely to lead to a new leadership contest that could deepen divisions within a party already riven with fractures between its moderate and hard-left factions. Corbyn has suggested he will run again — and he could well win, given his popularity with the rank and file. But Tuesday’s vote shows that his own colleagues in Parliament want him gone. Corbyn’s detractors in Labour blame him for a lackluster campaign to keep Britain in the E.U. Although Labour officially supported the “remain” camp, Corbyn was a fleeting presence on the campaign trail, and polls showed that many Labour members were not aware of their party’s official position. Corbyn — a north London politician whose views have been compared to those of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont — was defiant after the vote, pledging not to step down. “I was democratically elected leader of our party for a new kind of politics by 60 percent of Labour members and supporters, and I will not betray them by resigning,” he wrote in a statement released within minutes of the result being revealed. “Today’s vote by [members...

Vikings without football tickets to invade Nice for Euro clash

Vikings without football tickets to invade Nice for Euro clash

Jun 28, 2016

Nice (France) (AFP) – Iceland will have about 3,000 fans in the Nice stadium for their Euro 2016 clash against England on Monday but thousands more chanting their Viking songs will be in the Mediterranean resort. Like Irish Republic supporters who had to lay out for black market tickets to see their country against France on Sunday, Iceland’s fans have become caught in the European Championship quandary. No-one expected them to get this far. Euro 2016 fever has gripped the 330,000 population. Even the nation’s new president Gudni Johannesson, who won an election Saturday, said his first priority is to be at the match. Asked before the final results were announced what his first task would be if elected, the history professor replied: “Go to France on Monday and see Iceland play England.” Johannesson has a better chance than most of his countrymen of getting a last-minute place in the 35,000 capacity stadium. But that will not deter the Icelandic nation. There were about about 10,000 Iceland fans at each of their group games in France and a similar number are expected in Nice.  Iceland star Gylfi Sigurdsson criticised UEFA’s ticket distribution system for Euro 2016 knockout games. “We’d love to have more tickets for the Icelandic people,” Sigurdsson said Sunday.  Between 3,000 and 3,500 places in the Nice stadium will go to Iceland fans, the team’s spokesperson told AFP.  “Uefa have to find another solution how they distribute the tickets for the knockout games,” said the 26-year-old Swansea City midfielder.  “It would have been nice to have 10,000-15,000 people here, but the people at the game will be loud, hopefully we can make them proud.” French regional government officials estimated around 25,000 England fans would be in Nice. Sigurdsson’s criticism follows similar remarks by Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill who protested about the allocation for Irish fans for his team’s last-16 game with France.  Irish fans received only 4,500 places in the 59,000-capacity Lyon stadium. Icelanders may not be happy about the tickets but they are unlikely to cause trouble. The fans have become known as the friendly Vikings because of their football chants and the trademark rendition of the romantic Icelandic...