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Leading Article,
The Times

DELHI’S DAY

DELHI’S DAY

DELHI’S DAYGordon Brown spent ten years as Chancellor of the Exchequer before finding time to visit India. It has taken him a little over six months to grace the subcontinent with his Prime Ministerial presence. The importance of India, on the political and economic stages, has grown at rapid speed. He is also acknowledging that Britain, and the rest of the developed world, needs India to play an ever-larger part in world affairs. Mr Brown's contribution to global diplomacy is still in its infancy. But he has vigorously supported reform of international institutions such as the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund . . . He...

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#esg in the time of #coronavirus

RENTOKIL COMES CLEAN

RENTOKIL COMES CLEAN

RENTOKIL COMES CLEANIt's almost cruelly ironic that Rentokil Initial, a company dedicated to eradicating pests and cleaning toilets, is being so hard hit by the pandemic. It's a specialist in handwashing, FFS! That said, its approach to commercial difficulties, outlined in its trading update of 25 March 2020, is little short of exemplary. It is an object lesson in frank and fair-minded shareholder communication that should be practised by all companies serious about #ESG. Rentokil says that “significant uncertainty exists around the impact of COVID-19,” and that the “situation is particularly complex due in part to the wide range in...

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Reuters
Breakingviews

TESCO SHOULD CUT ITS DIVIDEND

TESCO SHOULD CUT ITS DIVIDEND

TESCO SHOULD CUT ITS DIVIDENDShareholders ultimately lose out when too-high payouts prevent companies from responding well to problems. Right now, Tesco needs all the financial flexibility it can muster. Its current dividend is dangerously constricting. In pure financial terms, the UK-based supermarket has the wherewithal to maintain the payment at current levels. The last 14.76 pence annual dividend was twice covered by underlying earnings per share, and the 1.2 billion pound payment was roughly the same as the free cashflow, HSBC calculates. If profit falls short, Tesco could cut capital expenditure – currently 2.5 billion pounds a year....

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Personal Investor,
The Times

BREAK WITH TRADITION CAN LIFT UNILEVER

BREAK WITH TRADITION CAN LIFT UNILEVER

BREAK WITH TRADITION CAN LIFT UNILEVERHow much influence does a chief executive exert over the fortunes of a company? It is a question that weighs heavy on the minds of investors in Unilever, the maker of Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Dove soap. It weighs because Unilever has a new chief executive, Paul Polman. There is extra interest because Mr Polman is the first external candidate to be appointed to this role at Unilever. It is, or was, a company that prided itself on its ability to breed its own leaders. Indeed, it bred leaders for plenty of other businesses, too. Unilever’s reputation for internal management strength comforted investors....

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Recessionasaurus,
The Times

ROBERT COLE’S RECESSIONASAURUS
(extracts)

ROBERT COLE’S RECESSIONASAURUS (extracts)

ROBERT COLE’S RECESSIONASAURUS (extracts)It’s happened to us all. One minute you’re in your element, waxing lyrical about the big match over a bag of peanuts down the pub, the next the talk turns to the markets and you’re left clutching at more straws than an octopus playing Kerplunk. Worry no more . . . Administration: One step from bankruptcy. Bear: a pessimistic investor, often seen crouching in the woods. Billion: a thousand million – nine noughts. Bookrunner: holder of the begging bowl. Bull: an optimistic investor thought by sceptics to talk rubbish. Deflation What happens when things get cheaper. Depression When recessions get really...

read more

Cuttings

Leading Article,
The Times

DELHI’S DAY

DELHI’S DAY

DELHI’S DAYGordon Brown spent ten years as Chancellor of the Exchequer before finding time to visit India. It has taken him a little over six months to grace the subcontinent with his Prime Ministerial presence. The importance of India, on the political and economic stages, has grown at rapid speed. He is also acknowledging that Britain, and the rest of the developed world, needs India to play an ever-larger part in world affairs. Mr Brown's contribution to global diplomacy is still in its infancy. But he has vigorously supported reform of international institutions such as the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund . . . He...

Reuters
Breakingviews

TESCO SHOULD CUT ITS DIVIDEND

TESCO SHOULD CUT ITS DIVIDEND

TESCO SHOULD CUT ITS DIVIDENDShareholders ultimately lose out when too-high payouts prevent companies from responding well to problems. Right now, Tesco needs all the financial flexibility it can muster. Its current dividend is dangerously constricting. In pure financial terms, the UK-based supermarket has the wherewithal to maintain the payment at current levels. The last 14.76 pence annual dividend was twice covered by underlying earnings per share, and the 1.2 billion pound payment was roughly the same as the free cashflow, HSBC calculates. If profit falls short, Tesco could cut capital expenditure – currently 2.5 billion pounds a year....

Personal Investor,
The Times

BREAK WITH TRADITION CAN LIFT UNILEVER

BREAK WITH TRADITION CAN LIFT UNILEVER

BREAK WITH TRADITION CAN LIFT UNILEVERHow much influence does a chief executive exert over the fortunes of a company? It is a question that weighs heavy on the minds of investors in Unilever, the maker of Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Dove soap. It weighs because Unilever has a new chief executive, Paul Polman. There is extra interest because Mr Polman is the first external candidate to be appointed to this role at Unilever. It is, or was, a company that prided itself on its ability to breed its own leaders. Indeed, it bred leaders for plenty of other businesses, too. Unilever’s reputation for internal management strength comforted investors....

Recessionasaurus,
The Times

ROBERT COLE’S RECESSIONASAURUS
(extracts)

ROBERT COLE’S RECESSIONASAURUS (extracts)

ROBERT COLE’S RECESSIONASAURUS (extracts)It’s happened to us all. One minute you’re in your element, waxing lyrical about the big match over a bag of peanuts down the pub, the next the talk turns to the markets and you’re left clutching at more straws than an octopus playing Kerplunk. Worry no more . . . Administration: One step from bankruptcy. Bear: a pessimistic investor, often seen crouching in the woods. Billion: a thousand million – nine noughts. Bookrunner: holder of the begging bowl. Bull: an optimistic investor thought by sceptics to talk rubbish. Deflation What happens when things get cheaper. Depression When recessions get really...

Blog

#esg in the time of #coronavirus

RENTOKIL COMES CLEAN

RENTOKIL COMES CLEAN

RENTOKIL COMES CLEANIt's almost cruelly ironic that Rentokil Initial, a company dedicated to eradicating pests and cleaning toilets, is being so hard hit by the pandemic. It's a specialist in handwashing, FFS! That said, its approach to commercial difficulties, outlined in its trading update of 25 March 2020, is little short of exemplary. It is an object lesson in frank and fair-minded shareholder communication that should be practised by all companies serious about #ESG. Rentokil says that “significant uncertainty exists around the impact of COVID-19,” and that the “situation is particularly complex due in part to the wide range in...

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