Mol looks towards a regional role

Hungarian oil and gas company Mol has set its sights on regional expansion and rationalization, with its current programme including bids for Polish companies and an offloading of its domestic gas interests.

Rate cuts prompt a public falling-out

The usually understated tensions between finance ministries and independent central banks have taken on a more vociferous tone in Poland, where finance minister Marek Belka is insistent that the National Bank of Poland is being tardy in cutting interest rates, thus perpetuating a period of economic stagnation.

Building Ferraris in Lada land

UniCredito Italiano is expanding fast in the EU accession candidate countries of central and eastern Europe, where it seeks local banks with good management.

Privatization takes a slower route

A point of increasing concern for Poland and its foreign investors is the extent to which the new government is committed to the rapid pace of privatization that characterized the country's successful early transformation into a market economy.

Beware of biotech

Even after the dot com bubble burst, US investors continued to snap up the IPOs of another group of companies characterized by non-existent profits and total dependence on unproven new technology.

When shareholder value conflicts with shareholder utility

Deutsche Börse’s move to take full control of international central securities depository Clearstream highlights the divergence between banks, exchanges and clearers that would like to see an integrated utility-style system of settlement for European securities markets and those exchanges such as Deutsche Börse that see such operations as a way of generating value for their own shareholders.

Landesbanken look to a new life

After years of complaints from regulators and private-sector rivals that Germany’s state banks are taking unfair advantage of public guarantees, the issue is in sight of being resolved.

Continuous linked settlement at last

The imminent implementation of T+0 settlement for foreign exchange ought in theory to be an all-round blessing for market participants, reducing Herstatt risk.

The sting in the tail of the good times

As German media empire Kirch begins to buckle and telecom firms are again making headlines for all the wrong reasons, contingent liabilities are suddenly a hot topic for credit fund managers.

Privatization plans bump along apace

Privatization in India has accelerated under firm government leadership but the process has been complicated by doubts about the involvement of state companies as buyers and government provisions to prevent monopolies developing.