Thursday, June 30, 2005

DeLong y el Lobo: una vez más preocupado con el déficit de EEUU

Por enésima Brad DeLong cita un paper (Obstfeld y Rogoff 2005) alertando el peligro del déficit de cuenta corriente de EEUU (¡más de un 6%!) ¿No se cansará?

Después 4 años de la reducción de impuestos de Bush que gatilló el déficit, el dólar aún se defiende. A Argentina le tomó como 10 años (2001), a Chile como 8 (1982) y a México 6 (1994) enfrentar las consecuencias de políticas macroeconómicas inflexibles.

Apuesto a que el dólar se devalúa un 40% al año 2008. ¡No me lo cobren que no soy economista!

Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal: Does Financial Globalization Remove the Possibility of a Dollar Crisis? Obstfeld and Rogoff Say, "No!":
"Does Financial Globalization Remove the Possibility of a Dollar Crisis? Obstfeld and Rogoff Say, 'No!'
Maury Obstfeld and Ken Rogoff say that Greg Mankiw, Alan Greenspan, and others who point to increased financial globalization as a reason not to worry (much) about the U.S. current account deficit are simply wrong. Increased financial globalization has implications for the value of gross international asset positions, but has very little to do with the macroeconomics of how unsustainable trends in net international asset positions come to an end. The unwinding of unsustainable trends in net positions requires that countries' inhabitants change how much and what kinds of goods they consume. This has little to do with financial globalization, and a lot to do with exchange rates, relative goods prices, and demand elasticities:

Las mujeres y los niños primero

El CEO de GM debe tener uno de los puestos más ingratos de los corporativos norteamericanos. Amplias diferencias de productividad y calidad con Toyota, agravados por pesadas cargas previsionales y de salud con sus empleados. La separación de GMAC parece un paso en el sentido correcto, mejora la evaluación de crédito pero también separa sus activos para colocarse en una situación de choque con los sindicatos.

FT.com – Wagoner’s patience wears thin: "Rick Wagoner has a reputation as a patient, methodical manager who is not easily provoked.

On Tuesday, General Motors' chairman and chief executive showed a more forceful streak, in particular, that his patience with the United Auto Workers union over GM's spiralling healthcare bill was wearing thin.
Mr Wagoner, who took personal charge of GM's loss-making North American operations earlier this year, told the annual meeting that, whether or not the carmaker can reach agreement with the UAW, "it is crystal clear that we need to achieve a significant reduction in our healthcare cost disadvantage, and to do so promptly".
GM may be on the verge of other momentous moves, judging by Mr Wagoner's remarks.
He disclosed that the carmaker was in the throes of a detailed study of "the strategic options that are available to us" on the future of its giant financing arm, General Motors Acceptance Corporation.
Analysts have taken this to mean that GM may soon put part of its stake in GMAC up for sale, with the aim not only of raising money for the parent, but enabling the finance company to enjoy a higher credit rating and thus lower borrowing costs than the carmaker."

Las mujeres y los niños primero

No son buenas noticias para la industria automotriz,
FT.com Chrysler mulls mimicking GM incentives: "...Chrysler, the American division of Germany's DaimlerChrysler and the third-largest US carmaker, has 'on the table' several possible responses to GM's offer, it said.
Analysts estimate GM's sales have soared by at least 30 per cent in June thanks to the offer, giving the company its best sales month since it shocked the market with across-the-board zero per cent finance in September 2001. The latest scheme, dubbed 'You pay what we pay', comes on top of existing incentives and results in discounts of close to 20 per cent in some cases...

pero la cita para el oro está casi al final del articulo
...However, Chrysler denied the profit-sapping US price war was entering a new phase, saying that less money was available to dealers to negotiate discounts... "

¡¡¡DENIED!!! En que mundo viven estos personajes. Rebates y ahora descuentos de hasta un 20% mientras Toyota mantiene sus precios. Digno de Alicia en el país de las maravillas.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Innovación en Formatos

En Chile recién se está empezando a vivir la proliferación de formatos de retail que se ha visto en EEUU y Europa. Y el formato de Hard Discounters es uno de los mas interesantes, sin embargo creo que hay un error conceptual en la noticia del Diario Financiero

“Día %”, el formato que D&S quiere traer a Chile
...Tiendas entre 200 m2 y 400 m2, con casi 100% de marcas propias, un diferencial de 20% por sobre la competencia, enfocadas a precios bajos y con más de 3.700 locales en el mundo incluido China, son las características del formato de tienda por conveniencia o hard discount que D&S quiere traer a Chile de la mano de la francesa Carrefour...

Compararlas con tiendas de conveniencia creo que es un error. Este formato vende sólo abarrotes y están enfocadas a clase media y baja. Parecen bodegas pequeñas y prácticamente no tienen estacionamientos y no manejan marcas. Día es de los más lujosos surgiendo de las leyes de zonificación en Europa.
Seguiremos antentamente los próximos pasos de Líder con esta interesante innovación en el mercado de retail.

GE apuesta por energía no contaminante

Para poner en contexto 1.25 B euros es
- aproximadamente un 50% del presupuesto actual de I+D de GE
- más que la suma de la inversión en I+D de Shell y Exxon
- más que el presupuesto de empresas intensivas en I+D como 3M, United Technologies, Volvo, Lockheed, Sanyo, LG, Caterpillar, ....
A consistent policy on cleaner energy by J. Immelt: "...Diminishing oil and natural gas reserves, continued reliance on imported and sometimes unstable energy sources, price volatility and global climate concerns demand that we do so. It will require three elements: the brain-power to develop new technologies, a market that is open to these technologies, and the wills of our elected leaders, those in industry and those committed to progress.
It will take work to gather these elements together but the prospect of success is growing. Since the 1990s, innovations in dramatically cleaner energy have emerged, not just in the US and Europe but in China, India and elsewhere. Their common denominator has been a target of higher efficiency, lower cost and fewer emissions such as that found in cleaner coal applications that could shave millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide from current emissions levels.
As this formula is followed and these technologies take hold, we enhance our potential to succeed, but a viable market must exist. Encouraging signs of such growth are emerging, in companies themselves but also in the capital markets.
In June alone, two of Silicon Valley's top venture firms invested nearly euros 33m ($40m) in solar energy companies. While such clean tech investment represented just 2.6 per cent of overall venture capital in 2004, that is double the level of 2000. In a recovering capital market, these numbers show that we are crossing the threshold where solving energy and environmental problems is the profitable thing to do as well as the right one and - where fewer pounds of emissions can mean more pounds on the bottom line.
General Electric is putting its money where its mouth is. We have committed to doubling annual investment in clean energy technology research and development to euros 1.25bn...."

Aerolíneas de Bajo Costo

¿Por qué Latinoamérica no tiene aerolíneas de bajo precio? Hasta los países ex-comunistas ya tienen. Este cliente potencial está desolado. Snif....
Budget air finds E. Europe
Andrea Dudikova
Associated Press

... Knisova is one of many travelers from new European Union members in the former eastern Europe, such as Slovakia, Hungary and Poland, accustomed to long and uncomfortable bus or train trips around the continent, who are discovering the rest of Europe through the flights available to them by low-cost airlines. advertisement

SkyEurope Airlines was the first budget airline to begin direct flights to London and Paris from Slovakia in 2003. The Bratislava-based airline since has expanded its destination list and entered the Hungarian and Polish markets with the same business plan.

"Central and Eastern Europe is in a catch-up phase," said Christian Mandl, one of the airline's founders. "Lots of people are changing their consumer habits . . . going from the train and the bus to the plane."

SkyEurope now employs 700 people and transported 1.2 million passengers in the year that ended April 2005, flying to 22 destinations.

Other and considerably bigger budget airlines also have taken note of the opportunities in the region.

EasyJet PLC has been flying from London's Stansted Airport to Prague, the Czech capital, since 1999. Last year, the British budget carrier added a flight to Slovenia's capital Ljubljana, and later started flights to Budapest, Warsaw and Bratislava.

Irish budget carrier Ryanair announced in May that it would begin five new routes to Poland and Slovakia as of Oct. 30, when it will operate daily flights from Stansted to Polish destinations and a twice-daily route to Bratislava. Ryanair recently reported a better-than-expected 29 percent increase in net profits for the fiscal year


Not all budget airlines have succeeded, however. Air Polonia, a Polish carrier offering flights to other European destinations, shut down in December after an Irish investment group unexpectedly pulled out of a planned investment.

Mandl still believes air transport in the region will increase as a result of economic growth, which is faster in new EU countries than in the older ones like Germany or France.

Before SkyEurope entered the market, he said, flying was reserved to the elite in Slovakia, where the average salary is $512 a month, while others would travel for endless hours by bus to faraway continental destinations.

"We're telling people that they should try to fly instead of spending 24 hours on the bus," Mandl said. "It may look strange from a western European point of view, but many people have flown for the first time, at least in Slovakia, with SkyEurope.

"This is a process of education, explaining to people that basically we're a bus with wings."

Quiero Taco Bell

Continúa el interés de inversionistas en la cadenas de comida rápida tipo mexicana. Ahora es el Pollo Loco que está en proceso de venta. Desconozco su relación contractual con la cadena mexicana, pero es el mismo formato.
El Pollo Loco Bidding Heats Up
... Last year, El Pollo Loco posted $219 million in revenue and $33.3 million of Ebitda, compared with $206.4 million in sales and $33.4 million of Ebitda for 2003.

One private equity executive and seasoned restaurant investor said a question mark facing El Pollo Loco is its source of future growth. The chain's historic growth, the dealmaker said, has come largely from California, where the bulk of its restaurants are located.

Prospective private equity buyers that might be interested in El Pollo Loco could include Apax Partners, which has invested in Mexican eatery Cafe Rio Inc., and Bruckmann Rosser, Sherrill & Co. LLC, which has invested in Real Mex Restaurants Inc. (in January, Real Mex announced the acquisition of Chevys Inc.'s Chevys Fresh Mex restaurants and Fuzio Universal Pasta).

Centre Partners Management LLC, Charlesbank Capital Partners LLC, Grotech Capital Group and Palladium Equity Partners LLC are other potential bidders.

Palladium, a New York-based firm that targets midsized Hispanic businesses, announced on Monday the purchase of Dallas-based Taco Bueno's parent company in a secondary buyout from New York's Jacobson Partners. A source said the company, TB Corp., is valued at $160 million to $200 million.

American Securities acquired El Pollo Loco from Spartanburg, S.C.-based Advantica Restaurant Group Inc. in January 2000 for $128 million. The private equity firm owns a 94% stake in El Pollo Loco, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

American Securities extracted $37 million from El Pollo Loco through a $70 million debt issuance in March, following an earlier $70 million dividend via a $110 million high-yield issuance in January 2004 through Jefferies & Co...

Others People's Money

Con las tasas a niveles históricamente bajos, los inversionistas están teniendo problemas para encontrar retornos atractivos. Posibles burbujas en bienes raíces, fondos privados, acciones y mercados emergentes complican aún más el escenario. Por lo mismo han sido surgido creativos mecanismos de inversión en EEUU.

El caso de Hollywood y la "Guerra de los Mundos" un ejemplo, acogiendo inversionistas sofisticados con mecanismos de securitización ¿No habrán industrias intensivas en capital en Latino América que puedan aprovechar esta oportunidad?

Wall St grabs starring role in Hollywood saga
By Richard Beales in New York
Financial Times

Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks are not the only ones hoping for a blockbuster performance by War of the Worlds, the science fiction epic that goes on general release worldwide on Wednesday. Banking on the film's success alongside the studios is an unusual group by Hollywood standards: financiers, who get no screen credit and may not even brag about their involvement at parties.

Paramount, a subsidiary of Viacom, raised $230m last summer to fund part of the cost of every film the studio makes for up to three years. The money came from Wall Street, with the investment packaged into various types of securities to attract banks, insurance companies and hedge funds.

“[This type of highly structured transaction] is where the trend is in Hollywood finance,” said Michael Blum, head of global asset-based finance at Merrill Lynch, which arranged Paramount's deal.... continued

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

Muchas gracias al Diploma de Liderazgo Emprendedor de Arica por su traducción del excelente discurso de graduación de Steve Jobs en la Universidad de Stanford

Su tiempo tiene límite, así que no lo pierdan viviendo la vida de otra persona. No se dejen atrapar por dogmas – es decir, vivir con los resultados del pensamiento de otras personas. No permitan que el ruido de las opiniones ajenas silencien su propia voz interior. Y más importante todavía, tengan el valor de seguir su corazón e intuición, que de alguna manera ya saben lo que realmente quieren llegar a ser. Todo lo demás es secundario.

Cuando era joven, había una asombrosa publicación llamada The Whole Earth Catalog, que era una de las biblias de mi generación. Fue creada por un tipo llamado Steward Brand no muy lejos de aquí en Menlo Park, y la creó con un toque poético. Fue a fines de los 60, antes de las computadoras personales y de la edición mediante microcomputadoras, por lo tanto, en su totalidad estaba editada usando máquinas de escribir, tijeras y cámaras polaroid. Era un tipo de Google en formato de edición económica, 35 años antes de que apareciera Google: era idealista y rebosante de hermosas herramientas y grandes conceptos.

Steward y su equipo publicaron varias ediciones del The Whole Earth Catalog, y luego cuando seguía su curso normal, publicaron la última edición. Fue a mediados de los 70 y yo tenía la edad de ustedes. En la tapa trasera de la última edición, había una fotografía de una carretera en el campo temprano en la mañana, similar a una en que estarían haciendo dedo si fueran así aventureros. Debajo de la foto decía: “Sean ansiosos. Sean descabellados”. Fue su mensaje de despedida al finalizar. Sean ansiosos. Sean descabellados. Siempre he deseado eso para mí. Y ahora como se gradúan para empezar de nuevo, lo deseo para ustedes.

Sean ansiosos. Sean descabellados.

Salud a las cosechas 2003 y 2004

Dave McIntyre anticipa buenos años 2003 y 2004 para los vinos chilenos. ¡Salud!:
Chile seems to have been in a cycle the last few vintages in which odd-numbered years produced strong, high-quality reds and the even years were, well, uneven. This started with El Niño's visit in 1998 and continued with his biennial returns. If you fell in love with Chilean wines with the 2001 vintage, you might have tasted the 2002s and wondered what all the fuss was about.
There's good news from Chile these days. The excellent 2003 vintage is about to hit our retail shelves. And from the few examples I was able to taste on a recent visit to Chile, the 2004 vintage has broken El Niño's spell.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

¡Al mejor postor!

Otra historia de adquisición que no funcionó. Está muy documentado la dificultad de generar valor en estas megatransacciones. Mas difícil aún en la industria de recursos naturales donde generalmente estas transacciones se justifican como una "racionalización de capacidad", cosa muy difícil de lograr en una industria fragmentada.

International Paper mulls options for Carter Holt By Virginia Marsh in Sydney, Financial Times
Shares in Carter Holt Harvey, one of Australasia's biggest packaging and forestry groups, jumped more than 14 per cent on Monday after International Paper put the New Zealand-based company in play by saying it was considering the options for its majority stake.
The sale of IP's 50.5 per cent stake, worth about NZ$1.4bn based on the current share price, could trigger a full takeover bid from another party or a break-up of the underperforming group which has been hit by difficult market conditions and an adverse industry structure.


But analysts said the US group – which paid between NZ$3.55 and NZ$3.80 a share for its stake – was likely to have been disappointed by CHH's performance. On Monday, the shares, which are dual listed on the Australian and New Zealand markets, closed up 28 cents at NZ$2.21.
"The investment has been a poor one for them," said Dennis Lee at ABN Amro in Auckland. "CHH operates in a fragmented industry with little pricing power, plus market conditions have been difficult of late."

¡Al mejor postor!

Parece que si hay al menos un operador interesado en la venta de Aeroméxico y Mexicana. No hay muchos que tengan la capacidad financiera en esta competitiva industria afectada por altos precios de petróleo.

Mas sorprendente aún que sea Iberia. ¿Habrán aprendido de su historia en Latinoamérica?

Iberia Airlines, the Spanish flag-carrier, is considering taking a stake in at least one of the state-rescued Mexican airlines as part of a strategy to develop new revenue streams in Latin America, its most important long-haul market. Company officials have confirmed their interest in the sales by Cintra, holding company for the airlines, although it is understood there are reservations about some of the conditions set out by the Mexican government. Iberia would be looking for full management control and assurances against political meddling in the operation of the airlines. The Spanish group has seen margins squeezed in recent years by intense competition from low-cost operators. This, coupled with the opening of the domestic market to competition and surging fuel prices, has forced the company to rethink its strategy for long-term growth. Angel Mullor, general manager, has warned that Iberia could dive into loss over the next three years if it fails to find about €600m ($725m) in savings and fresh revenues. Management is looking to freeze pay among its 25,000-strong workforce, although negotiations with pilots unions have stalled..... By Mark Mulligan in Madrid, Financial Times, Published June 27 2005 03:00