Evening Briefing Europe: Norway, Cerberus, GKN, Bosnia, Sweden
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The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund is turning its back on the business that made its fortune. Norway’s $1 trillion investment vehicle plans to dump about $35 billion worth of shares in oil and gas companies, including Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil, to protect the nation’s economy. Western Europe’s largest petroleum producer will be “less vulnerable” to a drop in oil by not being invested in industry stocks, the Oslo-based fund said today. Oil and gas shares make up about 6.4 percent of its portfolio. Shares in big oil companies fell on the news. — Andy Reinhardt
Matchmaker? Stephen Feinberg, the reclusive CEO of private equity giant Cerberus Capital Management, is probably best known for his firm’s brief ownership of Chrysler and its involvement in weapons, from pistols to military aircraft. Now, in a switch, he has put himself in a position to be an activist investor in German banks. Four months ago, Cerberus took a 3 percent stake in Commerzbank and yesterday it bought 5 percent of DeutscheBank. The surprise move has revived speculation over a possible merger between the banks.
Hero to zero. Two months ago Kevin Cummings got the promotion most execs dream of: he was tapped to become the next CEO of British aircraft parts maker GKN, a key supplier to Airbus. But today, six weeks before he was due to start, he was dropped by the company with immediate effect. GKN said only that it had decided he wasn’t the right person for the job. Instead, it’s appointing a temporary chief and searching again. British aerospace suppliers are under intense cost pressure from their customers and facing uncertainty provoked by Brexit.
Time bomb. Catalonia isn’t the only restless region in Europe. The latest separatist threat is in Europe’s most volatile area, the Balkans. A peace accord signed there more than 20 years ago included a power-sharing agreement that has held Bosnia-Herzegovina together. Now Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik wants to pull his faction out of the country. He has a longtime friend he can rely on, too: Russia.
Crime wave. The number of people in Sweden who suffered at least one criminal offense against them jumped to a record last year. A survey finds that 15.6 percent of Swedes were victims of crime, such as fraud and sexual offenses, up from 13.3 percent in 2015. “Young women aged between 16 and 24 is the group that’s most subject to sexual offenses, with 14 percent of young women stating that they were victims of at least one such crime during 2016,” said the National Council for Crime Prevention.
Shhh. Over a week has passed since Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrested wealthy princes, officials and businessmen in a power play that could reshape the oil-rich kingdom and the Middle East. But one group has remained noticeably silent throughout the process: Bankers who tend Saudi fortunes are afraid to do anything that could draw attention in Riyadh. The first rule of Saudi business? Don’t talk about Saudi business.
Beloved cliché. We all keep wish lists, mainly because there are experiences out there that just scream “try me.” Bloomberg’s two restaurant critics have joined forces to share the most memorable meals they’ve ever enjoyed, and a few that are still on their bucket lists.
Compiled by Andy Reinhardt and Siraj Datoo
©2017 Bloomberg L.P.
With assistance from Editorial Board