Business

Eh?

Within weeks, the Russian oligarch’s prized asset will become the first yacht offered up at auction since Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. It comes after Pumpyansky was hit with sanctions by both the European Union and Britain in March, as part of an effort to crack down on those with close ties to Putin.

Didn’t realise sanctions would mean actually nicking the boats off ’em.

In March, his superyacht was detained by the Gibraltar authorities after JP Morgan filed an admiralty claim in the territory’s Supreme Court. The investment giant called in a loan on the yacht reportedly worth £18m, on the grounds that sanctions against the oligarch left him in breach of the loan agreement.

Ah, it’s not actually sanctions per se……

Careful there, careful there

The lawyers didn’t quite scan this one properly.

Yet, away from the paddock, it is the financial woes of parent company Aston Martin Lagonda that are of the greatest concern despite the best efforts of Stroll and his wealthy friends to rescue a company that has been bankrupt an incredible seven times previously.

That’s not actually true. This being something I’ve written about several times in one of the day jobs.

The business of making Aston Martin cars has been bust 7 times before, this is true. This current company hasn’t been. It’s an important distinction. One that’s on the verge of being actionable I would say…..

Seems reasonable

Patisserie Valerie ex-chairman in line for payout after auditor settles £200m lawsuit
Luke Johnson set to benefit as Grant Thornton settles over coffee chain’s collapse

Not because he was chairman, nor because he was an executive, nor even a shareholder. He put £10 million in at the start of the disaster. So, as a secured creditor he gets some back given the compo claim.

Secured creditor gets paid in an administration is hardly all that much of a surprise.

This won’t make all that much difference

In response, leaders of the G7 block of advanced economies meeting in southern Germany have been examining American proposals for what Janet Yellen, the US Treasury secretary, has termed “price caps or a price exception”. This could work via a mechanism that restricts insurance or financing of Russian oil shipments over a certain value.

So, Russia offers to insure itself, then sells on CIF terms, not FOB.

Ie, pay when it’s delivered, not when it sets sail. That solves – much of – the financing problem. This can also be done as the metals markets show. Some metals are habitually traded FOB. Others CIF. Shrug.

This is a bit, umm, weak, as an argument

Other reasons for the shortage cited in the Time story include staffing issues and rising costs to get raw materials. The article also notes that because tampons are used by people with uteruses ― and many of the people who make “procurement and supply chain decisions” about feminine care products don’t use the products themselves ― there’s a possible gendered aspect to the tampon shortage because it simply may not be seen as a priority.

Capitalism makes folk interested in the money they can have by thinking about other peoples’ desires. That’s what makes it work…..capitalists are greedy, see?

Not as bad as you might think

Russia’s much anticipated new ‘sanction-proof’ Lada has been derided as a flashback to the USSR without any airbags, an anti-lock braking system, modern seat belts or satellite navigation.

The Lada Granta Classic 2022 was designed to use components only from Russia and its allies, but it also means it has no anti-emissions kit, with Russian car journalists reporting that the new car will only meet European pollution standards imposed in 1996.

Well, yeah, yeah but…..Ladas.

OK so they were an old design even when first made. Build quality was just terrible – we bought two Moskvitch vans fresh from the factory (Renault 4 based designs) and the first task was to strip and reassemble them. Right down to cracking open the gearboxes, really, everything.

If you had one that had been properly made – middle of the month perhaps, for those planned economy reasons. Early week wouldn’t have parts, late week of the month would be building too fast to meet plan – they were solid and worked and cheap. Nowt fancy at all but they could indeed deal with Russian weather which is a feat in itself.

There is a significant market in Russia for something like that. Build quality’s the thing tho’

If I was still in Moscow

If, note, if – then I’d be making hay here:

Aleksei Atapov, the owner of a car repair firm, said: “We are in a pretty sad situation in terms of car repair and maintenance in Moscow. The central warehouses closed at the end of February, and even the custom parts that arrived were not given to us. They returned the money and took all the parts back abroad.

“Because of such jumps in the rate, they simply stopped all activities. Central warehouses are our everything. Two weeks after 24 February [the day of the invasion], speculation for car parts reached its peak. Something that would cost 900 roubles (£12.50) would cost 7,000-7,500 roubles. Original car oil would cost 12,000 instead of 1,200.”

While the Russian government has been promoting its policies of import substitution and “parallel imports”, which allow importers to ignore bans on sending spare parts to Russia,

Given that I know people at HQ Skoda……

Actually, the point is that as soon as there’s some restriction on the classic, large scale and manufacturer dominated supply line then there’re vast profits to be made in the small scale and more informal supply line. Load up a panel van with the desired components, start driving.

No, really. Very good money was made around 1990 on that sort of basis. Because trade will happen – it’s the margins on it that change.

Hmm, well….

Last month Elon Musk said he was putting his $44bn bid for Twitter “on hold”. Now the Tesla billionaire is switching from neutral to reverse gear, or at least threatening to do so. A legal letter to Twitter’s board says he reserves his right “to terminate the merger agreement”.

This development will surprise precisely nobody because Musk has been bleating about Twitter’s bots – meaning spam and fake accounts – almost from the day he signed the formal takeover terms. The point is that the quarrel is manufactured. If Musk was truly worried about how the company measures the number of bots on its site, the opportunity to demand detailed information was before he signed on the line in April.

That’s perhaps not how negotiation goes. But then fortunately we don’t have The Guardian finance editor doing negotiations for us – however much our own diplomats seem to take this path.

Musk is just doing the old GBS thing. Now we’ve settled the concept, you’re for sale, all we’re doing is haggling.

Well, yes, except

The Guptas came to South Africa in 1993 to build a sprawling business empire in mining, computer technology and media. They had been granted South African citizenship but fled the country shortly after a judicial commission investigating corruption started in 2018.

After four years of investigations, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo compiled a report revealing how the brothers became enmeshed with the highest levels of government and the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

In a series of reports being published this year, the investigators said procurement contracts at the proprietor of all rail, ports and pipelines amounted to “planned offences of racketeering activity conducted by a racketeering enterprise” linked to the Guptas.

As far as we all know entirely true. Vilely corrupt.

And yet we know how this is going to go, don’t we? Foreigners taking advantage of black South Africans again. That it’s necessary to be corruptible to be corrupted is going to slip by the wayside…..

Not convinced here, really not

The Chinese takeover of a British specialist in cutting-edge graphene technology has been abandoned after a national security investigation raised concerns that the deal would see critical technology moved abroad.

Shanghai Kington Technology, a Chinese company that makes high-performance plastics, has called off its proposed acquisition of Perpetuus, which specialises in graphene technology.

Graphene’s going to be important, sure. But the sheer number of companies out there means that I seriously doubt anyone’s going to get a lock on it. Which would be the only national security issue, if one lot could do what no others could do. Just don’t think that’s going to be true in this field.

Now here’s an ambition

This part is cretinously stupid of course:

For social media influencers, success comes in units of thousands and millions – but for many of them that is followers, not pounds.

This month, MPs recommended that the government investigate pay standards in the industry as part of a wider review of the influencer market, citing inconsistent pay rates and evidence of a racial pay gap.

It’s purely numbers driven – as close to a pure market as we’re ever likely to get. Have a large audience that spends lots, you’ll get well paid. Have a small one, or one of little value, you’ll be paid little. And?

But this is lovely and ambitious:

There are also moves to establish a trade union for influencers and creators in the UK. Kat Molesworth, co-founder of the Creator Union, is hoping to start recruiting members later this year. She says influencers and content creators are often treated badly, working without contracts and waiting months or years for payment.

“I think that funding for a union should in part come from the industry, both the advertising industry and the social media platforms, because influencers are part of a $6bn global economy and they deserve to be treated fairly and represented,” says Molesworth.

The people the union will be negotiating against should fund the creation of the union?

Now actually think about this a little. It’s a blindingly good idea. A great little earner for whoever gets to occupy the corner office of course. But much more than that, if it’s the industry that funds the union then it’ll be the industry that controls the union. Which would be a lovely strategic win, wouldn’t it, even if pretty shit for those influencers.

No

His after-dinner speech to the CBI on Wednesday night paid lip service, once again, to his view that employers and shareholders need to invest more profit back into their companies; not simply by updating the cogs in the machines, but by upskilling their workers as well.

This is to make a common error.

We don’t want, desire or even care about how much any one company invests in itself. We do care that the system as a whole continues to invest. For investment in doin’ stuff is what makes that future richer.

Often enough it’s the investments in the new stuff that makes that future richer. Further, it’s usually new companies that do the new stuff, or even the old stuff in new ways. Technological change tends not to come from incumbents but from insurgents that is.

So, what we desire within the system as a whole is some manner of channelling profits from old investments that have come good into new investments that might come good. That is, we want flows of cash across companies, not have it simply recycled within the same corporate wrapper.

Companies that make good profits should be paying out dividends, buying back their shares. That puts the money in the hands of investors, who then make the decision of where to reinvest their earnings.

The idea that companies should reinvest their own earnings is simply wrong. Dangerously wrong in fact.

Sure, we want that river of cash coming out of BP to be investing in – say – lithium mines. But it would be absurd to have BP investing in lithium mines. Having individuals – or pensions funds, insurance companies – investing in Cornish Lithium makes sense. But that means that the money has to come out of BP so that it can be spent on lithium.

Reinvestment comes from profits being paid out to investors.

A reader writes in

First Name

Erwin
Last Name

Rommel

Comments / Questions

The article you wrote about Henry Ford raising his workers wages was a hit job, you clearly don’t like the Great Henry Ford for some reason, Henry Ford is the reason how factories are run today, Henry Ford is the greatest business man to ever live and he was good to his workers, he didn’t exploit them and cheat them like modern day American big business who only cares about their Executives and shareholders and their short time gains stock buy backs at the expense of the livelihoods of their workers by refusing to pay a fair living wage 18$ a hour and cutting jobs as much as they can, not investing hardly any money into the actual company like building a new bigger factory because demand is high, trying to expand the business, they only care about themselves, Henry Ford hated Globalism and Communism he believed we should manufacture everything we need right here in America be self sufficient as we should and can be which we was up until the 1970s when President Nixon open China up for American big businesses and the rest is history we lost all our jobs we lost are middle class all because of greedy fuckers in Wall Street and Big business, Henry Ford was a genius he is a American hero and one of the greatest Americans in our history, there is a group of greedy Americans who are responsible for the destruction of the middle class this greedy globalist leftist group of people who have no allegiance to America they believe the world is their country, this group of people are greedy selfish heartless money grabbers who have stolen all the wealth of the middle class they are vermin they are scum, Henry Ford is a great American and you wrote a hit piece on him and yes workers did get paid 5$ a day wtf are you talking about it’s not that hard to figure out, workers got paid twice as much money per week when he raised their wages in 1914. Your a hack just like all the other liberal fucks who just have to write a hit job piece cause they can’t stand when they see something they don’t like. People like you are pathetic. Have a nice day scum bag!

Whoo Boy, has he got various things wrong.

Always fun when they don’t explain

It’s not the wages, it’s the hours:

Ashley Sierra has worked at Dollar General for two years and makes just $11 an hour, while only receiving part-time hours. A mother of three, she relies on family members to barely make ends meet. “My weekly paycheck is no more than $200, $260 at the max. I have three children, I cannot survive on $260 a week, it’s just not working. It needs to get upped to at least $15 an hour, the bottom is $15, because we work so hard for so little,” said Sierra.

She’s working 25 to 30 hours a week there. Yes, there are taxes – FICA – on such low wages.

OK, so, what’s actually the problem here? That no one at this level of the economy can actually gain full time work. If she was doing 40 hours at $11 then sure, she’s still low paid but her income would undoubtedly be higher.

So, why can’t she get 40 hours?

Obamacare. If someone does over 30 hours (about) then the company has to buy them health care insurance. Which is expensive. From the point of view of the employer it’s also not worth it. Schedule 3 part timers instead of 2 full timers – -ish, -ish.

The fuck up is the uptick in compensation costs at approaching full time hours. Which is why near none of the low paid these days gain full time hours.

Quite so

Netflix has told staff they must tolerate different points of view or find another job after the “woke” streaming giant suffered its first drop in subscribers for a decade.

Don’t want to work where they show Dave Chappelle? Well, don’t then.

This doesn’t mean what they think it means

Footballer Michael Owen has come under fire for promoting a new crypto investment and claiming it could not fall in value.

The former Liverpool and Real Madrid striker said his “non-fungible tokens”, or NFTs, would be “the first ever that can’t lose their initial value”. NFTs are digital certificates that denote ownership of a physical or virtual asset. They are stored on the “blockchain”, a digital ledger, and are bought using cryptocurrencies.

Mr Owen and his business partner Oceidon, a technology company, claim their NFT series have a fixed floor price which allows the value to rise but never go down.

Andrew Green, of Oceidon, told fans on Twitter: “We have come up with a way to prohibit people selling the NFTs for less than what they initially acquire them for.”

Possible to imagine coding that insists upon that. But that doesn’t mean that they’ll never fall in value. It just means that there’s a cliff in value – you might be able to sell at the issue price or you’ll not be able to sell at all and the value will be zero.

You know, like the minimum wage? If you can’t sell your labour at the minimum wage then you can’t sell your labour at all?

Seems fair enough

The firings, which took place outside the company’s employee review cycle, was regarded as the company’s response to the Amazon Labor Union which formed in Staten Island last month in a “historic victory” against the country’s second largest employer, the New York Times reported, citing former and current employees who spoke on the condition anonymity.

Most of the managers who were fired were responsible for carrying out Amazon’s response to the unionization efforts, the New York Times reported. According to their LinkedIn profiles that were reviewed by the Times, some of the managers were with the company for more than six years.

Manage an anti-union campaign badly enough that a union gets established and you get fired.

Based, no?

‘E’ll be rubbing his hands with glee here

Employees have threatened to leave the company in protest at his plan to support more free speech, according to a leaked recording.

Those who want to go over such a policy are those who would have to go anyway. Resignation is cheaper than firing, even in the US. Options and stock don’t vest on resignation, while they might on firing just to make it easier…..

“My goal is to maximize area under the curve of total human happiness, which means the around 80pc of people in the middle.”

Utility maximisation – someone’s recalled his econ classes.

There’s a very grand assumption here

The BBC is poised to become a tech investor by taking bets on risky start-ups as part of a wider push to wean itself off licence fee funding.

The corporation has started hiring for a new subdivision that will pinpoint fledgling businesses with new and emerging technologies, and back them financially.

This new operation, called BBC Venture, will sit under the corporation’s research and development arm, but will explore working with its commercial unit to help secure new income streams.

That possibly incorrect assumption being that these new investments will make money. That is actually a requirement to end up with an income stream after all.