MarketLine Blog

Posts written in February 2017

From GM to PSA: Why the sale of Vauxhall Opel is good for shareholders but bad for workers

MarketLine

US-based General Motors is the world’s third largest automobile manufacturer by sales, and second largest by revenues. French-owned Groupe PSA, which sold nearly 3.2 million vehicles and had revenues of €54bn ($57bn), is a fairly small player in comparison. GM’s ownership and continued management of Vauxhall Opel is at odds with the rest of its portfolio – the company primarily operates in the US and Asia, selling brands including Chevrolet, Buick, Holden and Wuling – while PSA operate Peugeot, Citroen and DS Automobiles primarily out of Europe. The sale of… Read more

Piracy: The social acceptability of theft and its effect on the movie industry

MarketLine

Internet piracy has been around almost as long as the internet itself. Communities exist, consisting of millions of web users, which are dedicated to sourcing, converting and sharing valuable copyrighted material. Some – The Pirate Bay – were the inspiration for political parties. Others – Megaupload – were responsible for accelerating the fortunes of a small group into the billions of dollars. But all major sites have been in the spotlight for a decade, coming and going, constantly switching web hosts from Sweden to Somalia to Costa Rica, managing to… Read more

Toshiba $6.3bn write-down

MarketLine

Originally the board of Toshiba wanted to sell just 19.9% of the semiconductor making business, which was expected to raise $2bn, maybe more. In hanging on to the majority of the business Toshiba would be able to maintain control over the business from which 80% of operating profit is derived. Yet the banks saw the matter differently. Whilst the sale of the majority of the business solves many problems, it creates a fresh set. The more the ‘crown jewels’ of Toshiba are sold off, the harder making a profit becomes…. Read more

Tesco-Booker: The Squeeze on Small Businesses

MarketLine

Tesco, one of the largest retailers in the world, is the most dominant supermarket in the UK market. Its recent announcement to merge with Booker was a surprise to all. Booker occupies a very different area of the market, primarily offering bulk-purchase supply to small retailers, both independent and franchised stores under brands it owns, such as Londis and Budgens. At first glance then, this seems an odd target for Tesco; to merge operations with a company whose target market is so different to its own. Indeed, no one considers… Read more

School Holiday Price Hikes: Families exploited by unfair system

MarketLine

UK holiday companies are renowned for raising prices in school holiday periods. Significantly raising prices during these times allows prices to remain low for the rest of the year. As such, while certain consumers bear the brunt of this with prices rising by as much as 115%, others can reap the benefits. The travel industry in the UK is intensely competitive. The traditional model of a high-street operator selling holidays face-to-face at a heavily marked up price is no longer feasible. The surge of online travel companies offering package holidays… Read more

Sky high golf equipment prices counter-productive

MarketLine

Sales of golf equipment have fallen noticeably in recent years, with the sport’s traditional markets of the US, Europe, and Japan particularly affected. Falling participation levels are driving a fall in equipment sales as people baulk at the price of golf and slow play issues make a sport for which many simply do not have time in a society that demands people spread themselves thinly hard to access. This has impacted manufacturers with TaylorMade-adidas in particular experiencing severe problems. A constant churn of new equipment has led to a need… Read more

Sequencing Quinoa: Food for thought

MarketLine

The pharmaceutical industry has been growing at a strong rate in recent years. One aspect of this market is that of the food supplement. The growing trend especially amongst the older populace and with the hectic lifestyles that are led in developed countries lends support to the supplement industry. The ability of scientists to understand the functions of different genes have assisted in the growth of specific markets and also in the changes to specific plant species. When looking at some of the historic plant species and how they have… Read more

KFC China: New facial recognition software is more offending than ground-breaking

MarketLine

Poor industry performance due to bad food ratings and hygiene issues has been severely damaging for the KFC brand over recent years in China. With a significant share in the Chinese market, KFC’s parent owner Yum! have some important decisions to make in order to build back growth for the franchises once again. It is clear that the technological vanguards are forefront to many industries who wish to make their services more efficient, cost saving and increase its customer satisfaction ratings, while of course keeping consistency across its brand. With… Read more

Nintendo Switch: The Wii U version 2.0

MarketLine

Historically, Nintendo has been the primary supplier of handheld consoles, a tradition it is hoping to carry forward with its new release, the Nintendo Switch, in March 2017. The ideology of Nintendo focuses primarily on its franchises, with Zelda and Mario being two of its best known titles. The Nintendo Switch is up against very fierce competition with mobile gaming, but with the nostalgia value for parents, the Switch is potentially going to profit from this factor and recuperate some of the losses from the Wii U. The advanced technology… Read more

Bernie Ecclestone departs F1

MarketLine

The business model utilized in Formula One under the regime of Bernie Ecclestone and the ownership of CVC served the purpose of making shareholders rich. Yet, this was achieved at the expense of the sport. TV audiences have been in decline for a long time, several teams are struggling to survive, races are leaving traditional areas of support and the fans are unhappy. New owner, Liberty Media, must address these problems if Formula One is to regain impetus and become sustainable for all interested parties in the long term. For… Read more

Nude Makeup: Makeup is the new natural look

MarketLine

Historically, makeup was seen as a thing only used by grownups, however makeup being used by younger demographics is a growing trend. Trends now focus on teaching younger individuals how to use makeup with a recent quote suggesting that ‘nude makeup is the new natural’. Children are now being brought up to believe that makeup is natural and needed in order for them to look good. TV shows such as Toddlers and Tiaras further glamorize the use of makeup on children. Younger individuals using makeup has stimulated the appearance of… Read more