MarketLine Blog

Posts written by Chris Bertenshaw

Greater Manchester mayoral elections: Manchester shows little interest in the predicted Conservative landslide

MarketLine

  The Greater Manchester Mayoral Election during the local election period of May 2017, was a particularly interesting one. Despite strong Conservative gains nationally, this was not reflected in the Greater Manchester vote. The Labour Party win was a white wash and even areas that traditionally had leanings towards the Conservative party did not show a strong Conservative turnout. What was also seen was that, particularly in the case of the Manchester Central district, deprivation or affluence is a very poor indicator of voting intention as both poor and wealthy… Read more

Brewdog: The punk beer company flexes its muscles taking on a private equity partner

MarketLine

BrewDog is the company at the forefront of the craft beer revolution. The trend is that consumers are increasingly interested in premium beer products and BrewDog was one of the very first companies to provide a product in the UK which could capitalize on the trend and do it well. The company’s secret has been to brand the product as an “alternative” product, with much attention devoted to the ingredients and the skill of the brewer, whilst at the same time making use of innovative crowd funding programs and landing… Read more

The New Silk Road: China’s Belt and Road plan the biggest infrastructure program ever

MarketLine

The Belt and Road initiative is China’s attempt to resurrect the Silk Road, the ancient path linking Europe and Asia. This modern version of the plan wants to unite multiple regions with a monumentally large infrastructure program that could consume close to $1tn by the time it is complete. Comprising roads, port projects, pipelines, trains, shipping lanes and economic zones, the plan stretches from the South Pacific Ocean to Central Europe. The aim on the surface is to boost trading and reinvigorate multiple economic regions. However when the plan is… Read more

Saab: Company is confident about Gripen sales, but 300 units is a tough ask

MarketLine

In a world full of eye watering price tags and ludicrous development times the Saab Gripen fighter jet has been able to carve out a path of its own. For those unable to pay the entry fee for an F-35, F-22 or Eurofighter, there are few other options to maintain a viable air defense system that can compete with dangerous neighbors. For those that can afford it, sometimes it not politically expedient for the west to sell their prize fighter jets to countries they are suspicious of, so they usually… Read more

UK General Election: Prime minister May calls snap GE for 8th June, another big play risks further chaos for the country

MarketLine

On the 18th of April 2017 UK Prime Minister Teresa May announced a snap general election. For months political commentators had been speculating that this might happen, as the opposition parties were weak and the time looked opportune. Conservatives were strong and Prime Minister May needed a strong mandate to help with the exceptional political circumstances that the Brexit vote and subsequent resignation of David Cameron left behind. On announcement the argument provided was exactly this; that the Prime Minister wanted to build on her majority to make sure that… Read more

AMD is Ryzen: Chip manufacturer makes a huge play to shake up the processor market

MarketLine

AMD has for a number of years been kicked into the long grass by Intel in producing processors. Whichever way it’s measured, sheer performance, market share, sales figures or reputation, Intel has controlled the desktop and laptop chip processor market. However AMD has been preparing a very significant challenge to fight back. In early 2017 AMD announced the details of its next series of chips and took the market by storm. AMD had found a way to make its chips competitive with the very best Intel chips and even better… Read more

Uber’s Aggression: Battering both competitors and customers into submission, with questionable business practices

MarketLine

Uber has had an astonishing journey. Even for the technology industry where businesses regularly explode into life, Uber’s success story stands almost unparalleled in speed and scope. Estimates of its value vary but some think $70bn could be a plausible valuation for the company, which would make it bigger than some of the very largest automotive manufacturers in the world. However Uber has become a master of some of the dark arts of business, using courts to get its way, avoiding regulation, removing competitors and encouraging a dog eat dog… Read more

Jaguar Land Rover: JLR breaks its own sales records but company has some large problems looming

MarketLine

In 2016 Jaguar Land Rover reached its highest ever volume of sales. Already Britain’s largest vehicle manufacturer, the company hit sales of 584,313 vehicles in 2016 up by a fifth over the previous year. The company’s strength has always been its Range Rover marque, which is a prestige vehicle commanding high list prices but also high demand and Jaguar has largely been supported by its Range Rover bigger brother. But recently Jaguars steady process of modernization has helped bolster the group’s sales. The group has ambitious plans but also a… Read more

Block Chain Tech The DAO becomes the largest crowd funding campaign in history

MarketLine

Block Chain technology is seen as the key breakthrough which allowed the development of Bitcoin, the enormously successful cryptocurrency. The Block Chain stands as proof of all the transactions on the network and the block is the live part of a Block Chain which records all of the recent transactions. When completed the individual block goes into the Block Chain as permanent database or ledger. Each block is arranged properly in chronological order and connected to the block next to it. Looking at the banking system for instance, this would… Read more

Airbnb: The sharing economy company encounters resistance in Berlin

MarketLine

Airbnb is one of the biggest sharing economy success stories of recent years and along with companies such as Uber, Lyft and Task Rabbit, Airbnb has found a new way to use to a widely available resource by applying new smart phone technology. Essentially the program allows apartments, flats, houses and rooms to be advertised for rent, and visitors to a city to have a different experience to what might be provided by a traditional hotel chain. Local knowledge, unusual locations and a homely experience, are some of the reasons… Read more

Tesla Model 3: Highly anticipated affordable vehicle, likely to see off competition

MarketLine

The enormous success and media interest that Tesla’s previous models have had and the influence and following of its charismatic engineer CEO, meant that the announcement of the new Model 3 in early April 2016 became very highly anticipated. Its Model S premium Sedan has been a triumph for the company with sales of the vehicle trumping sales of comparable sedans from the world’s great auto makers in many key markets. The next move for Tesla was to develop an affordable mass market vehicle which could make a significant impact… Read more

Shimano Inc.: Tour de France ends with another Shimano victory

MarketLine

The bicycling and fishing components giant has had another fantastic year in 2015. With Team Sky’s win for Chris Froome in the sport’s greatest grand tour, comes another win for Shimano, who supplied the team with its top of the range Dura Ace Di2 components for Sky’s hugely successful Pinarello Dogma race bike. This is rather a coup for the company as the exposure from the world’s biggest public race rarely fails to trickle down to direct sales for those companies that have sponsored the most successful teams. With the… Read more

Jaguar Land Rover: Five years of successive growth under Tata’s leadership

MarketLine

Jaguar Land Rover has now reached five consecutive years of growth in 2015, which has been achieved under Tata Motors ownership and investment. This success has emboldened the company to invest in itself and Jaguar land Rover now produces its own engines, has plants in Brazil and China and has brought the Jaguar range right up to date, making the company one of the most important and successful prestige car companies and one of the most recognizable British manufacturers. The company has managed to do this on the back of… Read more

The UK General Election 2015: The Result that nobody expected

MarketLine

On Thursday the 7th of May the UK went to the polls to choose their next government. The previous government had been a compromise between two parties, sharing their seats in order to form a workable coalition. For months and years before last week’s election, the pollsters had been predicting a similar result,  a hung parliament, where no one party would have overall control  and all the signs were suggesting that there would have to be another coalition and no one knew for sure which parties that might contain and… Read more

BP expected to announce job cuts on its North Sea oil rigs, despite new field development

MarketLine

BP is expected to announce job cuts on the UK North Sea Oil rigs that it operates, despite having completed development of new wells only in December last year in the Kinnoull reservoir. The company controls the most important infrastructure in the North Sea oil fields and coupled with the recent downsizing of other operators in the area, such as Shell and Chevron, this move does not bode well for the future of North Sea oil and more broadly tight oil sources in general. BP recently completed a major development… Read more

Toyota follows Tesla down the royalty-free rabbit hole

MarketLine

Toyota has revealed that it intends to allow royalty free access to 5,680 of its hydrogen fuel cell technology patents. This is the same technique that Tesla employed last year to release its battery patents to its competitors. The point of such a move is that in order to kick start new technology on such a massive scale as would be required to replace traditional automobiles; a number of the biggest automotive manufacturers need to heavily invest. This is for a number of reasons but principally consumers need confidence to… Read more

British Cycling releases another comprehensive study: But will it fall on deaf ears?

MarketLine

There is generally a major problem in UK cities with transport, pollution and health problems. Whilst these are not specific to the UK alone, it has been suspected for a long time that investing heavily in encouraging people to cycle, will go a long way to relieving some of the worst of these problems. In London for instance there has been a concerted effort to get people on to bikes and it has taken major investment, to put in place a vast scheme of easily accessible rental bikes and cycle… Read more

Fracking in the UK- Some political players rally behind the technology

MarketLine

The hydraulic fracturing (fracking) process has allowed the use of horizontal drilling in shale rock to open up new gas reserves previously presumed to be technically unrecoverable. The process involves blasting fracking fluid into the drill well which splits the shale into fissures. The process requires a large amount of water, sand, and chemicals. Both shale and coal methane beds have become accessible through this technique. Whilst countries such as the USA, Australia and Poland have been pushing ahead with the technology, the UK has been slow and careful in… Read more

The Royal Mail Privatization: Predictably the first wave of job cuts is announced

MarketLine

Royal Mail is one of the oldest postal services in the world and has been a nationalized industry for most of its history, funded and scrutinized by the UK government. However in recent years the organization has been targeted by successive governments as one that could potentially be pushed down the path towards privatization and certain decisions within the organization have been implemented to help towards that end game. In the fourth quarter of 2013 the government decided to float the company on the stock market, with the help of… Read more

TESLA: A unique company being punished by US legislators

MarketLine

Tesla Motors is a producer of automobiles with unique qualities and it is a company with a vision to change the automotive industry completely. Its vehicles are entirely battery powered, producing no emissions. This in itself is not new, but what is a radical change is that Tesla has been able to produce a battery which can completely outperform traditional batteries, producing vehicles with much higher ranges and performance data, even in advance of its petroleum powered counter parts. This technology has seen Tesla leapfrog the traditional giants in the… Read more

Dacia-The budget car company taking the UK by storm

MarketLine

Renault, the French automotive manufacturer, has done well in recent years and has weathered the storm of the on-going recession period better than some of its US or Japanese counterparts, with good revenue growth in both 2010 and 2011 for the group. Despite a marginal drop in overall revenues in 2012, the company produced double digit revenue growth in 2010 and 2011, a sign that its business has continued to push new revenue streams even in periods of difficulty. Renault has been successful, not only in its traditional markets in… Read more

Review of the 3D printing industry

MarketLine

3D printing, or additive manufacturing, is a relatively new and developing technology, with many boasts and ambitious long term goals, which threatens to completely change the way that products are manufactured. The 3D printer comes in a wide range of shapes and sizes designed to fulfil various different goals. Some are designed for in home manufacturing of fashion accessories and art designs, others with the rather loftier aims of building houses and printing human organs. Still in its infancy however, the industry faces many challenges before it can claim to… Read more

Cycling in England: Could new investment power a change in habits?

MarketLine

The UK government has announced a major allocation of investment dedicated to improving England’s cycling infrastructure and thereby encouraging a new wave of commuters and recreational cyclists to get on their bikes. The investment, announced as a £94m ($149.2m) scheme to be split between some chosen cities and national parks, with £77m ($122.2m) shared between the cities and £17m ($26.9m) going to the national parks. The cities have been named as Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Newcastle, Bristol, Cambridge, Oxford and Norwich. Of these, the money has been weighted in favour of… Read more

HS2: Both sides of the argument become more entrenched

MarketLine

When potential plans to build a new high speed rail link in the UK were first announced, it immediately produced a huge rift between members of the general public. High speed 2 (HS2) was proposed as a huge new rail network, which would first link Birmingham and London, and then later in stage two link Birmingham to Manchester on one line and Birmingham to Leeds on another. This route essentially forms a Y shape up the spine of the country and spreads into both Greater Manchester and Yorkshire. There have… Read more

The internet access market is growing well, but deceleration may be on the cards

MarketLine

Introduction The global internet access market grew at a good rate in 2012, despite some minor deceleration from previous years. Internet access, in general, is becoming more of a necessary lifestyle expenditure in many developed markets, meaning that consumers consider internet access to be something they are unlikely to go without. Even in times where disposable income is fairly low, we see consumers retaining internet access contracts. This is good news for the future of the market as although in coming years some regions will eventually become saturated, they are… Read more

Serco: A relatively unknown billion pound company

MarketLine

The UK based service company Serco, is a large services business entity that in popular UK media is a relatively low key and unknown business. Despite this the company is one of the key contractors in the UK and is widespread internationally. In 2012 the company turned over £4.9bn (approximately $7.4bn), with net income of £245.3m (approximately $374.2m) which is clear evidence of its scale and scope. Serco has an incredibly diverse business profile, but its key business area is providing governments with private sector contractor options, outsourcing essentially. The… Read more

Truck Manufacturing market continues to fluctuate

MarketLine

Introduction The global truck manufacturing market produced fairly low growth in 2012. However the market has been fluctuating in recent years and this growth perhaps indicates that the market is beginning to move out of the economic difficulties seen recently. This is not the case world-wide with some markets producing more reliable growth than others. The truck manufacturing market is heavily reliant on commodity prices, and increases seen in the cost of products such as aluminum can have a direct impact on the cost price of finished truck products. Figures… Read more

Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood removed from power in Egypt

MarketLine

Egypt has once again been in uproar as Tahrir square became the epicentre for a new wave of protests a year on from the last regime change. After days of speculation and promises from military leaders, there has been a momentous night of change in Egypt. The generals and military leaders have been true to their word and acted comprehensively in ousting both the president and loosening the grip of the Muslim Brotherhood on state institutions and organizations. Mohammed Morsi (the Egyptian President) and Mohammed Badie (the supreme leader of… Read more

Jaguar Land Rover releases the Jaguar F-Type

MarketLine

The latest model to bear the Jaguar marque is beginning to roll out of the factories and into the showrooms.  The model is called the Jaguar F-Type and fits into the two-seater luxury sports car category. It has so far been suggested that the model is designed to put pressure on some of the biggest players in this section of the market. Some of the F-Type’s key rivals are suspected to be the BMW Z4, Mercedes SLK and the Audi TT. It is also believed that the model is expected… Read more

G4S Olympic Fine Stands at £70m

MarketLine

G4S is the world’s leading security firm and remains dominant in its market despite some recent turbulent public image issues. At the London 2012 Olympic Games the company was originally awarded the huge security contract, but couldn’t fulfil its promise of 10,000 security personnel and subsequently the UK’s military was drafted in as a replacement. The resulting furore in the media and fines and costs incurred by failing to complete its contract should have affected the company adversely, however this doesn’t seem to have been the case. G4S controls some… Read more