MarketLine Blog

Posts written by Chris Bertenshaw

Mega Agriculture: Three huge agriculture acquisitions creating monstrous companies that will control the food supply

MarketLine

Six of the world’s largest agricultural firms, those that control seed patents, produce pesticides and fertilizers and effectively dominate the worlds agricultural output are about to become three. Dow Chemical, Monsanto, Syngenta, Du Pont, Bayer and ChemChina have deals to absorb each other, further consolidating the industry and firming up their strangle hold on farmers and the means of production. Of great concern to regulators and the agriculture industry alike is that the industry is already very much consolidated and with these three mergers the resulting companies will control over… Read more

Sunseeker Yachts: Good year for British yacht companies on the back of Brexit

MarketLine

Sunseeker has found a way to return to winning ways. With a good order book increase and healthy return to profit, the company appears to have recovered from a particularly bleak period for the luxury yacht building industry. In recent years the market has been extremely bad for Sunseeker and other British boat builders such as Princess and Fairline which had been restructuring and applying redundancies. The main reason that these businesses seem to have recovered, is due to the pound plummeting after Brexit making prices much more competitive when… Read more

Poland: Kaczynski close to demolishing all remaining democratic oversight in Poland

MarketLine

Kaczynski’s ruling PiS (Law & Justice) party has, since its election, been rapidly demolishing the process of democracy in Poland. The PiS party has crushed the power of the opposing parties and state institutions that had the ability to stand in its way. In July 2017, the party introduced a bill attacking the independence of the judiciary and despite street protests and chaotic and angry scenes in the house, and this bill has now passed. This bill will mean that judges will be in direct control of the justice minister,… Read more

NATO: Defense spending rises as members look to a future without US leadership

MarketLine

In a recent meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), between the defense ministers in June 2017, it was heard that almost across the board there has been an increase in defense spending. Despite the target of 2% of GDP that members are expected to meet, traditionally many members have ignored this target in order to grow their economies or recover after recessions, but there are more members now hitting this target. There are multiple explanations for why members are spending more on defense all of a sudden. Firstly,… Read more

HMS Queen Elizabeth: Britain’s largest ever warship launches, but it has some concerning flaws

MarketLine

The Royal Navy’s largest ever commissioned ship is launched ready for sea trials in June 2017. The Queen Elizabeth Aircraft carrier is over three times larger than the class it replaces the invincible class and has absorbed £6bn ($7.6bn) worth of investment and has taken around 10 years to come to fruition. There are a number of questions that surround the project however and in particular the military procurement process in the UK in general. There are concerns that there will not be enough crew ready to operate her, the… Read more

Car Loan Debt: Consumer debt getting out of control and risky betting on subprime loans

MarketLine

There are worries of a financial bubble forming in the car finance industry. Both in the UK and USA there has been a growing prevalence for dealers and manufacturers to offer PCP finance deals and this has led to a culture of consumers viewing vehicle ownership as direct debit agreements. This has rapidly increased new car registrations and thereby the amount of consumer credit and house debt that buyers are taking on because the amount of new vehicle sales that are funded by finance options is above 80%. Worryingly many… Read more

UK General Election: Night of upsets points to an enormously difficult period to come for the UK

MarketLine

A fairly staggering set of results in June 2017 showed that in the UK, the political climate is changing. Almost every poll done in the run up to the election suggested a landslide victory for the incumbent government and the result was that the Conservative Party dropped its majority and only a deal with the DUP would provide them with a minority government. The implications of this result are wide ranging. It looks increasingly likely that there will be a second general election within six months as confidence in Theresa… Read more

Medical Devices: Strong technological innovation is driving the industry, but it creates new vulnerabilities too

MarketLine

The medical device market is growing well and has been posting consistent and stable revenues for a number of years and some market segments are even achieving double digit growth rates. The market is doing so well because the rate of innovation in new products is allowing treatments that were previously unthinkable; devices that can allow patients to see, walk or hear again for instance. These new types of devices may provide solutions for some of the most unsolvable medical problems over the next decade and this means the health… Read more

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