– The yachts of the oligarchs
– To input
22nd time lucky? Argentina and the International Monetary Fund agreed on a $45 billion deal on Thursday OK to renew 2018’s infamous $57 billion line of credit. If approved, it will arrive just in time for a repayment deadline that Buenos Aires would otherwise have struggled to meet.
This time, says the IMF, it’s different. The political demands that the Argentine government accepts are based on “realistic goals” and a “pragmatic approach” – both missing in the bailout four years ago, which was largely wishful thinking on the part of the fund.
Even assuming lessons have been learned, the deal calls for skepticism. First, both sides really needed a deal, maybe too badly. Second, President Alberto Fernández’s government needs to get it approved by Argentina’s Congress, then implement and sustain measures to improve public finances, which tend to involve unpopular things like tax hikes and subsidy cuts. . Third, this is the country’s 22nd bailout by the IMF, according to Reuters tally. It’s a victory of hope over recent – and long-term – experience. (By Richard Beales)
Cruising for a bruise. Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine prompted severe sanctions from the United States and Europe. They cover some of the alleged cronies of the Russian president. An oligarch often holds part of his wealth and part of his ego in one or more lavish yachts. Sometimes they are worth more than $500 million each, and US President Joe Biden has promised go after them.
Authorities in France this week seized the yacht of Rosneft boss Igor Sechin, who is on the US and EU sanctions lists. They said he was about to flee from a port on the French Riviera. Meanwhile, a nearly $600 million ship belonging to EU-sanctioned billionaire Alisher Usmanov sits in a Hamburg shipyard. A spokesman for Hamburg’s economic authority denied that the government had taken it over, according to Reuters.
Unfortunately for Western authorities, these assets are literally floating around. A handful of Russian-owned yachts are in the Maldives, Reuters reported. Others are in ports in the Middle East, including Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Secret ownership agreements can make tracking difficult, but Forbes believes he’s located more than 30. Their crews had better be on the lookout. (By Richard Beales)
Narrow way. Grab navigates dangerously among grumpy investors, reluctant drivers and fickle users. Shares of the Southeast Asian super app plunged 37% in New York on Thursday after the company reported its first quarterly results since listing. The stock is now 70% below its December debut via a $31 billion merger with a blank check company. A muted outlook and intensifying competition add more drag.
The food delivery carpool specialist has exceeded its own transaction value forecasts. But it is splurging on promotions to attract drivers and other partners after the Covid-19 shutdowns and to maintain its market share. Total revenue fell 44% year-on-year to $122 million in the December quarter and its net loss widened 73% to $1.1 billion.
Worryingly, Grab expects the values of transactions processed by its mobility, delivery and financial services units for the March quarter to be equal to or lower than the previous three months. It hurts in payments, especially after two rivals merged to form GoTo, a powerhouse in the key Indonesian market. There may also be seasonal factors, but Grab’s engines sputter at a relentless moment. (By Una Galani)