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Joseph Cotterill

Joseph Cotterill

Joseph is the FT’s Southern Africa correspondent based in Johannesburg, after previous stints as private equity correspondent and on the Lex column. But he still writes for Alphaville, which he joined way back in March 2010 — right in the middle of the Greek bailout crisis. He has been very interested in all things credit and sovereign debt ever since…

Articles by Joseph Cotterill

Global Britain Plc – ‘Project Brexit’ transaction, investor call transcript

January 17, 2017

Participants: Theresa May, chief executive; Philip Hammond, chief financial officer; David Davis, chief operating officerOperator: Ladies and gentlemen, following the chief executive’s remarks, if you wish to ask a question, please press star one on your phone. Again, for audio questions at this time, please press star one to begin. Our first question comes from the line of Alf Aville with Befuddled Securities. Please proceed.Alf Aville: Hi! Great quarter, guys. Great quarter. Hi Theresa – thanks very much for the colour on the call about the transaction to exit the stake in European United (GmbH). Love the ‘Global’ rebranding, plus the simultaneous ‘take back control’’ and ‘profoundly internationalist’ slogans for the quarter. Deft messaging in terms of ex-Europe market share

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The outlook for sanctions against Russia under Trump: stronger or weaker?

December 7, 2016

Who knows — a mystery.(Although when it comes to the outlook for old-fashioned Russian expropriation risk, Glencore’s actual equity in Rosneft will be 0.54 per cent — or €300m, paid to underpin a five-year, 220,000 barrels a day off-take agreement.)Related link:A “very good result” (Putin) – FT

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2016. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don’t cut articles from and redistribute by email or post to the web.

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The United States’ first emerging-market president: frontier market implications

November 9, 2016

Short everything — everything — east of the Oder until the Russian border, go long whatever the Russian elite will buy when sanctions end, don’t buy Cemex (too easy) — buy European defence contractors — and get out of the Korean won, Saudi riyal and Philippine peso before those countries start being charged for US protection.
What else?
Here’s more from Exotix, the brokerage, country by country, with a more frontier market bent:
BrazilThe lower rates we expect to see with the dovish monetary policy we expect from a Trump Presidency is marginally positive for the sovereign (given the low sovereign dollar debt to GDP), but will have more of an impact in the corporate sector which has borrowed offshore and will face refinancing. A weaker US dollar can hurt the country’s industrial exports

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Uber in ‘minicab company’ shocker

October 28, 2016

Labour got one back at capital on Friday, after an employment tribunal in London found that Uber’s circa 30,000 drivers in the city are actually its workers after all, and accordingly deserve employment protection.
With potentially epic consequences for its costs, its tax bill, and the entire gig economy, that would mean Uber is no longer a mere intermediary platform.
At least in the tribunal’s eyes. The ruling might not bind other courts, and of course Uber is going to appeal.
Still, on the other hand, there’s another interesting thread in the judgment: what Uber claims to be, and how that stands up in court.
The next time someone says Uber isn’t a taxi or transportation company, but something much more wonderful — justifying its considerable valuation and explaining why Saudi Arabia is

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Maputo Confidential

October 25, 2016

A ‘confidential’ presentation by Mozambique’s government to nervous bondholders in London on Tuesday that it is in “debt distress,” and that they should lawyer-up for a restructuring, turns out to have been… not quite so confidential:

Click above for the full presentation, which was posted publicly on the ministry of finance’s website.
The presentation notes that on every one of five indicators used by the IMF to test the level of debt and capacity to service debts (against GDP, exports and so on), Mozambique is highly distressed. It wants a loan from the IMF early next year though, so:
Mozambique would welcome formation of one (or several) representative creditors’ committee(s) to engage in discussions with the Ministry of Economy and Finance and its advisors…
Mozambique has

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A joke

October 4, 2016

Business leaders are failing to recognize that the new prime minister has a different view of the City of London from Cameron, the people said. May does not simply accept what the City says in the way that Cameron and his former chancellor, George Osborne, tended to do, according to one person. That realization will be a shock to some in the City, the person said.
Financial-services firms risk damaging their relationship with lawmakers by repeatedly complaining about the impact of Brexit on their businesses and threatening to move their offices out of the U.K., one senior figure said, dismissing as a joke the idea that London-based financial-service companies would all move to Frankfurt, Paris or Dublin.
— Bloomberg story on “three senior figures in May’s administration”

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It’s 1998 all over again, all over again

July 19, 2016

It’s 1998 again in emerging markets, and it’s good: The best parallel with recent events – major shock (this time, the UK vote), DM central bank liquidity reassurance and market surge – is, in our view, the collapse of Long-Term Capital Management (L…

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Barroso, now offering lessons from nobody

July 8, 2016

This crisis originated in North America. Many of our financial sector were contaminated by… how can I put it… unorthodox practice from some sectors of the financial market. But we are not putting the blame on our partners… Frankly, we are not coming …

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“The profit share finally bites hard”

June 28, 2016

Looking beyond the Article 50 kabuki, beyond the evaporation of British bank and homebuilder equity, beyond the fantasy diplomacy by one country about which shade of EEA it might decide to accept from 27 others…

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Banks — the Brexit reckoning

June 24, 2016

RBS: -34%LLOYDS: -29%BARCLAYS: -30%HSBC: -5.1%STANCHART: -7.8% Prices at pixel time. A reminder of the Bank of England statement from earlier: The Bank of England is monitoring developments closely. It has undertaken extensive contingency planning an…

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Some sort of house of cards

June 21, 2016

Mr. Musk said it is “important that there not be some sort of house of cards that crumbles if one element of the pyramid of Tesla, SolarCity and SpaceX falters.” He said his loans [backed by Tesla and SolarCity stock] aren’t risky to shareholders bec…

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A Knight Bachelor of the Realm

June 15, 2016

Would you mind not looking at me like that all the time. It’s really disturbing. Your lady here is sort of suggesting here I should remember about a board meeting in 20-whatever it was. You are asking me questions that are impossible for me to answer…

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Mr Clippy the LBO machine

June 13, 2016

Microsoft has $105bn in cash. In its last reported quarter, the company cranked out about $125m in free cash flow per day. Whatever else you can say about endlessly outpouring some of the world’s most annoying software to businesses that just cannot …

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Mr Putin’s proceeds (and his bond plumbing)

May 23, 2016

When sovereign debtors issue bonds, the “use of proceeds” clause tends to be mere boilerplate. “General budgetary purposes” usually covers it — although bondholders (those who bother to read the contract) will sometimes just have to hope that means s…

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The Prince, the Firm, and the Fund

April 26, 2016

Because if his Royal Highness the prince wants the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund — then who’s to say no? As for the Arab and Islamic depth, we have the Qiblah of Muslims. We have Medina. We have a very rich Islamic heritage.

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The clause that wouldn’t die

April 19, 2016

You won’t find a certain Latin phrase anywhere on it. Still, just for the record, here’s evidence that Argentina did learn at least one thing from the pari passu saga. Presenting the new pari passu clause, from the prospectus for the gargantuan $16.5…

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A Mozambican bond offer so good, it’s bad

March 17, 2016

What’s the biggest coupon you can get lending US dollars to an African government south of the Sahara these days? Ghana’s bond due 2030 of course. It will pay 10.75 per cent starting from its first coupon date next month.

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So long, and thanks for all the tuna bonds

March 11, 2016

When Zambia issued its first international bond, in 2012, investors could knock themselves out reading a 106-page prospectus of disclosure regarding the southern African sovereign’s finances. If they had knocked themselves out, in place of buying it,…

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It’s been emotional

February 29, 2016

It gives me greatest pleasure to announce that the 15-year pitched battle between the Republic of Argentina and Elliott Management, led by Paul E. Singer, is now well on its way to being resolved… – Daniel Pollack, Special Master in the pari passu de…

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The CoCo that popped

February 9, 2016

Let’s go back in time — to May 2014. Deutsche Bank was in the market to raise capital, including at least €1.5bn of additional Tier 1 capital securities. Or CoCo (short for contingent convertible) bonds.

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Lay off Tim Geithner, yeah?

February 8, 2016

For a writer about skin in the game, here’s someone who seems not to like Tim Geithner putting more of his skin in the game of private equity investing. The Obama era is one of crony capitalism: Geithner blocked the punishment of JP Morgan, now paid …

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Pari passu: the force awakens

December 10, 2015

After a long hiatus, a convoluted saga gets a new cast of characters. Although has the basic plot changed very much? Daniel Pollack, Judge Griesa’s ‘special master’ for negotiating an end to the pari passu litigation between Argentina and its debt ho…

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August 27, 2015

All those San Francisco meetings paid off.
Franklin Templeton and other private creditors will agree to swallow a writedown on their Ukrainian bonds. Cutting a fifth off bond principal, it’s much less than many expected. Bond prices were rallying har…

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DIY private equity

August 19, 2015

Or, a coda to our recent post on hacking the world’s most expensive asset class.
If investors locking up their money in leveraged buyout funds really could have gotten the same aggregate return all along simply by buying the right, leveraged stocks i…

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Someone didn’t read Santiago Principle No. 14…

August 18, 2015

That would be the Santiago Principles signed up to by sovereign wealth funds in 2008, regarding good governance — including via-a-vis the custodians of SWFs’ often-plentiful assets.
While it was BNY Mellon who paid nearly $15m on Tuesday to settle SE…

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How does that bail-in instrument work again?

August 17, 2015

Following the results of the Asset Quality Review and Stress Tests before the end of the year, the bail in instrument will apply for senior debt bondholders whereas bail in of depositors is excluded.
– Eurogroup statement on Greece, August 14th


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