From Russia to Ireland: Uralchem’s long fight for its investments

bne IntelliNews November 14, 2019

Leading Russian fertiliser producer Uralchem is in a nasty corporate conflict involving one of Russia’s largest chemical plants, Togliattiazot, and its former management that has been running years

ESG is a must have in Russia, but adds no alpha

Ben Aris in Berlin November 12, 2019

If a Russian company doesn't pay attention to its environmental, social and governance score it will lose investors, but if it does switch to a more sustainable model it won’t earn any real reward.

Russia's consumer credit driven retail running out of steam, while Ukraine has a boom ahead

Ben Aris in Berlin November 10, 2019

The consumer debt profiles of Russia and Ukraine are very different. Russia’s household debt rose to 15.5% of GDP as of the end of 2018 and is just shy of its all time high of 15.6% set in 2014. Ukraine’s household debt has been falling steadily.

30 YEARS OF TRANSITION: Ground zero and the fall of the wall in Berlin

Ben Aris in Berlin November 9, 2019

I’d just arrived in Germany when the Berlin Wall came down. It was hard to appreciate the enormity of the change that had just happened at the time but the reunification of the two Germanys changed everything.

30 YEARS OF TRANSITION: CEE makes enormous progress but held back by governance issues

Clare Nuttall in Glasgow November 9, 2019

If half of the governance gap between Central Europe and the G7 countries was closed, income convergence would be brought forward by almost a generation, says EBRD chief economist Beata Javorcik in an interview with bne IntelliNews.

30 YEARS OF TRANSITION: The East-West convergence in numbers

Clare Nuttall in Glasgow November 9, 2019

30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall the new EU members haven’t yet caught up with Western Europe — but they are drawing level with the Southern European states that were battered by the international economic crisis.

LONG READ: How Iran’s “Shadow Commander” Qasem Soleimani left home at 13 and took a stranglehold on the Middle East

bne IntelliNews November 8, 2019

217-page think tank report looks at why US and allies are on back foot in so many of region’s conflict zones.

CEE monthly bond wrap: Bond issues in Eastern Europe pick up strongly in October, but activity subdued in Central Europe

Ben Aris in Berlin November 8, 2019

Bond issuers from Eastern Europe were active in October with 18 bonds issued worth a total of $4.5bn of which two-thirds of the value and 14 out of the 18 were Russian bonds, according to data provided by CBonds.

30 YEARS OF TRANSITION: Gabor Szeles, a self-made Hungarian success story

Tamas Szilagyi in Budapest November 8, 2019

Szeles, now Hungary’s seventh richest man, started out importing PC parts in the 1980s. He made his name after the transition by reviving Videoton, now the largest electronic manufacturing services company in the CEE region.

30 YEARS OF TRANSITION: A profound crisis of trust in democracy

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia November 7, 2019

Report from the Open Society Foundations reveals a “robust spirit of dissent, and a readiness to challenge those in power” as shown by mass anti-corruption protests in the Czech Republic, Romania and Slovakia.

Uzbek banks are making hay while the sun of reform is shining

Ben Aris in Berlin November 7, 2019

Uzbekistan is opening up to the world and the banking sector has been both in the forefront of the reform drive and also one of the main vehicles the government is using to dispense cash and manage the transformation.

30 YEARS OF TRANSITION: Central European automakers prepare for an electric future

Clare Nuttall in Glasgow November 6, 2019

Since the first years of the transition period, Central Europe started to emerge as a major manufacturing destination for Europe’s automotive industry. Now the industry is adapting to a new generation of technologies.

30 YEARS OF TRANSITION: Poland at a crossroads

Wojciech Kosc in Warsaw November 6, 2019

There are hints that the dominant transition narrative — that of Poland’s overwhelming success — might have nearly run its course. Ideas previously existing on the fringes of political discourse are making their way to the fore.

30 YEARS OF TRANSITION: The Czech Republic divided by freedom since 1989

Nelly Tomcikova in Prague November 5, 2019

Six social classes have emerged in the Czech Republic in the three decades since the Velvet Revolution of 1989, and the education system is freezing the current status quo rather than helping social mobility.

Ukraine’s banking sector made good profits in September, but NPLs remain a problem

Ben Aris in Berlin November 4, 2019

Ukraine’s banking sector had a profitable September, earning UAH4bn in the month to bring the cumulative earnings for 2019 to UAH48.4bn as of September.

30 YEARS OF TRANSITION: “I was 30” commercial stirs controversy in Romania

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest November 4, 2019

A former dedicated communist who is now a member of the #Rezist! anti-corruption protest movement speaks about freedom in an advert for online retailer eMag that has raised uncomfortable questions about Romanian society.

40TH ANNIVERSARY OF IRAN HOSTAGE CRISIS: Present-day US “wilder, ruder” says Ayatollah Khamenei

bne IntelliNews November 3, 2019

Mickey Mouse with a smoking gun among murals unveiled on compound walls of former American embassy in Tehran.

30 YEARS OF TRANSITION: Corruption, racism and intolerance in Bulgaria

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia November 3, 2019

The first in bne IntelliNews’ series marking the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall looks at democratic backsliding, persistent corruption and the rise of the far right in Bulgaria.

This stadium is not a cemetery: rebuilding Donetsk against the odds

Robert O'Connor in Donetsk November 1, 2019

Donetsk used to be famous for two things: coal and football. Now it’s the capital of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, at the heart of Ukraine’s ongoing civil war. But after years of fighting its people just want to return to normal life.

Vostok Oil is the new kid on Russia’s energy block

Ben Aris in Berlin October 31, 2019

Vostok Oil is a joint venture set up to explore and exploit the oil resources of the Arctic, and the Kremlin has started to throw significant resources at the company as Russia’s existing oil fields reach peak production.