Private Investor: Why is the DTI being so quiet over BAA?
Saturday 15 April 2006
Er, so where's the bid? For Alliance & Leicester, I mean. For the second week now there's nothing doing. I suppose that it just goes to show you oughtn't believe everything that you read in the papers. For weeks now the financial press has been full of detailed and apparently well sourced speculation about various continental European bidders for our little mortgage bank.
It looks an ideal morsel, and figures of £12 to £15 a share have been bandied around. And yet not a single solitary euro has been put on the table. So I'm sitting on a small paper loss in Alliance & Leicester instead of a fast buck. Even if a bid does emerge for A&L I suspect it might turn out to be a bit of a joke, like Ferrovial's current offer for BAA, another of my investments. BAA is a long-term core holding of mine.
Why is it a long-term core holding? First, because of the long-term trend towards more air travel, occasionally interrupted but never extinguished by terrorist acts. Second, because it is a monopoly. Sure, it's a regulated one. More than most companies BAA is also peculiarly susceptible to the sort of political games governments and opposition parties alike play with legitimate concerns about noise and pollution around airports. But it's not just that BAA is a mere monopoly that makes it such a special company. It's also that it is one of the very few publicly quoted airport groups in the world, and certainly the one with the most mouth watering array of assets. Which is presumably why Ferrovial wants to get their hands on them.
Even though the Ferrovial offer does not look like it has got much chance of success, I do wonder why the public interest has not been very well represented in this debate. Even private shareholders - especially private shareholders - ought to recognise that their companies have to face up to their public and moral obligations. BAA provides the public with a service.
If BAA went bust then the reverberations would be felt across the economy, and far beyond the environs of Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick. The odd thing in this case is that it ought to be the Government that is standing up for our interests. As a shareholder I'd rather have a functioning airport at Heathrow than a few quid profit from a BAA takeover. So why won't the regulators or the Department of Trade and Industry take more notice? I hope it is just because they do not think the bid will work.
Sooner or later, however, there will be a well-placed realistic tilt at BAA, and I would like to know who is going to look after the interests of investors and the flying public alike when such a move does transpire.
When it comes to long- term growth stories I concur with the opinion voiced elsewhere that you can't beat emerging markets. I mean to say you can beat them over really quite long periods - 10 years maybe - but that, as you should know, is far too short a horizon to consider when investing for your future.
Over a couple of decades all the ups and downs in Mexico, China, India, Brazil, Turkey and all the rest won't stand in the way of a strong upward trajectory in their economies as they relentlessly globalise and modernise.
Of all of these my favourite has long been India, because of the natural advantages of the English language, the rule of law and democracy. This is where it scores on China, despite all the attention paid to that particular tiger.
In any case I'm very pleased that Foreign & Colonial Emerging Markets Investment Trust does at last seem ready to merge with JP Morgan Emerging Markets Trust. As a shareholder in both I'm also happy to see JP Morgan taking the lead, as it has enjoyed better performance. If the merger helps retail investors focus on the advantages of investing some of their money in what are risky but potentially very rewarding markets and we have a single fund that really has the muscle in marketing and advertising to make its presence known, so much the better.
If you're wary, then think of it as doing your bit to help those less well off to enjoy your prosperity, if you like. That's capitalism.
- 1 This restaurant has misunderstood the concept of 'cheese and biscuits'
- 2 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
iJobs Money & Business
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...
£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Advisor is r...
£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...
Day In a Page
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads