When Electricité de France, the world's largest power provider, snapped up a stake in Italy's energy firm Edison in 2001, it got a nasty shock: Rome capped EDF's voting rights in Edison at a measly 2%. Their claim: the French market wasn't open to competition. (EDF owns 18% of Italenergia, a holding company with a 62% stake in Edison.) But last
But Italian utilities might want to buy a piece of Italenergia and that "could get the French off the hook," says the exec. Still, if that eases pressure to reform, consumers may lose; Fabrizio De Candia, European power director at Cambridge Energy Research Associates in Paris, says Italian power prices are up to 40% higher than Western Europe's average. Now that's a real shock. With reporting by Jeff Israely
What's the remedy for growing pains in the global pharmaceutical sector? For Novartis, it's generic: the Swiss firm last week swallowed Germany's Hexal and America's Eon Labs for $8.4 billion, forging them into its existing Sandoz unit to create the world's largest manufacturer of off-patent, copycat drugs. A slide in blockbuster drug approvals in recent years combined with the expiration of patents protecting a wave of branded drugs introduced in the '80s has helped make generics big business. Government encouragement of the sector means off-patent drugs account for more than half of the U.K. and U.S. markets by volume. Novartis CEO Daniel Vasella reckons the sector will be worth $100 billion by 2010. But other Big Pharma firms have sold out of the low-margin generics business in recent years so is Novartis risking an overdose? In a sector where "the cost of production is really important," says Frances Cloud, senior pharmaceutical analyst at Nomura in London, at least "being big does help."
|The Bottom Line|
|We believe we have the potential to earn more out of Macau than from Las Vegas |
|WILLIAM WEIDNER, president and COO of Las Vegas Sands, which is planning to open its second casino in the Chinese territory in 2007|