844 followers • 9 symbols Watchlist by Yahoo Finance
This basket consists of stocks that have attracted bad press.
(Bloomberg) -- Canada’s dollar is the best-performing major currency this year and the nation’s stocks are going strong. But now isn’t the time for investors to rest on their laurels. The upcoming federal election is the next big event to test the market’s resilience.With less than a week left to the Oct. 21 vote, Liberal Party Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in a neck-and-neck race with Conservatives leader Andrew Scheer. While the most likely scenario is a government that doesn’t command an absolute majority in its own right, some strategists say that a minority administration led by Scheer could be better for the loonie in the near term than one under Trudeau.“Between a Liberal-led minority and a Conservative-led minority, we expect the first one to be more CAD-negative,” Francesco Pesole, a foreign-exchange strategist at ING Bank, said in an Oct. 17 report. “The balance of risks for the loonie appears tilted to the downside.”The loonie has been in the No. 1 spot among Group-of-10 currencies this year, rising almost 4% against the U.S. dollar amid a sound economy and a low unemployment rate. Canada’s benchmark equity index has rallied 15% in 2019, making it one of the top gainers among developed markets.A Conservative minority government would be better for market sentiment than a Liberal minority administration, according to Pesole. He said this is in part because it would likely exclude smaller parties that oppose more oil pipelines, a subject that has been a focus of political debate.A rebound in housing, solid economic growth and one of the strongest job markets in recent times has helped give Trudeau something positive to talk about during his campaign. While major central banks in other parts of the world have been cutting interest rates, the Bank of Canada has been reluctant to do so thus far -- strengthening the Canadian dollar’s position as one of the highest yielders among G-10 currencies.Michael Hsueh, a currency strategist at Deutsche Bank AG, says a Trudeau-led minority government could be negative for the Canadian dollar given the reduced capacity to pass legislation. It could also potentially hinder growth in oil, a key industry for Canada, one of the world’s largest energy exporters.The Oil FactorStewardship of the energy industry has become a central issue of the elections. The Conservative Party has portrayed itself as a champion of the sector and has promised to remove regulations Trudeau implemented. The Liberals, meanwhile, are trying to strike a balance between developing Alberta’s energy resources and making Canada a leader in combating climate change.From Binge to Bust: Canadian Oil Town Lines Up at the Food BankThe loonie, often seen as a petrocurrency, has benefited from the nation’s massive oil exports. Still, bringing more oil reserves to market has divided Canadians -- with two pipelines being scrapped on Trudeau’s watch.Foreign-exchange strategists are concerned that a Trudeau-led government, propped up by other left-leaning parties, could be an obstacle in passing legislation favorable to business leaders and the country’s energy sector.A Liberal minority government is “likely to push for more regulation and rules on capital inflows into Canada,” which could be negative for the Canadian dollar, Mark McCormick, global head of currency strategy at Toronto-based TD Securities, said in an email.Stock MarketWhile Canadian politics rarely play a significant role in the nation’s equity market, a minority government could be positive for stocks, according to Brian Belski, chief investment strategist at BMO Capital Markets.“Although on average the market has posted relatively strong performance post federal elections, there appears to be little to no performance preference around the outcome,” he said in a September report. “The only potentially meaningful outcome appears to be a minority government versus a majority government.”Since 1935, Canadian stocks have returned on average 12% in the 12 months after the election of a minority government, compared with 8% in the year following a majority victory, according to Belski’s research.For others, volatility is the name of the game. Stripping out the global rout in 2008, National Bank Financial’s Warren Lovely said that Canadian stocks had a “mixed/choppy” performance after a minority government was formed from 2004 to 2011.“In terms of capital markets, the formation of a minority government creates greater potential uncertainty – especially if a coalition government is the end result,” Credit Suisse’s equity analyst Andrew Kuske said in an Oct. 8 report.Still, election-related market moves might be short-lived this month with both the Bank of Canada and the Federal Reserve reporting their monetary policy decisions on Oct. 30. Futures traders are pricing in almost no probability of a rate cut at the BOC meeting, while a quarter point reduction from the Fed is seen as likely by the market. Canadian two-year yields on Wednesday climbed above their U.S. equivalents by the most since 2017 -- a good sign for loonie bulls.Trade deals will also have an impact on the Canadian dollar. The U.S. and China are still working to finalize their trade deal, which is likely to boost investors’ appetite for risk, a positive for the currency. And on Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on CNBC that he expects the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement to be approved in Congress before the American Thanksgiving holiday.\--With assistance from Divya Balji and Kristine Owram.To contact the reporter on this story: Susanne Barton in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Benjamin Purvis at firstname.lastname@example.org, Divya Balji, Rita NazarethFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
While China’s economy slowed in the 3rd quarter, things could have been much worse. Relief all round as focus now shifts to Brexit…
(Bloomberg) -- Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.’s plan to spend as much as $15 billion on technology and capacity in 2019 -- roughly 50% higher than originally envisioned -- is spurring hopes that the dawn of fifth-generation networks will rev up global chip and smartphone demand.The primary chip supplier to Apple Inc. told investors it’s sharply increasing its estimate for 2019 capital expenditure to between $14 billion to $15 billion from as much as $11 billion previously, and Chief Financial Officer Wendell Huang said 2020 spending will be similar. The Taiwanese company also projected current-quarter revenue ahead of estimates, an affirmation that the latest iPhones have proven a hit with consumers.Chief Executive Officer C. C. Wei sketched out hopes that the emergence of 5G, the foundation of future technologies from automated factories and smart homes to blazing-fast consumer electronics, will help underpin its business in coming years. TSMC, which is the world’s largest contract chipmaker, and is seen as a barometer for the tech industry thanks to its heft and place in the supply chain, said the advent of 5G-enabled smartphones will result in more chips in devices than before.“We are much more optimistic than six months ago,” Wei said, adding that the 5G momentum was larger than the company expected. TSMC has increased its forecast of the 5G smartphone penetration rate in 2020 to a percentage in the mid-teens from its previous single-digit estimate. Many countries, especially larger ones, were rapidly pushing ahead with 5G rollout plans, Wei added.TSMC Puts All Its Chips on Capex. That’s a Smart Bet: Tim CulpanTSMC’s capital spending plan and outlook prompted price-target hikes from several analysts including at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Its shares, which notched a lifetime high just this month, stood largely unchanged Friday in Taipei. More broadly, suppliers including ASML Holding NV, Applied Materials Inc. and Tokyo Electron Ltd. could stand to benefit from TSMC’s capex increase.In addition to 5G, TSMC’s push is driven by growing demand from tech giants such as Apple and Huawei Technologies Co., said Roger Sheng, a semiconductor analyst with Gartner. Although the outlook remains uncertain for 2020, the global semiconductor market is set to make a gradual recovery on the back of the demand related to 5G, AI and automotive applications, according to a note from TrendForce on Oct. 2.“Everyone is waiting to see a bounce back of global smartphone market next year after Apple adopts 5G. The self-designed Huawei chipsets will also push demand, as will Qualcomm’s 5nm chips for next year and AMD’s server chip demand,” Sheng said.On Thursday, TSMC also underlined expectations that Apple, its largest customer, is riding a bounce-back in demand for the iPhones after a lukewarm 2018 iteration. Lower prices and aging handsets are helping drive demand for the iPhone 11 range, and Apple is said to be asking its assemblers to target the high end of an original forecast for 70 million to 75 million unit shipments in 2019.Read more: Apple’s Lower Prices, Users’ Aging Handsets Drive IPhone DemandThe Taiwanese company foresees revenue of $10.2 billion to $10.3 billion in the pivotal December holiday quarter, surpassing an average projection for about $9.9 billion. TSMC gave that sales outlook after reporting net income of NT$101.1 billion ($3.3 billion) for the September quarter, handily beating estimates as the global chip market recovers.Still, fallout from ongoing trade conflicts could crimp an industry revival. While TSMC doesn’t factor trade conflicts into its capex plans, any international trade war will have a negative effect on the semiconductor sector, Wei said. China is an especially important market for TSMC and the semiconductor industry, he added.TSMC and its industry peers had grappled with a plateauing smartphone market, efforts by Apple to move beyond hardware, and U.S. tech-export curbs on No. 2 customer Huawei. But investors are growing more confident that the emergence of 5G will prop up chip prices and demand, while the latest iPhones are firing up consumers. TSMC is in fact straining against capacity constraints in the current quarter, Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Mark Li said.The “iPhone is driving stronger near-term demand. We believe the competitive pricing of iPhone 11 is garnering good traction and has prompted Apple to place more orders at the supply chain,” Li said in an Oct. 10 note.Read more: Taiwan’s Market Fortunes Are Tied to TSMC Like Never Before(Updates with analysts’ hikes and shares from the fifth paragraph)To contact the reporters on this story: Debby Wu in Taipei at email@example.com;Gao Yuan in Beijing at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at email@example.com, Edwin Chan, Colum MurphyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is seeking buyers for its 49% stake in a Puerto Rico toll road concession that could value the asset at more than $2 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.Goldman is working with advisers to solicit interest from potential suitors for Autopistas Metropolitanas de Puerto Rico LLC -- known as Metropistas, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. A representative for Goldman declined to comment.The infrastructure-investment arm of the New York firm acquired 55% of Metropistas in 2011, alongside Spain’s Abertis Infraestructuras SA. It sold 6% to Abertis in 2014.Toll roads have been an asset favored by infrastructure investors across the globe, in part due to the perceived stability of revenues from drivers dependent on a route.Abertis and Goldman have the right to operate two toll roads until 2061: the 83-kilometer PR-22, which connects San Juan with Arecibo; and the 4-kilometer PR-5, which runs through San Juan. The combined annual earnings of the roads is more than $100 million before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, one of the people said. Traffic and revenues have continued to grow despite a challenging economic environment, the person said.In late 2017, Abertis and Goldman donated $1 million toward relief efforts after Hurricane Maria put the toll roads out of operation briefly that September.Last week, Goldman’s infrastructure arm announced the sale of a majority stake in Red de Carreteras de Occidente, one of Mexico’s largest private toll road operators, to Abertis and GIC Pte Ltd.To contact the reporter on this story: Gillian Tan in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alan Goldstein at email@example.com, Steve DicksonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Chime, an online banking startup with more than 5 million customers, has been suffering an outage for much of past 24 hours that has left customers without access to their money. The startup blamed the disruption on an unspecified issue with a payments processor and said data was not at risk. The outage took down not only the company’s website and apps, but also temporarily shut off customers’ debit cards, prompting an outpouring of complaints on Twitter. The card services have since been restored.The downtime comes as the digital bank has been growing quickly—the number of customers has almost doubled since March, to about 5 million. Chime is also in the process of raising a new funding round that could value it at more than $5 billion. A person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified discussing private details said that the outage does not appear to have had an impact on the fundraising talks.“We know our members trust us with their banking needs and our teams are working diligently to fully restore the mobile app,’’ Chime Chief Executive Officer Chris Britt told Bloomberg. “In the interim, we’ve been proactively communicating real-time updates with our members.”San Francisco-based Chime is part of a growing digital banking sector that has seen rising interest from customers and global investors in recent years. Chime’s target market, according to the company, is a younger demographic whose income ranges from $35,000 to $70,000 a year and who are frustrated by the fees charged by larger brick and mortar banks. It’s a group that may be more likely to trust a startup with their money.The downtime this week is not the only problem customers have encountered as banking moves increasingly online. Wells Fargo & Co. experienced a major systems outage in February that prevented many customers from accessing their accounts. “Our payment processor has been experiencing issues today, resulting in our app + website being down,” Chime said in a tweet on Thursday. “We can assure you all account information remains secure, and no personal or financial data is at risk.”(Adds details on card services in second paragraph.)To contact the author of this story: Julie Verhage in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Anne VanderMey at email@example.com, Alistair BarrFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Over the past decade or so, Goldman Sachs Group Inc has watched its annual trading profits fall 84%, as post-financial crisis regulations upended Wall Street. Now, bank executives are hoping they have figured out the key to a turnaround: asking traders to be more like investment bankers. Goldman plans to invest as much as $200 million (155.6 million pounds) in securities division technology over the next three years, a person familiar with the matter said.
Recent rotation in multiple foreign currencies hints at the fact that a new stage of the “Capital Shift” process is taking place and that skilled technical investors need to pay very close attention to how these currencies continue to react over the next 3 to 6+ months. In the recent past, most of the world’s foreign currencies were declining in value while the US Dollar continued to strengthen. In fact, we authored many research articles about these trends and how weakness in foreign currencies will drive new foreign investment into the US stock markets for two simple reasons; strength and security.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Fury is the prevailing feeling of 2019. People are angry much of the time about so many things. Sometimes, though, I wonder whether the anger is misdirected.Often, the targets are companies. There’s pressure on retailers like Walmart Inc. to restrict gun sales. There’s anger at Facebook Inc. for running a misleading political ad from President Donald Trump’s campaign. Some people are furious at oil companies for not doing more to slow climate change, and at Uber Technologies Inc. for taking advantage of drivers or worsening traffic-clogged cities.I get it. Actions of powerful companies or their failures to act can have a profound impact. They are legitimate targets for popular pressure, and companies can’t simply sell potentially harmful products or run their businesses in destructive ways and ignore the consequences.But this rage is not only about those individual companies. It’s also redirected fury about inaction by policy makers.People are mad about government inaction on gun violence, but policy makers are paralyzed and anger gets channeled at Walmart. People are mad about nonsensical political speech rules, failures to make laws on personal data privacy or corporate tax avoidance, but few Americans believe Congress or regulators will do anything. Instead, people are left to vent at companies.Have we gotten to the point where U.S. elected officials are so impotent that the only recourse is to hope profit-minded companies do the right thing — and then get angry when we believe they don’t? There are policies that companies can improve on their own, including employee pay and sexual harassment prevention. There is also a need for clarity from elected officials — either on their own or in concert with big companies. Rules about political ads are one such example. I don’t want politicians to be able to mislead voters on Facebook, but the company is not solely responsible for the half-truth political attack ads that run on its services. Laws and tough regulation are a better approach than always relying on the wisdom of individual internet companies or television networks to make the tough calls.Gun policy, corporate tax avoidance, labor laws and protecting elections from cyberattacks are also matters policy makers are best placed to tackle. My Bloomberg Opinion colleague Matt Levine wrote about the oddity of members of Congress being angry at failures by the Federal Trade Commission to restrict Facebook’s data collection practices when Congress could impose those restrictions by passing a law.I don’t want policy paralysis to absolve companies of responsibility for doing bad things or preventing harm. And companies are not innocent here, either. They fight against laws and regulation, which effectively gives themselves more responsibility — and they sometimes use government inaction to justify their own.Facebook for years fought to exclude itself from rules that mandate disclosures of who is behind political ads on other media such as broadcast television. And Amazon.com Inc.’s history includes advocating for a national sales tax law — which it knew was unlikely to happen — while it employed aggressive tactics to avoid charging sales tax in many U.S. states. (Amazon gave up fighting state sales taxes around 2012.) Facebook, Google and Amazon are now advocating for federal laws that sometimes feel like self-serving attempts to muzzle state or local rules they don’t like or to pass the buck on controversial company policies. When California recently did act to pass a law that could force Uber and other companies to treat contract workers as employees, Uber vowed to fight it and made a technical legal argument that a law tailor-made for Uber doesn’t apply to the company. Those tactics aside, it is hard to thread the needle between saying companies like Facebook and Amazon are way too powerful and also relying solely on them to always make hard policy decisions. That’s why we have elections and a government.A version of this column originally appeared in Bloomberg’s Fully Charged technology newsletter. You can sign up here.To contact the author of this story: Shira Ovide at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Niemi at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Shira Ovide is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. She previously was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Retailers will surely be looking for green shoots of consumer spending in hopes for improved business activities during the festive period.
M&T Bank's (MTB) Q3 performance highlights higher provisions and expenses, partly muted by growth in revenues, aided by higher deposit balances.
(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. just released its annual holiday toy guide, telling customers the Lego Disney castle, VTech’s Magical unicorn and more than 1,700 other items were “thoughtfully curated to help shoppers quickly tackle even the lengthiest holiday shopping lists.”What Amazon doesn’t mention are the millions of dollars it charges the toy industry just to be considered for a spot on the popular gift guide.Amazon sells Holiday Toy List sponsorships for as much as $2 million, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg. The more sponsors pay, the more products they can nominate to be on the list and the more prominently their own products will be featured on the popular website. Amazon aimed to sell at least $20 million in sponsorships for this year’s list, the documents show. Amazon also published a summer toy list with lower sponsorship prices.It’s perfectly legal for Amazon to sell advertising on its site. It becomes a problem when the world’s largest online retailer tells shoppers recommendations are curated by experts but doesn’t disclose the money it gets from the toy industry, said Robert Weissman, president of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. Because consumers place more value on recommendations from independent sources, he said, companies prefer to keep their financial involvement hidden.“They don’t write ‘paid ad’ on it because it completely changes how consumers perceive the information,” Weissman said. “If the list is entirely or in part paid advertising, people have a right to know.”Amazon likened the payments it received to the money brands pay stores to be included in advertising circulars or to get prominent shelf space. In an emailed statement, the company said: “Every product on our annual Holiday Toy List, which features family gift ideas from new releases to customer favorites, is independently curated by a team of in-house experts based on a high bar for quality, design, innovation and play experience. We source product ideas from many places, including our selling partners who have an opportunity to nominate their best toys for the season and increase visibility of those toys.”Gift lists are a time-tested way for toy manufacturers to stand out in the critical holiday rush when busy parents are desperate for ideas. Toymakers are eager to appear on these lists because the companies generate about half their annual sales during the holiday season.Walmart Inc. charges toymakers $10,000 monthly per product to appear on its “Buyer’s Picks” toy list in November and December, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg. The company produces other lists, including “Top Rated by Kids,” which uses feedback from children who test and rate more than 100 toys in July. Walmart and its toy suppliers partner to determine which 100 toys will be tested. Spokeswoman Leigh Stidham said suppliers and brands cannot pay to be included on the latter list, but didn’t comment on “Buyer’s Picks.”Parents looking for independent recommendations can turn to toy lists produced by third-party reviewers such as Toy Insider and Toys, Tots, Pets & More (TTPM). But in an era when customer reviews can be gamed and social-media influencers push products without always disclosing that they’re getting paid, consumers sometimes struggle to distinguish between objective online recommendations and paid promotions.The law is murky about precisely what should be disclosed and when. The Federal Trade Commission, which enforces deceptive advertising laws, issues general guidelines. A full-page magazine photo of a thirsty runner guzzling from a glistening bottle of Fiji water is so obviously an advertisement it doesn’t have to be disclosed. If the same water brand pays the magazine to publish what appears to be a news story about the health benefits of its product, it must be clearly labeled an advertisement so consumers aren’t confused.While federal regulators are taking a closer look at advertising these days, they can’t possibly monitor all the promotional activity out there. So the FTC occasionally cracks down to send a message, as it did in 2017 with letters to more than 90 influencers and marketers reminding them about the need to disclose paid promotions in social media. The spotty enforcement presents a big gray area for the toy industry.The lists are a powerful negotiating tool for retailers, according to industry insiders familiar with the process. Toymakers are led to understand that if they buy marketing space on the lists they will get bigger orders, the people said. Sometimes manufacturers get better visibility if they agree to sell a product exclusively through the retailer, they said. Retailers include only toys on the list that they are actually selling.Lists are a fast-growing part of Amazon’s advertising business. Amazon holiday gift guides promoting toys, electronics and home goods combined to generate more than $120 million in revenue in 2017, up about 40% from the previous year, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg.What sets Amazon apart from other retailers is how much it charges for space on its toy page over the holidays. A narrow strip across the top of the web page costs $500,000 per month in November and December, up from $150,000 the rest of the year, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg. A billboard ad atop the toys page runs $300,000 per month, up from $75,000 the rest of the year.Similar spots atop Walmart’s toy page cost $180,000 in November and $132,000 in December. According to Comscore, Amazon generates about twice as much web traffic as Walmart, which could explain the discrepancy in pricing.Public Citizen, the watchdog group, in July lodged a complaint with the FTC about Amazon’s annual summer sale Prime Day, alleging the retailer didn’t do enough to help shoppers differentiate between paid promotions and genuine recommendations. The FTC confirmed receiving the complaint. The annual toy list presents similar concerns, Weissman said.“When Amazon presents a top 100 toy list,” he said, “it’s a mistake to assume that shoppers understand this is just paid billboard space versus a list Amazon curated itself.”To contact the reporters on this story: Spencer Soper in Seattle at firstname.lastname@example.org;Matt Townsend in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at firstname.lastname@example.org, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Amazon stock is down 11% in the last three months heading into its Q3 earnings release on Thursday, October 24. So let's see what to expect from the e-commerce giant, including AWS, Prime, and advertising...
Earnings will continue as the focal point for investors Thursday, as Morgan Stanley and Union Pacific gear up to report.
As U.S. President Donald Trump hammers out a partial trade deal with China, Washington is moving forward on another front: India.
(Bloomberg) -- Pinterest Inc. shares fluctuated on Wednesday after a large block of shares was said to change hands overnight. The deal probably doesn’t reflect negative sentiment around the stock ahead of earnings this month, two analysts said.A person familiar with the matter said Goldman Sachs was managing the 4.68-million share block trade on behalf of an unknown holder. The share sale launched on Tuesday, the same day that selling restrictions lifted for insiders and other pre-IPO shareholders. The selling shareholder is likely a pre-IPO investor that is broadly shifting away from the internet space, Pivotal Research analyst Michael Levine said Wednesday morning in a phone interview. He upgraded the stock to buy from hold on Wednesday afternoon.“There’s some really early money in this,” Levine said in the interview. “So if you’re no longer involved in consumer internet, you’re gone. If you’ve been in it since 2012, you’re gone.” He named Andreessen Horowitz and Bessemer Venture Partners as possible sellers.Levine thinks other pre-IPO holders are less likely to be selling at this price level.“Based on how much the stock has pulled back, it’s actually gotten pretty attractive,” he said. “I think a lot of people are short and negative on this and I suspect earnings will be a very positive catalyst.” Wednesday’s upgrade did not adjust Pivotal’s $32 price target, which is below the Street average of $34.Read more: Pinterest’s Early Investors Get Chance to Sell After 42% RallyWells Fargo analyst Brian Fitzgerald agreed.“We do not see this as pessimism ahead of earnings, or the fundamentals with regards to this year’s IPOs,” he said in an email interview. Fitzgerald rates Pinterest a market perform with a $34 target.Shares opened as Wednesday’s worst performer in the 21-member Dow Jones US Mid Cap Media Index, before turning positive later in the morning. Pinterest reports third-quarter results on Oct. 31 after the market closes.The share sale priced at $25.00, the bottom of its $25-$25.25 offering range, the person familiar with the matter said Wednesday morning. Shares traded as high as $36.83 in August after the April IPO priced at $19.(Updates with Pivotal upgrade, Wells Fargo comments.)\--With assistance from Ryan Vlastelica.To contact the reporter on this story: Drew Singer in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brad Olesen at firstname.lastname@example.org, Jim Silver, Jeremy R. CookeFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Centrica Plc has picked Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to advise on the potential sale of its controlling stake in exploration and production unit Spirit Energy, people familiar with the matter said.A deal could value the business at more than $2 billion, one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.Centrica is pursuing a sale of its stake in Spirit as the U.K. utility seeks to recover from a tumultous five-year period under CEO Iain Conn where it lost more than two-thirds of its value and shed millions of customers. It owns 69% of Spirit, while the remaining stake is owned by Bayerngas Norge’s former shareholders, according to the company’s website.Spirit was formed in 2017 after Centrica and Bayerngas Norge AS combined their upstream oil and gas units. The unit produces about 50 million barrels of oil equivalent a year and has an estimated 600 million barrels of resources and reserves across the U.K., Norway, the Netherlands and Denmark. Accounting firm KPMG is also working with Centrica on audit work for the transaction, according to one of the people. Representatives for Centrica and Goldman Sachs declined to comment, while a spokesman for Spirit said the company will “support the sales process as appropriate.” A representative for KPMG didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.\--With assistance from Laura Hurst.To contact the reporters on this story: Dinesh Nair in London at email@example.com;Kelly Gilblom in London at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Scent at email@example.com, ;James Herron at firstname.lastname@example.org, Rakteem KatakeyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.