Sunday, January 13, 2013

Lest ye forget HP, Unilever and Cosco!

Positive news have a way of being forgotten so quickly when there is such ample supply of negative news. Thus, I want to bring back to memory two important events of the last couple of months.

Last November, it was announced that HP had chosen Piraeus as the site for its central distribution center for products destined for Central Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, the Mediterranean region and the former Soviet republics. HP products will be distributed by sea from the terminal that Cosco controls in Piraeus and by rail via state railway service operator TRAINOSE. That then rekindled Russian interest in Trainose which will transport a considerable share of that volume to other European countries.

Also in November, Unilever announced that 110 of its products that are currently imported to Greece from elsewhere in Europe will soon be produced in this country, in a much-needed boost for the local economy. Even a high school student will quickly understand that this move will have some positive impact on employment.

There is no new employment without new investment and there is no new investment without demand for logistical support. Thus, at the center of all this is a good infrastructure and outstanding logistical resources. That, of course, brings Cosco to mind again, an investment which I have already praised several times as the prototype of a good foreign investment in Greece.

1 comment:

  1. And in case other readers missed this when I posted it the other day

    The government owned Container Terminal #1 handled 625,914 boxes in 2012 - an increase of 27.5% - wow!

    Surely that's the effect of competition at its best - success breeding success (with which our host, KK, agreed)

    That's the good news.

    But I'm still worried about HP. News continues to be 'mixed', there are rumours about HP phones and yet another tablet - a RIM (Blackberry) takeover perhaps. In case you don't know RIM is another bright star in the process of becoming a white dwarf.

    It appears that the Autonomy saga could end up in court. Even if they found HP was defrauded it won't get its money back, by now it will concealed in the Offshore Shadow Bank Labyrinth. And the damages awarded could (should) be diluted because the HP Board was advised in no uncertain terms not to proceed with the Autonomy deal by its own Chief Financial Officer - it chose to ignore that advice. I have no sympathy for the stockholders - they voted in a dysfunctional board, year after year, after year.

    Here are HP's Q4 and Yearly Results for 2012 - Health Warning : its not pleasant reading.

    Only 2 of HP's 6 Business Groups showed an improvement over 2011 - Software and Financial Services - neither of which ship in 20' steel boxes. The 3 Groups whose products do ship in 20' boxes (Personal Systems, Printers and Servers) were down between 10 and 20 percent in terms of units shipped.

    The HP CEO has said HP will make decisions in the current quarter about which products it should get rid of. Given its recent efforts I'm not sure I'd trust the HP board to make a decision on what have for its dinner - they'd probably choose cornflakes :rofl:

    I still don't like the idea of a Russian SOE taking control of Trainose, nor a French SOE for that matter. Has the Greek government said how it wants to structure the sale. Its hard to get a grasp on what Trainose is and what it's not - I think some of the freight services (lines ?) are operated by a separate entity.

    Wouldn't it make more sense to consolidate the passenger and freight services into discrete entities before disposing of them. And maybe keep the infrastructure (lines, signals and passenger stations) in state ownership, which would charge the service operators for using it. Or sell it separately, it would need to be tightly regulated, as it would be a monopoly.