E Trump Russia Reset Is Redundant

The Trump attempt to get get a “reset” with Putin in Germany was not only misguided but unnecessary. The reason is that Germany's leading company already has worked out how to avoid the boycott placed on Russia over its seizure of the Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine, as revealed yesterday by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on its website in an article about Siemens. Europe's largest industrial manufacturing company has used joint venture companies in Russia to ship two embargoed electric power station equipment to Sebastopol, the main city in the Crimea and is now preparing to ship two further power stations to its second city, Simferopol. The power stations were made at Siemens Gas Turbine Technologies in St. Petersburg, which is 65% owned by the German firm and uses its technology.

The German conglomerate shipped the first Crimean power stations after the embargo by using a Russian joint venture with Rostec, a complex organization which owns civilian and military companies. While supposedly destined for Taman peninsula, the turbines were shipped to the seized Ukrainian territory in 2015. The rerouting caused problems for the jv, because the breakaway Crimean region could not pay for the power station and declared bankruptcy last Nov.

To overcome the problem, another Rostec-Siemens jv entered the breach, ZAO Interautomatika, in which Siemens owns only 46%. It funded and completed the Sebastopol power station installation and was preparing to ship another two turbines for Simferopol—until the press found out. Now this morning, after the FAZ article appeared, Siemens told Reuters it is taking legal action to prevent components necessary to commission the second power plant from being shipped to Crimea. An unnamed Siemens source in Berlin told the wire service that rerouting turbines for delivery to breakaway parts of Ukraine would be a breach of contract, but asked not to be named because the matter is still being investigated.

Siemens' slogan is “Ingenuity for Life”, but what this really means is “Ingenuity for Profits.”

Don't think crime doesn't pay. Arconic missold to installers of cladding to the Grenfell Tower which burned down last month and its stock price fell. This led J.P. Morgan analyst Seth Seifman to rate ARNC outperform rather than neutral while cutting his target price to $28 from $30. Friday the share was at $23.13 so naturally the ethically-challenged stock market price of the share rose 2.9% bringing its YTD rise after it was spun out by Alcoa to 27%. I own ARNC and now am considering buying SIEGY.

After a fat-finger trade crashed the gold market, another on Friday crashed the silver market. This may be an argument for or against robotic trading. I am not sure which.


*The newly named board of Stada Artzneimittel of Germany, which was put back into the model portfolio at the end of last month, approved a renewed bid for STDAF from US hedge fund Bain Capital and British private equity group Cinven. The former board, CEO, and CFO resigned last week after the first bid bailed. In Frankfurt trading the share rose 1.3% to euros 65.32. The offer is at euros 66.25 while the earlier one was 3% lower. The pair also has reduced the level of acceptance to 63% from 65%, and cut the time to accept to two weeks. After the board approved, a BAFIN regulatory okay for the offer is a mere formality . When the offer goes live my brokerage, Fidelity, promises to send me word, which may not happen based on the last time. We bought it back after the earlier bid flopped because of the highly diverse individual shareholders at STADF and because of bad vibes about Andrei Shleifer, the Harvard economics prof whose fines of $26.5 mn for defrauding the US govt with funding for supposed help for democracy in Russia, where he was born. His fines were paid under Harvard's reign of Larry Summers, because he had tenure. Prof Shleifer is the nasty side of vulture capitalism from the German perspective, and the fact that he is Jewish may add to the negative view. Stada is largely owners by doctors and independent pharmacies, and Shleifer's fund is the 2nd largest holder of its shares.

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