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March 5th – The BESA Times

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Forty-seventh Edition - Monday, 5th

Every week, a complete snapshot of what happened around the world in the past seven days


After months of electoral campaigns, Italians finally went to the polls yesterday to choose a new government. The election will have far-reaching consequences not only for the country but for Europe as a whole. The race seemed to be between three parties or group of parties. First, there was a centre right coalition of several parties led by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. This block included his own Forza Italia party as well as a number of smaller groups such as ultraconservative League and Fratelli d’Italia. Second, there was a centre left coalition roughly made of the parties that are in government now. Finally, there was the anti-establishment Five Star Movement led by Luigi di Maio. The election was further complicated by a new electoral law mixing proportional and majoritarian systems which will make it difficult for anyone to reach an overall majority. According to the exit polls, the centre-right coalition would come first with 37% of the popular vote, although the Five Star Movement would be the largest party with around 33% of the vote. The centre left coalition, plagued by internal divisions, would slide dramatically to around 20% of the popular vote. No block would reach an overall majority, meaning a coalition between two of the blocks would need to be formed.

Luxury carmaker, Aston Martin, announced on Monday that it is considering an initial public (IPO) due to its soaring sales, which hit their highest level in nine years, and an outstanding financial performance with a £250m in profits last year. Aston Martin is also opening a production site in St Athan in Wales, which will be available for future production expansion. At the beginning of this year, the firm also brought its brand licensing arm AM Brands in-house, indicating its potential ambitions to involve in market listing.

Geely, a Chinese carmaker, acquired almost 10 percent of Daimler shares for around $9 billion, targeting the outstanding management team and advanced technologies of the German-based firm. After this deal, Geely Holding Group, who also owns Volvo Cars and Lotus, became the largest shareholder of Daimler, showing the ambition of China to penetrate the European market and even to create another legend in the car industry – one such as the Volkswagen Group. Furthermore, the fact that Geely is a Chinese company helped Dailmer welcome this deal, as China becomes the largest car market in the world.

Vodafone and Nokia are planning to build a lunar telecom network backed by PT Scientist, a German space company, after teaming up to support the first privately funded mission to land on the moon. According to Robert Boehme, the founder and chief executive of PT Scientist, this could determine future developments of the mobile and space industries. The program plans to use a Space X rockets, but, considering the tremendous potential investments, running to tens of millions of dollars, the companies would share it with other companies to offset the cost


What to remember of last week's news?

Ukraine reached a $1bn diesel locomotive supply deal with General Electric (GE) last Friday, further developing the economic relationship between the country and the US. According to the agreement, there will be 30 locomotives built by GE in its Erie plant in the following two years, thus improving the country's Soviet-built railway transport infrastructure. The total amount of trains built will be 225 within the next 10 years. However, the deal is more than an economic event, as it also reflects the counter-Russia emotion of Ukraine that is backed by the US.

The new US tax code came into effect on January 1, incurring a bunch of mergers and acquisitions in the first two months of this year. Berkshire Hathaway, the sprawling conglomerate led by Warren Buffett, seems to maintain its cool-head approach in this investment mania. Last Saturday, the corporation published increased profits for 2017, $44.9 billion, which is 11% down from 2016. Thanks to the new US tax code, $29 billion of profits stemmed from the decrease of tax liabilities. However, Buffett warned shareholders that the company should focus on long-lasting profits and avoid insensible speculative behaviour.


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What to expect for next week

The 2018 National People's Congress, the first Plenary Session of the 13th National People's Congress, will be held on March 2018 in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China. The session will open on March 5, and major state positions will be elected to this session. With a plan to eliminate the presidential two-term limit, Xi Jinping, President of China, plans to extend his length of power. At the same time, the Central Committee proposed inserting “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” into the state constitution.





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