16 January 2010

Prince Alwaleed Needs a Turnaround at Citigroup - Or Else

Prince Alwaleed has given Vikram Pandit one year to shape up or else.

I wonder what sharia has to say about investing like a doofus, throwing more money on a losing position, and then expecting common taxpayers to bail you out.

"Last week, Alwaleed boosted Kingdom Holding’s balance sheet by transferring $600 million worth of his own Citi shares onto its balance sheet. Shares of the investment group -- of which Alwaleed is a 95% owner -- have lost about half their value since 2007 and it’s had capital losses of 65% as of the end of the third quarter. The transfer of Alwaleed’s Citi shares should help secure its borrowing capacity, and it also means that the Citi shares aren't going to be sold anytime soon." Citi and Its Princely Problem
It appears as though the Prince's investment empire is on shaky ground.

No wonder Vikram Pandit has been noticeably absent from such recent, unimportant meetings like those with the President and the Congress.

Business Standard India
Perform or perish, Saudi Prince tells Vikram Pandit

Washington January 16, 2010, 14:05 IST

Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who is a major shareholder in the Citigroup, has told the bank's Indian-American CEO Vikram Pandit that his two-year honeymoon is now over and 2010 is a make or break year for him.

"I don't threaten those CEOs that I meet but I told him (Vikram Pandit) that the market gave you two years' leeway, but I think now it's time to deliver and 2010 for him is really the year to make it or break it and he has to deliver," Alwaleed said in an interview.

Alwaleed had recently met with Pandit and he had told him that he must deliver solid results in 2010.

"It's very important... For the shareholders that have been very patient with Citibank that the honeymoon is over now; two years is enough and I think he will deliver in 2010," Alwaleed said.

At the interview, the Saudi Prince also acknowledged that China is an economic power and eventually, it would translate that into political power.

"China is a rising power. For sure now, China is amassing huge power economically, financially, not yet politically, but I think eventually it is going to ask for this power to be translated to politics — no doubt about that," he said.

On the latest spat between China and the global search engine giant Google, the Saudi Prince sided with China arguing that firms should abide by the rules of a country or leave that nation. (I guess aggressive cyber attacks and human rights violations are just a cost of doing business. At least Steve Ballmer and the Prince see eye to eye on this one. Microsoft doesn't believe in human rights either. No wonder the prince is talking joint ventures with Rupert Murdoch. - Jesse)

"All these have to apply by the rules that are applied in that country. If you cannot play by the rules, then you should leave that country," he said.

Alwaleed also opposed the US President Barack Obama proposal to impose tax on large banks so as to recover the federal money used to fund these institutions during the global financial meltdown. (Abide by a country's rules or leave, Prince. LOL - Jesse)