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Friday, 17 April


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Jornal de Negocios

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The Economist

  • Banking on de-banking

    But no more adventures in finance

    SPEAKING just a month ago, one of the men who lost the struggle to become boss of General Electric (GE) in 2001 grumbled that the firm had become as soft as a marshmallow. That was before Jeffrey Immelt, who got the job, said he would terminate with extreme prejudice the group’s vast banking division, GE Capital. Mr Immelt’s decision, announced on April 10th, is as momentous and ruthless as any made by an American boss in decades.

    The logic is impeccable: GE Capital has sapped the world’s biggest industrial firm for a decade and exhausted the patience of regulators and shareholders. And Mr Immelt may find it easier than expected to liquidate in 36 months America’s seventh-largest bank, with $500 billion of assets. What may prove harder is convincing the world that the rest of GE—which runs from lamps to locomotives via medical scanners, oil-drilling equipment, nuclear reactors, jet engines, water-treatment plants and all manner of other electrical and mechanical gear—still deserves to exist.  

    GE’s finance arm was conceived in innocence in the 1980s and came...

  • Ever more from Moore

    NEWS of the death of Moore’s law has always been greatly exaggerated. People started to pronounce it deceased not long after Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, a chipmaker, published on April 19th 1965 a paper arguing that the number of transistors that can be etched on a given surface area of silicon would double every year. In a later paper he corrected his forecast to every two years, which has come to be stated as his “law”. Regularly proving sceptics wrong, however, the exponential growth kept going (see chart), driving the digital revolution.

    Yet signs are multiplying that half a century later, the law is running out of steam. It is not so much that physical limits are getting in the way—even though producing transistors only 14 nanometres (billionths of a metre) wide, the current state of the art can be quite tricky. Intel says that it can keep the law going for at least another ten years, eventually slimming its transistors down to 5nm, about the thickness of a cell membrane. Other than shrinking circuitry further, it has also started to stack components, in effect building 3D chips.

    If Moore’s law has...

  • Risky business

    THE question of whether businesses should dabble in finance was supposedly settled in America after the 1929 crash, when the mixing of commerce and banking was banned. But those rules were watered down and circumvented by GE and many others. In the rest of the world the debate has raged for decades. The case for a split is clear. Managers are even worse at dealing with financial risk than bankers are. A blow-up in a firm’s financial arm can hurt its main business. And giving tycoons access to savers’ cash can lead them into all sorts of temptation.

    Despite this, non-financial businesses are engaged in finance on a mighty scale. The share of American profits from finance is 33%, as measured by its national accounts, which include the finance arms of industrial companies. This is far higher than the 20% share of the profits generated by S&P 500 companies that is attributed to “pure” banks and insurers. Globally, non-financial firms own $9 trillion of currency derivatives.

    There are four ways to dance with the devil. First, firms can get involved with “vendor financing”—lending to customers to help them buy their...

  • The cheap, convenient cloud

    IF THERE were a prize for corporate secrecy, Amazon would have an excellent chance of winning. Interviewing its executives can be like pulling teeth. Even trivial details are not revealed, such as the approximate location of the office of Jeff Bezos, the founder and chief executive, in the company’s headquarters in Seattle. Unsurprisingly, then, its quarterly earnings calls are mostly a dull affair. But financial analysts and many in the information-technology (IT) industry will pay close attention when the e-commerce giant releases results for this year’s first three months, on April 23rd. Nearly a decade after it launched Amazon Web Services (AWS), the company will enlighten its shareholders about the size, growth and profitability of its cloud-computing business.

    The disclosure is meant to reassure investors: they are getting worried about Amazon’s chronic lack of profits and the amount of money it is spending—last year the company as a whole invested nearly $9 billion. But the announcement will also signal that cloud-computing (in which data are stored and crunched on remote servers) has come of age: AWS’s revenues are thought to have...

  • A very British business

    THEY are known, quaintly, as “public schools”, though they are certainly not open to just anyone. Their names—Eton, Winchester, Harrow, Fettes—conjure up images of striped blazers and straw boaters, speech days and rugger matches. Be not deceived: for all their whimsiness, these are some of the world’s most ruthless businesses. Britain’s elite private schools are service-industry superpowers. They have increased their fees threefold in real terms since 1980 but still have parents beating at their doors. They have become thoroughly global: more than a third of their boarding pupils are foreign and the schools have established campuses in far-flung places such as Almaty, Kazakhstan (Haileybury) and Bangkok (Harrow) as well as more obvious ones like Singapore and Beijing.

    The secret of their success is simple: they provide a first-class academic education, and a ticket to the best universities, in an age when the rewards for academic success are rising. Their exam results far outstrip those of state schools (though there is a debate over how much this is because of the selectivity of their intake). They bag two-fifths of the undergraduate places at...

  • Engaged tone

    MERGERS among telecoms-equipment makers have a terrible record. In 2006 Alcatel, a troubled French telecoms conglomerate, was pressed to merge with Lucent Technologies, a descendant of America’s telecoms colossus, AT&T. The messy result burned cash for eight years and caused its share price to tumble by almost 75%. Nokia’s experience of togetherness was hardly happier. In 2007 the Finnish firm formed a joint venture with Siemens which staggered on until Nokia bought out its German partner in 2013. So news on April 15th that Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent had agreed to tie the knot, though not unexpected, caused eyeballs to roll.

    It makes sense nonetheless. Nokia is back in profit and Alcatel-Lucent is on its way there, but each firm is too small on its own to compete in the global telecoms-equipment market. This is now dominated by two firms—Ericsson of Sweden and Huawei of China.

    Nokia’s and Alcatel-Lucent’s combined turnover last year was €26 billion ($34.5 billion), more than Ericsson’s SKr228 billion ($33 billion). But the merger is “primarily about scope, not scale,” says Risto Siilasmaa, the chairman of...

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Financial Times — Europe

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Portugal-US Chamber of Commerce - slideshow image

Pan-European Days at the New York Stock Exchange, May 2014

Chamber board member Ricardo Caliço attended the event on behalf of the Chamber and reports back that the three-day conference was aimed at showcasing investment opportunities in Europe. This year, the program included the European Economic Forum at the New York Stock Exchange, featuring representatives from European Union, chief economists from major financial institutions, and other high-level thought-leaders to discuss the latest developments in the major European economies. The Program also included an investor conference at the Waldorf Astoria hotel organized by, ING, KBC Securities, Millennium BCP/Auerbach Grayson and Societe General. The investor conference provided opportunities for Euronext-listed companies from Portugal, Belgium, France, and Netherlands to meet privately with North America based institutional investors. The 13 Portuguese companies presented in the event were: BES, BPI, CTT, EDP, EDPR, Espirito Santo Saude, Galp, Impresa, Jerónimo Martins, Millennium BCP, Mota Engil, REN and Zon. The Portuguese Government was represented by Isabel Castelo Branco, Secretary of State of Treasury, and by the Treasury and Debt Management Agency. See more details here.

Posted on 2 Jun 2014
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Portuguese Artist Julião Sarmento to Exhibit in New York City

The Sean Kelly Gallery will host an exhibition by Portuguese artist Julião Sarmento, from March 28 - May 3, 2014. Further details can be found here.

Posted on 21 Mar 2014
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Chamber Attends Workshop on the New York Nonprofit Revitalization Act of 2013

New York State’s laws governing charitable and other nonprofit organizations date from the 1960s. The New York State Attorney General’s Office has undertaken revisions in the form of the New York Nonprofit Revitalization Act of 2013. The changes have two main purposes: reducing burdens on nonprofits through the modernization of statutory requirements; and increasing public trust in the nonprofit sector by strengthening board governance and enhancing Attorney General enforcement powers. Most provisions will take effect effective July 1, 2014. As a 501c4 nonprofit corporation, the Portugal-US Chamber of Commerce will also need to adhere to new regulations. More information about the Revitalization Act of 2013 can be found here.

Posted on 6 Mar 2014
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Vista Alegre Exhibits at the 2014 San Francisco International Gift Fair

Visit Vista Alegre’s booth at the San Francisco International Gift Fair, 15-18 February 2014. More information about the Fair can be found here.


Posted on 17 Feb 2014
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Eight Portuguese companies to visit New York City, 4-6 February 2014

In collaboration with the Associacao Comercial de Lisboa (ACL) and the Confederacao Internacional de Empresarios Portugueses (CIEP), the Chamber is hosting eight Portuguese companies from the textile, technology, artisanal foods, olive oil, wine, spirits, shoe wear, and lighting design sectors. The firms will meet with U.S partners based in New York and New Jersey, and will also meet with Portuguese and U.S. officials and representatives of the Portuguese business communities. For further details, contact the Chamber at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Posted on 28 Jan 2014
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Our Organization

The Portugal–US Chamber of Commerce in New York was founded in 1979 to stimulate economic development, trade and investment, and cultural exchange between the United States and Portugal. As a member of the Association of Portuguese-American Chambers of Commerce (APACC), it works closely with its counterparts in Portugal, Canada, and across the United States to promote shared interests in Portugal and expose the vast economic opportunities of the country. The Chamber provides its members ongoing opportunities to network with individuals also engaged in Portugal-US affairs as well as numerous channels by which they can obtain essential bilateral support and information.

Membership Benefits

Membership in the Chamber is open to all individuals who are interested in building a strong economic partnership between Portugal and the United States. Current members range from small businesses to large corporations in the fields of banking and finance, construction, communications, education, import/export, law, and transportation, to name a few.

Membership benefits include:

  • Frequent Chamber events that promote networking and foster strong community ties
  • Access to prominent business and government leaders
  • Alerts of noteworthy cultural and social events in New York City
  • Business luncheons and seminars to expose members to exciting new economic opportunities
  • Access to online resources and members-only directory