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Book Review – “Multinational Financial Management” (International Student Version) by Alan Shapiro

If you are a financial manager aspiring to an international career – or only if you want to understand the implications of the cross-border expansion of the companies, “Multinational Financial Management” must have a place in your book shelf. I’ve met in my life quite a few finance managers with international responsibilities – and not all of them understood exactly what were they doing. A key theme of this book is that most of the successful companies operate in an international environment and ignoring this can be at your (company’s) peril. In this complex and dynamic environment, financial management plays an essential role. The difference between one company or another lies no longer in the quality of the products or in the customer image. Strong competitive advantages come nowadays from having a differently configured supply chain (e.g. manufacturing in China) or from taking advantage of exchange rates or complex financial derivatives. There are nowadays production companies that can make more profits from exchange rate differences than from the production itself – see the case of some Swiss companies who saw a huge swing in their profits on the increase of the CHF versus other currencies.
“Multinational Financial Management” is written with a practical perspective in mind. You can find inside its covers basically all the topics related to a company’s corporate finance function – with an international twist. So don’t be surprised that most of the topics are well know from your BA in Finance – because they actually are. In here it is the practicalities that count. The focus goes to the more important topics, where the value is added for the companies – taxation differentials, appraising foreign investment projects or repatriating your profits with minimal costs. Even the presentation of the book mentions that it is a natural extension of the first course in the financial management. It is therefore too general sometimes – or maybe destined for a bachelor’s degree in finance rather than for an MBA.Read More »Book Review – “Multinational Financial Management” (International Student Version) by Alan Shapiro

Oil prices and hurricanes

The Gustav tropical storm has passed over without much damage. The re-insurers (among which Warren Buffet’s one was one of the biggest) got a sight of relief last night, after the tornado has faded right before they hit the shores near Louisiana. And at a sign, the price of oil has dropped abruptly below $110 a barrel, going more down from the record level established in June 2008 ($145 a barrel or so).Read More »Oil prices and hurricanes