|Bid||8.63 x 0|
|Ask||8.68 x 0|
|Day's range||8.60 - 8.69|
|52-week range||5.71 - 9.05|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||0.83|
|PE ratio (TTM)||33.32|
|Earnings date||06 May 2021|
|Forward dividend & yield||0.36 (4.13%)|
|Ex-dividend date||19 Jul 2021|
|1y target est||5.59|
(Bloomberg) -- In punishing Russian hacks and election meddling, the Biden administration on Thursday revealed new details about Russian intelligence’s vast disinformation and cyber-operations, including the names of companies that allegedly help facilitate cyber-attacks and websites accused of spreading false claims to damage the U.S.The information release is designed partly to damage Russian intelligence services by blowing the cover of its support network, including companies that provide essential services and, in one case, the location of a technology park near the Black Sea used by spies for Russian’s military intelligence directorate, the GRU.“This is how you roll up people’s networks,” said James Lewis, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “You identify them, so that they have to rebuild their tradecraft and rebuild their cover. It’s cheap for us but can be very costly to them.”The names of companies and individuals, including a deputy chief of staff to Russian President Vladimir Putin, were officially released in relation to U.S. sanctions imposed Thursday, but the larger harm may come from being associated with Russia’s spy operations, experts say.According to the U.S. Treasury Department, a Russian cybersecurity company called Positive Technologies hosts large-scale conventions that are used as a recruiting pipeline for Russia’s intelligence agencies, the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the GRU. While the U.S. didn’t identify the name of the conference, one annual event held by Positive Technologies -- which names Societe Generale, UniCredit and Enel as clients on its website -- is called “Positive Hack Days.” In 2019, it hosted 8,000 people, and participants competed to hack into cash machines and a Tesla car.The disclosure about the company’s alleged links to Russian intelligence comes just after reports that it was considering an initial public offering, which Kommersant newspaper reported in March, citing an unidentified person familiar with the plan. The company earned 5.6 billion rubles ($73 million) in 2020 and was targeting a valuation of between $2 billion and $4 billion, the paper said.Positive Technologies didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.The U.S. also sanctioned ERA Technopolis, a research center and technology park located in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, which is near the Black Sea. U.S. officials alleged that ERA Technopolis “houses and supports” units of the GRU, which it said was responsible for offensive cyber and information operations.The technology park had been publicly linked to the Russian Ministry of Defense, which claims that the facility combines scientific and educational functions. But the fact that it’s now known to house GRU units will likely be an inconvenience for an agency that thrives in secrecy.Russian officials have repeatedly denied allegations of hacking, election meddling and spreading disinformation in the U.S.It’s likely that many of the details about the intelligence agencies’ support networks were classified until recently, but Lewis said the decision to release them was a result of an internal U.S. government debate about how to impose stiff costs for what the U.S. calls “malign behavior.”Those activities include aggressive efforts to influence the outcome of U.S. presidential elections in 2016 and 2020, the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, and the recent hack of U.S. government agencies and private firms through software made by Texas-based SolarWinds Corp.“This is a really knotty problem to deal with. These types of attacks are low cost, high yield for Russia,” said Holden Triplett, a former director for counterintelligence in the Trump administration’s National Security Council. “The sanctions might take out some of their operational infrastructure, but they can rebuild. It seems unlikely to deter Putin.”The Biden administration also disclosed new details about how Russian intelligence agencies have used disinformation outlets and companies to secretly try to influence U.S. voters and spread false claims about candidates and elections.“Private and public sector corruption facilitated by President Vladimir Putin has enriched his network of confidants, who used their illicit business connections to advance Russia’s campaign to undermine the 2020 U.S. presidential election—and to give Russia plausible deniability in its disinformation activities,” according to the Treasury Department.The FSB operates several disinformation outlets, including SouthFront, which is registered in Russia and attempts to appeal to military enthusiasts, veterans and conspiracy theorists while hiding its connections to Russian intelligence, according to the Biden administration. Following the November U.S. presidential election, SouthFront allegedly published content alleging voter fraud had taken place during the election.Another disinformation outlet, NewsFront, is based in Crimea and allegedly worked with FSB officers to attempt to undermine the credibility of a news website that advocated for human rights. NewsFront was also used to distribute false information about the Covid-19 vaccine, “which further demonstrates the irresponsible and reckless conduct of Russian disinformation sites,” according to the Treasury Department.Fake IdentitiesIn addition, SVR directs an online journal called the Strategic Culture Foundation that created “false and unsubstantiated narratives” about U.S. officials involved in the 2020 presidential election, while GRU operates InfoRos, which used a network of websites to spread false conspiracy theories and disinformation, according to the U.S.One of the companies outed Thursday is based in Pakistan, but it seems to have provided Russian intelligence agents with an essential -- if illicit -- service. The Treasury Department sanctioned the company for creating and selling fake identities to Russian intelligence, including documents to help companies and individuals evade sanctions. Since at least 2012, Second Eye Solution, also known as Forwarderz, provided digital copies of fake passports, drivers licenses and bank statements to help verify social media and financial services accounts, according to a Treasury Department statement.An archived version of the Second Eye Solution website advertised the sale of illicit documents to support verification for banned or suspended accounts on sites including Facebook, Amazon.com, Google Wallet and CoinBase. “We provide high-quality, real-looking documents through which many of our clients get restored their accounts,” reads the now defunct website.The site, accessed using the Wayback Machine web archive, now reads, “coming soon.”(Updates with quote from Holden Triplett in 13th paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
Italian utility Enel has agreed with the Qatar Investment Authority to set up a joint venture to finance, build and operate renewable energy projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. Under the deal the Qatari sovereign fund will buy 50% of Enel Green Power's stake in projects in operation and under construction in South Africa and Zambia amounting to around 800 megawatts of capacity. "We will work together to accelerate the creation of an extensive green energy footprint in Sub-Saharan Africa," Enel CEO Francesco Starace said.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- It’s important in the fashion world to make a big entrance and Chanel is doing just that with its inaugural 600 million-euro ($700 million) bond. It has chosen to issue debt that’s linked to environmental sustainability targets; the bond includes a penalty if the company doesn’t live up to its green goals.The famous French luxury brand — headquartered in London now — is showing up its British rival Burberry, whose sterling-denominated sustainable bond last week was a regular green issue. That one won’t incur any penalty for failing to hit its environmental targets.In attaching green strings to its bonds, Chanel is following the example set last year by Italian utility Enel SpA and more recently Novartis AG, a Swiss drugmaker. The five-year tranche will repay at 100.5% of face value on maturity if the company isn’t wholly reliant by then on renewable electricity, and the 10-year tranche will cash out at 100.75% if Chanel falls short on its greenhouse gas emission targets.The company is to be applauded for avoiding the “greenwashing” criticism that can be leveled at other so-called sustainable bonds. It achieved “carbon-neutral” status last year as part of its efforts to support the Paris climate change agreement.Chanel is interesting in that it doesn’t have a credit rating and it probably won’t be eligible for the European Central Bank’s and the Bank of England’s giant bond-buying programs (the company is based outside the euro area and yet the debt was issued in euros). As things stand, Chanel’s U.K.-issued notes won’t benefit either from the ECB’s plan to start buying sustainability-linked bonds next year. But it was still able to cut the coupon on offer during the sale process, and it secured strong demand anyway. Appetite for any kind of yield is still fierce among debt investors, and Chanel is a prized name for a debut bond sale.While coronavirus has taken a toll on the luxury industry, Chanel is in fashion’s premier league with more than $12 billion of net sales in 2019. The bond market has rewarded that. The price on the deal’s five- and 10-year maturities was tightened by 25 basis points to 95 and 125 basis points over their respective benchmarks, giving an implied rating that’s comfortably within the investment-grade bucket. Demand for the bonds was respectable at nearly three times the deal size.Having previously relied on private debt and bank loans, Chanel is coming to the public markets to refinance some of the 600 million pounds ($765 million) of Covid loans it has repaid to the BOE. So we probably shouldn’t read too much into what the bond debut says about the controlling Wertheimer family’s plans for the company. There has been speculation (denied by the Wertheimers) about an initial public offering or sale. Even if that isn’t the intention, it doesn’t hurt to have a profile in the debt markets.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Marcus Ashworth is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering European markets. He spent three decades in the banking industry, most recently as chief markets strategist at Haitong Securities in London.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.