Financing investment: can regulation adapt to new challenges?

Water, electricity and transport networks in the UK are facing substantial investment requirements relative to historical levels, reflecting the need to replace ageing infrastructure, and meet environmental obligations and demand for new capacity. While the regulatory regime has to date enabled substantial investment to be delivered, growing pressure on balance sheets as companies issue debt to finance this expenditure raises questions about whether the framework will prove sustainable in the future. This article examines options for change to address this challenge.

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Plugging the carbon productivity gap

Productivity trends are used to explain the changing structure of the economy and to compare the UK’s performance against its peers. When the same concept is applied to energy, and ultimately to carbon, it becomes a clear measure of progress towards achieving long-term greenhouse gas emission targets. The results for the UK electricity sector suggest that, if the government’s existing targets are to be met, the current policy programme will have to be expanded during the next 10–15 years, at a cost of several billions.

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Profitability analysis and competition policy

Professor Paul Geroski, Chairman of the UK Competition Commission, explains why profitability analysis is of importance to competition policy. He discusses various applications of what is, in essence, backward-looking profitability analysis to mergers and market investigations, and then explores the scope for using forward-looking profitability analysis in merger investigations.

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Seeking the rationale behind structured finance

While traditionally associated almost exclusively with balance sheet management by financial institutions, structured finance is now being embraced by an increasing number of companies as their financing method of choice. Yet the exact circumstances in which these complex arrangements make sense are not well understood. This article sheds some light on a topic that is at the frontier of financial innovation.

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The EU electronic communications framework: is it on track?

Across Europe, around 450 detailed market reviews are taking place, as the national regulatory authorities (NRAs) assess competition and propose remedies in at least 18 different telecoms and electronic communications markets under the new EU regulatory framework. The European Commission has the power to veto the NRAs’ decisions. This article looks at the NRAs’ progress and the Commission’s justification for the veto decisions it has taken so far.

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