Financing the water industry: lessons from PR 04

The 2004 water industry price control review, and the parallel review in the electricity distribution industry, tackled important issues that are relevant for the future of utility regulation in the UK in these sectors and more widely. Keith Palmer, NM Rothschild & Son and Cambridge Economic Policy Associates, and Hannah Nixon, Cambridge Economic Policy Associates, discuss the lessons that can be learnt.

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Bankruptcy codes: how do they affect business?

Julian Franks, Professor of Finance, London Business School, and Oxera Director, explains how recent research into bankruptcy codes reveals significant and sometimes unexpected differences between bankruptcy procedures in the UK and those of other countries.

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Water mergers: what are the prospects going forward?

Historically, the merger regime in the England and Wales water sector has restricted merger activity in order to protect comparative competition. However, recent developments suggest that comparative competition in water is now less important than it once was. Mergers are therefore more likely to be facilitated in future.

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Reform of Article 82: where the link between dominance and effects breaks down

The reform of Article 82 is high on the EU competition policy agenda. Many commentators are of the view that abuse of dominance cases should move away from the current form-based approach to an effects-based approach. This article explores one of the fundamental shortcomings of the current approach—the use of dominance determinations as a shortcut to infer anti-competitive effects.

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Consumer responses: how quick are they?

Ignoring the potential delayed reactions of consumers when thinking about investment, pricing, or competition cases, or when evaluating changes in consumer behaviour, could lead to biased policy conclusions. This article highlights these limitations and presents ways in which they may be overcome. It also discusses implications for undertaking future modelling exercises.

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Future secure? Why asset managers locate in London

The UK is the largest centre for asset management in Europe, with assets of at least £2.8 trillion under management, and the industry is a major source of income and employment in the UK economy. A recent Oxera study has examined the competitive position of the UK as a centre for asset management, and the major influences, including regulation and tax, which may affect this position in the future.

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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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