2015

Can’t believe another year has gone by.  I’m not usually into dwelling on the past but 2015 has been a standout year.

I went to Cuba for the first time, fell in love with the country and the people, and realised there’s a gigantic opportunity there to create something sustainable, and to scale, that will benefit Cubans and global investors.  We’re building a fantastic business in Cuba, with some excellent local partners who have the rare benefit of being long-established and well-respected Cuban business people.  I anticipate great strides ahead in the coming 12 months.

I stepped down from the boards of my London AIM listed companies: concluding with, at the end of the year, AfriAg, Rare Earth Minerals, Bacanora Minerals, Inspirit Energy, and Evocutis (one of the AIM pioneers dating back to 2003).  Some people were surprised by this.  But I’ve never made a secret of the fact that my job is to rescue dying or dead businesses, nurture fledgling businesses, get them into shape and get them funded, and in due course hand over to long-term professional management teams for the next stage of their growth.

oil 1180

A big fat tax free bonus from King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia for almost every man, woman and child on this big blue planet of ours.

So the oil price has taken another dive.  $37/barrel as of this morning.  The lowest for over ten years, and lower than during the global recession of 2008.

Surprised?  Perhaps.

Pleased?  Well it depends whose asking.

Electric Vehicles

The world is on the cusp of a brilliant new age of innovative human transportation – cars, trucks, trains and planes.

January’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (where CDs, DVDs and 3D printers were first launched) might just be the touch-paper that ignites the electric vehicle (EV) firework.

Las Vegas is the venue for Herbert Diess, CEO of VW Passenger Cars revealing VW’s next all-electric concept vehicle. VW has been a bit sniffy about EVs in the past, but it needs to regain its car-manufacturing mojo and do something about its reputation after the recent emissions scandal.

VW has always been known for innovative technology, precision engineering, quality and an enviable global sales and distribution network. And with cash reserves of $32 billion its pockets are deep (even allowing for the €6.5 billion it has set aside to clear up the emissions mess). The emissions scandal should prove to be yesterday’s fish-n-chip paper as I think a lot of car manufacturers were cheating. Yes – even a few in the USA probably bent the rules a tad.

So I predict a big noise from VW in the EV market.  And I also offer VW some advice – now is the time to get serious with a technical collaborator, a Google, Apple, or Tesla.

petrol station 1180

My friends at Goldman Sachs have just issued an investor note: Lithium is the New Gasoline.’

Goldman are saying that the unique properties of lithium and its use in portable energy storage (batteries) position lithium to “be a key enabler of the electric car revolution and replace gasoline as the primary source of transportation fuel.”

It makes interesting reading, and I summarise the main points for you here.

Porsche Electric

This week we heard dramatic news that global motoring giant Porsche, the European powerhouse of sports cars, has thrown down the gauntlet to America’s electric vehicle darling Tesla Motors.

Who’s going to win?

And now we learn that the Chinese are the world’s biggest manufacturer of electric vehicles.

There’s some serious competition and some bloody fighting on the horizon, my friends.

Transforming Global Energy

This week’s climate conference in Paris is one of the biggest gatherings of world leaders in history.

Obama, Chinese Premier Xi, and even Putin appear aligned on the need to take action to tackle climate change now.  Can you believe it? I’ve been in China on a bad smog day and it’s not nice. The air has taste.

But I do have some sympathy with Indian Prime Minister Modi:

Climate change is not of our making” he said today, “It is the result of global warming that came from the prosperity and progress of an industrial age powered by fossil fuel.”

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