Friday, June 11, 2010

What does that “B” stand for again?

The Gulf oil catastrophe is also becoming an international relations problem. While many major corporations have an international existence, most still have a national home. BP, aka British Petroleum, is no exception. BP is one of Great Britain’s largest corporations and as such has a significant presence in the investment portfolios and retirement plans of millions of UKers (and not a few US plans as well, for that matter). As a result, the increasingly hostile rhetoric from the White House is raising eye brows at 10 Downing Street and in the British press. That BP should pay for its mess is not disputed but now there is open speculation about bankruptcy and/or foreign take-over. Should BP’s liability be limited to reduce the damage to British investment plans and to avoid damaging diplomatic relations with Her Majesty’s government? Or should investors learn that just because a company is big—even REALLY BIG—does not mean it can’t be required to pay the full consequences for its irresponsibility?

No comments: