Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Honeywell, other US companies look to benefit from China's gigantic 'Belt and Road' initiative


Honeywell, other US companies look to benefit from China's gigantic 'Belt and Road' initiative

At least 15 companies cited the giant regional development program as an opportunity for business growth, according to CNBC analysis using financial search engine AlphaSense.Examples include Honeywell's executive talking about how the regional development program has helped increase the company's presence in some central Asian countries.The CEO of Massachusetts-based analytical instruments company Waters also noted how the company is trying to take advantage of related trends.

Evelyn Cheng@chengevelyn

Published 23 Hours AgoCNBC.com

Jason Lee | Reuters

China's President Xi Jinping claps after his speech as he and other new Politburo Standing Committee members meet with the press at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China October 25, 2017.

China's "Belt and Road" program is showing up in the earnings calls of some companies around the world, including some in the U.S.

At least 15 companies cited the giant regional development program as an opportunity for business growth, according to CNBC analysis using financial search engine AlphaSense.

The "Belt and Road Initiative," once called "One Belt, One Road," was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 to promote investment connecting Asia, Africa and Europe. The program focuses on infrastructure development, echoing the "Silk Road" that once linked Asia and Europe.

Roughly 70 countries covering about two-thirds of the world's population are participating in Belt and Road projects, which could involve trillions of dollars in Chinese investment, Jonathan Hillman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies said in a January Congressional testimony.

To many, the program remains an amorphous term that can encompass all regional development projects, sometimes retroactively, analysts have noted. Details such as total cost and timeframe remain unclear.

But a range of companies from Waters, a Massachusetts-based producer of analytical instruments and software, to Japan-based construction machinery manufacturer Kubota note the benefits and business opportunities they are seeing from the Belt and Road program. For example, Honeywell's president of global high growth regions, S. Shane Tedjarati, said the program has "really increased significantly .. our presence" in central Asia.

Some of the statements focused more on the political benefits. Evan G. Greenberg, chairman and CEO of global property and casualty insurer Chubb, said its agreement with a Chinese insurer falls in line with "the Chinese government's drive to promote the country's going out and One Belt One Road initiatives."

Here's the whole list of the companies and what their executives had to say about One Belt, One Road, according to the AlphaSense search that looked at companies with a market capitalization greater than $1 billion.


"We've created programs with the Chinese, and especially added the One Belt, One Road to that, which has really increased significantly the -- our presence in the former CIS states, in Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, in Azerbaijan, et cetera, whether it's a gas pipeline or new installations for oil and gas."

"… The consumer economy, the digital economy, the One Belt, One Road and the focus on cleaner, more efficient economy is still going to do us well."

— S. Shane Tedjarati, president of global high growth regions for the U.S. industrial conglomerate, said during a Feb. 28 investor conference.


"In the quarter, we announced [a 10-year] strategic cooperation agreement with PICC Property and Casualty company of China, the country's largest P&C insurer. The agreement will leverage Chubb's global capabilities and support the PICC customers and other Chinese-affiliated companies around the world in line with the Chinese government's drive to promote the country's going out and One Belt One Road initiatives."

— Evan G. Greenberg, Chairman and CEO of the global property and casualty insurer, said during a Jan. 31 earnings call.


"There are some broader things going on in China, too, around One Belt One Road, around Healthy China 2030 and other key initiatives that we're just making sure that we're providing the type of technologies and service that companies in China need to take advantage of those trends."

— Christopher James O'Connell, Chairman and CEO, said in a Jan 23 earnings call. Waters is a Massachusetts-based producer of analytical instruments and software, and is part of the S&P 500.

Rio Tinto

"We remain positive about the outlook for the industry. Global growth is solid, and turning to China, we are optimistic about the medium to long term. ... Longer term, the Belt, Road initiative will create further opportunities in the infrastructure and construction space."

— Jean-Sebastien Jacques, chief executive of the mining giant, said on a Feb. 7 earnings call.


Slide 23 shows how we've refocused the business back towards the bank's heartland in Asia. ... we've strengthened our position as the world's #1 bank for international renminbi business and established HSBC as the best overall international bank for the Belt and Road initiative, according to both Asiamoney and FinanceAsia.

— Stuart Thomson Gulliver, Group CEO, said during a Feb. 20 earnings conference call.


A slide about "executing Vision 2020" notes the "Belt & Road Initiative" offers 100 billion euro ($123.91 billion) infrastructure opportunities with Chinese engineering, procurement and construction companies until 2025.

— Joe Kaeser, President and CEO of the German industrials conglomerate, said during a Jan. 9 Commerzbank German Investment Seminar in New York.


"Growth rate is expected [to] be slowed, but market will continue to expand due to increasing demand for infrastructure construction in urban area caused by One Belt and One Road initiative and Public Private Partnership project."

"Constr. Machinery: Sales increase due to One Belt and One Road initiative, strong demand for city infrastructure construction, and shortage of labors."

— The Japan-based manufacturer gave the above forecast in a Feb. 21 investor relations company presentation titled "Financial Results for the year ended Dec. 31, 2017."


"Another highlight, moved away a bit from commodities and is part of the long cycle and it refers to China. China is fostering an important expansion program in infrastructure, the One Belt, One Road program that is very well known. And we feel that there is an improvement -- a significant improvement."

— Paulo Geraldo Polezi, finance and investor relations executive officer, said on a March 1 earnings call for the Brazil-based global manufacturer of electrical and electronic equipment.

Schneider Electric

"We see still good dynamics in China. What I've seen in 2017 is the — of course, a confirmation of the priorities of the '13's 5-years plan. And when you look at them, many are really in sync or Schneider is really in sync with those priorities, would it be for manufacturing in China 2025, the plan for green cities, reduction of carbon footprint, energy efficiency, digitization on steroids, what China calls Internet Plus and, of course, the Belt and Road Initiative… we see opportunities on the market."

— Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Chairman and CEO of the French electronic equipment and management company, said on a Feb. 15 call.

Eutelsat Communications

"A few weeks ago, we signed MoU to collaborate with China Unicom in the context of the One Belt, One Road project."

— Rodolphe Belmer, CEO and a director of the French satellite communications company, said during a Feb. 16 earnings call.


"China's Belt and Road initiative is continuing to provide exciting opportunities for the company. We have a strong and highly regarded China operation and a track record of working with Chinese businesses internationally."

— Andrew Wood, CEO and executive director, said in a Feb. 20 earnings call for the Australia-based engineering consulting company.


"The One Belt, One Road initiative is an important tailwind for our crossborder import business, which will help address the massive demand for imported products in ongoing consumption upgrades taking place in China."

— Yong Zhang, CEO and director of the Chinese e-commerce and tech conglomerate, said on a Feb. 1 earnings call.

United Overseas Bank

"We — from 2011 till now, we are able to attract 1,600 companies with deposit flow of $90 billion. Now these are company come to Singapore from China, from Korea, from Japan, from different part of the world. They are talking to us because — partly because of our Southeast Asia footprints. They want to talk to one bank able to provide them the regional solution. So the attraction is getting quite good, quite encouraging, and especially today, with the One Belt One Road, I think people are talking more about it. I believe the momentum is slightly to gather more and more."

— Ee Cheong Wee, deputy chairman and CEO of the Singapore-based bank, said on a Feb. 14 earnings call.

Sime Darby

Improved business conditions for its industrial division in China were helped by "higher delivery of equipment as a result of One Belt One Road ("OBOR") initiatives and sales incentives."

Looking ahead, the Chinese "mining and infrastructure outlook are cautious, but OBOR initiatives increase demand for equipment" in industrials.

— The Malaysia-based conglomerate, which has a construction equipment unit, shared this in a Feb. 23 company presentation for the half year ended Dec. 31.

Thai Oil Public

"Expected firm bitumen [a material used for road surfacing and roofing] demand in 2018" based on two factors: "One belt one road project in China. Indian cabinet approved 7 trillion Rupee ($108.01 billion) road construction plan over the next five years."

— The Thai refining company gave the above outlook in a Jan. 17 presentation to investors.

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