What do a Brazilian mining company, an Indian car manufacturer and a Mexican cement producer have in common? All three emerging-market companies — Vale, Tata and Cemex — are aggressively chasing after global expansion, often using big cross-border M&A deals with developed-country rivals to get there. All three are also part of a new piece of research discussed in our cover story, “Break Through,” which identifies an elite group of emerging-market companies that are outpacing developed-country rivals in both profitability and shareholder returns. We catch up with CFOs from several of these high flyers to find out how they plan to keep their momentum going.
Meanwhile, in “Losing Their Grip,” we travel to China to look at the ominous challenges facing CFOs in that particularly fast-growing economy. Using results from a recent readers’ poll at CFO China, our Hong Kong–based sister magazine, we address the concerns of the country’s finance chiefs. While they are publicly enthusiastic about business prospects, they worry privately whether their companies have systems and processes that can cope with high-speed change. That’s a particularly pressing concern if — as many China market watchers predict — the massive rise in share prices on the country’s exchanges turns out to be short-lived.
Our world tour continues with “Managing the Dollar’s Decline,” as we explore another challenge that CFOs in developed and developing economies alike need to address — the decline of the dollar. A number of CFOs tell us that they believe the greenback’s devaluation is going to be long term or even permanent. Many are doing more than adjusting their financial hedging strategies to offset — and take advantage of — the dollar’s woes by accelerating operational changes or revising growth plans. And maybe such actions will target a country now emerging as a low-cost market — the US.