Beware State Capitalism: It’s the Enemy of Real Markets

Fully private firms would be less likely than French state-backed EDF to sink billions into the Hinkley Point nuclear plant

by Allister Heath

It’s not just the policemen that keep getting younger – now it’s the companies that keep getting bigger. There was a time when $10bn (£6.9bn) was a big number, then it was $100bn, then Apple came along.

It is now worth around $583bn, down from a peak of $775bn as a result of a slowdown in iPhone sales. Exxon Mobil, America’s biggest oil firm, is worth some $360bn.

But these US giants don’t stand a chance against a new competitor in this corporate super-league: if the Saudi government has its way, a 5pc stake in Saudi Aramco, its state-owned oil company, is going to be floated, valuing the business at over $2 trillion.

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