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MISSION:INTANGIBLE, the blog of the Intangible Asset Finance Society, offers critical comments on intangible asset, corporate reputation, and finance; supplemented by quantitative reputation metrics. Intangible assets include business processes, patents, trademarks; reputations for ethics and integrity; quality, safety, sustainability, security, and resilience; and comprise 70% of the average company's value. MISSION:INTANGIBLE is a registered trademark of the Intangible Asset Finance Society.

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Finmeccanica: Ethical contradictions

C. HUYGENS - Tuesday, February 12, 2013
At least two of the 80 companies comprising the Aerospace and Defense sector are facing reputational issues. In the US, Boeing is wrestling with smoking batteries, allegations of conflicted safety review processes, and suggestions of supply chain management failures. Aircraft safety is the reputational value issue that nucleates the above. In Europe, Finmeccanica SpA is facing the more common issue in this sector: ethics and corruption. Here is how a trading blog summarized the problem:

Finmeccanica Chief Executive and Chairman Giuseppe Orsi was arrested over bribes allegedly paid to secure the sale of 12 helicopters to India, when he was head of the group's AgustaWestland unit, a judicial source with direct knowledge of the situation told Reuters... An Indian defense ministry source said kickbacks worth 40 million rupees allegedly paid to Indian officials to grease contracts for Finmeccanica were being probed and that Delhi was considering the deferral of the Finmeccanica helicopter deal, worth 560 million euros ($749.2 million)...Prime Minister Mario Monti said the Italian government would deal with management issues at the company... "There is a problem with the governance of Finmeccanica at the moment and we will face up to it," Monti told RAI state television.

The reputational value metrics provided by Steel City Re illustrate incongruities that should be unsettling, if not alerting. The company's reputational ranking, CRR, a measure of its reputational value premium, is only in the first decile relative to its peers, yet its return on equity is in the 90th percentile, peaking briefly at 50% ROE for the year. The company's RVM volatility, a measure of volatility of a non-financial measure of reputational value, is in the top decile yet the projected change for CRR is flat. While such an odd mix of leading indicators is not diagnostic of a pending reputational value problem, as discussed in Reputation, Stock Price, and You, it isn't a sustainable cocktail of measures in the usual course of business.

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