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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS

Banks Snap Up Cheap ECB Loans; Football Racism Row; Spun Off; Interview with Stephen Kaufer; Russia's Parliament in Session; Interview with Oleg Deripaska; Being Santa

Aired December 21, 2011 - 14:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: The Christmas sales rush. Banks snap up cheap ECB loans; a sale with a difference.

The EU's carbon tax is cleared for take off. Airlines warn it is emission impossible.

And while you can't put a price on memories from today, you can put a price on TripAdvisor. The chief executive on this program.

I'm Richard Quest. I mean business.

Good evening.

An early Christmas present, this time and only for European banks, and it came from their granddaddy, the Europe's central bank. There was a record $643 billion, 0.5 trillion euros in low-interest loans that were handed out today. It was an amazing amount of money. The ECB's single cash injection yet. What they did was hoped it will prompt banks either to lend money further or to buy their own government bonds.

Around 500 banks gobbled up the funds, which is no surprise since you look at the attractiveness of what was on offer. The money is to be lent to them for three years, three years, unlimited funds, full allotment at the same rate as the ECB's benchmark interest rate. Currently at a record low of 1 percent, they were almost shoveling it out the doors. It is no exaggerations to say.

The ECB's move gave stock markets an immediate lift and that didn't last. The euro markets, the retail sector, was down, Sans Bridge (ph) was off, M&S were down. In Frankfurt SAP was down, the software company and Oracle missed sales forecasts. You are getting a picture that the losses on the markets were broad-based. French banks, for example, BNP Paribas was down. The euro did benefit moment by momentarily on the ECB injection. Gaining against the dollar. Unfortunately, it was short-lived. The euro is now at 131 to the dollar. It is up around a 0.01 from 1 percent, on Tuesday.

You can see the scenario within which we are talking. A very timely and some would say overdue welcome, Christmas present for the banks. Bob Parker is senior advisor at Credit Suisse, joins me now.

Bob, were you surprised at the amount of money involved here?

BOB PARKER, SENIOR ADVISOR, CREDIT SUISSE: Not really because the ECB had been very clear that they were going to have what we call in our jargon, "an open window." And the ECB is prepared to actually lend whatever it takes. And you know, you made the point quite rightly. Which is, if I am a bank, which has a liquidity issue in Europe and I have, number one, funds available; number two, funds available at 1 percent that is a very attractive option.

QUEST: So if this is an all-you-can eat buffet, it is not surprise that more than 500 banks went for it. Because let's face it, where else are you going to get money at 1 percent?

PARKER: Well, you are absolutely right in saying that the Euro money markets over the last two to three months have become increasingly illiquid. What's that mean? It means a number of banks have found it either very difficult to raise money in the money markets. Or increasingly, money is available, but it is much more expensive.

QUEST: But why would you not go for this money? I mean, if it is three years, you've got it? And you can either lend it out or buy government securities at higher rating sovereign bonds?

PARKER: Well, there is absolutely no reason to argue against taking this 1 percent money. It is the obvious thing to do.

QUEST: Is it a sign of how bad, or how stressed-maybe bad is a pejorative-how stressed the banking system is?

PARKER: Well, without a doubt the banking system in the Eurozone is one of the problems; the very fundamental problems in the Eurozone. And you know it is summed up in one statistic. Which is, if we look at the price to book valuation of European banks, four years ago, that was 2. It is now less than 0.5. So, banks values are very cheap. They have sold off. They are struggling to raise money in the money markets. There is a lot of stress in the system.

QUEST: And when I look online, on the ECB's web site and you see what the overnight liquidity demands are, it is in the 7, 8, 9, 10- billions, 8 billions, range. So there are banks that are going-well, you've got two types here. You have banks going every night to get money.

PARKER: Because they can't raise it in the market.

QUEST: Because they can't raise it. And you have other banks depositing money when they should be lending it amongst themselves.

PARKER: Correct. And if you look at the lending figures in Europe and this is why the economic outlook in Europe is negative relative to the United States, which is you have seen the significant contraction in lending by European banks. That is very negative for the Eurozone economy.

QUEST: The ECB continues to get a bad wrap, because it is not prepared to stuff itself with European bonds and it is not prepared to engage in classic quantitative easing. But when you look at what they are doing here. They are doing-with full allotment, with dollar swaps, with all these other things, they are doing as much as they dare.

PARKER: Well, this is a variation on quantitative easing. Where as the Fed will go out and buy U.S. Treasury bonds directly. What is happening here is the ECB lends to the banks and then the banks then go out and buy sovereign bonds.

QUEST: Provided they do, of course?

PARKER: Well, it is not guaranteed that they will.

QUEST: Which do you think is the more efficient form of QE?

PARKER: I personally feel that if it was direct purchases on sovereign bonds that would be much more effective in the market, in easing the sovereign problem in Europe. Because don't forget we have a sovereign problem and a bank problem. And those few problems are twinned.

QUEST: We must just finishing talking generally, I mean, as we go into the new year, I'm reading what you write, I'm reading what other chief economists write. None of you believe-or are particularly optimistic.

PARKER: Well, the data coming out of the United States, without a doubt, is improving. The data coming out of Asia is good. Chinese growth should hold above 8 percent. The data coming out of parts of Europe is actually improving somewhat.

QUEST: But the risk is obviously that we end up with a quite serious, further, and I emphasize the word "further" downturn in activity in the Eurozone. And you know this action by the ECB resolves the liquidity problem. It does not resolve some of the fundamental medium term problems.

QUEST: And the British, and the chancellor have always said that it is not a liquidity issue, it is a solvency question.

PARKER: Well, let's just take one example. Italy has to refinance $340 billion next year.

QUEST: Things are getting serious, at the end of the year, we brought back the traffic lights.

PARKER: Good.

QUEST: Red, amber or green, to those viewers who may not remember, basically, red, obviously we are in recession and it is getting worse; amber, things are treading water, sludgy and tricklely; and green, we are moving into recovery in the new year, or whenever.

Bob, what light would you like?

PARKER: Does this apply to Europe, or globally?

QUEST: I'll let you choose.

PARKER: OK. On Europe, first quarter, red; second quarter and third quarter, amber; fourth quarter, green.

QUEST: We'll stay with amber then for the moment-we'll do the red.

PARKER: OK, but it is a slow recovery in Europe.

QUEST: Right.

PARKER: But the first quarter is going to be grim. The economic data is going to be negative.

QUEST: Bob, many thanks indeed. Have a Happy Christmas and a good new year.

PARKER: Thank you.

QUEST: And we'll look forward to seeing you then.

Now, Mariano Rajoy has been sworn in as Spain's new prime minister and faces the daunting task of trying to pull his country out of its deep economic crisis. In the last half hour he has named the team he hopes will help him. The ex-layman banker, Luis de Gruindos will be the economy minister. Cristobol Montoro will be treasurer.

Al Goodman is our correspondent in Madrid, and joins me now.

New man, new team, same old problems.

AL GOODMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And actually, not such a new team, Richard. You have Luis de Guindos is going back to the economy minister under the previous conservative administration in the early 2000s. He was a deputy minister or a secretary of state. Since then he's been with Lehman and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

On the Treasury side Cristobol Montoro was previously the minister of the Treasury. So he is getting back the same job in a little bit more of a portfolio. He's been equivalent of the shadow economy minister, helping Mr. Rajoy in these past couple of years in the opposition.

But clearly some surprises on the other ministries, locally, domestically. But internationally, for the markets, the two big names, these two Luis de Guindos and Cristobol Montoro will be very familiar names. Now the prime minister had a very busy day on his first day. We have a report here to show you. Let's take a quick look at that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GOODMAN (voice over): After decades in politics it is the moment Mariano Rajoy has been waiting for; being sworn in as prime minister in front of King Juan Carlos, but in Spain's deep economic crisis, there is no time to rest. With 5 million Spaniards out of work, a credit crunch and a big deficit, analysts say any honeymoon for Rajoy will be very short.

JUAN CARLOS MARTINEZ LAZARO, IE BUSINESS SCHOOL: Traditionally a new government gets 100 days to put its economic measures in place, but this time, unfortunately, there is no such margin and Rajoy will need to start things quickly.

GOODMAN: In a speech to parliament this week Rajoy revealed some of this plans, including $21 billion in cut backs next year to reduce the deficit. He hasn't given all the details but people are already talking about his proposals.

Rajoy would let small businesses delay the value added tax they owe the government until after they have been paid by their clients. Collections are running months behind due to the crisis, say this father and son, who run a fish business.

RUBEN MARTIN, FISH VENDOR (through translator): Thank, God, I don't have many uncollectable bills. But I know people in this business who sell to restaurants and hotels and they are asphyxiated with bad debts. Anything that helps them is welcome.

GOODMAN: Another Rajoy proposal would move Spanish holidays that fall in mid-week to the nearest Monday, to improve workplace productivity. This 21-year-old university student isn't convinced.

ANA BEOTAS, COMMUNICATIONS STUDENT: I think there are more important measures to take now. Because Spain is going through very hard times.

GOODMAN: She'd like more attention to lowering Spain's 45 percent youth unemployment rate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As a student do you think you'll get a job when you graduate?

BEOTAS: I don't think so.

GOODMAN: She's thinking of looking for work abroad. Rajoy's initial work was closer to home. Announcing his cabinet hours after the took power. The first cabinet meeting is on Friday, no time to waste. Al Goodman, CNN, Madrid.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GOODMAN: Richard, the new ministers will be sworn in on Thursday, at that first cabinet meeting on Friday there expected not to get into the real nitty-gritty economic issues but simply to name their deputies, Richard.

QUEST: All right. OK, so forget 100 days, honeymoon period, Al you gut feeling? The public elected him in. They are going to be prepared to see austerity because there is no point in buying something and not expecting to do what it says on the tin. How long do you think he's go?

GOODMAN: He's got until he really announces what are going to be- where the cuts are going to be. And it seems like he is playing for time until the end of March. He says he wants to see what the growth predictions are for 2012 before he comes out with his budget. He says that could take into February, maybe into March, get his budget by the end of March. That is when the Spaniards, for the first time will really see where that knife is going. And that is when you could see some protests going on, Richard.

QUEST: And that is when we'll have you there, of course, in Madrid, as always. Al Goodman, our correspondent. Many thanks, Al. Have a good weekend, and of course, a good holiday as well.

When we come back in a moment, call it a continental carbon clash. Europe is charging all the airlines the U.S. is ready to take action. Both sides of the argument-

(DESK BELL CHIMES)

It's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: Welcome back.

Europe's highest court says it is right for the EU to charge airlines for polluting European air space. The European Court of Justice backed the EU directive which will add aviation to the carbon trading system. It will include carbon emissions on flights to and from Europe. And the law comes into effect on January 1.

Basically, the law means airlines will have to buy permits to take off and land. If you look at the super screen you'll see what I'm talking about.

At the moment, or under the new screen, as you will be able to see here. These are the number of planes currently at this minute, flying over European air space. Now I would say probably most of them are actually European carriers and are within the scheme legitimately.

However, a lot of these planes will be from non EU airlines-or EEA airlines, if we are being precise-and they get caught in the scheme because they will land, or take off, in the European Union. Are you with me so far? I'll put it as simply as I can.

Take a flight from New York to London, Paris, or anywhere else in Europe. Now if it is with a U.S. airline, the majority of the flight is outside EU airspace. The fact that it may land, here or here, or here or here, means that actually what happens in reality, the whole thing is payable under the carbon trading scheme. Not surprisingly the airlines are against it, however, the EU says that it will have major impact on the amount of carbon emissions that are reduced; down by 21 percent over the next 15 years.

The argument has rambled on for months, but now that the court has given its final ruling, it is all steam ahead for when the scheme comes in. I asked the EU commission for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard if Europe was now heading for a big battle with China and other countries, and the United States.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CONNIE HEDEGAARD, CLIMATE COMMISSIONER, EUROPEAN UNION: The point is that we in Europe have made our legislation. And today we had a crystal clear ruling saying this legislation is respecting international law. That is the key here. Since 1997, the European Union has tried to have a way of regulating airlines, air traffic, globally. And we will only be very happy if we could get such a global regime anytime soon. And nobody would be happier than the European Union.

But at some point, some years back, 27 governments of Europe sort of lost patience with no progress on aviation globally and therefore this law was made and this law

QUEST: It may be legally accurate and the court has now ruled on that. But as seen from outside the EU, is it fair that an airline should pay 400 percent of the emissions charges when only less than say, 10 or 15 percent of the journey is over EU air space or concerns directly into the EU. Is that fair, Commissioner?

HEDEGAARD: Yes. It is fair, but they are not paying 100 percent because they as an average get 85 percent of all the emissions for free. That is the first thing.

QUEST: Right.

HEDEGAARD: But also you can imagine, if we only rule that only those that are-the emissions sort of coming over European territory would be part of that. I think that you could imagine how many interesting strange kind of routing you would have trying to avoid European air space. So I think that everybody can realize why, when we are talking about a global phenomenon like the aviation, then we have to do it in the way we did it here. Not to punish anybody, but just to say this is very much in line with the polluter's pay principle.

And the whole purpose here is to diminish emissions, to create an incentive for the industry to become much more efficient, just like we are doing it for any other sector. What this is about is not about sort of punishing aviation. It is simply about saying why should this global sector be exempted, while the bills sort of would go on to all other kinds of sectors. And we have found a fair way of doing that.

And can I also say there are also a lot of exaggerations what this means economically. We have estimated that for instance a flight from London to New York. I mean we are talking about between one and two euros per ticket, just to get the dimension and proportion right here.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

QUEST: OK, that is the scenario as seen from the Europeans. The U.S. secretary of State, however, Hillary Clinton, has already told the EU she is ready to take appropriate action if the EU doesn't back down. Joining me from Washington, Nancy Young the vice president of Environmental Affairs For Airlines for America.

Ms. Young, so the commission has-the court has now ruled it is legal. The commission are not going to change their mind. What do you want? What do you want the U.S. government to now do? What appropriate action?

NANCY YOUNG, AIRLINES FOR AMERICA: Well, the most important thing to remember, Richard, is that U.S. airlines have a really strong environmental record. We have improved fuel efficiency 115 percent since 1978, which has resulted in 3 billion metric tons of emissions saved. So we are starting from a strong record.

QUEST: Right.

YOUNG: And we are not disputing we can do more. We have a plan out there for doing more, under a global approach. And the European system is impeding that-

QUEST: All right. All right.

YOUNG: And is counter-productive to our efforts.

QUEST: Fine, but that as may be, but you have lost the argument. The court has ruled. The deal is coming in, and now Hillary Clinton says appropriate action, so forgive me if I ask again, what do you-what action do you consider appropriate?

YOUNG: Well, we don't think we have lost the argument, actually.

QUEST: You have. The court has ruled.

(CROSS TALK)

The court has ruled.

YOUNG: Since Secretary Clinton is just one of the representatives of a significant power around the world that has cried foul. I don't think the rest of the world is prepared to accept the decision of a European court as to their sovereignty. And that is what is at issue right here. The commissioner said it herself. That Europe has decided what the emissions policy should be for U.S. passengers, when they get on a U.S. airline, at a particular airport, while they are waiting at the gate; or for a Japanese passenger, while they are in Japan. That is not international. And the rest of the world is not going to stand for it.

So, the private cause of action that we had in European court, as airlines, is only the beginning of the issue.

QUEST: Right.

YOUNG: It is really in the government's court now.

QUEST: If you are right, and I suspect you are, then we are heading to a long-standing and what could be a very bitter dispute over this because the EU doesn't seem to be backing down. I don't think I'm being- exaggerating when I say that.

YOUNG: I don't think you are. And we have tried for the last couple of years, as airlines to bring this to a close. Obviously, the governments have been involved waiting to see where we were going with that. But now they have made it crystal clear that they are not going to accept this decision. The U.S. is considering an array of measures. I think Secretary Clinton alluded to some of those, perhaps retaliation.

That is not where the airlines want to go. Where we want to go is with a global agreement that was provisionally agreed at the United Nations body, the International Civil Aviation Organization in 2010. It has emissions targets that are appropriate for aviation, and measures like air traffic management, alternative fuels, and the other things that really bring environmental benefit. The EU ETS takes money away from those very positive environmental initiatives.

QUEST: Right. Nancy Young we'll talk more about this. Thank you for coming in and a holiday week as we get ready for that, but obviously it is an important issue. And one that I know our viewers are very concerned about as they travel abroad.

Many thanks, indeed for joining us on that.

When we come back in a moment-incidentally, we well talk more, a lot more about EU, ETS, in the days and weeks ahead, because it is such a burning issue.

When we come back in a moment, another burning issue. This time it is two players and two controversies. John Terry charged with using racist abuse. And that is the only race row in football at the moment. It is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, good evening.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: The England football captain John Terry is to face charges that he racially abused an opponent. He is the Chelsea defender and accused of using racially aggravated language in a match against Queen Spot Rangers back in October. He will appear in court on February 1. Before news of the charges came out his club manager said he was standing behind Terry.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDRE VILLAS BOAS, MANAGER, CHELSEA FOOTBALL TEAM: The only thing I know is that I'll be fully supportive of John Terry, whatever the outcome of the situation. So he has my full support. He has the club's full support. He represents this club to a maximum level.

And we are very grateful to have a player of his quality in our team and what he represents in terms of history and achievements, you know, within the club. We know exactly his human values and his personality. And, for me, they are never in doubt. So I will fully support him whatever the outcome.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST: Support him whatever the outcome. Another footballer has been disciplined in a separate race related incident. The striker for Liverpool Luis Suarez has been banned for eight matches and fined by the English Football Association, which found him guilty of racially insulting Manchester United's Patrice Evra (ph) in October.

Terry and Suarez are two of the biggest players for their clubs. Both clubs are backing the men. Chelsea says he has been fully supportive of Terry in the matter. There is no question we will continue to do so. But Suarez's employers went even further, Liverpool issued a lengthy statement saying he is innocent. It says "it is our strong believe that Luis Suarez did not commit any racist act. It is also our opinion that the accusation by this particular player was not credible."

Alex Thomas joins me now. Two different, very different incidents. So, let's take Terry first, because that is criminal-

ALEX THOMAS: Well, because John Terry is going through the U.K. legal process it is very hard for us to comment other than state the facts that Terry has all along, denied that he made any racist comments. The recent statement today in fact saying that he has many friends, of different ethnicities, that he has often been involved in anti-racism campaigns.

He will appear in court, though we are hearing, Richard, actually, interesting, his court appearance may be then-it will be delayed in terms of when the magistrate is going to hear evidence and making a ruling on him.

So, you've got the problem of him captaining England possibly, a multi-racial team, on the international stage with this hanging over him.

QUEST: How serious is this charge? For those viewers who are not as familiar with the English, sort of race relations legislation?

THOMAS: My understanding is that legally there are different bands, as far as aggravated, racial language, which I think is legal term. And this is the least serious of them, it means that the maximum that could happen to him in terms of punishment, from the magistrate's court is a fine of 2,500 pounds.

QUEST: 2,500 pounds, just about-

THOMAS: And there would still be a criminal connection.

QUEST: It would be. And about $4,000. Let's talk about Suarez. Suarez, eight-match ban, and everyone said it was too strong and strict, that too much of-

THOMAS: The eight matches is the most interesting thing. Because the fine of 6200 dollars, nothing to a footballer who earns twice as much as that in a week.

QUEST: Do you think it was two strict?

THOMAS: In my opinion, it wasn't, because the English FA are keen to show how far they have come in combating racism...

QUEST: Right.

THOMAS: -- for a country where you had fans throwing bananas on the pitch of black players back in the 1980s. And also maybe to set a bit of a mark to UEFA and FIFA, Europe and world governing bodies...

QUEST: OK.

THOMAS: -- who are seen as soft on the issue.

QUEST: I'm -- in a word, well, no, we mustn't speculate what happens with Terry, because they did -- the matters are proceeding -- proceedings. But the FA would take a very dim view if the case went against him.

THOMAS: It's certainly not the last we've heard of this...

QUEST: Right.

THOMAS: -- two hugely global famous clubs and two players that are known on the international stage.

QUEST: And you'll be here to help us understand what's happening in the future.

THOMAS: Of course.

QUEST: Very good.

Alex Thomas.

More on that, of course, in "WORLD SPORT," coming up.

When we come back, we have TripAdvisor's CEO, who's making some advice of his own -- take the money and run, after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: I'm Richard Quest.

More QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in a moment.

This is CNN. And on this network, the news always comes first.

And there have been new protests in Syria condemning the government's violent crackdown on dissent. This video is said to show college students in Homs chanting, "To our people in Idlib, Homs is with you until death." The opposition says both cities have seen what are called acts of genocide at the hands of Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Turnout appears lower in the second round of elections in Egypt. Fifty-nine seats in the lower house of parliament are at stake. The military says the elections are proof that it intends to surrender power to a civilian government.

Europe's central bank has lent out a record $643 billion in low interest loans. It's hoped that the banks will take the money to help ease tight credit markets and will lend it out.

The Chelsea footballer, John Terry, is vowing to clear his name. The Crown Prosecution Service says he should be charged with a racially aggravated public disorder offense. The Chelsea and England captain says, in his words: "I've never aimed a racist remark at anyone." He continues: "I will fight tooth and nail to prove my innocence."

The travel Web site, TripAdvisor, has gone public and is now flying solo. The Web site has completed its spin-off from Expedia and launched itself on the stock market.

Here's how it's traveling.

Shares are down more than 5 percent on the NASDAQ just at the moment. Now, that's actually worse than Expedia, which is the parent -- was the parent company, down around about 2 percent.

The chief exec and co-founder, Stephen Kaufer, joins me now from the NASDAQ market site.

We need to be always very careful when we talk about first day's tradings on these things. So instead, let me focus, Stephen, why -- I -- I look at this -- the reasons given for splitting out TripAdvisor from Expedia, but I still don't really understand the logic of it.

Two travel companies, weren't you better off together?

STEPHEN KAUFER, TRIPADVISOR: Well, I think Expedia is a tremendous transaction company. They -- they sell a tremendous amount of travel around the globe.

But TripAdvisor is a media company, so we sell advertising. And, in fact, we sell advertising to a number of different companies, including some Expedia competitors.

So the combination of helping to increase overall shareholder value by giving two different companies that investors can invest in, plus the ability for TripAdvisor to continue to grow and appeal to as many different advertisers as possible. I don't know, I'd say two pretty good reasons for TripAdvisor to be a standalone company.

QUEST: One of TripAdvisor's biggest customers, of course, advertisers, is Expedia. I am sure you're hoping they will continue to spend the large sums that they do with you.

But are you prepared and have a plan in place to replace it if they shift their spend elsewhere?

KAUFER: I don't -- I don't think any of our clients are going to shift any significant spends in one direction or another. We provide incredibly valuable leads to them from travelers who have come to TripAdvisor to really find out the truth, find the best information they can about how to plan that perfect vacation.

Once they've read any portion of the 50 million reviews and opinions, they're a qualified traveler, they're a qualified lead and Expedia and Booking and Orbitz and eDreams and Opodo and -- and Hilton and Accor and all the different companies that are...

QUEST: Right.

KAUFER: -- our clients, they want those leads.

QUEST: Now, Internet -- let's talk about where TripAdvisor goes, because as regular viewers to this program know, and we've had many of your senior management on this -- on this program in the past, we're great fans of TripAdvisor.

But I always come back to this -- this question, where do you take it next?

It's a brilliant resource if you want to know whether that B&B or that hotel is actually -- does what it says on the tin.

But you need to grow your business, so what's next?

KAUFER: So we have a number of different sort of growth factors. First off, we have the worldwide expansion. There are still so many people that really haven't even experienced the free wisdom that the TripAdvisor has to offer.

Second, we have a social travel site that's coming to -- to a fruition within TripAdvisor itself. The combination of TripAdvisor plus your friends on Facebook enables you to get advice not only from the wisdom of the crowds, but really the wisdom of all your friends. And sometimes they can point you to absolutely the best places to stay or eat or things to do.

And then mobile. When you're actually in market, when you're at the destination, your travel destination, pull out your TripAdvisor, pull out your iPhone or your Android device, open up the TripAdvisor app and you'll get all of that rich information that so many millions of consumers...

QUEST: All right.

KAUFER: -- have been leaving on TripAdvisor.

QUEST: So the...

KAUFER: And...

QUEST: -- well, so what -- where -- I see it, these are incremental extensions, albeit important, from your point of view. But you don't see any big bang shift, any quantum leap, new great idea coming down that will take you into a different area?

KAUFER: Not a -- not a different area, no. We're really still focused on that original mission, to help travelers plan and have that perfect trip. And when we look at the number of travelers each month that visit TripAdvisor compared to the number of travelers each month that are traveling somewhere...

QUEST: Right.

KAUFER: -- we see that we're still in single digits in terms of...

QUEST: All right...

KAUFER: -- opportunity.

QUEST: A final question as we head to this holiday season -- and I know people wonder, what's your favorite, your favorite holiday destination?

Now, of course, big -- you -- you must be honest about this. I -- I realize that other people may want to go there.

(LAUGHTER)

QUEST: So don't send us off to some back of beyond place that you'd never go to in your wildest dreams.

Your favorite holiday destination?

KAUFER: You know, for me, I -- I live in the Boston area. It gets nice and cold in the holiday wintertime, so, you know, it -- it's going to be the Caribbean islands for me.

QUEST: All right.

KAUFER: Pretty much any one. They're all fantastic.

QUEST: Many thanks, indeed.

Good to have you on the program.

Always good to see you and thank you for joining us on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS tonight.

As we continue, the Russian parliament opens for business in Moscow amid rumblings of protest. We will speak to oligarch Oleg Deripaska about what happens next. It's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in Moscow in a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: Hopes of a rerun of Russia's recent election have been dashed with the opening of parliament today. And allegations of fraud and vote rigging triggered protests across the country and more people were arrested.

During this tumultuous time in his country, the Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, sat down with Matthew Chance to talk about the current political situation in this country.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So then, do - - do you see Russia shifting away from that traditional toward the West and moving more toward, you know, the emerging economies of the East, China?

OLEG DERIPASKA, RUSSIAN BILLIONAIRE: The European part of Russia still would be, you know, highly attached to Europe, of course. But it's only 20 percent of our treaty. Even it's 80 percent of the population, maybe 85 percent of, you know, the population. But still, you know, that you would see, in the next seven to 10 years, huge development in the Asian part of Russia. 1

There will be, you know, tremendous investment in infrastructure, you know, to unlock a lot of resources. Russia will bring more foreign investors in and big projects will be started. And it will be very beneficial.

CHANCE: Isn't it unrealistic, though, to expect -- I mean you mentioned that the -- the time scale of seven or eight years, there's going to be a lot of investment. But the kind of infrastructure development we're talking about could potentially take -- could take, then, decades. It could take a generation.

DERIPASKA: Just about, you know, the demand. We have demand and we can, you know, utilize, you know, our resources and our experience. And we have a lot of experienced people in, you know, in Russia, capable to deal with it. Plus, we have a -- we have a a huge development in China. And the industrialization creates tremendous opportunities.

Now we have a component which is much, much cheaper than the European component and almost the same quality, I mean an industrial component, grains, you know, all type of new equipment, you know, basic industrial equipment, which -- which we need. That's why it's a great opportunity.

CHANCE: Do you see a time when the markets in the East are going to be more important to Russia's economy than those in the West?

DERIPASKA: Equally important. European nation, which is -- which is a natural bridge. And I think we can actually benefit, you know, from -- from the position to, you know, where -- where we are at the moment and so we can really, you know, create a lot of opportunity. And, you know, technically, you can ship from Shanghai to Germany for less than in 14 days by railway. And it's much safer, cheaper than to do the same, you know, by, you know, by ships. and to -- of course, you know, we -- we need to seek operations in the -- in the heart of this (INAUDIBLE), you know, and, of course it's not just China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan. And we have a competition with Mongolia, with Kazakhstan.

But I'm still, you know, very optimistic.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

QUEST: Matthew Chance there talking to Oleg Deripaska.

Wanted -- mature individual with a jolly red-faced disposition. Now, he must enjoy working with children, reindeer and a red uniform. Next on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, a look at what must be the best temp job ever.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: Over the course of the year, we have brought you many stories in our World At Work series. It might be a belly-dancer or a gymnast. In some cases, it was a -- a man who makes hats.

Of course, they all express the same love of the job and they've told us about the tricks of the trade about how they go to do it.

Well, tonight, we continue that love and passion with people in their jobs. The World At Work. For 10 years, we, of course, we've come to an entirely

Different delivery service -- Father Christmas.

For 10 years, Ty Dunson was a stockbroker by day and a Santa by yuletide night. Now he's donning the red suit professionally and despite the occasionally wet baby and the screaming toddler, leave them behind, he says it's the best job around.

It's the World At Work and the world of Santa.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TY DUNSON, PROFESSIONAL SANTA: You know, the first thing we do is we put on the jingle boots.

And my real name is Ty Dunson. I'm from Los Angeles, California. And they call me Santa Ty.

I've always had a long beard. It's -- and it gets caught on things like zippers, power windows. It's not the kind of thing you want to work around machinery with.

Oh, all right. I'm ready for work.

Ho, ho, ho, ho. Merry Christmas.

My friends and relatives, they -- I always got nominated to be the Santa Claus at Christmastime for an event. And then from there, they got me at the children's hospitals, charitable events. And I kind of grew into it, like I say, I got my hair turned a little whiter, my belly came out a little further and I had -- and I ended up kind of liking it.

OK, this is Santa's house. This is where I live. This is where I work. This is where I greet all the boys and girls. December, a specific place to see Santa. I was a stockbroker for about 10 years, a stock and commodity broker. I still have a job at the convention center in Los Angeles.

And then I'd do this in the wintertime and in the fall months, is be Santa Claus. I travel all over the United States, Puerto Rico, Japan. This year it's Hong Kong. I went to Jamaica one year. So I never know. It's always a surprise. So it's like Christmas to me, too. a puppy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

DUNSON: A real puppy?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A toy puppy.

DUNSON: A toy puppy?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She has one puppy. DUNSON: I might bring you a real puppy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, no.

DUNSON: Your mom would love that.

This is the easiest job there ever could be. You sit on your butt, you hand out candy and make children laugh and smile. It's just nice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's OK.

DUNSON: Sometimes it's hard and cranky. But you try to give them something when you can and then we always sort of bribe them with candy.

Once you put the uniform on, you -- you are actually Santa. And with the authentic -- with the real beard, people believe you.

Merry Christmas.

A Merry Christmas. Ho, ho, ho.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST: That's what you call real passion for a job. I love that line, you put the uniform on and suddenly you're Santa.

Karen Maginnis is at the World Weather Center.

It does conjure up a rather -- I just like the idea of that, the enthusiasm for it.

KAREN MAGINNIS, ATS METEOROLOGIST: He really is into that job. It is wonderful. It really is sweet.

QUEST: And as -- as you say that, I say as you say -- I can -- I can't decide whether I'm hearing horror in your voice or delight in your voice.

(LAUGHTER)

MAGINNIS: No, he -- he plays the part very well. He does.

All right, we've got a lot to tell you about, not just across the Philippines but elsewhere around the world. And here you're looking at an image from the Philippines as some young men stand in line. And they are waiting for food. A young woman walks around a landfill but there are also forensics people who are there to identify the bodies that have accumulated there after the wake of Tropical Storm Washed, which made its way onshore. It was on Friday evening. It came in at night.

And on top of that, it produced severe flooding along those rivers, even some bodies were washed out to sea.

Well, across Europe, we are seeing an early white Christmas across a good portion, especially across Southeastern Europe. And in Skopje, they're expecting just about 12 centimeters of snowfall. Look at Skopje, 38.7. Bucharest, snowfall expected there.

But extending on up in through sections of the Alps, as well, where it's been fairly persistent now, as a lot of vigorous cold air has been driving from the north to the south.

And on our precipitation forecast over the next 48 hours, there you can see the mountains picking up some snowfall. But this is a very troublesome area of low pressure. On the south and east side of it, it's primarily a ring of it. But as you head further to the north, that's where we're looking at the coldest air, mountains and, consequently, you pick up the snowfall.

But what's going to be interesting is across Ireland and into England and Scotland, we're expecting temperatures to run three to five degrees above where they should be for this time of year.

But take a look at some of the airport delays. This is critical because a lot of people are traveling, trying to get some place, from some place. And it looks like, as we go into Thursday for Munich, we could see some snow. And as a result, the delays may be fairly significant.

Well, across the United States, one weather system plowed in across the Rocky Mountain Region, through the Plains and is racing off toward the Northeast. And here's the problem. Take a look at these pictures.

You're driving along in a highway in New Hampshire, which is in the Northeastern or New England. And then the road takes control. That's because they were very icy. There were major accidents. We don't have any reports of any fatalities, but it was extraordinarily slow going for a lot of folks.

And they were doing their best to kind of navigate on these treacherous driving conditions.

In the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, already problematic at the major airports. At JFK, LaGuardia, also in Newark for a lot of the international flights that come through those major cities, they're experiencing some lengthy delays because of the overcast and gray skies. Another round of rainfall. It doesn't look like very many folks are going to expect a white Christmas -- Richard.

QUEST: Many thanks, indeed.

Karen Maginnis at the CNN Center.

Now, so we continue our look at Santa Claus, a fascinating creature. Santa Claus, at the moment, a very busy man. Christmas Eve is obviously a hug logistical operation for him. And its effect on the environment is just as big.

So how does Santa Claus do it?

And, really, should we be concerned about his carbon footprint?

Well, we met Ty Dunson. The Web shot -- the shopping Web site, Ethical Ocean, has estimated Santa's carbon footprint and there are many things that you need to think about.

The first, of course, is the sheer amount of distance that Santa travels. I mean he effectively goes around the world and around the world and it could be a child's drawing of my age, you know, somebody of age four and three quarters. But he really does do vast distances.

Then you have the huge wait of toys on the sleigh and the sled. And if you then add up the emissions from Santa's grotto, all those lights and the -- well, let's not forget, of course, the reindeer who produce quite a bit of methane. Dear old Rudolph may have a red nose, but he also can be quite windy as he goes around the world. And, of course, if we're talking carbon, there's lumps of coal for the boys and the girls who haven't been good this year. You're starting to get the idea that Santa is maybe not as environmentally friendly as we would like.

Sorry, I am afraid to say.

Add it all up and the big number is, for Santa's carbon footprint...

(LAUGHTER)

QUEST: -- 70 million tons. Now, if that's Lapland Enterprises, he uses more carbon than British Airways, which is 17.5 million tons. Santa had better go back to his routes and become green. Or perhaps he's going to need some more EU carbon emissions to make sure that he doesn't get fined overall.

Santa and the carbon footprint. And I'm sorry, Santa, but think about it.

By the way, we did ask Santa for his comments on his environmentally unfriendly way of delivering presents. No comment.

A Profitable Moment next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: Tonight's Profitable Moment.

Now, tonight you may have noticed a small addition to our set tonight, a familiar sight to many of you that I am sure. The traffic lights are back. These are the signposts that we use to help guide us through the numbers.

Let me remind you how it works, because we're going to put them back on the set as we go into 2012.

The rules are really very simple. Obviously, a red -- a red clearly means recession. And a flashing red means things are getting pretty nasty, indeed.

If it's amber and it's flashing, well, steady as she goes, but probably on the worst side. And a steady amber means things are not too good.

Green will guide us to when recovery is on the horizon. Flashing green means full steam ahead.

Why have we brought them back?

Well, the very fact that we've got them out again is a sign that we are looking for direction. It can be hard to tell where things are going at the moment. And as we wind down for the festive period and as we look to the future.

Yesterday, a major market rally, today they fall back. One minute the ECB hands out money. The next day, we're questioning Italy's solvency.

We'll be seeing a lot more of these lights and these crises in the year ahead. So look at the numbers. They will show where we're going. They are brought back not with pleasure or delight, but because they're a guide way to what's happening next.

And that is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight.

I'm Richard Quest in London.

Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I do hope it's profitable.

The news is next.

END