Sun, Dec 23, 2018 - Page 14 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

SELF-DRIVING CARS

California grants Zoox permit

Self-driving vehicle start-up Zoox Inc has won permission to start offering rides to passengers in California. The Californian Public Utilities Commission on Friday granted Zoox a permit to ferry riders in autonomous vehicles under a pilot program. However, Zoox cannot charge for the service and a backup driver must be in the car. Zoox is the first company to win authorization for passenger service in the state, but dozens of others already have permits to test driverless cars on public roads.

IRAN

Bitumen smuggler executed

The government yesterday executed a trader known as the “Sultan of Bitumen” who was charged with fraud and the large-scale smuggling of bitumen, according to Mizan Online, a Web site affiliated with the judiciary. Hamidreza Bagheri Dermani is the third businessman to be executed since an anti-corruption drive was launched over the summer. He was convicted for “corruption on earth” after swindling more than 10 trillion rials (US$237.5 million at the current exchange rate) through “fraud, forgery and bribery,” Mizan reported.

DERIVATIVES

Natixis stops risky practice

Natixis SA is no longer creating the structured products that led to the huge Asian trading loss that it reported on Tuesday. The French bank reported a 260 million euro (US$295.97 million) hit from Asian equity derivatives. It booked a provision of 160 million euros to cover the management of a trading book of so-called “autocallables” linked to stocks in South Korea and an additional 100 million euros in lost revenue. “We have stopped the production of these products,” the bank said on Friday.

BANKING

UniCredit to raise capital

UniCredit SpA is seeking to sell as much as 1 billion euros in German real-estate assets as part of a plan to boost capital, people with knowledge of the matter said. The Italian bank is working with real-estate company Cushman & Wakefield on the sale of office buildings and bank branches belonging to its HypoVereinsbank unit, the people said, asking not to be identified as the process is private. The sale involves about 30 assets and formally begins next month, they said.

INTERNET

Takeaway.com buys rival

Takeaway.com NV agreed to acquire the German businesses of Delivery Hero SE for about 930 million euros, ending an expensive rivalry in a country where both were competing for market share. Amsterdam-based Takeaway is paying about 508 million euros in cash and the rest in equity for Delivery Hero’s Pizza.de, Lieferheld and Foodora businesses in Germany. Delivery Hero is also acquiring an 18 percent stake in its Dutch rival, it said on Friday.

MANUFACTURING

Nike sales avoid trade spat

Nike Inc on Thursday scored higher second-quarter profits, thanks in part to strong sales in China, where the company reported no fallout from ongoing trade tensions between Beijing and Washington. Net income for the quarter ending Nov. 30 was US$847 million, up 10.4 percent year-on-year from the year earlier. Revenue was US$9.4 billion, up 9.6 percent. A key driver was China, where Nike notched a 26 percent increase in revenue to US$1.5 billion.

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