Wed, Mar 13, 2019 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

AUTOMAKERS

Ford expects China rebound

Ford Motor Co’s partner in China, Chongqing Changan Automobile Co (重慶長安汽車), expects sales to rebound this year as they introduce more models to help reverse losses in the world’s biggest vehicle market. The venture is to speed up the rollout of new cars, including those under the Lincoln brand, to revive sales, Changan president Zhu Huarong (朱華榮) said in an interview yesterday. Automakers are reeling from a decline in deliveries in China, contributing to a fourth-quarter loss of US$534 million for Ford. Sales at the venture dropped 54 percent last year and might have contributed to profit plunging as much as 93 percent at Changan.

E-COMMERCE

Safaricom, Alibaba team up

Safaricom PLC, Kenya’s biggest mobile operator, agreed to a partnership with a unit of Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd (阿里巴巴) that is to facilitate electronic payments. The deal extends Safaricom customers’ ability to use its mobile-money service, M-Pesa, outside Kenya. The partnership allows shoppers on AliExpress to pay for purchases using M-Pesa. It targets micro-traders in Kenya who source goods from China, the Nairobi-based company said in a statement yesterday. Mobile money accounts for 30 percent of Safaricom’s revenue and is forecast to grow 14 percent this financial year. About 46 percent of international e-commerce transactions in Kenya are on AliExpress, chief customer officer Sylvia Mulinge told a briefing.

EQUITIES

Meituan freeze to end

The worst may be to come for Meituan Dianping (美團點評), as key investors who could only watch the stock shed more than US$12 billion in market value since it listed are to be able to join in the selling next week. A six-month lockup during which employees and cornerstone investors are banned from disposing of their shares is set to expire next week. Meituan shares have dropped 23 percent since listing in September last year, and were dumped yesterday after the food delivery company reported widening losses for the December quarter.

MALAYSIA

PM mulling airline options

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said he is studying options for flagship carrier Malaysian Airline System Bhd, including whether to invest more funds, sell it off or shut it down. Malaysia Airlines has sought to turn itself around since being taken private by sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd in 2014. Khazanah is demanding the carrier come up with a strategic plan to compete in the industry after pouring 6 billion ringgit (US$1.47 billion) into the airline to make it profitable.

OIL

Mars Blend value surges

Heavy, higher-sulfur crude on the US Gulf Coast surged in value on Monday as Saudi Arabia was said to extend its deeper production cuts through next month. Meanwhile, a power outage that darkened most of Venezuela this weekend curtailed output from the nation’s already-fragile oil operations. High-sulfur Mars Blend crude was just US$0.40 a barrel below Light Louisiana Sweet, the narrowest gap since 2011. Western Canadian Select, a heavy, high-sulfur oil from Alberta, was valued at about US$3.75 a barrel above US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for delivery next month at Nederland, Texas, people familiar with the matter said. In December last year, it was worth at least US$2 a barrel below WTI, two of the people said.

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