Fri, Feb 14, 2020 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

TELECOMS

Vodafone merger back on

An Australian court yesterday ruled that the multibillion-dollar deal between Vodafone Hutchison Australia and TPG Telecom Ltd would not pose a major threat to competition. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had blocked an attempted A$15 billion (US$10.1 billion) merger between the country’s third and fourth-largest telecoms. The merger is now expected to be completed by the middle of this year unless shareholder opposition or an appeal by the ACCC hold up that process. The ACCC said it was “carefully considering” the court’s judgement.

TECHNOLOGY

Smartphone start-up closes

Smartphone start-up Essential Products, launched by one of the cocreators of Android mobile software, on Wednesday announced that it was shutting down. Former Google executive Andy Rubin founded Essential to much industry fanfare, but struggled to gain traction in a crowded market, especially after its 2017 launch of a handset that did not catch on. Essential said in a blog post that the decision to cease operations came after its “Project Gem,” an elongated phone unveiled late last year, hit a dead end.

FOOD

Nestle adjusts sales targets

Nestle SA pushed back its target for sales growth as revenue from China slowed even before the COVID-19 outbreak in the Nescafe maker’s second-largest market. Nestle would need one or two more years to return to increases of 4 percent to 6 percent, chief executive officer Mark Schneider said yesterday. Revenue climbed 3.5 percent on an organic basis last year, just short of analysts’ estimates as the bottled-water business had its worst performance in a decade.

AUTOMAKERS

Ford, Tesla recall vehicles

Ford Motor Corp is recalling more than 240,000 sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and other models worldwide because a suspension part can fracture and increase the risk of a crash. The recall covers the Ford Flex, Taurus police car, Taurus SHO and Lincoln MKT from the 2013 through 2018 model years. Most of the recalled vehicles are in North America. Separately, Tesla Inc is recalling 15,000 Model X SUVs for power steering issues in North America, the electric automaker’s US and Canadian agencies said.

ENERGY

OPEC revises outlook

OPEC on Wednesday lowered its forecast for growth in global oil demand this year by nearly a fifth over the COVID-19 outbreak in China. In its monthly report on the world’s oil market, OPEC said it now expects growth in global oil demand of 0.99 million barrels per day (mbd) this year, which is down from 1.22mbd in its forecast last month. “The outbreak of the Coronavirus in China during the first half of 2020 is the major factor behind this downward revision,” the report said.

APPAREL

Kering posts record sales

French global luxury goods group Kering on Wednesday reported record sales and margins for last year, led in Asia by its flagship Gucci brand, but warned that the COVID-19 outbreak posed a real threat and had hit sales badly in China, one of its top markets. Sales last year rose 16.2 percent from 2018 to 15.8 billion euros (US$17.2 billion), but net profit tumbled more than 37 percent to 2.3 billion euros, hit by an exceptional tax charge in Italy of 1.25 billion euros in connection with a tax fraud investigation into Gucci.

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