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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Softbank Group Corp plans to keep a stake in the chip designer Arm Ltd, even if it sells a partial interest to Nvidia Corp, the Nikkei reported. The companies are negotiating terms, the newspaper reported, citing sources. Softbank might take a stake in Nvidia after it buys Arm, the report said. Nvidia and Arm might also merge through a share swap, and Softbank would become a major shareholder in the combined company, it said. The two parties aim to reach a deal in the next few weeks, the sources said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Nvidia is the
END TO SPECULATION: The hotel’s management contract has been extended, despite reports that it wanted to end its alliance with Hyatt Hotels over a deal with Riant Capital Singapore-based Hong Leong Hotel Development Ltd (豐隆大飯店股份) yesterday said it has extended a management contract to ensure the continued presence of the Grand Hyatt brand in Taipei, ending rumors that the two sides were parting ways. “We are pleased Hyatt is able to come to terms on the extension of the management contract of Grand Hyatt Taipei,” said Kwek Leng Beng (郭令明), executive chairman of City Developments Ltd (城市發展) and Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Ltd (千禧國敦酒店). Hong Leong Hotel Development is a subsidiary of Millennium, and both fall under the Hong Leong Group (豐隆集團). The Grand Hyatt Taipei (台北君悅大飯店), owned and built by
MOVING FROM CHINA? The article did not name the company, but Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron were among firms chosen for a production-linked incentive plan in India An Apple Inc vendor is looking at shifting six production lines to India from China, which could result in US$5 billion of iPhone exports from the South Asian nation, the Times of India reported, citing people familiar with the matter who it did not identify. The establishment of the facility would create about 55,000 jobs over about a year, the newspaper reported, not naming the Apple vendor. It would also cater to the domestic market and expand operations to include tablets and laptops, the newspaper reported. Samsung Electronics Co and Apple’s assembly partners are among 22 companies that have pledged 110 billion
’WHITE BOX’: The open platform would give local firms access to Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop 5G telecom equipment and tap into the global market The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday introduced a new 5G “open lab” in collaboration with US-based information technology and networking giant Cisco Systems Inc to address the rapidly growing “white box” 5G networking equipment market. The open lab will be a platform where Taiwanese manufacturers can access Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop their own 5G telecom equipment, such as small-cell base stations, network switches, modems and Internet of things (IoT) devices, a ministry statement said. The open platform would allow Taiwanese manufacturers to tap into the lucrative 5G telecom equipment market, which was previously monopolized by Nokia Oyj, Ericsson AB