Rail overhaul unveiled
The country yesterday unveiled a radical overhaul of its COVID-19-plagued privatized rail sector that would see franchises replaced with concessions subject to tougher scrutiny and greater state involvement. “Ministers today ended rail franchising after 24 years as the first step in bringing Britain’s fragmented network back together. The new system will create a simpler, more effective structure and will take shape over the coming months,” the Department for Transport said in a statement. The government in March decided to take on franchise holders’ revenue and cost risks, as the COVID-19 pandemic decimated passenger demand for rail travel.
Superdry outlook murky
Superdry PLC cofounder Julian Dunkerton would have to wait to see whether his turnaround plan is working, as the UK apparel chain was hit hard by the pandemic. The retailer, known for outerwear emblazoned with Japanese characters, lost about ￡42 million (US$54 million) on an underlying basis in the year through April, compared with a profit of ￡38 million the prior year. Write-downs related to its real-estate holdings contributed to the shortfall. Superdry said business this year is improving, with online sales nearly doubling year-on-year in the first quarter, but said there is a “material uncertainty” over the outlook.
Airline struggles with refunds
Philippine Airlines Inc said that it has received refund requests totaling 15.9 billion pesos (US$329 million) amid the COVID-19 pandemic, seeking customers’ understanding, as it has only paid back 80 percent of the amount. The carrier has canceled more than 60,000 flights since March, affecting more than 1.3 million passengers, it said in a statement. Asia’s oldest airline has restored nearly 15 percent of its local and international network and plans to ramp up flights as travel and quarantine restrictions ease.
Iliad to buy Polish telecom
Iliad SA has agreed to buy Polish telecom Play Communications SA for 2.2 billion euros (US$2.6 billion) as it expands across Europe. French billionaire Xavier Niel’s Iliad has offered 39 zloty per share for Play, and has received binding commitments from two controlling shareholders for their 40 percent stake, the companies said in a statement yesterday. The offer is a 39 percent premium to the company’s closing share price on Friday. Play Communications, which is the youngest of Poland’s four biggest mobile telecoms, started operating in 2007. It is controlled by Greece’s Olympia Development SA and Iceland’s Novator Partners LLP.
Financial bill planned
The country plans to buttress the City of London’s global competitiveness and openness once it moves outside the EU with new financial services sector legislation. Although the country left the EU in January, its unfettered access to the bloc for banks and other financial firms does not end until December, when transition arrangements expire. Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen yesterday said that the new Financial Services Bill would create a modern, flexible and robust system of financial regulation. The EU, the City of London’s biggest customer, has said it would give British clearing houses temporary access.
UNWANTED ATTENTION: In the past two months, the automaker has made headlines, with a Chinese military ban of its vehicles and a protest at an expo Electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc, facing scrutiny in China over safety and customer service complaints, is boosting its engagement with regulators and beefing up its government relations team, industry sources said. Tesla’s change of strategy leading to more behind-the-scenes interaction with policymakers in Beijing compared with relatively little previously shows the seriousness with which the US automaker views the setbacks in its second-biggest market. TALKING SHOP It also comes at a time when China is trying to regulate large and powerful private companies, especially in the technology sector, on concerns about their market dominance. As they do elsewhere, regulators in China, the world’s biggest
Dell Technologies Inc has agreed to sell its Boomi cloud business to private equity firms Francisco Partners and TPG in a cash deal valued at US$4 billion, as part of efforts by chief executive officer Michael Dell to trim down the PC maker. The deal is expected to close by the end of this year, the companies said in a statement on Sunday without providing additional details of the terms. Dow Jones had earlier reported that the companies were near a deal. Boomi specializes in integrating different cloud platforms for companies and has more than 15,000 customers. Dell agreed to acquire the company for
Intel Corp wants 8 billion euros (US$9.7 billion) in public subsidies toward building a semiconductor factory in Europe, chief executive officer Pat Gelsinger was cited as saying on Friday, as the region seeks to reduce its reliance on imports amid a shortage of supplies. The pitch is the first time that Gelsinger has publicly put a figure on how much state aid he would want, as Intel campaigns to take on Asian rivals in contract manufacturing. “What we’re asking from both the US and the European governments is to make it competitive for us to do it here, compared to in Asia,”
GlobalWafers Co (環球晶圓), the world’s No. 3 silicon wafer supplier, yesterday said that it is considering further capacity expansion as customers are requesting more capacity due to rising end-market demand and persistent supply constraints. The Hsinchu-based company said that emerging technologies and applications from 5G, artificial intelligence and electric vehicles are driving semiconductor demand. The semiconductor industry has a positive outlook for this year and beyond, with shipments of all diameters of wafers to increase through 2023, GlobalWafers said. “We have received requests for expansion from many strategic partners. We are now in discussions with customers,” company chairwoman Doris Hsu (徐秀蘭) told a