Company news in brief

25 March 2019 | Business

NYSE wins Uber, Pinterest listings

Uber Technologies Inc and Pinterest, two of the highest profile internet companies planning to go public this year, have picked the New York Stock Exchange as the venue for their stock listings, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The companies and the NYSE declined to comment.

NYSE has become the exchange of choice over NASDAQ for big technology companies in the past few years after NASDAQ famously bumbled the Facebook IPO with massive technology errors. The exchanges compete fiercely for listing fees, and much like investment banks, often begin courting large companies long before they are ready to list.

NASDAQ did score the IPO of ride hailing firm Lyft Inc, which could reach or exceed a US$23 billion valuation when it prices its shares March 28. Lyft will be the first internet player to kick off a string of hotly anticipated public debuts that will energise the IPO market after a quiet start to the year.

In a sign that investors crave newly issued stock, shares of Levi Strauss & Co surged 31% in their debut on Thursday, giving the jeans maker a market value of US$8.7 billion.

Uber, a global logistics and transportation company most recently valued at US$76 billion in the private market, is seeking a valuation as high as US$120 billion, although some analysts have pegged its value closer to US$100 billion based on selected financial figures it has disclosed.

Pinterest, which owns the image search website known for food and fashion photos, was valued at US$12 billion in its last fundraising round in 2017. – Nampa/Reuters

Nokia says it is not taking on new business in Iran

Finnish telecom equipment maker Nokia does not plan to take on any new business in Iran in 2019, it said in its annual report on Thursday, citing difficulties in dealing with conflicting US and European trade policies.

"The diverging EU and U.S. regulatory framework governing business activities in Iran will be far more complex in the future," Nokia said in its annual 20-F report.

Under the nuclear deal struck between Iran and six big powers in 2015, sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union and United Nations were lifted in return for Iran agreeing long-term curbs on a nuclear programme the West suspected was geared to developing an atom bomb.

Nokia made a total of 54.6 million euros (US$62 million) in sales to operators in Iran in 2018.

"Although we evaluate our business activities on an ongoing basis, we currently do not intend to accept any new business in Iran in 2019 and intend to only complete existing contractual obligations in Iran in compliance with applicable economic sanctions and other trade-related laws," it said. – Nampa/Reuters

PetroChina plans biggest capital expenditure in four years

PetroChina, Asia's largest oil and gas producer, plans to boost capital spending to 300 billion yuan (US$45 billion) in 2019, up 17% from last year, a company filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange showed.

The surge in expenditure to a near-record level came as PetroChina pledged to ramp up oil and gas production and reserves to answer Beijing's call for greater energy security.

The group expects crude oil output this year at 905.9 million barrels and gas output of 3 811.0 billion cubic feet, it said in its earnings statement, with the total oil and gas equivalent of 1 541.2 million barrels.

Its crude oil processing output will reach 1 170 million barrels, it said, up from 1 123 million barrels last year. But growth in crude runs slowed, reflecting competition from upcoming refineries.

PetroChina also plans to buy high-end chemical products and technical equipment from the United States, in addition to liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports already underway, and increase collaboration on oil and gas investment, company president Hou Qijun told reporters on Thursday. – Nampa/Reuters

Nigeria's NNPC plans to revamp refineries

Nigeria's state-oil firm NNPC said it plans to revamp its refineries to help Africa's biggest crude oil producer to save billions of dollars on fuel imports and has hired Italy's Maire Tecnimont to tackle the Port Harcourt plant.

Nigeria has 445 000 bpd of refining capacity across four separate facilities which operate well below capacity due to mismanagement and lack of investment, forcing the NNPC to import the bulk of the country's gasoline.

Maire Tecnimont said separately it had won a contract from NNPC worth about $50 million to carry out checks and equipment inspections for Port Harcourt in the Niger Delta. The work would last for six months starting from end of this month, NNPC said.

The overhaul of the 210,000 barrels per day (bpd) Port Harcourt refinery would be the first since the last revamp was carried out 19 years ago, the NNPC said late on Thursday.

NNPC said Nigeria's effort to ensure local sufficiency in refined petroleum products would be bolstered by the first phase of the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery complex.

The corporation has been in talks with different consortiums to revamp its dilapidated refineries and has considered paying for the work via offtake of refined products rather than cash. – Nampa/Reuters