COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

28 July 2020 | Business

SAP to float Qualtrics

Business software group SAP said it planned to float Qualtrics, the US specialist in measuring online customer sentiment, which it acquired in late 2018 for US$8 billion.

The move to float Qualtrics in the United States would partly unwind the final major acquisition of former chief executive Bill McDermott's tenure and rebalance SAP back towards its German roots under successor Christian Klein.

"SAP's primary objective for the IPO is to fortify Qualtrics' ability to capture its full market potential within Experience Management," SAP said in a statement issued on Sunday night, referring to the Qualtrics product.

McDermott was criticised by investors for overpaying for Qualtrics, which under founder Ryan Smith had been close to floating when SAP trumped the valuation it had hoped to achieve on the stock market.

A year after the deal, Klein and former marketing chief Jennifer Morgan succeeded McDermott as co-CEOs. The arrangement proved to be short-lived, however, and Morgan - a vocal advocate of the Qualtrics deal - left earlier this year. – Nampa/Reuters

PGG to announce deep cuts

Poland's biggest coal producer, state-run PGG, is likely to announce within days deep cuts in coal output and the closure of a number of mines as part of a restructuring plan that is expected to prompt protests by miners, industry sources said.

Poland generates almost 80% of electricity from coal and is the only member of the European Union that has not pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050. PGG's management will meet with trade union representatives on Tuesday to present the restructuring plan.

The proposal will include closing a few mines and keeping only the most efficient ones open and reducing salaries, two sources familiar with the situation said.

The mines set for closure will be taken over by state company SRK, which would gradually wind them down. Miners will be offered hefty severance payments and those close to retirement would be offered paid leave.

A PGG spokesman declined to comment. Trade unions' representatives declined to comment. Earlier this year, unions criticised the government for not having stopped imports of coal from Russia at a time of growing stockpiles at domestic mines. – Nampa/Reuters

Moderna gets US$472 million

Moderna Inc said on Sunday it has received an additional US$472 million from the US government's Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to support development of its novel coronavirus vaccine.

The US based drug maker said the additional funding will support its late-stage clinical development including the expanded Phase 3 study of Moderna's vaccine candidate.

In April, Moderna had received US$483 million from the US federal agency that funds disease-fighting technology, when the experimental vaccine was in an early-stage trial conducted by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

"Encouraged by the Phase 1 data, we believe that our mRNA vaccine may aid in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic and preventing future outbreaks.

BARDA's total funding for the experimental vaccine of Moderna, the first in the United States to begin human trials of a coronavirus vaccine, is now about US$955 million.

The vaccine uses synthetic messenger RNA (mRNA) to inoculate against the coronavirus. Such treatments help the body immunize against a virus and can potentially be developed and manufactured more quickly than traditional vaccines. – Nampa/Reuters

Faurecia targets H2 profit

French car parts group Faurecia said it expects to return to profit and cash generation in the second half of the year helped by cost controls after reporting a first-half operating loss due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Faurecia targets sales of around 7.6 billion euros (US$8.89 billion), an operating margin of around 4.5% of sales and net cash flow of around 600 million euros for the second half of the year, the statement said.

CEO Patrick Koller also told BFM business radio that the company had good visibility over the third quarter but that there were more uncertainties regarding the fourth quarter.

The company reported a first-half operating loss of 114 million euros which included a 20-million-euro one-off charge related to the coronavirus crisis. Like-for-like sales fell 35.4%.

Those 2022 targets include an operating margin of 8% of sales and net cash flow of 4% of sales, with sales above 18.5 billion euros. – Nampa/Reuters

UK criticises Twitter, Instagram

British interior minister Priti Patel said she had asked Twitter and Instagram for a full explanation of why anti-Semitic comments made by rap artist Wiley remained on the social media platforms for so long.

Wiley is facing a police investigation after comments appeared on his social media accounts on Friday asserting that Jews systematically exploited Black artists in the music industry.

"They should not have been able to remain on Twitter and Instagram for so long and I have asked them for a full explanation. Social media companies must act much faster to remove such appalling hatred from their platforms."

A company spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, said: "There is no place for hate speech on Instagram. We have deleted content that violates our policies from this account and have blocked access to it for seven days."

Richard Cowie released a number one single in Britain in 2012 and had several other top 10 hits as a leading figure in grime music, a British genre of rap. He received a UK government honour for his contribution to music in 2018. – Nampa/Reuters