COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

25 September 2020 | Business

Investors interested in BMW

Chinese state-backed investors are considering taking BMW's main Chinese joint-venture partner Brilliance private, five people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters, in the latest such deal targeting beaten down Hong Kong-listed stocks.

Brilliance's shares reversed losses and rose as much as 12.3% to HK$7.86, their highest since Aug 17, following the news report.

Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd has a market value of US$4.6 billion and the deal to take it private would be led by state-controlled Liaoning Provincial Transportation Investment Group, which owns 12% of Brilliance, said the people.

The privatisation would attract other Chinese state-backed investors and could kick off as soon as the fourth quarter of the year, said two of the people.

Brilliance's parent, Huachen Automotive Group, said it had not obtained any relevant information about Liaoning Provincial Transportation Investment Group considering leading the deal to take Brilliance private. – Nampa/Reuters

WeWork sells control of China unit

US office-sharing firm WeWork said it will sell control of its China division to one of its investors private equity firm Trustbridge Partners, as it steps back from a competitive market where it has suffered low-occupancy rates.

The deal effectively offloads the China unit away from the parent, which has faced fundraising issues since a failed attempt to go public in 2019.

WeWork said it will maintain a minority stake and "participating interest." Concurrent with the deal, the division has received US$200 million in funding from existing investors. Michael Jiang of Trustbridge Partners will serve as WeWork China's acting chief executive officer.

Trustbridge and Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings Ltd held talks with WeWork's Chinese unit over increasing their stakes and taking majority ownership, Reuters reported in January.

WeWork shelved its initial public offering in 2019 after investors grew wary of its losses, business model and corporate governance, leading to the resignation of co-founder and former chief executive officer Adam Neumann. -Nampa/Reuters

Tyler Technologies systems hacked

Tyler Technologies, whose products are used by US states and counties to share election data, said on Wednesday that an unknown party had hacked its internal systems.

Tyler, whose platforms are used by elections officials to display voting results, among other tasks, confirmed the breach in an email to Reuters after warning clients in an email earlier in the day.

The company, a major provider of emergency management and other programs to US counties and municipalities, told Reuters in its email that it was working to restore its systems and had notified law enforcement.

The FBI and the US Department of Homeland Security warned this week that foreign hackers might attempt to access and alter websites reporting election results. Neither responded to requests for comment after East Coast working hours.

In the email to customers, Tyler said there had been a "security incident involving unauthorized access to our internal phone and information technology systems by an unknown third party." – Nampa/Reuters

ByteDance applies for export licence

TikTok owner ByteDance has applied for a licence in China in line with the country's tech export requirements, as it strives to seal a deal with Oracle Corp and Walmart Inc for TikTok's US operations to stave off a US ban on the app.

The application was submitted to Beijing's municipal commerce bureau and the company is waiting for a decision, it said in a statement on its Toutiao account. It did not say whether the application was related to an ongoing deal over its US operations.

China last month revised a list of technologies that are banned or restricted for export for the first time in 12 years, which experts said gave Beijing a say over any TikTok deal.

ByteDance has said that its deal with Oracle and Walmart, which will see the creation of a standalone US company, needs approval from both the United States and China.

However, the companies have issued conflicting statements over the terms of the preliminary agreement they reached with the White House, casting doubt over whether it will hold. ByteDance said it will establish a US subsidiary called TikTok Global of which it will own 80%. – Nampa/Reuters

Hazira processing plant under control

India's Oil and Natural Gas Corp said it has doused a fire that broke out in its Hazira gas processing plant in the western state of Gujarat yesterday and is making efforts to resume normal operations.

ONGC has shut the plant, which gets gas from its western offshore fields to produce liquefied petroleum gas and other products like naphtha.

"Fire at Hazira Plant has been completely extinguished. Efforts are being made to resume normal operations at the earliest," ONGC said in a twitter post. There were no casualties or injuries, ONGC has said.

Surat Collector and District Magistrate Dhaval Patel, a senior city official, told Reuters the fire was caused by a rupture in a pipeline at the gas terminal. ONGC's plant is in Surat, a city in Gujarat. "The area was cordoned off, depressurised and cooled as a part of firefighting measures," Patel said.

"Other plants in the vicinity are operating as usual. I am told that the ONGC plant will also become partially operational in two to three hours," he said. Gas supplies to customers have been temporarily closed due to safety reasons, an ONGC spokesman said. – Nampa/Reuters