COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

27 July 2021 | Business

Unifor starts strike at Rio Tinto

Canadian union Unifor said on Sunday about 900 workers had started strike action at global miner Rio Tinto's operations in the western Canadian province of British Columbia.

Unifor issued a 72-hour strike notice on Wednesday after nearly seven weeks of unproductive talks over proposed changes to workers' retirement benefits and unresolved grievances.

"Rio Tinto was given every opportunity to reach a fair deal but showed complete disregard for our issues," the union said in a statement. The union represents about 900 workers at the miner's aluminium smelting plant in Kitimat and power generating facility in Kemano.

Unifor said it was committed to resolving the labour dispute amicably and urged the mining company's management to reach a fair settlement.

Rio had earlier sought an order from the province's labour relations board declaring power plant workers essential, according to a union bulletin. -Nampa/Reuters

RBC to buy ABB's transmission unit

RBC Bearings Inc is in advanced talks to buy the power transmission unit of Swiss industrial giant ABB Ltd, Bloomberg reported on Sunday.

The report comes days after ABB's Chief Executive Bjorn Rosengren said an announcement on the sale of the unit, known as Dodge, would be made in the next few weeks.

Dodge is valued at between US$2.5 billion and US$3 billion and a deal between the ABB and Oxford, Connecticut-based RBC Bearings could be reached as soon as this week, Bloomberg reported citing people familiar with the matter. ABB and RBC Bearings did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Dodge makes products including bearings used in industrial food processing operations and belted drives for conveyors in giant coal mines. ABB announced it was exiting the business last year. - Nampa/Reuters

China's TAL expects hit from new rules

China's TAL Education Group said on Sunday that its operations and business prospects could take a hit as a result of Beijing barring for-profit tutoring in core school subjects to ease financial pressures on families.

News of the rule changes on Friday sent shockwaves through China's US$120 billion private tutoring sector and triggered a massive sell-off in the shares of companies including TAL and Gaotu Techedu. TAL's New York-listed shares plunged 71%.

Under the new rules, all institutions offering tutoring on the school curriculum will be registered as non-profit organisations, and no new licences will be granted, according to an official document.

TAL said in its statement on Sunday that it expects the new rules to have "material adverse impact on its after-school tutoring services which in turn may adversely affect" its operations and prospects. It did not elaborate.

China's for-profit education sector has been under scrutiny as part of Beijing's push to ease pressure on school children and reduce a cost burden on parents that has contributed to a drop in birth rates. -Nampa/Reuters

Faurecia upgrades cash flow target

French car parts company Faurecia raised its 2021 net cash flow target on Monday as it posted higher first-half sales and profits, led by growth in all its main areas.

Faurecia's interim sales rose 27.9% from a year ago to 7.78 billion euros (US$9.2 billion), while first-half operating income rose to 510 million euros, up from a loss of 100 million euros last year.

Faurecia said it was upgrading its 2021 net cash flow target, and was now forecasting a net cash flow of more than 500 million euros - up from a previous target of around 500 million.

It also confirmed its 2021 full-year sales target, namely of reaching sales of at least 16.5 billion euros and for an operating margin of around 7% of sales. Faurecia's upbeat outlook echoed that of its French rival Valeo, which last week also confirmed its 2021 targets as it posted higher first-half sales and profits.

Similarly, to Valeo, Faurecia also expected global automotive production to rebound in coming quarters, despite issues over the supplies of semiconductor chips, which are vital for technologically advanced cars. -Nampa/Reuters

Ryanair nudges up annual traffic forecast

Ryanair nudged up its forecast for full-year traffic on strong summer bookings but said fares remained well below pre-pandemic levels as it reported an after-tax loss of 273 million euros (US$321.5 million) for the three months to the end of June.

The Irish airline, Europe's largest low-cost carrier, said it expected to fly between 90 and 100 million passengers in its financial year to end-March 2022, up from an earlier forecast of 80-100 million.

Ryanair flew 27.5 million passengers in the year to March 2021, down from a pre-Covid-19 peak of 149 million the previous year. The loss of 273 million euros in the first quarter was slightly better than the 283-million-euro loss forecast by a company poll of analysts.

Group Chief Executive Michael O'Leary said in a statement that it remained impossible to provide a meaningful profit forecast for the financial year to end-March 2022, but reiterated that the airline was cautiously expecting to post a small loss or break even.

The airline expects to fly 9 million passengers in July, at the top of a previous forecast range of 7-9 million, rising to 10 million in August, O'Leary said. -Nampa/Reuters