Company News In Breif

02 June 2020 | Business

London Metal Exchange cancels events

The London Metal Exchange (LME) said on Monday it cancelled all of its events during the LME Week in London because of the coronavirus. The annual gathering of the metal industry is due to take place in October 2020 where the exchange usually hosts seminars and a glitzy annual dinner. LME Week is the annual gathering of the global metals community in London. Representatives from the entire supply chain meet to discuss current trends in metals markets, what to expect for the year ahead, and to network with industry peers and colleagues. Every year the London Metal Exchange hosts three official flagship events throughout the week, the LME Metals Seminar, the Annual Dinner, and the LME Focus Day. The LME is owned by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX). 

– Nampa/Reuters

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EU mulls new corporate tax

A new corporate tax could raise 10 billion euros a year to help fund stimulus plans while amounting to less than 0.2% of turnover of large companies that benefit from the European Union's single market, the bloc's executive said on Monday. Under a plan awaiting approval or changes from the 27 EU member states, the European Commission would borrow an unprecedented 750 billion euros in the market to fund spending aimed at reviving economies ravaged by the coronavirus crisis. It has proposed several possible levies to help repay the debt, including the new single market tax, which would come into force in or after 2024. “Depending on the design, whether a lump sum or a fee proportional to firm size, or a portion of a tax on profits, around 10 billion euros could be raised without excessively weighing on any individual firm,” a commission spokeswoman said. “Ten billion euros is less than 0.2% of the turnover generated by the EU operations of those large companies.” The commission has also floated other possible sources of new revenue for the EU's joint budget - from a plastics tax to a levy on carbon footprint of imports - to repay stimulus debt. The EU's top budget official, Johannes Hahn, told the Financial Times in an interview published on Sunday that the single market tax could affect 70 000 companies in Europe with global turnover exceeding 750 million euros.

– Nampa/Reuters

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Government looks to rescue SAA

South Africa's public enterprises ministry said on Monday that it had not yet discussed a draft business rescue plan for struggling South African Airways (SAA), which an opposition party made public earlier in the day. “Government has not discussed the plan yet and no decisions have been taken on some of the proposals it contains,” the ministry said in a statement. “We will review the plan, explore various funding options, and communicate our decisions in due course.” Draft proposals are to restructure SAA into an entirely new operation with government committing additional funds, and the new company acquiring all of the airline's assets. The plan details how the government would have to start a new company owned by the department of public enterprises (DPE). The new holding company would also oversee SAA City Centre (SACC), SAA Technical, Air Chefs and Mango airline. The DPE would have to put down approximately R2 billion in starting capital to get this company off the ground, with an additional R2 billion needed to settle retrenchment processes with workers.– Nampa/Reuters

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Nestle to appeal 'Incredible Burger' ban

Nestle said on Monday it would appeal a Dutch court's ruling that prohibits the Swiss food giant from selling its plant-based burgers in Europe under the “Incredible Burger” name after a challenge from US-based Impossible Foods. Last week, the District Court in The Hague granted an injunction filed by Impossible Foods to prevent Nestle from marketing its burgers as “Incredible” after arguing that the signage bore a strong visual, phonetic and conceptual resemblance to the US company's EU trademark and could confuse consumers. In its ruling, the court agreed that Nestle had infringed Impossible Foods' trademarks and prohibited the KitKat-maker from using the “Incredible” name throughout Europe, giving it four weeks to withdraw its products from shelves or face 25 000 euros (US$27 772.50) a day in fines. “We are disappointed by this provisional ruling as it is our belief that anyone should be able to use descriptive terms such as 'incredible' that explain the qualities of a product. We will of course abide by this decision, but in parallel, we will file an appeal,” Nestle wrote in an email. The company said it would now rebrand its plant-based burgers to “Sensational Burgers”, saying the new name evoked “the senses that are stimulated by our burger.” 

– Nampa/Reuters

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Recycled face shields from ­Tanzania

A recycling plant in Tanzania's port city of Dar es Salaam has traded paper for plastic bottles and started making anti-coronavirus face shields that are being snatched up by hospitals and health centres nationwide.

Until earlier this year, Zaidi Recyclers had a thriving business in processing waste paper, which it exported to customers in China and India, earning it around US$37 000 in revenues monthly, according to its founder Allen Kimambo.

New orders dried up, however, as country after country imposed lockdowns to stop the spread of the new coronavirus, reducing global trade to a trickle.

Yet Kimambo quickly spotted an opportunity, which allowed him to save his business and the jobs of all its 38 workers. Zaidi Recyclers switched to the production of face shields, a vital piece of personal protective equipment for health workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Orders are flooding in from the health sector from across Tanzania, Kimbabo said. In recent weeks they had made 6 000 units that go for about US$2 apiece. Tanzania has so far recorded 509 coronavirus cases and 21 deaths.

The firm has had to meet extra costs to protect its employees, while keeping the business in operation, including for special transportation to and from the workplace.

– Nampa/Reuters

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