Company news in brief

12 January 2018 | Business

Aspen CEO defends earnings

Aspen Pharmacare Holdings CEO Stephen Saad said full-year earnings are “completely clear” and the South African drug maker has nothing in common with scandal-hit retailer Steinhoff International Holdings NV.

Responding to a slump in the share price, the company said it was aware of speculation that Viceroy Research, a group of investors who published a report into Steinhoff's accounts last month, is preparing a similar dossier on Aspen.

The drug maker has had no contact with Viceroy and “is not aware of any information of a price-sensitive nature that requires communication to shareholders,” the Durban-based company said in a statement.

The shares pared losses and closed 4.6% lower at R250.13 in Johannesburg on Tuesday, the lowest since February 2016. The stock had earlier slumped as much as 10%, the most on an intraday basis in 16 months.

– Fin24/Bloomberg

Lufthansa usurps Ryanair as Europe's biggest airline

Germany's Lufthansa has overhauled Ryanair to retake the crown as Europe's largest airline by passenger numbers after the Irish budget carrier was forced to cut thousands of flights because of pilot rostering problems.

The Lufthansa group as a whole carried 130 million passengers last year, it said on Wednesday. The equivalent figure from Ryanair was 129 million, meaning Ryanair slips behind Lufthansa after overtaking it in 2016.

Ryanair and Lufthansa were both ahead of rival IAG, the parent company of British Airways and Iberia, which carried 104.8 million people in 2017, an increase of 4%.

– Nampa/Reuters

S.Korea plans to ban cryptocurrency trading

The South Korean government yesterday said it plans to ban cryptocurrency trading, sending bitcoin prices plummeting and throwing the virtual coin market into turmoil as the nation's police and tax authorities raided local exchanges on alleged tax evasion.

The local price of bitcoin plunged as much as 21% in midday trade to 18.3 million won (US$17 064.53) after the minister's comments. It still trades at around a 30% premium compared to other countries.

The clampdown in South Korea, a crucial source of global demand for cryptocurrency, came as policymaker around the world struggled to regulate an asset whose value has skyrocketed over the last year.

– Nampa/Reuters

Uber rival Taxify expands into Lisbon

Taxify, Uber's upstart European-based rival, is looking to expand during the coming year outside of the biggest cities in the more than 20 countries where it now operates into secondary markets, Chief Executive Markus Villig said yesterday.

The Estonia-based taxi-hailing platform active in Central and Eastern Europe and Africa, has taken advantage of Uber's headline-grabbing missteps in 2017 to undertake expansion into a handful of Western European markets and Australia.

Taxify is active in 40 cities on four continents, seeking to capitalise on mounting driver resistance to Uber in the newer markets it has targeted. By contrast, Uber is active in more than 80 countries and nearly 700 cities.

– Nampa/Reuters

Kodak creating KodakCoin

Kodak is getting into the digital licensing and cryptocurrency market as part of a partnership with WENN Digital.

The companies are launching blockchain technology with KodakOne and KodakCoin. The Kodak systems will allow photographers to register work that they can license and then receive payment.

Kodak's shares have been slumping over the last year, shedding more than 70 percent of its value.

– Nampa/AP

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