Company news in brief

28 November 2018 | Business

Telkom Kenya gets loan from EIB

Telkom Kenya, the country's third biggest operator, has secured a loan worth US$40 million from the European Investment Bank (EIB), as it tries to gain market share by expanding its mobile and data services.

Telkom will use the funds from the EIB, the European Union’s not-for-profit long term investment arm, to improve and expand its network, the company and the bank said.

The operator, which is the smallest in Kenya behind Safaricom and Bharti Airtel's Kenyan unit, has been focusing on data to try to win customers.

Telkom, 60%-owned by London-based Helios Investment with the rest held by the government, had 4.1 million users, about 9% of the market, as of July 2018.

Safaricom, the dominant operator with nearly 70% of the market, cut its internet connection prices last month in response to Telkom's aggressive positioning. – Nampa/Reuters

Thomas Cook cuts profit forecast

Thomas Cook cut its forecast for full-year underlying operating profit for the second time in two months yesterday and suspended its dividend after the hot British summer deterred holidaymakers from going abroad.

The British company warned in September that a heatwave in northern Europe had hit demand in the most profitable part of the summer season and hurt winter trading, forcing it then to cut its profit outlook by 13%.

Bringing forward its results by two days, the company said yesterday it now expected to report a figure of 250 million pounds (US$320 million), down 58 million pounds on the previous year and below the target of 280 million pounds it set in September.

Part of the hit came from 28 million pounds worth of legacy and non-recurring charges, due to transformation and disruption costs, and unpaid historic hotel bills.

"After a good start to the year, we experienced a larger-than-anticipated decline in gross margin following the prolonged period of hot weather in our key summer trading period," chief executive Peter Fankhauser said. – Nampa/Reuters

Microsoft's stock market value catches up with Apple

Just four months after Apple Inc breached the US$1 trillion mark, the iPhone maker has lost its lead as Wall Street's most valuable company and is on the verge of being replaced by Microsoft Corp.

Apple shares fell 1.77% in extended trade Monday after US President Donald Trump told The Wall Street Journal that tariffs could be placed on laptops and mobile phones imported from China.

The loss wiped out the 1.35% gain during the official trading session and put Apple's stock market value at US$814 billion.

Microsoft shares dipped 0.35% after-hours to US$106.10, putting its market capitalisation also at US$814 billion.

Technology shares have been punished in recent months on investor worries about rising interest rates and fallout from the trade conflict between the United States and China. – Nampa/Reuters

Global wage growth slumps to lowest in decade

Global wage grew by 1.8% in 2017, down from 2.4% in 2016 and the slowest rate since the global financial crisis in 2008, the International Labour Organisation said in its two-yearly Global Wage Report on Monday.

"What is now widely recognised is that slow wage growth has become an obstacle to achieving sustainable economic growth," ILO director-general Guy Ryder wrote in the report.

In the past 20 years, average real wages have almost tripled in emerging and developing G20 countries, but they have risen by only 9% in advanced G20 countries, the ILO said.

Aramco eyes bigger market share in Africa, Asia

Saudi Aramco will expand its market share in Asia despite likely OPEC limits on output next year, and is eyeing deals in China and Africa as it aims to become a global leader in chemicals, the head of the world’s top oil producer said on Monday.

Amin Nasser, chief executive of the state oil giant, told Reuters that his company would abide by any OPEC agreement to cut crude production in 2019, less than two weeks before the exporter group meets to decide output policy.

But he added that he still sees growth opportunities in Asia - identifying China, India, Malaysia and Indonesia - and will push ahead with refining ventures to guarantee new outlets for Aramco’s crude.

Aramco said last week it would sign five crude oil supply agreements with Chinese customers, taking its supply to China to a record-high 1.67 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2019.

OPEC meets in Vienna on Dec. 6, amid expectations that Saudi Arabia will push for a production cut of up to 1.4 million bpd by the producer club and its allies to prop up sagging oil prices. – Nampa/Reuters

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