Company news in brief

05 December 2018 | Business

Eskom faces more power cuts

South Africa faces more power cuts, electricity utility Eskom warned on Monday as it sought to prevent the collapse of its power grid in a test for president Cyril Ramaphosa's reforms.

Eskom implemented a fifth day of controlled power cuts on Monday, putting more strain on an economy already mired in recession only months before a national election.

"The entire week could be severely constrained if we are unable to replenish the diesel and water reserves, and reduce the high unplanned outages," Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said.

Eskom, which is battling a severe financial crisis, coal shortages and breakdowns of its power plants, said it would cut up to 2 000 megawatts of power from the grid on Monday.

The utility, which last week called for a bailout or debt relief, began the controlled cuts, known as load-shedding, on Thursday as demand for power outstripped available capacity.

Ramaphosa has made reforming Eskom a priority, but he has been hampered by fiscal constraints in a blow to his plan to woo investors who can help grow the economy ahead of an election likely to be held in May next year. – Nampa/Reuters

Glencore appoints new industrial mining chief

Glencore has appointed Peter Freyberg to the newly created role of head of industrial mining, the global trader and miner said on Monday, while its head of copper marketing Telis Mistakidis retires at the end of the year.

The London-listed miner said billionaire Mistakidis, who owns a 3.2% stake in the company, will be replaced by Nico Paraskevas.

Long-time chief executive Ivan Glasenberg has said he wishes to retire by the time he turns 65.

"The management has been here a long time since the IPO ... there comes a time where the younger generation needs to take over," the 61-year-old Glasenberg told analysts on a call.

He added that there could be more management changes in the next few years and that each department was training successors. – Nampa/Reuters

Unilever swallows GSK's Indian Horlicks business

Unilever is to buy GlaxoSmithKline's Horlicks nutrition business for $3.8 billion, boosting the Anglo-Dutch group's position in India by adding the popular malted drink.

The deal, announced on Monday, increases the consumer goods giant's reach in one of the world's fastest-growing economies and marks a notable addition to the portfolio by outgoing chief executive Paul Polman, who steps down in January.

Even though many of Unilever's recent acquisitions have focused on beauty and personal care products, buying Horlicks is a rare opportunity for Unilever to increase its scale in India, particularly in food and drinks.

For GSK boss Emma Walmsley, it is a chance to further streamline operations and generate cash for increased investment in pharmaceuticals. A few hours later, GSK announced it had agreed to buy US cancer drug specialist Tesaro for US$5.1 billion, marking a major biotech investment by the drugmaker.

The Horlicks deal follows a competitive auction in which Unilever saw off rival Nestle, as well as earlier interest from Coca-Cola. – Nampa/Reuters

Tencent Music presses play on US IPO

Tencent Music launched its hotly-anticipated U.S. initial public offering (IPO) of up to US$1.2 billion on Monday after global stock markets were boosted by a truce brokered by US and Chinese leaders in their trade conflict.

The music arm of tech giant Tencent Holdings is looking to raise between US$1.07 billion and US$1.23 billion in a New York Stock Exchange IPO, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company originally planned to launch its offering in mid-October, Reuters previously reported.

But it then decided to delay the IPO over worries the steep global stock market sell-off in the past few months would affect the pricing.

The decision by China and the United States to call a 90-day hiatus on their trade war over the weekend sent Asian shares soaring on Monday as markets breathed a sigh of relief that tensions would ease, at least temporarily. – Nampa/Reuters

Shell sets carbon cutting targets after investor pressure

Royal Dutch Shell caved in to growing investor pressure over climate change on Monday with plans to set short-term targets for reducing its carbon footprint.

BP and Total have already set short-term targets, but Shell CEO Ben van Beurden had previously resisted setting hard goals, saying it would be "foolhardy" to expose Shell to legal challenges.

But following discussions with investors, the Anglo-Dutch oil and gas giant said that from 2020 it will set three- to five-year targets every year which will include specific net carbon footprint targets.

Shareholders had criticised Shell for last year setting long-term "ambitions" to halve its emissions of carbon dioxide by 2050, which lacked binding targets for implementation.

Shell, which did not specify any targets on Monday, plans to link these targets and other measures to its executive remuneration policy. The revised remuneration policy will be put to shareholders for approval at its annual meeting in 2020. – Nampa/Reuters

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